I was a history major in college and found the decline of empires quite interesting. So naturally it would be a no brainer to deduce years later when writing the book that with the death of nations would come the deaths of their money. In the cases of dead empires, the greatest example being Rome, there was a common thread: maintaining empires has always been an expensive and ultimately bankrupting proposition. Add a welfare state, moral decay, an increasing tax levy, etc., and voila - death of an empire, the destruction of its medium of exchange.
OK, enough with the whole fiat currency death meme. It's embedded in history. This pesky problem (for many) with metals going higher should come as no surprise. Every generation thinks its more clever than the last, but this present society is, or will find that maybe the smarties of today really aren't all that smart, but have been lucky to prosper from what historically has been a shaky fiat foundation. For now, we can still spend our dollars for all sorts of things - both necessities and goodies - but deep down I have a bad feeling about how things are going to end up.