Value Investing

Warren Buffett’s Father the Gold Bug

This is from a 1948 letter from Howard Buffett, the father of Warren Buffett (also see another letter from the Oracle’s father, Letter from Howard Buffett to Murray Rothbard: “I have a son who is a particularly avid reader of books and panics and similar phenomena.”). He takes quite a different view on gold then his son as readers will see.

Congressman Howard Buffett stresses relation between money and freedom and contends without a redeemable currency, individual’s freedom to sustain himself or move his property is dependent on goodwill of politicians. Says paper money systems generally collapse and result in economic chaos. Points out gold standard would restrict government spending and give people greater power over public purse. Holds present is propitious time to restore gold standard.

Warren Buffett's Father the Gold Bug

Is there a connection between Human Freedom and A Gold Redeemable Money? At first glance it would seem that money belongs to the world of economics and human freedom to the political sphere.

But when you recall that one of the first moves by Lenin, Mussolini and Hitler was to outlaw individual ownership of gold, you begin to sense that there may be  some connection between money, redeemable in gold, and the rare prize known as human liberty.

Also, when you find that Lenin declared and demonstrated that a sure way to overturn the existing social order and bring about communism was by printing press paper money, then again you are impressed with the possibility of a relationship between  a gold-backed money and human freedom.

In that case then certainly you and I as Americans should know the connection. We must find it even if money is a difficult and tricky subject. I suppose that if most people were asked for their views on money the almost universal answer would be that they didn’t have enough of it.

In a free country the monetary unit rests upon a fixed foundation of gold or gold and silver independent of the ruling politicians. Our dollar was that kind of money before 1933. Under that system paper currency is redeemable for a certain weight of gold, at the free option and choice of the holder of paper money.


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