The Swiss Currency Referendum: All That Glitters Is Not Gold
Fifty years ago, the gold standard meant that each economy needed a certain quantity of gold in order to maintain the reserves to back up their currency. The United States was most famous for these reserves in the form of Fort Knox' depository, where billions of dollars worth of gold is kept safe thanks to security that rivals a warhead facility and the efforts of James Bond (played by the incomparable Sean Connery) in 1964. The Nixon Administration decided to forgo the gold standard, however, a move that put U.S. currency on the map and subsequently caused the price of gold to skyrocket as more and more private owners took hold of more and more gold outside of government circulations. While the gold standard has its advantages and disadvantages, few nations considered returning to the gold standard until the Swiss government held a referendum on the topic with the intention of returning to the standard while de-capping the currency in comparison with the Euro. This move has changed the gold game more than any other event in the past few years.
The Politics of A Canton
If the next trivia question you hear asks who is the president or prime minister of Switzerland, you can be confident that it's a trick question. Switzerland's politics are based upon a federation of the individual states known as cantons and while their parliament determines all legislative activities (just like the U.S. Congress -- at least, on paper) the executive decisions are handled by a confederation of seven separate ministers, none of whom enjoy veto power over any other. It's a complex political circuit given that one individual member of parliament representing one canton can have a significant amount of power in comparison to their colleagues. Such is the case of Luzi Stamm, member of the Swiss People's Party, which lays claim to more seats in the Swiss parliament than any other party. Stamm laid the foundation for the initiative to re-link the Swiss franc to the gold ...