Re: entrenched industry...
Do you have the slightest idea how absurd it would be to try to physically fling huge quantities of metal back and forth across the world for no reason other than getting a fuzzy-wuzzy feeling about the good old days?
"Metal transport will be needed" fallacy.
That was what banks and cheques were intially about, you know: You store your goods in the bank, then draw a cheque on those goods. End of story. "Getting a loan" actually meant getting access right to the stuff stored in the bank. Sometimes rumors would say that the bank was loaning out a bit more than it was sitting on, bank runs occurred, bank went titsup instead of being bailed out by the state. Excellent. (I will elide the discussion of 100% reserve banking, which to me is just a discussion about having a risky product in the market the risk of which should be on the bank)
There is also a funny description of interbank settlement in Hong-Kong in the 1930's in Neal Stepehenson's CRYPTONOMICON. Recommended.
"because somebody can always dig some more of the crap up"
Yes, so what? In an economy, people perform economic activities shocker. So the money supply increases slowly, making people selling shovels richer.
Currently a bureaucrat can always print more of the crap up, taxing you unawares via money inflation (the concomitant price increases are then blamed on greedy capitalists, speculators and - in past times - Jews) while enriching the people who get to the new money first. Win-Lose situation. You lose. They win.