Que Mark Twain...
History is a road that has no end, yet people find themselves going over the same ground again and again.
This doggerel style rhyme was given to show that inevitably, history both repeats and rhymes because while the players and places may be different, the circumstances and outcomes almost are always the same.
We are now living in an era where the U.S. and the world has left the gold standard for paper fiat currency, and the controllers of our money believe that this time they can both get it right, and make it work. But over 200 years ago, men and women of reason (like our PhD's and central bankers) thought they too could dump the gold standard and run an economy solely on paper money. And like the rise of Ron Paul, Donald Trump, and Bernie Sanders today, back in revolutionary France the consequences of expansive money printing led to the election of their own outsider who threw out the money changer elites, and determined gold to be the only true form of money able to exist in an economy.
And that person was Napoleon Bonaparte.
It was 1790 and the revolutionary National Assembly in Paris was worried.
Complaints were reaching the Assembly from all over France, that business was stagnant, sales were down, people were without work, and there was a great scarcity of money.
This was quite natural, because all business slows down when the prevailing source of Authority is under question. The Bastille prison had been taken the prior year by a revolutionary crowd and all sorts of ugly things were being said about King Louis XVI and his pretty young Queen, Marie Antoinette.
But this was the "Age of Reason" and the most educated, intelligent and reasonable people in France were members of the revolutionary National Assembly, which gathered daily in Paris.
The Assembly put their highly educated heads together and came to the conclusion that a scarcity of money was quite intolerable and that the Assembly must really do something about it.
"What do we have highly educated brains for, if we can't solve the problem of a scarcity of money? Without a doubt, Reason can overcome this problem."
So the members of the National Assembly thought about the problem of the scarcity of money, and came up with a splendid idea: "Let us create the necessary money, and things will go swimmingly."
Thus was born the "Assignat". Out of the collective wisdom of the Assembly, the Assignat was born as a claim upon the vast extension of lands recently taken by the State of France, from the Catholic Church. What could be more solid than a claim upon the lovely lands of dear France?
The Assignats were soon printed up, with various denominations of monetary value in gold Francs.
At first, the Assignats circulated alongside gold coin at par value. But soon enough, the exchange value of the Assignats against gold began to fall.
Thus began a nightmare episode that lasted seven years.
The first issue of Assignats did not relieve the problem of business being in a funk. So a second issue followed the first; and then another, and then more, and thick and fast they came at last, and more and more and more, falling, falling, always falling in value against gold.
The highly intelligent gentlemen of the Assembly decided that this fall in value of their Assignat must be the work of wicked, unpatriotic people who should be severely punished.
The Assembly decreed that a merchant should be punished by being sent to the galleys or to the guillotine, if he should venture to ask a customer who wanted to know the price of bread, with what money he planned to pay for the bread - whether it was with gold coin or with Assignats?
The Assembly created a national net of spies to hunt down the wicked hoarders of gold, confiscate their gold and have them part with their heads with a short, sharp shock on a big, black block.
In the meantime, the more intelligent of the citizenry took out enormous debts in Assignats, with the certainty that their value would soon plummet; with borrowed Assignats they purchased all sorts of things of lasting value, such as real estate, art and jewelry. In due course, the value of the Assignat fell to next to nothing and the debts were wiped out. Enormous wealth was transferred from the mass of the ignorant to the few who were able to see what was going on.
Eventually, the common people of Paris found that bread was hard to come by. Starvation set in, and the Parisian government had to provide rations of bread for the multitude - rotting, wormy bread.
In 1797 Napoleon came to power in France. He put a stop to the very reasonable plans of the highly educated men of the National Assembly, and declared that henceforth, only gold would be money. - Plata
In all of history, whenever a nation or empire discontinued the use of gold as a backstop for their money, the result was always the destruction of their currency, economic collapse, and revolutionary environments that ended with a return to the gold standard. And with the global economy now at the place where peoples are waking up to their own 'French Revolution' moment, and seeking individuals to lead them back to gold as the foundation of money, how can you prepare yourself and protect your wealth when the dollar and other fiat currencies fail, and gold is once again the primary form of currency?
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