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Meet the Sincere Gold Bugs

October 6th, 2011 at 1:25 am | 42 Comments |

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The Heritage Foundation is currently hosting a conference it bills as a “Conference on a Stable Dollar.” The words “Gold Standard” do not appear in the title of the event but that is what the conference is about.

Near the end of the first panel (entitled: What is a Stable Dollar?), Stuart Varney, a Fox News host and moderator of the panel, asked the audience to raise their hands if they thought that gold should be part of some sort of monetary reform. Nearly the entire audience of wonks, academics, college students, and hedge fund managers raised their hands. How did the conservative movement reach this point?

Understanding why conservatives now embrace hard-money critiques of monetary policy is important because the economy’s recovery depends on decisions that the Federal Reserve will make. Some have wondered if conservatives are calling for tight money to intentionally sabotage the economy and destroy Obama’s chances at reelection.

While some conservatives might be that cynical, it seems that many of them do believe their own rhetoric.

Throughout most of the Obama administration, conservatives have warned that Bernanke’s policies were likely to cause inflation. I came to this conference planning to ask attendees how they can expect inflation when 30-year treasury yields are at historic lows. (This is generally understood as indicator of deflation.) What I discovered is that some attendees are less concerned about whether the economy is inflating or deflating. As far as they are concerned, the monetary system is fundamentally broken.

I asked Nathan Lewis of Capital Management LLC and a conference panelist, whether he was more concerned about an onset of inflation or deflation, he disagreed with the premise of my question:

I think those terms [inflation, deflation] are almost meaningless. I’m interested in a currency of stable value and a healthy economy, and what we have right now is a currency of unstable value and a crappy economy.

He expanded on his outlook:

This is a very unusual situation in economic history, where you have this combination of the lowest bond yield in the history of the United States, at a time when both the credit quality and the currency quality of the United States is also at its worst. The result is that a lot of these terms which were always sort of vague are kind of breaking to describe the situation.

The panel held on Thursday afternoon was hardly designed to warn participants only about inflation. Stuart Varney, showed visible surprise when one of the panelists (Lawrence Lindsey) said that the data showed that a deflation was more likely. He was visibly shocked as he asked, “So deflation is the real greater threat? Despite all the printing of money, than inflation?”

Yet while some panelists acknowledged the threat of deflation, panelist David Malpass of Encima Global (who has written several op-eds critiquing monetary policy) argued to FrumForum that inflation was likely in the future. As for the low bond yields:

The bond yields are down because of the risk of systemic crisis. If Europe breaks down, you want to be owning US treasuries.

adding:

I don’t agree that they are a good predictor of deflation or of the price level when we are at the zero bound, all of that goes haywire.

While some conservative commentators (such as Glenn Beck) made a point of invoking the Weimar Republic in their critiques of the Obama administration, Malpass made clear he was not of that camp:

I’m not a hyperinflation guy, all I’m talking about is that inflation will go to 4% or 5% if the economy gets going.

Advocacy of a gold standard is more commonly seen as a libertarian position, not a conservative one and certainly not a Republican one. I asked conference participant Ralph Benko, a senior economic advisor to the American Principles Project and editor of The Lehrman Institute’s The Gold Standard Now to explain how the party shifted:

The reason that the conservatives are coming out of the woodwork now is that the atmosphere has shifted. I think it probably shifted when Ambassador Zoellick [of the World Bank] called in a famous FT column for reassessing the role of gold. (from which he is now backpedaling) That broke the sound barrier. It allowed a lot of people who were eager to move forward to have space in the discourse.

Benko underscored that while the presence of gold in conservative discourse seems abnormal within the last decade, it was not entirely unprecedented:

I’ve been at this for 30 years. I testified before the gold commission in 1981. For 30 years there hasn’t been any oxygen in the room…when Reagan left the scene (he was a pro-gold standard guy) and when Kemp left the scene, there was no tolerance for discussion of gold. For 25 years it became the province of academics.

The change now?

The American Principles Project (which I represent) started publishing about this. Ambassador Zoellick spoke about it, and that really started the discussion on a new footing in the policy sphere as opposed to in the academic sphere and marginalized literature.

This move into the policy sphere and outside academia is the important shift. Benko joked, “Not that many people read the Journal of Free Banking.”

Cynicism has been a tempting explanation for why conservatives oppose Federal Reserve policies, but at the end of the day that is not sufficient. Right now, conservatives genuinely believe that something is wrong with the Federal Reserve. They have been receptive to the hard money explanation which has been waiting in the wings and now is having its moment.

Recent Posts by Noah Kristula-Green



42 Comments so far ↓

  • valkayec

    Excerpt from Baseline Scenerio:

    “This piece of fun weekend reading is contributed by StatsGuy, an occasional commenter and guest contributor on this blog.

    It’s become quite popular to talk about the price of gold . . . in blogs, the press, at dinner parties. The latest topic of debate is not about the price of gold as a commodity, but about gold as the one and only king money. The basic argument is that 5,000 years of tradition will overwhelm the tyranny of modern government and the fiat printing press. The barbaric relic will defeat socialism, fascism, Obama-ism, and restore liberty to the world, after a terrible economic collapse in which gold-owning visionaries become fabulously wealthy.

    Perhaps they are correct—or perhaps not. I don’t know what will happen in 10 years. However, unless civilization utterly collapses (which is what gold hoarders seem to want), the gold bubble will collapse. And I don’t mean the 10 year “bubble” . . . I mean the 5,000 year bubble.

    This claim might sound crazy, but it’s quite easy to defend, for the simple reason that there is too darn much gold. Gold enthusiasts will note that you can’t just print gold like fiat paper. They will note that high quality mines are failing, and argue that we’ve passed “peak gold”.

    The argument for the collapse has little to do with terrestrial mine quality (although massive amounts of money and new technology are flowing into exploration, long term mine development and extending the life of existing mines). The argument merely requires that gold price ultimately responds to supply.

    I can’t tell you whether we’ll run out of new mines, or Asian jewelry demand will ever be satiated, or global central banks will ever realize that currencies are supposed to serve economies (rather than vice versa). But I do know that in the year 2160 (give or take a century) gold will no longer be viewed as money. Why? For the same reason that all commodity based money systems have collapsed—technology made their production too cheap. Gold bugs like to talk about how every paper based money has failed (or will fail), but they ignore the equally miserable track record of commodity based money systems. For example, the cowry shell, which was used in ancient China and India, a weight of barley (the shekel), copper, cigarettes, or that most insidious of monopolistic money systems—salt.

    So how did these money systems fail? Did their cultures implode? Did their governments fail? Quite the contrary, all commodity based money systems were destroyed by one simple factor—technology. At some point, technology enabled low cost production of the commodity, and the currency collapsed.

    Very well, but what about gold? Even with technological advances, there just isn’t that much easy-to-get gold in the crust of the earth.

    True. And the reason gold is so rare in the crust of the earth? Well, that’s because it’s relatively abundant in the earth’s core. When the earth was cooling, most iron-loving minerals sank toward a massive lump of molten iron down near the core. That includes gold and other heavy metallic elements. So where did the gold we currently have come from? Recent evidence suggests it came from smaller asteroid impacts that were not sufficiently large to break through the existing crust of the Earth. Although we’ve suspected this for a while, news is now hitting the mainstream.

    So that means gold is very rare in the crust of the earth, but not so rare in space. In fact, in space, it might be quite common. A detailed study of the moderate sized asteroid Eros over a decade ago indicated it contained over $20 trillion of precious metals—at 1999 prices.”

    For the rest of the article: http://baselinescenario.com/2011/09/23/the-price-of-gold-in-the-year-2160/#more-9312

    • Slide

      Can a bubble be 5,000 years old? Seems rather odd definition of a bubble won’t you say?

      • sweatyb

        he’s suggesting that space-mining will make gold as common as dirt. Given such a premise, I think it’s fair to view gold’s value on a more galactic time scale. In which case 5,000 years (the span of human civilization) is a blip.

        coincidentally, there’s currently an actual market bubble in gold. IMHO, the value of gold hinges precariously on the current reticence of governments and banks to tap their gold reserves. It doesn’t matter if we stop mining for gold tomorrow, a significant percentage of the world’s gold is sitting in vaults. If any portion of that were to hit the market, gold would tank.

  • Clayman

    I would never attend any panel moderated by Stuart Varney. He learned his polling skills from Frank Luntz, the king of loaded questions to hand picked “expert witnesses”.

  • armstp

    I am not sure what they are calling for. A stronger dollar. Why? At this point there is certainly merit in a weaker dollar to help fix the trade imbalance, which is costing this country $500 billion a year.

    The U.S. dollar at about 1.33 per Euro is essentially where it was in 2007 just before the recession started.

    “The bond yields are down because of the risk of systemic crisis. If Europe breaks down, you want to be owning US treasuries.”

    This is a bit of a disconnected statement by David Malpass of Encima Global , as if Europe breaks down then the global economy will remain weak or weaken and that would actually make it less likely that inflation shows up.

    I am not sure that their central premise that governments have been “printing money” is true. Can they even prove this?

    “Right now, conservatives genuinely believe that something is wrong with the Federal Reserve.”

    They only criticize the Fed because the Democrats and Obama are in power. A bunch of quack economics.

    Again, I am trying to listen to these guys with an open mind, but they are so far very unconvincing that the Fed has done anything wrong and has in fact not been taking the exactly right actions. I am really not clear what these guys are even arguing.

    It sounds like this was more of a political conference than an economic one.

  • Primrose

    I know you most likely feel that Gold is a dangerous bubble and it’s advocates pray on the vulnerable. But my response is oh no, not another Gold story. Wm. Jennings Bryan’s quote is taking on an entire another meaning.

    Except for the Beckian sheep and those time warped directly from the distant past, like Ron Paul, it really is of little interest or import.

  • D Furlano

    Why not cover the follow on conference “the world is 5000 years old”.

    The faces may not be the same but the logic will be identical.

  • ottovbvs

    “Right now, conservatives genuinely believe that something is wrong with the Federal Reserve.”

    You mean this subset of conservatives. That doesn’t mean that many others and probably some of these aren’t motivated by cynicism. The fact this “conference” (attended and moderated entirely by the like minded) is even being held is indicative of the mania that’s infecting the GOP. These people are basically crazy. They may be sincerely crazy but then so are believers in Scientology or alien abduction.

    • armstp

      “Conference” is exactly right. More like a political rally or “protest” meeting or a planning session by the far-right to get the Democrats out of power, so they then can go back to not caring about the Fed and monetary policy. Kind of like a Koch meeting.

  • dante

    Thanks for going to this conference and documenting the crazy, primarily so I don’t have to (and now know to stay away from anyone working for Capital Management, LLC). I think that this is just another aspect of the current GOP, ideals over substance that we’ve seen so much about. They can’t even explain *why* they feel that this should occur, or try to explain the various aspects of inflation/deflation (god forbid the M2/M3 money supply curves behind such a theory or the Velocity of Money), and yet these are the people who are running the Republican Party these days…

    Wake me up when the crazies are put back in the cells, and sane people start running the asylum again.

  • lilmanny

    Somehow lost in all this is that, for some reason, be it the money the gold coin industry lauds on conservative media or the fact that it is associated with dystopia-porn purveyors like Beck and Liddy, faith in gold and a lack of faith in the American dollar has quite suddenly become tea-con orthodoxy. And what becomes tea-con orthodoxy bleeds into the larger GOP-verse, putting us in the current mind-bending reality detailed above. Trying to dissect the thought of these economists is folly. No one wants to say “I am paid to say certain things and come to certain conclusions because money is driving my ideology. I am the moral equivalent of a Gotti lawyer.”

    This *is* news because the Heritage Foundation, a pillar of conservative thought, has quite clearly taken on the role of the village whore.

  • Demosthenes

    This is a very unusual situation in economic history, where you have this combination of the lowest bond yield in the history of the United States, at a time when both the credit quality and the currency quality of the United States is also at its worst.

    Its worst? Worse than under Van Buren? Has the disastrous Specie Circular, or the Panic of 1893, been completely forgotten? Or is hyperbole the new facticity?

  • Frumplestiltskin

    “I think those terms [inflation, deflation] are almost meaningless. I’m interested in a currency of stable value and a healthy economy, and what we have right now is a currency of unstable value and a crappy economy.”

    This is literally jaw dropping stupid. The notion that our economy is crappy because we have an “unstable” currency is really, truly bizarre and is uttered without any intent to prove it. I guess our currency is unstable because he says it is, never mind that it is the worlds reserve currency and that the whole world just loves instability, or something.
    Our economy is crappy because we had a debt driven housing bubble predicated on always rising home values and a Middle class whose wages have been stagnant for over a decade.

    I hope that maybe Noah actually wondered into the grounds of a mental institute by mistake, I can understand his mistake as it is getting harder and harder to tell Republicans and insane people apart.

    • armstp

      I am not sure the U.S. dollar is unstable. Its value versus the Euro is exactly where it was in 2007 before the economic downturn.

    • BenignBot

      Dear Frump,

      “After the Battle of Culloden in 1746, Prince Charles Edward Stuart fled to the island of Skye. There, he was given sanctuary by Captain John MacKinnon of Clan MacKinnon. According to family legend, after staying with the captain, the prince rewarded him with this prized drink recipe. (This version of events is disputed by historians – some believe it to be a story concocted to boost sales of the drink).” Taken from Wikipedia.

      I share your love of humor.
      But I do not share the lack of capacity for humor among our fellow Americans, during recent times!

      When we were young, then we read Poe.
      But today, when we are not so young,
      then we find our world so very fckd up and also far more intolerant than ever we knew it while we were young.

      People, today, say and pretend that they are far more tolerant of different points of view. BUT, I do not believe this is true. What I believe is that people today, at least in the United States, are far much more rigid in their thinking, and far less tolerant of differing points of view.

      In the end, it just becomes so very DISSATISFYING to realize that, judging by the progress we have made in recent times, we can also look forward to basically the same sht which we have endured for the past 10,000 years.

      Of course, there are two points of interest in which we should glorify:

      1. Physics: We, thankfully, are now better able to describe our world using Physics.
      2. Gold Bugs: All god damned bugs are the same. And gold bugs are totally useless. Kafka already explained this simple fact. Gregor Samsa, we feel for you, baby!

    • Banty

      “This is literally jaw dropping stupid. ”

      Yep. And I have not seen anything presented, to describe by what mechanism, going to the Gold standard, or allowing deflation, would repair the economy and make way for prosperity. When I talk to these people, it’s all about ‘reset’ and ‘surfacing the bad parts of the economy’ or even ‘purification’.

      It’s religion, not economics.

  • sweatyb

    I’m not a hyperinflation guy, all I’m talking about is that inflation will go to 4% or 5% if the economy gets going.

    4-5% inflation? and that’s only after a robust recovery with the economy going strong again? With interest rates down near zero so the Fed would be in a perfect position to head off runaway inflation?

    That sounds like an optimist dream of recovery, doesn’t it? I’ll take it!

    • Banty

      That level of inflation would actually do a lot of good. Debt, both personal and national, can be rolled up much more easily in cheaper dollars.

      Money would jump off the sidelines, as it no longer pays to wait; indeed it would cost to wait.

      • JimBob

        Inflation today is much higher than 4-5 percent and it is hurting the elderly, poor, and young a great deal. I’ve done fantastic in this climate, but the inflation tax is the cruelest tax off all.

  • Rabiner

    I find it funny that Stuart Varney would even have a role in this forum since he’s such a financial moron. Of course deflation is of greater risk since the money supply is a function of actual money out there and the speed at which it circulates the economy. You could print trillions more and no inflation would occur if it never exchanged hands.

  • JimBob

    Gold is becoming the de facto money. We’re going to be back to a gold standard, one way or another, through the back door in only a matter of time, simply because the central banks are dominated by the ritual incantation of dying Keynesian theory. And therefore, I would say that’s what someone needs to do to protect themselves.

    The above are small samples from this wide-ranging and deeply penetrating interview between Chris and David. Among other territory, the two get into David’s view of the stock, bond, and commodity markets, and what action concerned individuals should be considering at this time.

    http://www.chrismartenson.com/blog/david-stockman-blame-fed/62981

    • Banty

      Who is Chris Martenson and why didn’t he excerpt any of Stockman’s statements on revenue and the deficit?

      Gold is not the de facto money. Is someone getting paid in gold? Is Walmart taking gold coin for a set of tires??

    • Demosthenes

      OK let’s concede for the sake of argument that you’re right and that a return to the gold standard is somehow inevitable. For much of the 20th century (42 years) it was illegal for private citizens to own gold, indeed that was a central conceit of Bretton Woods, so what makes you think in the event of a forced return to the gold standard — which would presumably involve apocalyptic mayhem — that the government will not simply confiscate gold held by private citizens?

      • JimBob

        Force return?? Just legalize the constitution. Let gold and silver freely circulate in the economy.

        http://www.nysun.com/opinion/ron-paul-upping-the-ante-in-his-campaign/87502/

        • Banty

          Am I the only one who hates these URL’s from hither and yon being posted, and we’re supposed to go there to see what the heck JimBob is talking about?

          JimBob – how about making your case, and doing cites when necessary?

        • BenignBot

          Yes, perhaps. We should not mind that Jim Bob might wish to post a link to Chris. Months ago, I did spend a few hours to listen to what Chris had to say by listening to his prepared lectures. And I very much appreciate that Chris Martenson took the time to produce these lectures which are easily accessible on the internet.

          I am grateful to Chris for taking the time to both promote himself and also to share some of his ideas. This is the purpose of the internet, to share strange ideas. And, the stranger the ideas, the better we like them!

          Strangely enough, I find that I very much agree with most core beliefs shared by most people on this blessed Frum Forum. And why is this? Well,
          if we all agree that we must abide by the scientific method,
          then we are absolutely bound to agree, in most things.

          But, any assholes who deny the scientific method,
          then these assholes should not comment here.

          GOLD BUGS are a case in point.
          This, gold, is a religion, not a science.
          And let us just wonder how much gold does the US hold compared to the gold held by Red China?
          Red China now is trying to accumulate more gold.
          But then, what is their purpose in doing so?
          Will they use it for industrial purposes?
          Or, will they just turn it into flakes which can be sprinkled on rice to be eaten as a gourmet delight?

          Still, one thing is for sure: Even a Banty can probably not find too much gold bullion floating around at most of the Truck Stops anywhere in the Great Old US of A!

        • JimBob

          Why should I spend any time typing a long reply to someone like you. You don’t know what you’re talking about. I have better things to do.

    • Rob_654

      Gold is becoming de facto money?

      What you recently purchased with gold?

      Here is what’s going to happen:

      Gold may well continue to rise in value for a period of time.

      But just has Gold always has – it will fall and fall spectacularly.

      Just like every other time Gold has climbed in value – if you got out before the bust your, well, golden…

      If not, the folks left holding the bag think that it was a scam.

      Either way, Gold will return to being just another investment that can be held for profit or loss.

      I remember back in high school everyone was talking about gold, gold, gold and then when it busted – no one was talking about it…

  • JimBob

    Ever use google?

    In Utah they’re about to start.

    • Banty

      Ever write a paragraph?

      And one stating legalizing something does not a new standard of exchange make.

  • BenignBot

    The TRUE PURPOSE of GOLD should just be to augment our engineering goals for the betterment of mankind. This is the only valid use of gold, in our day and age.

    One of the most beautiful images of gold is that which was captured by NASA. A man made satellite covered in a very thin veneer of gold foil floating in space with the blue and white earth below. This image is so far more important than any single person hanging a pound of gold from his neck and belt buckle.

    In the end, as we progress from cave men, to half cave men, today, then some of us must finally realize that gold’s best use is just for the value it can provide when used as any other metal.

    Gold, for me, has always seemed a very UGLY metal. I prefer platinum and silver, as two far more beautiful metals. Also, sodium, is a wonderful metal with a truly fantastic color.

    But when I was very young, then there was only one tune which stirred my loins:

    GoldFinger’s great Henry Mancini contribution to our world.
    I just love it.
    But you can keep your gold!

    “He loves only GOLD!”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MF5j2Dpl6uo

    AND!
    If you wish to hear this great tune sung in the ==Royal Albert Hall== then you can hear it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51Wg6k9cWhM

    I love her dress!
    I love her boobs, too!
    This is just one very hot babe!
    And a great performer.
    Better, even, than gold and god.

    Shirley Bassey, singing at the Royal Albert Hall, was enough to blast off my Kippah from my Canadian chrome dome.

    But, please, thank fcking god for McGill Univeristy!!!!
    This is Canada’s fantastic reply to that slouch university, Harvard!

    • TJ Parker

      The TRUE PURPOSE of GOLD should just be to augment

      That’s so cute! GOLD, AUgment …

      • BenignBot

        Please just call me “Cutie-Pie”, my darling.

        Augment,
        AU?
        I love the way your mind works!!
        (Where were you when I was looking for my significant other?)

  • JohnMcC

    As difficult as it is to compete with Shirley Bassey’s boobs I will venture to make one comment that should have been pretty obvious to Mr K-Green. Requires a couple of sentences. First, that people who have lots of money wish that the money would become more valuable without their having to work real hard at it or taking risks with it. Second, that the stock of gold in the world does not grow as fast as the world’s economy grows. Thus, those people who have lots of money would like to see the worlds stock of money grow slower than the productivity of the worlds economy — like gold does! — and tying the dollar to gold will achieve their goals.

    Those of us who pay 30-year fixed mortgages and hope that increased productivity in our work earns us a raise have competing points of view.

    Take your pick. The vast majority of us will pause briefly and thank FDR for taking the US off the gold standard. The small minority, for reasons that everyone understands, will not.

    • Frumplestiltskin

      great post.

    • JimBob

      The worlds supply of gold grows at 2 percent year. More than enough for healthy economic growth.

      And if money supply really created economic growth then the world economy would be booming right now. Because Bernanke has been flying around in his helicopter dumping dollars all over the world.

    • NRA Liberal

      “…First, that people who have lots of money wish that the money would become more valuable without their having to work real hard at it or taking risks with it….

      This single handedly explains most of today’s politics.

    • Banty

      +1

      Exactly.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    I found this hilarious from the ridiculous link that our Jimbob posted:
    The drive for the bill is animated, if only in part, by the case of Bernard von NotHaus, who was convicted in March of issuing a private medallion called the Liberty Dollar. The government prosecuted von NotHaus even though the coins he issued were made of silver and are today worth much more, in terms of Federal Reserve Notes, than when they were issued.

    So this guy NotHaus is a complete moron throwing away his own money, so therefore we should all emulate him? I absolutely guarantee you that Jimbob will NEVER pay for things with gold but will keep it forever locked up to be buried with him. It is a form of derangement.

  • TJ Parker

    Why aren’t you critical – i.e. analytic, probing – of these guys.

    I think those terms [inflation, deflation] are almost meaningless. I’m interested in a currency of stable value and a healthy economy, and what we have right now is a currency of unstable value and a crappy economy.

    What does this mean? The term inflation is meaningless? Oh no, almost meaningless? What does that even mean? That “its meaningful but I want to ignore it”? He truly sounds like someone who is burying gold in his yard next to the Confederate dollars inherited from his great grampa.

    Ya know, this whole debate is ephemeral. Gold *can* be created in nuclear reactors from Hg (and probably in other ways). Although not yet cost effective, this won’t always be true: especially if we have a gold standard.

    This is a very unusual situation in economic history, where you have this combination of the lowest bond yield in the history of the United States, at a time when both the credit quality and the currency quality of the United States is also at its worst. The result is that a lot of these terms which were always sort of vague are kind of breaking to describe the situation.

    The currency quality is at its worst? This apparently means that the dollar is not strong. Does this idiot have any idea what a strong dollar would do right now?

    Now if only the word “deflation” had a meaning, this idiot might have a way of understanding monetary policy a bit better. But right now, he’s like a shepherd who has never met a negative number or a school child who never met a complex one. I.e. someone who thinks economics should be simplified to the point where his own feeble mind can understand it.

  • HACER Weekly News Report USA | US: Occupy Wall Street: Contempt Of Political Class – by Ralph Benko

    [...] Heritage proceeded with impeccable neutrality. Gold was not even referenced in the conference literature. Yet … “Stuart Varney, a Fox News host and moderator of the panel, asked the audience to raise their hands if they thought that gold should be part of some sort of monetary reform. Nearly the entire audience of wonks, academics, college students, and hedge fund managers raised their hands,” observed FrumForum reporter Noah Kristula-Green. [...]

  • Occupy Wall Street: Contempt Of Political Class | Pundit House

    [...] Heritage proceeded with impeccable neutrality. Gold was not even referenced in the conference literature. Yet … “Stuart Varney, a Fox News host and moderator of the panel, asked the audience to raise their hands if they thought that gold should be part of some sort of monetary reform. Nearly the entire audience of wonks, academics, college students, and hedge fund managers raised their hands,” observed FrumForum reporter Noah Kristula-Green. [...]