Interview With Lawrence Parks

Mike Gleason: It is my privilege now to welcome Lawrence Parks, founder and executive director of the Foundation of the Advancement of Monetary Education. Larry has dedicated much of his life towards the study and promotion of sound money, having author articles that have appeared numerous times in publications like The Economist, The Washington Times, National Review, and The Wall Street Journal just to name a few. He even hosts a weekly TV show that airs on cable networks in the Manhattan area called "The Larry Parks Show". He has given expert testimony in Washington to the United States Congress on monetary policy. He's a real champion for sound money, and it's great to have him on with us today.

Larry, thanks for the time and welcome. It's good to talk to you.

Larry Parks: It's a pleasure. Thank you for hosting this.

Mike Gleason: Well Larry, to set the stage here briefly give us some background about the Foundation of the Advancement of Monetary Education and what motivated you to take the helm of the organization nearly 25 years ago, let's start there.

Larry Parks: I had been in the money management business and I had noticed along the way that I was getting severe distortions in the evaluation of the stocks that we used to cover. And I had known about the money issue, I had studied at one point with Murray Rothbard. And it wasn't my intention right from the very beginning to do this. I tried to get other charities, other think tanks, to pay attention to this and nobody would touch it. Turns out there's a good reason for that. Somebody suggested to me along the way "Why don't you do it?" And I ended up doing it.

When we got started, we had all of the work that Committee for Monetary Education and Research did. (They) had several hundred monographs, a couple of which were authored by me. We had all that digitized. The people at The Foundation for Economic Education, that was Harry Stendhal's at the time. They had all the work of Henry Hazlitt, I don't know if you remember that name.

He was from The Times. He wrote a book called Common Sense Economics and stuff on gold, made all that stuff. I recruited 30 some odd board of advisers and board members, some of them had world-wide reputations, and we were off and running. And I thought that the gold space, especially the gold companies would sponsor our work but that never happened. It’s very interesting how the people on the other side, on the paper money side were able to co-op just about everybody and promulgate this, what I call this imaginary fake money into society on a worldwide basis. It's just utterly remarkable they got away with this.

Mike Gleason: Now you've made the point that gold is the most important of all the commodities in the world, even more so than oil. Explain why you believe that to be the case if you would please?

Larry Parks: The reason gold is the most important commodity is that gold is the only way to ensure payment. And so the way I like to explain it is that the glue that holds society together is keeping promises. So for example I make up with you I'm going to be available at 3 o'clock today if I don't keep my promise that hurts the relationship.

But the promises that are most important to society, aside from the promises that we make to family and friends, are the promises to pay. To pay pensions, to pay annuities, to pay savings, to pay rents, whatever. If those promises get broken society unravels. And so, what happens is that people who have promises of payment take pensions for example, pensions are really differed wages, they depend on that promise being kept. And in turn they make promises to other people mindful that they're going to get paid. If that chain gets broken all of the inter relationships in society down and we've seen examples of that from all recorded history. The thing about gold is that gold is the only way to ensure payment over a long period. People think about gold as money they think about going to the grocery store, that's absurd. Nobody would use gold for day to day transactions. Gold is important for payment into the future. And so, whatever it is that you use as money, say for example you use water, some of that water is going to spill. In the case of gold you have no spillage.

The guy who really put his finger on this the best is a guy named Carl Menger. He's part of the so-called Austrian School of Economics picked up on Von Mises by Rothbard and others. And what they said was that gold is the sellable, most efficient money. And the way they measure that, and it's really ingenious, if you look at all the things that could possibly be money and the things that have been money-like salt, cattle, copper, steel, all kinds of stuff- and you line them all up and you offer ever increasing amounts of each into the marketplace, the commodity for which the by sale spread increases the least that's the most efficient money. And it just so happens that's gold. No matter where you drop in in history, either in ancient times or Renaissance times, today, say in the 19th century, cross culture, cross time you see people using gold as money when it's available. So it's not like someone came down from the heavens and said "Look in China, in the Mideast, in Europe you have to use gold." Somehow by trial and error they just figured out that gold is the most efficient money. But again it's the key to holding society together.

Mike Gleason: Our listeners know that the market had chosen gold as the best form of money for thousands of years as you've just explained, but it hasn't been openly used as money in recent decades. Talk about how and why gold was booted out of the world's monetary system, at least officially.

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