Friday, June 26, 2009

Golden Hero From ... Russia?

I had to put aside my very pressing work on the biography of Edward C. Harwood to honor my subject's great respect for the gold standard and sound commercial banking, when I saw an ad on the front page of Section 2 of the Financial Times today. Unfortunately, I can't locate a link to the ad itself, but it says:

The New Global Payment Unit
Troy Ounce Fine Gold 999.9
Paper money or real gold?
It's your call."

I immediately realized this was the handiwork of either a madman or a genius, or some combination of both, and so I set about finding out more about the fellow. Indeed, he is both.

He is a Russian billionaire named German Sterligov, and he has come up with a new, yet age-old idea: Using gold in international exchange transactions. He has ordered to be stamped under the label "ASCENT" (Anticrisis Settlement & Commodity Centre) 1.1 million Troy ounces of gold, acceptable at any ASCENT office worldwide in international trade deals done through his offices.

This fits in with the rest of his business, which is international barter exchange, a transaction style dear to the Russian heart according to some of the information I found on his US website.

On the European version, I found these two short videos featuring the madman-genius himself--a most intriguing character.

Interview with CNBC on June 23, 2009

Interview on Aljazzeera on May 4, 2009

I think I could grow to like the guy. He became rich in his twenties; he lost the Russian Presidential election to Putin in 2004; and now he raises goats.

[Thanks to for the photo.]

I assume he has squirreled his riches away somewhere (and I bet I know where that is).

I agree with everything he says about gold, its historical use, and its potential to help rectify much that ails the world today. On the other hand, I fear for his life, because for this system to become a reality, many central bankers and the politicians who use them will find the competition unbearable.

I will watch this with great interest. Mr. Sterligov, please watch your back. You are playing a game with potentially some very powerful and nasty opponents. If you have any success at all, you will soon be challenged by all the armaments the current monetary authorities and legislators of the world can summon from their reading of the law, and from their judges and alphabet hit men. After all, centralized government's very survival depends upon the powers derived from fiat paper currency.

You could use some help from some small-government politician with the foresight to see the potential of your idea to get the forgotten men and women back to center stage, someone who has the guts and the personality to seize the moment and make a run for it. More power to you and this rare politician, Mr. Sterligov.

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