'The Wizard of Oz' book, written by L. Frank Baum and originally published in 1900, may have been inspired by the real-life economic struggles during the Gold Standard.
Many economists and historians insist that the book is a political allegory. In their telling, each character represents a person or group active in the late 1800s.
The scarecrow represents the farmers in the west. most of these farmers had mortgages and owed money to the bankers in the east. When deflation hit, the value of the farmers' debts rose. The amount they owed the bankers was now worth much more than at the time of the loan - bad for the farmers but great for the bankers
The yellow brick road is the gold standard. The gold standard was blamed for the rise in prices and many believed the end of the gold standard would fix everything. But the citizens of the East (who are represented by the munchkins) wanted to keep the gold standard in place. They urge Dorothy to "follow the yellow brick road".
The farmers weren't the only group suffering and seeking an end to the gold standard. Industrial workers are represented by the tin man. His joints are rusted and he can no longer work much like the 18% of Americans that were unemployed in 1894.
The cowardly lion is William Jennings Bryan, A populist leader and the face of the Free Silver Movement. He believed that adding silver to the gold standard would ease deflation and solve the nation's economic woes.
And of course there is a nod to gold in the title. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz or O-Z the abbreviation for an ounce of gold.
The Emerald City is America's capital, Washington, D.C. where everything is seen through dollar colored glasses literally (which is why everything appears to be green).
In the end, it is Dorothy's shoes that save her — HER SILVER SHOES. The shoes were silver in the book but were changed to ruby for the movie. It turns out, The solution was right under her nose the entire time. Adding silver to the money supply.