Gold, Its Place in the Economy of Mankind (Classic Reprint)

Gold, Its Place in the Economy of Mankind (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from Gold, Its Place in the Economy of Mankind

In order to write advantageously about any given commodity, it is necessary to consider first in what way the community regards it as a "useful thing." The result of this inquiry naturally decides the lines upon which the treatise should be drawn up.

Take the case of iron, for instance. This valuable metal, owing to the introduction of machinery, and the researches of science in connection with its properties, has assumed so much importance to the economic life of man in the present age, that Kipling conveys an obvious truth when he writes -

Gold is for the mistress - silver for the maid,
Copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade.
"Good," said the Baron, sitting in his hall,
"But Iron - Cold Iron, is master of them all."

Wherefore any writer, discussing iron as a commodity, must describe the processes by which it is adapted for industrial use, for upon their proper execution, and upon the possibility of their improvement, depends, to a large extent, industrial development and the future prosperity of mankind.

Gold, on the contrary, needs to be considered from quite a different standpoint. Its chief importance does not lie in its chemical and industrial application. It is based mainly upon the quantity of its production and the way in which the metal, when produced, is applied to lubricate the wheels of commerce. In other words, in the case of gold, the relation of the metal to Banking and Exchange is of supreme interest.

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