Governments Will Still Seek Security of Gold

"For All the Gold in Fort Knox, It May Not Be Worth Keeping," (Nov. 5) notes that gold may soon earn the "barbarous relic" sobriquet suggested by John Maynard Keynes. The article cites a proposed sale by Switzerland, ongoing sales by various central banks, and a proposal to sell Fort Knox gold reserves as being indicators of lessened value for this precious metal.

The proposed sale by Switzerland must be approved by parliament and by a vote of its citizens. In this period of worldwide currency unrest and devaluation, it will be interesting to see if the conservative electorate there will permit a weakening of their traditional hard currency.

In addition, if spreading currency problems in Asia signal an end to fiat money - not a completely remote possibility - it would seem that prudent central bankers would increase gold reserves, particularly in view of the US dollar's status as the reserve currency vis--vis our uncomfortable and growing current account deficit. Japan's Prime Minister Hashimoto recently threatened (and then denied) a sale of US treasury paper and the purchase of gold in its stead.

A "barbarous relic," I wonder?

Donald L. Jensen

Cody, Wyo.

It's not whether you win or lose

In response to "Cultural Struggles on the Soccer Field" (Nov. 21), Andrew Schmookler's opinion essay, I would like to suggest to him that if his son's drive to be a perfect soccer player is not satisfied by the coach - who is, after all, only a volunteer - then perhaps the son needs a little extra coaching on the side from soccer dad.

And if Mr. Schmookler really has an inspired vision of what coaches should do, perhaps he should become Coach Schmookler himself next season. My husband adds (with mischievous delight) that after he masters that challenge, he should try being a referee.

The point really is not whether the coach in the article has a misplaced loyalty to '60s idealism, but whether a volunteer coach can ever live up to each parent's unique view about the values and lessons that need to be drilled into eight-year-olds on a soccer field. For my children, each season brings a completely new lesson in group dynamics. I try to help them learn the lessons that will come from a particular set of teammates and coaches. These lessons may have very little to do with playing perfect soccer. They may not even have anything to do with responsibility, challenge, and commitment. They may have much more to do with patience and tolerance for others - or as my very competitive son learned this past season being on the last-place team, that you can have fun even if you don't win. In our league, the motto for the coaches is "Make it fun."

Arlene Williams

Sparks, Nev.

A fair view on justice

I have spent the last 48 years trying lawsuits, visiting courtrooms around the world, and lecturing and writing books about the law. This has given me a close look at our system of justice.

With this background, I wish to congratulate the Monitor on the editorial entitled "Justice" (Nov. 12), regarding the outcome of the au pair trial. It is the most balanced, sensitive, and educated statement on this controversial subject that I have read. We need more of this kind of reasoned approach to one of our most pressing issues.

Edward T. Wright

Belleair Bluffs, Fla.

Timely Thanksgiving message

I want to thank you for printing the Thanksgiving Proclamation by President Clinton so promptly (Nov. 24). I had written to the White House in October asking for a copy of the proclamation as soon as possible. I needed it for reading at a Thanksgiving service. Nothing came. Last Monday morning, I received a call from the White House saying the office had just received a typed copy. With no time to mail it, I was told I could get it on the White House Web site. But before I cranked up my computer, I picked up the Monitor for that day (it had arrived on time). And there, where I could not miss it, in big, easy-to-read print, was the President's Proclamation. I was so very grateful.

Jackson Wilcox

Quartz Hill, Calif.

Pastor, Mayflower Church

Your letters are welcome. All letters are subject to editing. Mail to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com

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