This year is the 50th anniversary of America’s decision to scrap the dollar’s link to gold. Until then, foreign governments could exchange American paper for federal government owned metal freely and without limit. Which increasingly they did, building a crisis that forced the US to abandon the dollar’s backing.
The first thing most people look at when considering an investment is the annual rate of return they expect to be able to make out of it. Return is the “rent” you enjoy as payment for investing your capital rather than going out and spending it, and also the “reward” for the risk you take.