Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Originally posted on Thursday, March 13th, 2014

The largest gold statue in the world is said to be that of The Golden Buddha, officially titled Phra Phuttha Maha Suwan Patimakon.

This statue was plastered over, thought to be in anticipation of a Burmese invasion in 1767.  It lay among the ruins of Ayutthaya until ordered collected, along with other Buddha statues, by King Rama I, of Thailand, in 1801, establishing Bangkok as Thailand’s new capital.

The statue’s golden substance went further undiscovered until it was moved, from a modest pagoda, in 1954.  In the course of the move it fell, and some of the external plaster cracked off.  As noted in the Wikipedia, “The time when the gold statue was revealed was very close to the commemoration of the twenty-fifth Buddhist Era (2500 years since Gautama Buddha’s passing). The Thai news media at the time was full of reports about this event, and many Buddhists regarded such an occurrence as miraculous.”

The statue is almost ten feet tall and weighs over 5 long tons.  At $1400 an ounce, slightly higher than currently, the gold content, running between 40% and 99% fine, is estimated to be worth around $250 million.

When critics of the classical gold standard, just as former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, protest that “there’s an awful big waste of resources. I mean, what you have to do to have a gold standard is you have to go to South Africa or some place and dig up tons of gold and move it to New York and put it in the basement of the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, and, that’s a lot of effort and work” — that’s as nothing compared to the history of the Golden Buddha.  Nor a valid criticism of the classical gold standard.