Every semester I bring my students to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for a seminar with Peter Backstansky, the head of public information, to see the open market traders in action — from behind a soundproof glass panel — and visit the gold vault.

The vault, several floors below ground level, is always the highlight for the students. And the discussion afterward of the history of gold helps dramatize how our monetary system has developed and what makes it work today. A similar visit should be on the agenda of every banker who comes to the Big Apple and wants a better understanding of our financial structure.

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