If we could somehow rebuild the economy from scratch, the urgent need for gold investment
might disappear. But we would have to do it right this time, on a solid foundation conceived by
true thinkers such as Henry Hazlitt and implemented by veritable leadership – not on illusion and
fantasy conjured up by politicians.
In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams tells of a planet called Golgafrincham,
where the population was divided into three classes: one-third were the thinkers and leaders,
one-third were the workers who produced the goods and services that contributed to the planet’s
wealth, and one-third who merely consumed while contributing little of worth. Economists,
management consultants, and marketers were among those making up the final group.
The leaders of Golgafrincham devised a grand plan to turn their planet into an economic utopia:
they sent the useless one-third off in an enormous spaceship programmed to crash land on a
distant primitive planet.
Hitchhiker protagonists Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent had the misfortune of transporting onto
that ship. The pair was among the ship’s survivors and soon set out to explore their new world.
Ford returns to the group a year and a half later, just in time for the 573rd colonization meeting.
When an economist is called to give the fiscal policy report Ford is compelled to say, “How can
you have money if none of you produces anything? … Don’t you know that money doesn’t grow
The economist sees things differently. “Since we decided a few weeks ago to make the leaf legal
tender we have all, of course, become immensely rich.” He pulls a leaf from his billfold and
stuffs it in Ford’s breast pocket.
“We happen to have a small inflation problem owing to the high level of leaf ability,” the
economist admits. “So in order to obviate this problem and effectively reevaluate the leaf we
have decided on an extensive campaign of defoliation and, ah, burn down all of the forests.”
“I think it’s a sensible move,” he concludes.
That little scene was written in jest over three decades ago, but the parallels in both the problem
and the proposed solution to the current fiscal crisis are inescapable. It’s laughable, but certainly
not the least bit funny today.
If we followed Golgafrincham’s lead – and I suggest we include politicians as well – perhaps
buying gold would no longer be so urgent.