Dear Monetary Policy Observer,
The Cato Institute recently hosted a widely noted event with Lewis Lehrman on the history of the classical gold standard. A wide variety of conservative leaders and congressional staff participated to discuss monetary policy’s effects on the middle class and to answer the question “what is to be done” going forward. Ralph Benko’s latest Forbes article covers the event and why it might be a Velvet Underground moment for monetary reform. We hope you find this material of interest.
American Principles In Action
Gold Defined Money And Monetary History At The Cato Institute: A Velvet Underground Event?
Lewis E. Lehrman, founder and chairman of The Lehrman Institute (with which this columnist has a professional association as editor of the Institute’s web-publication) recently presented to acclaim at the Cato Institute, in Washington, DC, his latest book, Money, Gold and History. The Hayek auditorium was well filled. C-SPAN taped the event for broadcast. Cato livestreamed it (archived and available here).
This was no ordinary event. It may, in retrospect, be seen as the gold standard’s Woodstock. Perhaps a more apt metaphor is the Velvet Underground’s first record. As Brian Eno famously observed, “I was talking to Lou Reed the other day and he said that the first Velvet Underground record sold [only] 30,000 copies in the first five years. … I mean, that record was such an important record for so many people. I think everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band!” Cato staged what may prove to have been something comparably seminal.
Some of the most eminent voices for monetary reform today — all justly to be considered part of monetary policy’s “Velvet Underground” — participated. Present were Cato’s president John Allison, Cato’s Director of Financial Regulation Studies Mark Calabria, moderator; Cato’s Vice President for Monetary Studies, Prof. James Dorn; Cato senior fellow (and editor of Forbes.com Opinions and RealClearMarkets) John Tamny; Cato senior fellow Alan Reynolds (who, among many other notable accomplishments, coined the term “Supply Side economics”); and Cato’s director of government affairs Laura Odato.
Also prominent were the eminent Dr. Warren Coats; Jeffrey Bell, policy director, and Rich Danker, economics director, of American Principles in Action (with which this columnist has a professional association); The Ethics and Public Policy Center’s John Mueller; Atlas Economic Research Foundation’s Judy Shelton; Mercatus Center’s program manager for its Financial Markets Working Group, Lydia Mashburn; Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty vice president for policy Norman Singleton; Howard Segermark, Director of the Committee for Monetary Research and Education; Ohio-based monetary reform advocate Rich Lowrie; and Jonathan Decker, managing editor of thesupplyside. Key Congressional staff members and other policy thought leaders attended as well. (Missing, but surely there by proxy or in spirit, were gold standard advocates Steve Forbes, APIA Chairman Sean Fieler, and Prof. Lawrence White of George Mason University.)
From the Fourth Estate, Addison Wiggin, of the parent to the Laissez Faire Book Club (which is making Lehrman’s earlier success d’estime, The True Gold Standard, available to its members) introduced Lehrman. Also present were R. Emmett Tyrrell, founder and editor of The American Spectator, and William Kristol, founder and editor of The Weekly Standard.
It was striking to see an iconic conservative lamb, Tyrrell, and an iconic neoconservative lamb, Kristol, (not to mention an iconic social conservative lamb, Bell) laying down with so many iconic libertarian lions. This is a sign, if not exactly of the millennium, that that the gold standard may have the power to unite, somewhat, the fractious factions of the conservative movement.
And to avert your understandable anxiety, dear reader, Tyrrell, Kristol and Bell survived the encounter, hospitably received. Perhaps a few swords will be beaten into ploughshares. (How Bill Kristol might react to such a subversive proposition is an open question. Still… united we stand.)
As Cato publicized the event at Cato.org,
“Lewis E. Lehrman, President Ronald Reagan’s gold commissioner and co-signer of the iconic commission minority report, The Case for Gold, will make a rare Washington, D.C., public appearance to debut his latest work, Money, Gold, and History. In his new book, Lehrman, founder and chairman of the Lehrman Institute, compiles many of his key writings from almost 40 years of publications and complements them with new and important essays on the classical gold standard. Among the works included are his testimonies at the request of former representative Ron Paul before the House Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy, his address before the Parliament of France, and many essays in leading publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the American Spectator, and the Weekly Standard. Lehrman, a student of iconic French economist Jacques Rueff, and author of the critically acclaimed book The True Gold Standard, is a preeminent advocate of restoring a modern classical gold standard.