America's Book of Secrets (2012) s03e04 Episode Script

The Gold Conspiracy

NARRATOR: It is one of the most precious metals in the world.
MIKE MALONEY: People throughout the centuries have chased after it.
NARRATOR: A glittering commodity so rare that some will go to almost any lengths to get it.
JAMES RICKARDS: They're using secret agents around the world to acquire it.
NARRATOR: But who sets its price? ERICH "MANCOW" MULLER: It's being manipulated by the powers that be in America.
NARRATOR: And what are their secret methods to control its value? ALEX SEITZ-WALD: They allegedly tricked their customers.
Some people lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
ALEX JONES: But it's like a beach ball you hold under the water.
When you finally let it go, it's gonna explode.
NARRATOR: There are those who believe in the existence of a book a book that contains the most highly guarded secrets of the United States of America.
A book whose very existence is known to only a select few.
But if such a book exists, what would it contain? Secret deals? Secret rip-offs? Secret conspiracies? Does there really exist America's Book of Secrets? NARRATOR: Chicago, Illinois.
October 11, 2013.
An anonymous trader places a two-million-ounce gold sell order.
The transaction is so massive, it drives the price of gold gold down $25, and shuts down the Commodity Exchange for ten seconds.
According to reports, this was not the only suspicious sale since President Obama had a closed-door meeting with the big banks on August 19, 2013.
It led many to ask the question, could someone be lowering the price of gold on purpose? MICHAEL RIVERO: There has been a lot of speculation about what happened over at the Comex.
This sale is the most recent one.
Where there's an attempt to force gold prices down as hard as possible in order to allow Comex and other brokerages to grab up the gold as cheaply as possible.
PETER SCHIFF: I don't know where the selling is coming from, but it certainly does feed the flames of the conspiracies that say they are deliberately trying to sell gold, knock the price down, because this happens with no news.
MIKE MALONEY: The Plunge Protection Team, the president's working group on financial markets- it's headed by the Secretary of the Treasury, the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the airman of the Federal Reserve.
And they get together and meet secretly to manipulate the price of gold and the markets, and try and keep confidence in the currency.
ROBERT REICH: The issue is not whether there is a manipulation of gold prices, per se.
The commodities markets and many other markets today are potentially manipulated by very wealthy players who, because of their size and wealth and often inside information, can get into a particular commodity and drive the price up, and then unload it, get out, and then impose huge costs on everybody else who followed them in.
JAMES RICKARDS: There is absolutely an effort on the part of the United States government and others to manipulate the price of gold.
And we did it through gold sales.
So, the proof is there.
ALEX JONES: They've been trying to keep the prices of commodities down while they inflate the currency.
And they have been successful in suppressing gold prices.
If you look at inflation, via the dollar and the Euro, gold should conservatively be at $2,500 an ounce.
That's why investors know there's manipulation in the metals markets.
But it's like a beach ball you hold under the water in the pool.
When you finally let it go, it's gonna explode.
NARRATOR: August 15, 1971.
PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON: The conclusion of the most significant monetary agreement in the history of the world.
NARRATOR: President Nixon signs an executive order that ends America's use of the gold standard and creates the system of paper currency that is still used today.
For the first time in the history of the country, the United States dollar was no longer directly linked to gold.
MATTHEW HART: Under the gold standard, the government was constrained in its monetary policy by the amount of gold it had.
If you had X amount of gold, that meant you could have X amount of currency.
The currency had to be backed by gold, according to a fixed ratio.
SCHIFF: The Founding Fathers wanted limited government, and one of the ways you limit the power of government is with a gold standard.
Government can only spend money if it can collect gold in taxes.
So, by going off the gold standard, there's no limit to how much money the government can create, so there's no limit to the size that the federal government can grow.
RICKARDS: If you were going to put gold back in the center of the International Monetary System, the price would have to be $9,000 or $10,000 per ounce in order to support world finance.
The United States doesn't want that.
We want a dollar system where we can print the dollar.
NARRATOR: Was Richard Nixon's shocking decision to abandon the gold standard really part of a secret plot to bolster the United States dollar? A plot that continues to this day? SCHIFF: The biggest secret about the gold standard is that a gold standard works.
America became the wealthiest nation the world had ever seen under a gold standard.
Since we've abandoned the gold standard, it's been downhill.
ERICH "MANCOW" MULLER: Gold has value.
And the real people in control know the value of gold.
And they are manipulating it, and they are buying it up as quick as they can.
REICH: Some people are obsessed with return to a gold standard because they don't trust the Federal Reserve Board.
They don't trust people who are appointed by politicians to effectively control inflation.
And if you've got a lot of money, inflation is your enemy, because inflation could undermine your fortune.
NARRATOR: Those who oppose the currency system- known as "gold bugs"- believe the federal government is going to destroy the American economy, and that gold is the only hedge against fiscal Armageddon.
Is there really a covert war over the price of gold, being waged between the government and America's gold investors? And if so, how could it affect the general public? ALEX SEITZ-WALD: There's definitely a gold conspiracy theory in America, that gold prices are kept artificially low by the government or by Wall Street or some combination of both, in order to exert more control over people's lives.
So if they can keep gold prices low, then they can give you more reason to invest in stocks or in currencies, so then you'll have to be more dependent on them.
NARRATOR: In 2009, WikiLeaks uploaded a cable from the U.
S.
Embassy in Beijing, revealing that the Chinese government believed the United States was suppressing the price of gold to strengthen the dollar as the world's reserve currency, ultimately benefiting America's bankers, the Federal Reserve and the White House.
But perhaps even more shocking was the fact that the Chinese government had been secretly acquiring hundreds of tons of gold for themselves.
RICKARDS: China's using intelligence assets, military assets, secret agents, banks around the world, to acquire gold.
No one knows exactly how much they're acquiring.
But there's a lot of gold that's sort of off-the-books.
MULLER: I actually agree with China on this one.
America is manipulating gold.
And who's doing it? The people in power.
The educated folks that know that gold has intrinsic value.
And they're getting us to bet on all this other stuff while they collect the metals- the items that have real value, and that's what this is about.
HART: Nixon ended the gold standard.
But this country still has the biggest single hoard of gold on the planet.
What most Americans don't appreciate is that gold certificates owned by the Federal Reserve are backed by the gold hoard.
So, while the dollar is not convertible into gold, some of its value still rests on this very ancient asset, of which the U.
S.
is the possessor of the largest single amount.
MULLER: Gold never loses its value.
They want us to buy into paper money.
They want the gold.
They want us to believe the paper money has some value.
It doesn't.
And that's the conspiracy.
NARRATOR: Is it possible the government has been secretly devaluing gold in order to hoard the precious metal for itself? And if so, how much gold does the United States really have? And where is it locked away? There are those who believe the shiny commodity is plagued by a dark secret, a secret that the U.
S.
government is trying desperately to cover up.
NARRATOR: May 14, 2011.
John F.
Kennedy International Airport, New York City.
Just moments before departure, International Monetary Fund Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is pulled off an Air France flight and hit with a bizarre sex allegation.
Within days, the 62-year-old resigns from the IMF and conspiracy theories about his arrest spread through the media.
RIVERO: This sudden sex scandal that ended Dominique Strauss-Kahn's career, the timing is simply too cute, because he was driven from his position at the IMF just at the point he was beginning to ask serious questions about whether the New York Federal Reserve was playing "fast and loose" with some of the IMF member-nation's gold.
NARRATOR: Some reports claim that just days earlier, Strauss-Kahn received secret information revealing how the United States government may have been lying about the amount of gold reserves it has.
And when the Federal Reserve refused to give the IMF more than 191 tons of its gold, Strauss-Kahn demanded an audit of the Fed's gold supply.
MULLER: Dominique Strauss-Khan got tipped off by good sources.
And they warned him that their gold was gone.
So he started to investigate.
RIVERO: The numbers simply weren't adding up for those who are tracking where the physical gold in the market is coming and going from.
And I think he just started to ask, "We know some of the gold is supposed to be stored in the Federal Reserve.
I'd just like to make sure it's really there.
" And I think that was the statement that made him a target.
MULLER: Was Dominique Strauss-Khan set up by America and-and by the French governments to keep this thing secret about the truth about our gold? Absolutely.
They wanted his ass in jail 'cause he was asking about the gold.
NARRATOR: Was the scandal really a secret plot designed to silence Strauss-Kahn? Is it possible the government has been lying about the nation's stockpile of gold? In 2013, the United States claimed to have more than 8,000 tons of gold, the single largest gold holding in the world, worth an estimated $440 billion.
And each year, nearly $5 trillion of bullion is traded around the world.
So just what is it about this precious metal that makes it so potent? And why is gold so alluring? SEITZ-WALD: Humans love gold because it's really rare.
In the entire history of human civilization we've mined something like 200,000 tons of gold compared to 5 million tons of aluminum mined annually in the United States alone.
HART: If you took all the gold ever mined in all of history, melted it down into a single block, it would probably cover a tennis court to a depth of about 30 feet.
That's it.
That's the whole total.
MALONEY: The lure of gold is that it's the ultimate form of money.
And people throughout the centuries have chased after it and risked their lives.
NARRATOR: To the ancient Egyptians, gold was considered the flesh of the gods.
The Incas believed it represented the glory of their sun god.
And in the Bible, there are more than 400 references to gold, including direct commands from God about the shiny metal.
ROBERT MAYNE, JR.
: Gold's the most noble metal.
The only metal that will never tarnish, never oxidize.
It always stays intact and shiny.
NARRATOR: Today, the United States' gold reserves are stored in four highly guarded vaults located at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, the U.
S.
Mint in Denver, and two military bases- West Point and Fort Knox.
In 2011, Former Congressman Ron Paul challenged the government to prove its holdings, petitioning Congress to audit the gold in the bullion depository at Fort Knox in Kentucky, where the majority of the United States' stash is housed.
RON PAUL: This gold belongs to the people and the government owes it to the people to provide them with the details of these holdings- "who owns the gold and who is responsible for ownership.
" NARRATOR: But the United States Department of the Treasury- the executive agency that works with the Federal Reserve Bank to oversee the nation's gold reserve- refused, claiming such a massive inspection of the Fed's vaults would take six months and cost $15 million.
MALONEY: The Federal Reserve is one of the most secret organizations that there is.
Ron Paul told me, as a congressman, he could find more out about what the CIA is doing than what the Federal Reserve is doing.
We don't know what they've done with our gold.
SCHIFF: How do we know the gold is actually there? Because it's been a long time since anybody was down in those vaults, certifying that the gold is there.
NARRATOR: But according to reports, in 2012, government officials did, in fact, quietly conduct a first-ever audit on the gold at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York.
Their findings? Not only is the gold in the vault, but it tested purer than previously reported.
Still, some question whether this evaluation can truly be trusted.
JONES: The biggest secret concerning America's gold hoard: there hasn't been a real audit of it in more than half a century.
MALONEY: There's been very cursory audits of the Federal Reserve that don't actually mean anything.
They've never dug down deep to see what the Federal Reserve is up to.
And this is the biggest heist of the century, actually.
NARRATOR: Is the United States government really overstating the amount of gold in its reserves? Some believe the answer is yes, and that greater measures are being taken to hide the truth than ever before.
NARRATOR: 33 Liberty Street.
Located in the heart of New York City's Financial District, the Federal Reserve Bank has become a tourist hot spot known for its massive vault buried five stories below the bustling streets and loaded with 6,700 tons of gold valued at a staggering $368.
5 billion.
RICKARDS: This vault is cut into solid bedrock, so there's only, uh, one very narrow way in or out.
Most of the gold that's there has been there for a very long time, and doesn't move around.
NARRATOR: The Federal Reserve vault has become known as the "world's largest bullion warehouse," but surprisingly, much of the bullion it contains is not owned by the government.
Instead, the Federal Reserve vault mostly stores the gold of foreign countries, central banks and international organizations, and at no cost.
HART: You go down five stories underground to this enormous vault peer through the door, and in there, in these various separate cages, like a prison cell, you see these stacks of gold bars, and that stack belongs to Mexico, and this stack over here belongs to Austria.
And every now and then, if a country wants to settle a trade imbalance with another, employees of the Federal Reserve go in and move them from one cage to another.
NARRATOR: Nearly half of Germany's bullion has been stored in the vault since the 1950s, but in January 2013, when the European country asked for 300 tons of its gold back, the Federal Reserve said it couldn't deliver until 2020.
RIVERO: What happened when Germany asked for its gold back is they got the big stall.
"And in the meantime, no, you're not allowed to come on over and actually look at it to make sure it's really here.
We're not set up for inspection.
" But it was Germany's gold and they have every right to inspect on demand.
MALONEY: And the Federal Reserve sent them a letter that basically said it was going to take seven years to repay Germany their gold.
NARRATOR: But why would the Federal Reserve refuse to permit Germany to examine its own gold? Was it really for security purposes, or were they perhaps trying to hide something? Some have speculated that the United States Central Bank doesn't actually have as much gold as it claims because it has been sold off, lent out, or used as collateral for U.
S.
debt.
SCHIFF: If we really have all that gold and Germany just wants a small part of what we're supposedly holding, why can't we just send it to them? MULLER: There's just a little problem.
It's gone stolen, pilfered by the powers that be in America.
NARRATOR: According to reports, five nations are now asking for their gold bullion on deposit in the United States, and they're all getting what some call "the big stall.
" But why? Might there be more going on below ground and behind closed doors when it comes to gold? There are those who believe the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is hiding a shocking secret, because just across the street lies the JP Morgan Chase building.
It houses the world's largest private U.
S.
bank vault, which- like the one at the Federal Reserve- is also five stories below the ground.
Is it merely coincidence that a federal bank housing the gold of foreign nations is located just a few meters away from a private U.
S.
bank that also trades in precious metals? And that their vaults are on the exact same level underground? RIVERO: The reason the JP Morgan gold vault, uh, is a concern is the idea that there might be tunnels underneath those buildings, and almost certainly there are.
It's a concern that Wall Street collectively is using a small pool of shared gold for a display item.
It's really a shell game.
The gold is the pea and these large Wall Street financial firms are the shell.
If somebody goes into JP Morgan and says, "I want to verify my gold is here" and JP Morgan says, "Here's the pack of gold," and they go home happy.
Then it's taken down the tunnel to the New York Federal Reserve and put on display there for Germany or Venezuela or any of these other countries.
JONES: There are a lot of conspiracy theories about tunnels between JP Morgan Chase and the Federal Reserve.
I don't know if that's true.
I know this: where there's smoke, there's fire.
NARRATOR: Is it possible there is a secret passageway between the two vaults allowing the Federal Reserve and JP Morgan Chase banks to share their gold stock when needed? If so, might this be further evidence that suggests the U.
S.
has far less gold than it claims? And might gold really be so scarce, that some Americans will stop at nothing to get it? NARRATOR: February 2013.
Gold Country.
Northern California.
While walking their dog on their property, a couple discovers eight metal cans filled with 1,400 rare gold coins.
Estimated to be worth more than ten million dollars, the secret treasure has become known as the Saddle Ridge Hoard.
BIX WEIR: For an individual, it would, it could change their lives.
We don't know how rich the people are that found this gold, because they're not saying who they are.
They're doing it through a broker and they don't want anybody to come to them and say, "You just won the lottery," type of thing.
NARRATOR: Within days of the announcement, reports began to circulate that the anonymous couple might be required to give up nearly 50 percent of their newfound fortune in taxes.
There were even reports that if the government can prove the coins were the same ones that were stolen from the U.
S.
Mint more than 150 years ago, they might even confiscate all of the gold.
But why would the government be going to such elaborate legal lengths to frustrate people who were lucky enough to find gold buried on their own property? May 2007.
100 miles west of the Strait of Gibraltar.
While searching these international waters, American deep-sea exploration company Odyssey Marine Exploration uncovers a shipwreck containing more than 17 tons of silver and gold coins, a fortune worth an estimated $500 million.
PENN: This treasure included 500,000 gold and silver coins.
This was viewed as the largest deep-ocean haul of a major treasure.
There's a lot at stake here.
Um, it's not a million dollars, it's not $10 million, it's not $100 million, it's a half a billion dollars.
NARRATOR: Markings on the coins reveal that the treasure- code-named "Black Swan"- came from the Spanish vessel Nuestra SeƱora de las Mercedes, a war ship attacked by the British navy during the Battle of Cape Santa Maria off the coast of Portugal in 1804.
But when the Tampa-based salvage company tried to file claim to the underwater riches- which cost $2.
6 million dollars to retrieve and transport- a legal battle for the precious cargo ensued.
PENN: Spain says, "This was our treasure.
We were en route from South America back to our country when the British attacked us, so you have to turn this over to us.
" Odyssey filed a counter-claim saying that we found the treasure and it was in international waters, so we are the rightful owners of it.
MAYNE, JR.
: It's very unusual that, uh, a government would step in and claim something.
Salvage law is very defined and it has been for hundreds and hundreds of years.
The rights of the salv.
The "Finder keepers.
" Very defined law.
NARRATOR: In February 2012, nearly five years after the gold coins were discovered in the Atlantic Ocean, the United States court made a surprising decision, ruling that the treasure be given back to Spain and even ordering Odyssey to pay $1 million in legal fees.
But why? MAYNE, JR.
: At the very least, Odyssey should have been rewarded salvage compensation for the work.
That's the oldest salvage law there is.
You risk life and limb you're rewarded for what you've recovered.
You're always compensated well for risking your life.
NARRATOR: Why wasn't Odyssey reimbursed for their recovery costs? Might there be a secret reason the U.
S.
government ruled in favor of Spain and not an American company? PENN: What we learned was that there were negotiations between Spain and the U.
S.
government that Odyssey didn't know about.
NARRATOR: According to documents released in July 2008 by WikiLeaks, U.
S.
officials were, in fact, working with the Spanish government, hoping to strike a shocking deal.
In exchange for helping Spain reclaim their gold treasure, the U.
S.
government requested that the painting Rue Saint-Honore Effet de Pluie, plundered by the Nazis in 1939, be returned to its wealthy American owner.
PENN: There were secret negotiations between the U.
S.
State Department and Spain.
And the U.
S.
government said, "Well, we'll stay out of the Odyssey case, but we want this painting to go back to the family.
" But Spain has just refused to turn the painting over.
WEIR: Odyssey Marine did get the raw end of that deal.
It just goes to show you that when you're dealing with gold, even the law is kind of thrown out sometimes.
NARRATOR: There are many who believe the U.
S.
government will stop at nothing to prevent large amounts of gold from falling into private hands.
If so, it only seems to be fueling a greater and greater determination on the part of private citizens to possess the gleaming metal.
But as America's lust for gold grows, could sinister scams be set to take innocent citizens for all they're worth? NARRATOR: November 2011.
Santa Monica, California.
City prosecutors charge precious metals retailer Goldline International with 19 counts of criminal fraud, alleging the company used "bait and stch" tactics to persuade customers into purchasing overpriced gold.
Though most Americans buy gold in the form of jewelry, some are attempting to invest in it through online sites like Goldline, purchasing it in the form of coins or gold bars, also known as bullion.
SEITZ-WALD: Most people buying gold have no idea how the market works.
Goldline allegedly preyed on that ignorance and tricked their customers into buying antique gold coins with markups of 90% or 150%.
But some people lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
JAMES ANDERSON: It's not a regulated industry, and so it's "buyer beware.
" Where they'll show you bullion and then get you to send funds to them, and then the account manager will get on the phone and say, uh, "We think bullion's okay, but maybe you ought to look at these coins as well.
" NARRATOR: According to the lawsuit, Goldline had been inappropriately citing a 1933 presidential order that prohibited American citizens from hoarding the precious metal.
SCHIFF: They tell you that, well, if you own this particular coin, then the government can't confiscate them.
And they bring out the old 1933, uh, Roosevelt law and they say, "These would be exempt.
" SEITZ-WALD: There's no evidence at all that the White House was considering doing something like this.
It's a scare tactic that was used to push people into buying these scammy gold coins.
NARRATOR: Prosecutors claimed Goldline sold hundreds of thousands of dollars in overpriced gold coins by hiring well-known radio and TV personalities who would then drum up fears about the government and lure audiences into believing that the coins were a safe investment.
SEITZ-WALD: Gold sellers pay talk radio show hosts to pitch their product.
At the same time, talk radio show hosts also preach their worldview, which speaks of impending financial collapse and that gold is the only salvation.
HART: In 2008, Lehman Brothers Bank collapsed.
And with that, a wave of fear spread through the financial world.
Gold loves fear.
It loves a panic.
It dines on human emotions, and it shot- in less than three years- from $800 an ounce to almost $1,900 an ounce.
SEITZ-WALD: During the financial crisis, there was this belief, and understandably so, that you couldn't trust Wall Street.
You couldn't trust governments.
You couldn't even trust cash.
Gold was the last place you could put your money and believe that it was gonna be there in ten years, 100 years So a lot of people saw that and they saw an opportunity to make a quick buck.
SCHIFF: The salesmen who are selling these coins to you have a enormous interest in getting you to overpay, because the more you overpay, the more they make.
NARRATOR: In February 2012, Goldline settled with the City of Santa Monica and agreed to refund up to $4.
5 million to its customers.
They also promised to disclose the markup on their gold coins and to stop using scare tactics to dissuade customers from buying bullion.
But Goldline wasn't the only vendor to be accused of engaging in inappropriate behavior.
In 2009, a former employee of Cash4Gold, another gold retailer, published a letter in the Consumerist to warn customers of alleged deceitful techniques deployed by the company, including the use of non-standardized testing equipment and telling consumers their gold had been "lost in the mail.
" But perhaps the most alarming secret operation plaguing the gold market is the production and selling of counterfeit bullion, a practice that can be traced back to the 7th century BC, when the ancient Greeks began plating their base metal coins with precious metals like gold.
In September 2012, a ten-ounce gold bar, purchased for nearly $18,000 in Manhattan's Diamond District, turned out to be fake- filled with tungsten, a metal worth little more than a dollar an ounce.
ANDERSON: He bought what appeared to be a Swiss gold bar and for some reason, he just was skeptical of it.
It looked like a legitimate gold bar, like any other, but he drilled a hole in it and, lo and behold, once he got about a millimeter in, he hit tungsten.
RIVERO: Now, tungsten is a a metal that is almost exactly the same density as gold.
And, all of a sudden, around the world, we're finding coins and bars that are filled with tungsten.
Somebody is creating fake gold.
NARRATOR: According to reports, more than ten fraudulent gold bars had been discovered in Manhattan within a week so just how can investors ensure their product is pure? ANDERSON: What they'll use is a technology that is used for women that are pregnant.
They'll measure the bar through sound and will find something, if it's not gold.
Counterfeit gold are a growing problem in the world and the reason is China, mainly.
It's a sport over there as far as who can make the best counterfeits.
And it's hard for the U.
S.
Secret Service to stop it.
NARRATOR: With so many gold scams- not to mention the controversy surrounding the price of gold- is investing in this precious metal safe? And what would happen if an enormous quantity were to be suddenly discovered? Could gold ever really become worthless? NARRATOR: Los Angeles.
Miami.
New York City.
For gold investors looking to secure their shiny fortunes these three cities now offer some of the most affordable, accessible and highly guarded privately-owned gold vaults in the world vaults so secret that most Americans don't even know they exist.
ANDERSON: A lot of cases, people can walk right by a vault and not know.
They are not in high-end neighborhoods.
They're in blue-collar neighborhoods, in places that you would not guess.
MALONEY: Many gold vaults are more secure than, uh, some of the world's central banks' gold vaults because a lot of them are newer.
You have to give a palm print and enter a pin code.
It's very, very high-tech and impressive technology.
NARRATOR: Some Americans believe vaults like these are the only way to keep their gold stockpiles readily available to them at all times, and most importantly, to keep them away from the grasp of the federal government.
MALONEY: The beauty of using, uh, one of the private vaults like this is that it's outside of the banking system.
It's not subject to banking law.
In the United States, after 9/11, the banks were closed for a week.
If you had gold in your, uh, safe deposit box, you couldn't get to it.
RIVERO: Americans need to store their gold anywhere they think the banks and the government can't get at it.
Right now, the laws are already in place for the government to open safety deposit boxes at domestic banks.
NARRATOR: Though there are only a few private gold vaults believed to be hidden throughout the world, some experts predict there will soon be one in every major city in the United States.
And as the price of gold continues to rise, so will the hunt for the rare metal.
In fact, some gold advocates believe the future of gold looks bright, and they say it's only a matter of time before many Americans will secretly carry gold bars in their pockets like this Valcambi gold card.
SCHIFF: You'll see I've got a Valcambi bar already partially broken.
Even if it was an entire bar, it would fit in here just like a credit card.
Here, I've got some of the little chips that came off of that piece, but each one is identical and each one is worth one gram of gold, which is around $40 to $50 right now.
But who knows how much these little chips will be worth in the future? NARRATOR: Could physical gold actually replace credit cards in the not-so-distant future? Some believe that if there is a currency crisis in the United States, and the value of paper money rapidly declines, gold bars like this may be the only way to pay for goods.
But will gold's value continue to reflect America's fear index? REICH: Gold may be an index of our fear about the economy, but it's a very crude index.
The fact of the matter is that most people don't have savings, they can't invest in gold or anyplace else.
MULLER: Since 1999, the price of gold in America is up 400%.
What do you think it's gonna do once the dollar's worthless? NARRATOR: Just how high might the price of gold rise? And will there really be economic chaos when the truth about this controversial commodity is finally revealed? HART: Gold is in it-its third age.
The first age, gold was symbolic of church power.
Then it became money.
Now, gold has been divorced from money officially.
And since it's not money anymore, it's free to become whatever it wants.
It's free to hit whatever value basically, what people want to pay for it.
SEITZ-WALD: Many gold bugs believe the price of gold will go up almost indefinitely.
I've heard people say it'll reach $7,000 or even $12,000 an ounce, which is almost ten times what it is today.
SCHIFF: You have no idea what, if any, value your dollars will have in the future.
But you know how much value your gold has; it's had value for thousands of years and it will still have value hundreds of years from now.
NARRATOR: It has been more than 40 years since President Nixon "closed the gold window," and the rare commodity continues to stir up controversy.
Will Americans ever know how much gold the government has on hand? And how much it has cashed in? Will secretive gold dealings continue to manipulate the market? And if the nation's stockpile is finally exposed, what will be discovered- a gold mine or perhaps just fool's gold? A&E TELEVISION NETWORKS Captioned by Media access.
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