Gold is not useless
If there’s something all common people believe about gold is that it is useless1. Austrian economists and libertarians in general that argue against central banks or defend a primitive gold standard are often charged with that accusation: that gold is useless, it has no use in the industry, it serves no purpose besides ornamental, so it is a silly commodity, a luxurious one, and that it would be almost immoral to have such a thing in a so central position in an economy such as the position of money.
I’ve seen libertarians in general argue such things as: “it is used in some dental operations”, which means people make dental prosthesis of gold, something that fits in same category of jewelry, I would say.
There’s also the argument of electronic connectors. That’s something that appears to be true, but wouldn’t suffice the anti-gold arguments. The fact remains that, besides its uses as money – because gold is still considered to be a form money even now that it doesn’t have that position formally in any country (otherwise it wouldn’t be considered as an “investment” or “value store” everywhere) – gold is used mainly for ornamental purposes2.
All that is a hassle for libertarians in general. Even the Mises Regression Theory wouldn’t solve that problem of people skeptical of gold due to its immoral nature. That problem is solved once you read what is written in the chapter 17 from Richard Cantillon’s Essay on Economic Theory3 (page 103):
Gold and silver are capable of serving not only the same purpose as tin and copper, but also most of the purposes of lead and iron. They have this further advantage over other metals in that they are not consumed by fire and are so durable that they may be considered permanent. It is not surprising, therefore, that the men who found the other metals useful, valued gold and silver even before they were used in exchange.
So gold is indeed useful. Everybody should already know that. You can even do forks and spoons with gold. You can do furniture with gold, and many other useful stuff. As soon as you grasp this, gold is useful again. It is an useful commodity.
Answering the next question becomes easy: why isn’t anyone making gold forks anywhere? The questioner already knows the answer: because it is too expensive for that.
And now the Regression Theory comes with its full force: why is it expensive? Because it has gained a lot of value in the process of becoming money. The value of gold as money is much greater than as a metal used in fork production.
this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold#Modern_applications section on the Wikipedia page for gold is revealing.↩︎