Edwin Vieira, Jr., is IAI’s Distinguished Senior Fellow in Jurisprudence and Constitutional and Monetary Law. He holds four degrees from Harvard: A.B. (Harvard College), A.M. and Ph.D. (Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences), and J.D. (Harvard Law School). He has written numerous monographs and articles in scholarly journals, and lectured throughout the county. His latest scholarly works are Pieces of Eight: The Monetary Powers and Disabilities of the United States Constitution (2d rev. ed. 2002), a comprehensive study of American monetary law and history viewed from a constitutional perspective, and How to Dethrone the Imperial Judiciary (2004), a study of the problems of irresponsible “judicial supremacy”, and how to deal with them..
In this interview with James Turk from Gold Money Foundation, Edwin talks about how his book came to be and the new editions. He explains the role that the gold commission hearings and Ron Paul played. He also says how important and urgent monetary reform is for the United States and how the best chance of reform comes at the state level.
James and Edwin discuss constitutional money in the USA and the authority of states to use gold and silver as legal tender, as well as legal precedent from the Supreme Court. Edwin talks about how several states are contemplating legislation to allow gold and silver as alternative currencies.
He also explains the Treasury’s legal obligation to maintain parity between all forms of US currency, about Roosevelt’s gold seizure, the gold reserve act and the abolition of the gold clause. They talk about the need for insurance against a currency collapse and how alternative currencies could play that role. They discuss the stark choice that follows a currency collapse: How the US reacted after the collapse of the Continental Dollar by enshrining sound money in the Constitution vs. how Weimar Germany drifted into fascism.
Edwin explains how States have the legal duty and authority to carry out monetary reform and given the deadlock in Washington must take the initiative to prepare for the coming crisis. Edwin and James stress the need for a rational currency system which allows for economic calculation, and decry the current fiat, politically driven, irrational monetary system as incompatible with a free market and a focus of financial instability.
They both talk about the current lack of financial education, they liken the alternative currency initiatives by State legislatures to building lifeboats for the Titanic that is the US Dollar and talk about the different things that can be done to prepare for its impending sinking. They also return to the Continental Dollar and how America’s founding fathers were able to learn from their mistakes by enshrining sound money in the Constitution and how with today’s technology we could do even better.