The Wizard of Oz

I took Monday off to look after the nipper, and took him to see The Wizard of Oz at the wonderful Electric Cinema on the Portobello Road. You all know the film, but less well known is that L. Frank Baum wrote the book as a parable about US monetary policy. In the late 1890s presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan campaigned to have silver’s ratio to gold fixed at 16 ounces silver to 1ounce gold (ounce = Oz, geddit?) in order to stop the banks manipulating the relative prices. Some of the allegory is detailed on this website.

The Tinman represents US manufacturing industry, rusted up as the result of the 1893 depression. The scarecrow represents the naive farmers. The yellow brick road is the gold standard. The wicked witches are the bankers. Finally the Emerald City represents the illusion of paper (green) money, the power of which proves to be all smoke and mirrors.

Anyway, for the record the ratio of silver to gold now stands at 49:1 rather than 16:1, the power of paper money seems to have been relatively durable, and the nipper had a nice afternoon out.

The value of investments will fluctuate, which will cause prices to fall as well as rise and you may not get back the original amount you invested. Past performance is not a guide to future performance.

Jim Leaviss

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