Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fifth Edition of "The Creature"

The fifth edition of G. Edward Griffin's masterpiece, The Creature from Jekyll Island, will start shipping Monday, November 22, 2010.

According to Mr. Griffin's website, Reality Zone,
The 5th Edition includes a no-holds barred analysis of bank bailouts under the Bush and Obama Administrations that are shown to be nothing less than legalized plunder of the American people. Many other updates have been added, including a revision to the list of those who attended the historic meeting at Jekyll Island where the Federal Reserve was created.
Originally published in 1994, Creature has undergone 26 printings.  If you have not read the book, your Federal Reserve education is incomplete.  It is a compelling read throughout - except for his use of intrinsic value.  He says gold possesses intrinsic value.  I disagree.  Value is in the beholder of the thing valued, not the thing itself.  It is subjective. 

There is nothing mystical about gold, he writes on page 145 (fourth edition, hardbound).  "It is merely a commodity which, because it has intrinsic value and possesses certain qualities, has become accepted throughout history as a medium of exchange."  Those certain qualities, along with its scarcity, are the reasons people have valued it.  As Gary North has written,
It was Carl Menger's profound insight in 1871 to recognize that economic value is imputed by each individual. The value of the tools of production, the value of land, and the value of labor expended in the creation of a final consumer good do not move forward in time from the value of the inputs. They move in response to entrepreneurs' estimates of future value imputed by customers. This was Menger's great discovery. . . .
When people speak of gold's intrinsic value, this reveals their realization of gold's historic value. Gold has had long historical value, as Roy Jastram's book, "The Golden Constant," revealed over three decades ago. But this constancy is over decades or even centuries, not mere years.

Gold's startling fall in price from $850 to $250, 1980–2001, reveals just how non-intrinsic gold's value has been. The money supply doubled, prices doubled, and gold's price fell by 70%. . . .
The defender of intrinsic value is relying on a pre-1871 theory of economic value. He is claiming that there is objective value out there somewhere. The last major economist who defended such a theory of economic value was Karl Marx. He defended the labor theory of value. His economic analysis could never escape the problem of the waterfall. No one made it through human labor, but it can have high economic value. Why?

Menger would have answered: "Because people value it." But why? "That is for them to say. It is not for an economist to say."
The "intrinsic value" issue is minor, and whether you agree with the author or not, it does not seriously impact the rest of his book.  Creature is priceless, a must-read.

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