The price of gold seems to fluctuate every day.
But some economists believe that gold’s value actually stays constant while other currencies fluctuate around it.
Regardless of your view, there are many truths about gold that don’t change. Here are some of those facts for your education and inspiration.
- The Dow/Gold ratio, which shows how much gold it would take to buy one share of the Dow, is a good indicator of how bad a recession is. In early 2009, the Dow/Gold ratio appeared to be heading toward the same low ratios that occurred during the 1930s and 1980s.
- Between A.D. 307 and 324, the worth of one pound of gold in Rome rose from 100,000 denarii (a Roman coin) to 300,000 denarii. By the middle of the fourth century, a pound of gold was worth 2,120,000,000 denarii—an early example of runaway inflation, which was partly responsible for the collapse of the Roman Empire.
- The value of gold has been used as the standard for many currencies. After WWII, the United States created the Bretton Woods System, which set the value of the U.S. dollar to 1/35th of a troy ounce (888.671 mg) of gold. This system was abandoned in 1971 when there was no longer enough gold to cover all the paper money in circulation.
- The world’s largest stockpile of gold can be found five stories underground inside the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s vault and it holds 25% of the world’s gold reserve (540,000 gold bars). While it contains more gold than Fort Knox, most of it belongs to foreign governments.
- The gold standard has been replaced by most governments by the fiat (Latin for “let it be done”) standard. Both Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson strongly opposed fiat currency. Several contemporary economists argue that fiat currency increases the rate of boom-bust cycles and causes inflation.