Forgotten History of America’s Economic Past

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

alexander hamilton photoOne of the nice things about going to a meeting of actual scholars, as opposed to academics who dominate most academic associations, is that you get to hear some forgotten history you might otherwise be unaware of.

“Sir Isaac Newton was named master of the mint,” economist George Gilder pointed out at the Philadelphia Society’s national meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina last weekend. “By the time he left office, gold was established as the basis for the value of the pound.”

“It was the climax of his career. His motto was, ‘One God, one man, one money.’”

The Philadelphia Society was formed in 1964 in the wake of the Goldwater defeat.

Interestingly, Gordon Lloyd of the Ashbrook Center notes that most historians who do primary research agree that America stumbled into the free market system that became its economy for a couple of hundred years. Lloyd attributes the trend to the forceful personality and emphasis on money of America’s first Treasury secretary, Alexander Hamilton.

David Walsh of Catholic University offered a wry take on the origins of capitalism itself. “You could find the original capitalism in the monks who were given a plot of land and told to work it and did so with a vengeance,” Walsh said. “But they drank too much wine and became less productive.”

“They started with a glass a day and worked their way up to a full bottle.”

Photo by Marion Doss

Photo by Marion Doss