Image courtesy of eBay’s India Live Store

Originally posted on Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Indian culture long has held a high appreciation for gold.

The Vedic faith records four historical ages, the highest being the Satya Yuga.  Per Wikipedia, “when humanity is governed by gods, and every manifestation or work is close to the purest ideal and humanity will allow intrinsic goodness to rule supreme. It is sometimes referred to as the “Golden Age.”

Hinduism reveres many deities.  One of the most beloved is Laksmi, goddess of prosperity.  Wikipedia: “Lakshmi … is the Hindu Goddess of wealth, prosperity (both material and spiritual), fortune, and the embodiment of beauty”

She sometimes is represented as providing a cascade of gold coins from her palms.

A case can be made that monetary policy can be managed well by elite civil servants simply by reference to the price of gold.  Such elected officials, however, while generally serving with integrity, have not generated a track record to induce confidence in their consistency in adhering to a monetary rule.

Meanwhile, gold has proven to have an enduring hold on the human imagination.  Hinduism is the, or among the, most anti-materialistic of faiths.  And yet, Laksmi is portrayed as generating gold coins rather than what Keynes called “Representative Money” (in his essay Auri Sacra Fames, wherein he mocked gold coins as “little household gods.”)

The power of the human imagination lies well outside the calculus of most technocrats.  Yet it is well for those engaged in high matters of public policy to keep in mind Napoleon’s dictum on the imagination.

From Napoleon Bonaparte, by John SC Abbott, (Project Gutenberg, p. 44):

“It was the genius of Napoleon which thus penetrated these mysterious depths of the human soul, and called to his aid these mighty energies. ‘It is nothing but imagination,’ said one once to Napoleon.  ‘Nothing but imagination!’ he rejoined. ‘Imagination rules the world.’”