On Dec. 23, Pimco CEO Bill Gross issued a few remarks via Twitter on the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Federal Reserve, and primarily, on how money has transitioned from a once tangible currency to now a purely artificial construct. In light of how created wealth in the 19th century by the top 1% led to the terming of the era, the Gilded Age, Gross is deigning a new financial era in the 21st century known as the Bitcoin age, where wealth creation is achieved solely through central bank money printing and the expansion of artificial currencies backed by nothing.
Gross: Part 1of 2: We live not in a new gilded age but a bitcoin age where artificial money (from central banks) creates temporary prosperity
Gross: Part 2 of 2: Real growth and investment must be the focal point. - Bill Gross
Author Mark Twain coined the term The Gilded Age, and it represented an era of vast economic growth, especially in the Northern and Western portions of the United States. This economic expansion attracted millions of immigrants from Europe, mostly from central and Northern Europe where skilled artisans sought to find their fortunes in the new world during the great Industrial Revolution. And for the most part, especially for skilled workers, real wages in the US grew 60% from 1860 to 1890, and continued to rise after that.
However, even the Gilded Age masked an era of vast poverty when Southern European immigrants from very poor and unskilled sections of the continent poured into America, and became the backbone of corrupt inner city political machines, such as Tammany Hall and the those forged in cities like Chicago.
Today America is in fact the opposite of the Gilded Age, and in great part, it is primarily due to the Federal Reserve and their 100 years of monetary policy. Real wages have fallen since the mid-1970's when the dollar was removed from the gold standard and became a purely artificial currency, and the disparity between rich and poor has never been higher, even during the years of the robber barons and mass immigration.
The future does not look as bright to Americans as it did, even during the turmoil of the Gilded Age, and the hope of recovery is even less since we no longer have an industrial base to fall back on. Yet as it was more than a century ago, the rich continue to get richer, and the poor and middle classes get poorer, and the juxtaposition between then and now is found in a time when people knew there was a gilded veneer of hope covering the boiling pot of society's problems, versus today's Bitcoin Age where monetary issues are left wide open, and there is nothing left to mask the oncoming train of a clouded future.