Gold Mania—Capitalism's Fever Chart


  • Paul M. Sweezy
  • Harry Magdoff



Political Economy


The orgy of gold buying that pushed the price of gold up to well above $400 an ounce last autumn, and the subsequent hectic speculation that has kept the price fluctuating around that level, resembles the kind of mania that in the history of capitalism has often been the prelude to a major financial crisis. It would be a foolhardy and idle exercise to try to forecast the future course of the current speculative madness. What is important, rather, is to recognize that this drastic increase in the price of gold—now at a level more than ten times that of 1971—is a symptom, one might say a fever indicator, of the deep-seated troubles facing the capitalist world. At a minimum, the recent behavior of the price of gold clearly demonstrates how quickly panic can overtake and shake up financial markets as the more sensitive sectors of the bourgeoisie become increasingly aware of the shoals lying ahead for the leading capitalist nations and for the international monetary system.





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