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Prior to the days of the Renaissance, art and literary works could be presented only in relation to religious events. Even during and after the Renaissance, expressing one’s true thoughts was still frowned upon, although some found ways to express themselves through art, literature and architecture. As time has passed, many continued to “hide” their expressions behind their creative works.
Throughout time, some of these works have been interpreted to have messages imbedded in them. We call them “allegories,” which Webster’s defines as “an expressive style that uses fictional characters and events to describe some subject by suggestive resemblances; an extended metaphor.”
There have, of course, been a multitude of great literary works, but one that stands out in relation to our work of understanding and managing wealth is “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W. W. Denslow. The book is supposedly a children’s novel, but many believe this was just Baum’s way of disguising a deeper meaning.
Baum had an understanding of the political and economic situation of his day as he was an editor and reporter for the Evening Post in Chicago. Historians, economists and literary scholars have examined and developed possible political interpretations of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.”
Biographers report that Baum had been a political activist in the 1890s with a special interest in the money question of gold and silver. The United States saw a serious economic depression known as the Panic of 1893, marked by the collapse of railroad overbuilding and shaky railroad financing which set off a series of bank failures.
At the beginning of the novel, Dorothy is swept from her farm to Oz by a cyclone, which was frequently compared to the free and unlimited coinage of silver movement. The Yellow Brick Road represents the gold standard and the silver shoes which enable Dorothy to travel more comfortably symbolize the Populist Party’s (established in 1891 and representing hostility to banks, railroads and elites) desire to construct a bimetallic standard of both gold and silver in place of the gold standard.
Toto, Dorothy’s faithful dog, represented the Prohibitionists, who were an important part of the silverite coalition.
Dorothy learns that to return home she must reach the Emerald City, Oz’s political center, to speak to the Wizard, only to find out he is simply a fraud using levers and illusion to scare the people – just like the “banksters.” Some believe Oz represented the president of the United States at the time, Grover Cleveland.
While journeying to the Emerald City, Dorothy encounters a scarecrow (representing a farmer who needed a brain), a woodman made of tin (who represents a worker dehumanized by industrialization – they became heartless), and a cowardly lion (who represents William Jennings Bryan, a prominent leader of the Silverite movement). The Silverites were a political group in the United States in the late-19th century advocating that silver should continue to be a monetary standard along with gold, as authorized under the Coinage Act of 1792. Williams Jennings Bryan was challenging the gold cartel. He needed courage.
Let’s take a moment to refresh your American history, courtesy of Wikipedia:
The Cross of Gold speech was delivered by William Jennings Bryan, a former United States congressman from Nebraska, at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago on July 9, 1896. In the address, Bryan supported bimetallism or “free silver,” which he believed would bring the nation prosperity. He decried the gold standard, concluding the speech, “you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.” Bryan’s address helped catapult him to the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination; it is considered one of the greatest political speeches in American history. For 20 years, Americans had been bitterly divided over the nation’s monetary standard. The gold standard, which the United States had effectively been on since 1873, limited the money supply but eased trade with other nations, such as the United Kingdom, whose currency was also based on gold. However, many Americans believed bimetallism (making both gold and silver legal tender) was necessary to the nation’s economic health. The financial Panic of 1893 intensified the debates, and when Democratic President Grover Cleveland continued to support the gold standard against the will of much of his party, activists became determined to take over the Democratic Party organization and nominate a silver-supporting candidate in 1896.”
Back to the “Oz” story:
The villains – the Wicked Witch of the West and the Wicked Witch of the East – represent the wealthy railroad and oil barons of the American West and the financial and banking interests of the eastern U.S. respectively. Both these groups opposed the Populist efforts to move the U.S. to a bimetallic monetary standard, since this would have devalued the dollar and made investments less valuable. Workers and poor farmers (the Munchkins, i.e. “the little people”) supported the move away from the gold standard as this would have lessened their crushing debt burdens. The Populist Party sought to build a coalition of Southern and Midwestern tenant farmers and Northern industrial workers – groups represented in the book by the Good Witches of the North and South. “Oz” is the abbreviated form of ounce, a standard measure of gold.
Is the “Wizard of Oz” allegory relevant to us today?
Where might Obama, Bernanke, Fort Knox, Congress, Democrats, Republicans and tea partiers fit today in this wonderful tale? Could the witch represent what I fondly refer to as the “banksters”? There is still, of course, Dorothy, the tin man and the scarecrow. Who is the Wicked Witch of the East, North and West? Do we have a cowardly lion today? How will our fairy tale end? I am sure all of us can spend some time filling in the blanks.
This “fictional” novel seems to have uncovered the truth about the American political and economic situation of that time period – and maybe even today’s as well. We seem to be in the midst of what Americans encountered in the 1890s and then again in the 1930s. With the Occupy Wall Street movement on one side and the Tea Party on the other, the signs are becoming increasingly evident that we will have to travel down the yellow brick road (the Gold Standard) – and we must also be sure to wear our silver slippers.
In the movie “The Wizard of Oz,” Dorothy’s shoes were ruby red, but in Frank Baum’s original book they were actually silver slippers. The Wicked Witch of the West knew what power they had, and that’s why she wanted them. You have that power yourself – so use it.
Dorothy had the power within her to return to Kansas by herself all the time: her silver slippers. The message was, and is, that the people always have the power to return to sound money, but they have been under a spell. Remember the poppy fields? The people are under the spell of a fiat money system and a captured media. But the reign of the Internet and the awakening it brings helps relieve the people and free them from the establishment mind control.
The people possess the power to end the fiat money system.
Did you know Americans spend, each year: $12 billion on bottled water, $25 billion on video games, $42 billion on weight-loss programs, $25 billion on cable TV, $250 billion on cellphones and $600 billion on gambling? That’s $1 trillion of power that the people have over the “banksters.”
Ultimately, “The Wizard of Oz” is a story of how the people can take back control of their country.
Imagine if the people simply spent on silver only 5 percent of the money they spend on frivolous junk. That would be $50 billion, which at $28 per ounce of silver, amounts to 1.78 billion ounces of silver at current prices. That’s twice the amount of silver that’s mined every year and 10 times the amount of silver left over annually by industrial consumption. Silver would have to move 10 times in price simply to compensate for that type of shock. The world would then realize silver is real money and that fiat dollars are simply pieces of paper.
What do you think gold might do when this occurred?
Editor’s note: Mark Leibovit is one of the world’s top-rated gold timers and helps investors anticipate and benefit from the ups and downs of the precious metals markets with his Leibovit VR Gold Letter, available at a huge discount through WND.