We Americans no longer carry gold and silver money in our pockets and purses as our grandparents did during their lives. But we still carry the history, legacy and spirit of those gold and silver coins in our language – with more meaning than you might imagine.
“Sound money” has a clear message recognized for centuries around the world. It describes the musical, metallic ring of a gold, silver, or copper coin dropped on
any hard surface of glass, stone, wood, or metal. Sound money literally refers to real wealth, with a natural, unmistakable signature of honesty and integrity, as opposed to the swishy paper and plastic debt used almost exclusively today.
The term “sound money” is believed to come from Ancient Rome, where small silver coins were standard in everyday commerce, for paying Roman soldiers to buying exotic goods from all corners of the known world. As Rome squandered its wealth, it found what seemed an easy shortcut to shore up the treasury. It gradually debased those silver coins with common metals, ultimately cutting the silver content to just 5 percent.
But that didn’t fool anyone for long, most of all disciplined Roman soldiers, who did not appreciate being paid with worthless mystery metal in return for risking their lives on Rome’ s bloody battlefields.