Gold is not "The Answer"
What question are you attempting to answer? If it is, protect your assets, then gold is the answer. If it is to save your soul, then of course, gold won't give you good morals. Here, a bit from Ayn Rand's Altlas Shrugged:http://api.ning.com/files/nDvK*Zn9WVPm4tojIRn5a002AQJvhXGIFvs1eZ0McZ8ryHZBA4BING-C*x2scj2qXCbmEF2tKTN9A8nXw8V2JoqVEFk3fHSq/AtlasShrugged.pdf
Standing unnoticed on the edge of the group, Rearden heard a woman, who
had large diamond earrings and a flabby, nervous face, ask tensely, "Senior
d'Anconia, what do you think is going to happen to the world?"
"Just exactly what it deserves,"
"Oh, how cruel!"
"Don't you believe in the operation of the moral law, madame?"
Francisco asked gravely. "I do."
Rearden heard Bertram Scudder, outside the group, say to a girl who made
some sound of indignation, "Don't let him disturb you. You know, money is the
root of all evil—and he's the typical product of money."
Rearden did not think that Francisco could have heard it, but he saw
Francisco turning to them with a gravely courteous smile.
"So you think that money is the root of all evil?" said Francisco
"Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of
exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to
produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish
to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money
is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the
looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the
men who produce.
Is this what you consider evil?
"When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the
conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others.
It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. Not an ocean
of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in
your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of
paper, which should have been gold, are a token of honor—your claim upon the
energy of the men who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that
somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that
moral principle which is the root of money. Is this what you consider evil?
"Have you ever looked for the root of production? Take a look at an
electric generator and dare tell yourself that it was created by the muscular
effort of unthinking brutes. Try to grow a seed of wheat without the
knowledge left to you by men who had to discover it for the first time. Try
to obtain your food by means of nothing but physical motions—and you'll learn
that man's mind is the root of all the goods produced and of all the wealth
that has ever existed on earth.
"But you say that money is made by the strong at the expense of the weak?
What strength do you mean? It is not the strength of guns or muscles. Wealth
is the product of man's capacity to think. Then is money made by the man who
invents a motor at the expense of those who did not invent it? Is money made
by the intelligent at the expense of the fools? By the able at the expense of
the incompetent? By the ambitious at the expense of the lazy? Money is made— before it can be looted or mooched—made by the effort of every honest man,
each to the extent of his ability. An honest man is one who knows that he
can't consume more than he has produced.
"To trade by means of money is the code of the men of good will.
Money rests on the axiom that every man is the owner of his mind and his
effort. Money allows no power to prescribe the value of your effort except
the voluntary choice of the man who is willing to trade you his effort in
return. Money permits you to obtain for your goods and your labor that which
they are worth to the men who buy them, but no more. Money permits no deals
except those to mutual benefit by the unforced judgment of the traders. Money
demands of you the recognition that men must work for their own benefit, not
for their own injury, for their gain, not their loss—the recognition that
they are not beasts of burden, born to carry the weight of your misery—that
you must offer them values, not wounds—that the common bond among men is not
the exchange of suffering, but the exchange of goods.
"Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men's stupidity, but
your talent to their reason; it demands that you buy, not the shoddiest they
offer, but the best that your money can find. And when men live by trade—with
reason, not force, as their final arbiter—it is the best product that wins,
the best performance, the man of best judgment and highest ability—and the
degree of a man's productiveness is the degree of his reward. This is the
code of existence whose tool and symbol is money. Is this what you consider
"But money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will
not replace you as the driver. It will give you the means for the
satisfaction of your desires, but it will not provide you with desires.
Money is the scourge of the men who attempt to reverse the law of
causality—the men who seek to replace the mind by seizing the products of the
"Money will not purchase happiness for the man who has no concept of what
he wants: money will not give him a code of values, if he's evaded the
knowledge of what to value, and it will not provide him with a purpose, if
he's evaded the choke of what to seek. Money will not buy intelligence for
the fool, or admiration for the coward, or respect for the incompetent. The
man who attempts to purchase the brains of his superiors to serve him, with
his money replacing his judgment, ends up by becoming the victim of his
inferiors. The men of intelligence desert him, but the cheats and the frauds
come flocking to him, drawn by a law which he has not discovered: that no man
may be smaller than his money. Is this the reason why you call it evil?
"Only the man who does not need it, is fit to inherit wealth—the man who
would make his own fortune no matter where he started. If an heir is equal to
his money, it serves him; if not, it destroys him.
But you look on and you cry that money corrupted him. Did it? Or did he
corrupt his money? Do not envy a worthless heir; his wealth is not yours and
you would have done no better with it. Do not think that it should have been
distributed among you; loading the world with fifty parasites instead of one,
would not bring back the dead virtue which was the fortune. Money is a living
power that dies without its root. Money will not serve the mind that cannot
match it. Is this the reason why you call it evil?
"Money is your means of survival. The verdict you pronounce upon the
source of your livelihood is the verdict you pronounce upon your life. If the
source is corrupt, you have damned your own existence. Did you get your money
by fraud? By pandering to men's vices or men's stupidity? By catering to
fools, in the hope of getting more than your ability deserves? By lowering
your standards? By doing work you despise for purchasers you scorn? If so,
then your money will not give you a moment's or a penny's worth of joy. Then
all the things you buy will become, not a tribute to you, but a reproach; not
an achievement, but a reminder of shame. Then you'll scream that money is evil.
Evil, because it would not pinch-hit for your self-respect? Evil,
because it would not let you enjoy your depravity? Is this the root of your
hatred of money?
"Money will always remain an effect and refuse to replace you as the
cause. Money is the product of virtue, but it will not give you virtue and it
will not redeem your vices. Money will not give you the unearned, neither in
matter nor in spirit. Is this the root of your hatred of money?
"Or did you say it's the love of money that's the root of all evil?
To love a thing is to know and love its nature. To love money is to know
and love the fact that money is the creation of the best power within you,
and your passkey to trade your effort for the effort of the best among men.
It's the person who would sell his soul for a nickel, who is loudest in
proclaiming his hatred of money—and he has good reason to hate it. The lovers
of money are willing to work for it.
They know they are able to deserve it.
"Let me give you a tip on a clue to men's characters: the man who damns
money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it.
"Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil.
That sentence is the leper's bell of an approaching looter. So long as men
live together on earth and need means to deal with one another—
their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun.
"But money demands of you the highest virtues, if you wish to make it or
to keep it. Men who have no courage, pride or self-esteem, men who have no
moral sense of their right to their money and are not willing to defend it as
they defend their life, men who apologize for being rich—will not remain rich
for long. They are the natural bait for the swarms of looters that stay under
rocks for centuries, but come crawling out at the first smell of a man who
begs to be forgiven for the guilt of owning wealth. They will hasten to
relieve him of the guilt— and of his life, as he deserves.
"Then you will see the rise of the men of the double standard—the men who
live by force, yet count on those who live by trade to create the value of
their looted money—the men who are the hitchhikers of virtue. In a moral
society, these are the criminals, and the statutes are written to protect you
against them. But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-
by-law—men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims—then money
becomes its creators' avenger.
Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they've passed a
law to disarm them. But their loot becomes the magnet for other looters, who
get it from them as they got it. Then the race goes, not to the ablest at
production, but to those most ruthless at brutality. When force is the
standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket. And then that society
vanishes, in a spread of ruins and slaughter.
"Do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money.
Money is the barometer of a society's virtue. When you see that trading is
done, not by consent, but by compulsion—when you see that in order to
produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing—when you
see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors—when
you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws
don't protect you against them, but protect them against you—when you see
corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice—you may know
that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that it does not
compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality.
It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.
"Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for
money is men's protection and the base of a moral existence.
Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary
setter of values. Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth
produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun
aimed at those who are expected to "produce it. Paper is a check drawn by
legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the
victims. Watch for the day when it bounces, marked: 'Account overdrawn.'
"When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to
remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the
purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce,
when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, 'Who is
destroying the world?' You are.
"You stand in the midst of the greatest achievements of the greatest
productive civilization and you wonder why it's crumbling around you, while
you're damning its life-blood—-money. You look upon money as the savages did
before you, and you wonder why the jungle is creeping back to the edge of
your cities. Throughout men's history, money was always seized by looters of
one brand or another, whose names changed, but whose method remained the
same: to seize wealth by force and to keep the producers bound, demeaned,
defamed, deprived of honor. That phrase about the evil of money, which you
mouth with such righteous recklessness, comes from a time when wealth was
produced by the labor of slaves—slaves who repeated the motions once
discovered by somebody's mind and left unimproved for centuries. So long as
production was ruled by force, and wealth was obtained by conquest, there was
little to conquer. Yet through all the centuries of stagnation and
starvation, men exalted the looters, as aristocrats of the sword, as
aristocrats of birth, as aristocrats of the bureau, and despised the
producers, as slaves, as traders, as shopkeepers—as industrialists.
"To the glory of mankind, there was, for the first and only time in
history, a country of money—and I have no higher, more reverent tribute to
pay to America, for this means: a country of reason, justice, freedom,
production, achievement. For the first time, man's mind and money were set
free, and there were no fortunes-by-conquest, but only fortunes-by-work, and
instead of swordsmen and slaves, there appeared the real maker of wealth, the
greatest worker, the highest type of human being—the self-made man—the
"If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would
choose—because it contains all the others—the fact that they were the people
who created the phrase 'to make money.’ No other language or nation had ever
used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static
quantity—to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted or obtained as a
favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created.
The words 'to make money' hold the essence of human morality.
"Yet these were the words for which Americans were denounced by the rotted
cultures of the looters' continents. Now the looters' credo has brought you
to regard your proudest achievements as a hallmark of shame, your prosperity
as guilt, your greatest men, the industrialists, as blackguards, and your
magnificent factories as the product and property of muscular labor, the
labor of whip-driven slaves, like the pyramids of Egypt. The rotter who
simpers that he sees no difference between the power of the dollar and the
power of the whip, ought to learn the difference on his own hide—as, I think,
"Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask
for your own destruction. When money ceases to be the tool by which men deal
with one another, then men become the tools of men. Blood, whips and guns—or
dollars. Take your choice—there is no other—and your time is running out."
Francisco had not glanced at Rearden once while speaking; but the moment
he finished, his eyes went straight to Rearden's face. Rearden stood
motionless, seeing nothing but Francisco d'Anconia across the moving figures
and angry voices between them.
There were people who had listened, but now hurried away, and people who
said, "It's horrible!"—"It's not true!"—"How vicious and selfish!"—saying it
loudly and guardedly at once, as if wishing that their neighbors would hear
them, but hoping that Francisco would not.
"Senor d'Anconia," declared the woman with the earrings, "I don't agree
"If you can refute a single sentence I uttered, madame, I shall hear it
"Oh, I can't answer you. I don't have any answers, my mind doesn't work
that way, but I don't feel that you're right, so I know that you're wrong."
"How do you know it?"
"I feel it. I don't go by my head, but by my heart. You might be good at
logic, but you're heartless."
"Madame, when we'll see men dying of starvation around us, your heart
won't be of any earthly use to save them. And I'm heartless enough to say
that when you'll scream, 'But I didn't know it!'—you will not be forgiven."
The woman turned away, a shudder running through the flesh of her cheeks
and through the angry tremor of her voice: "Well, it's certainly a funny way
to talk at a party!"