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PETER THIEL: There Was Virtue In The Gold Standard


This comes as a surprise, as Thiel cofounded the online payments system PayPal. From the interview (emphasis ours):

Where we've had progress in the world of bits but not in the world of atoms, and this world of bits, we've had progress in computers, internet, mobile internet. Technology just means information technology. It's all about bits, but the world of atoms, space travel, energy like nuclear power, biotech, new medical devices, that's been much slower, and there's been much less progress in those areas in the last 40 years. …

One's been regulated, the other has not, but we've had this sort of dualistic world where the virtual world of bits has been growing very fast, but the real world of atoms has been kind of stagnant. And I think there's a strange counterpoint where the same thing happened with our currency, where the real value of money became separate from the virtual in August of '71 when we went off the gold standard. And so, you know, whatever you think of the gold standard, it had the virtue of connecting the real with the virtual.

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