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'One Nation Under Gold': The Gold Standard With James Ledbetter on Tuesday's Access Utah

In 2016, now President Donald Trump became the first major-party candidate in more than half a century to advocate a return to the gold standard for the U.S. dollar. In ONE NATION UNDER GOLD: How One Precious Metal Has Dominated the American Imagination for Four Centuries (Liveright: June 2017) INC Magazine editor and financial writer James Ledbetter explains how most mainstream economists argue the idea of returning to the gold standard is just not possible.  

He also explores how regardless of the current economic realities, for much of American history people have believed that real money should be gold or at least redeemable for gold or another precious metal.

In this economic history, Ledbetter traces the relationship between gold and American monetary policy, examining our reliance compared to attempts to sever the dependence. As Ledbetter explores and explains the waxing and waning of the gold standard, he shows how it affects America’s ties to the world economy, how it has influenced events in war and peacetime, and how private ownership of gold has been a mix of controversy and opportunism.

Ledbetter discusses:

  • How gold was not discovered by California prospectors but by a twelve-year-old North Carolinian in 1799. When the 16-pound rock he used as a doorstop was correctly identified as gold, it set off a rush foreshadowing the California-bound “Gold Fever.”
  • The complex history of gold in the United States, outlining how the precious metal became synonymous with American industry and identity.
  • The complex issues around America going back to the gold standard.
Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.