Who first called gold a barbarous relic?

Barry Popik, who by the way was a childhood chess friend of mine, reports:

Although Keynes is credited with calling the gold standard a “barbarous relic,” many other people had written similar terms (“gold is a relic of barbarism”) well before 1923. John Austin Stevens wrote to the New York (NY) Times in October 1873, stating that “gold is a relic of barbarism to be tabooed by all civilized nations.” Tennessee merchant John T. Goss testified before the U.S. Senate in 1894, saying that “Gold is a relic of barbarism and should be discarded by all civilized nations as a medium of exchange.” The book Civilized Money (1895), by Charles M. Howell, also declared that “gold is a relic of barbarism.” In December 1921, Thomas Edison said that “”Gold is a relic of Julius Caesar and interest is an invention of Satan.”

Barry’s impressive etymology page is here.


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