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parallaxicality
2010-Nov-06, 03:57 PM
There's been a lot of talk recently about going back to the gold standard, but most of the rationale seems to be political rather than economic. Since my grasp of the Dismal Science is, well, not, I was wondering if someone could explain in layman's terms, assuming there are any, the pros and cons of the gold standard, why we aren't on it any more, and whether we should go back.

Thanks.

Gillianren
2010-Nov-06, 05:38 PM
Actually, alongside my collection of "I voted" stickers, I have a "Free Silver!" sticker made by a group of my classmates from college for their presentation about Populism.

My understanding--not very good--is that going back on the gold standard wouldn't work because the US currently has more currency than they are remotely able to back with gold. If you're on the gold standard, the theory is that anyone could present US currency to the US Treasury Department and demand their dollar's worth in gold.

korjik
2010-Nov-06, 06:08 PM
There's been a lot of talk recently about going back to the gold standard, but most of the rationale seems to be political rather than economic. Since my grasp of the Dismal Science is, well, not, I was wondering if someone could explain in layman's terms, assuming there are any, the pros and cons of the gold standard, why we aren't on it any more, and whether we should go back.

Thanks.

Pro: no inflation. If a dollar is a gram of gold (making up numbers here) then the dollar is always worth a gram of gold.

Con: fixed money supply. If the (insert country of choice here) has only 10 billion grams of gold, then they only have $10 billion. Should they need $11 billion, someone needs to give them the extra gold.

Should we go back: Using wiki's data, there are about 5.3 billion oz of gold. At $1400 an ounce, that is ~$7.5 trillion. Which would mean that all the money in the world is only a bit more than half the US national debt.

Mind you, all of this is going off of stuff I learned last century. I dont claim it is accurate

Hlafordlaes
2010-Nov-06, 08:14 PM
Many people, quite naturally, feel a currency must have an intrinsic value (eg. gold) in order to retain its stored or nominal value. This is a common misconception on a few levels.

A currency makes non-barter trade possible by standing in for a basket of goods; IOW it's a store of value. Instead of trying to figure out the price of chickens in cords of wood, a currency allows all goods to be translated into a numerical value. That's all, there is nothing magical about the currency itself. Historical currencies have by convention been anything rare and hard to counterfeit or gain via a means other than earning it via trade or wages, including smooth rocks and seashells (usually originating from far away).

But because early currencies, including some in the form of paper, were easy to copy, or it was easy to gain access to more currency by finding a good rock or seashell source, a rare good such as gold or silver, that was at the same time easy to carry, was used as a currency. But this is an example of a good being used as the currency for convenience sake, not because it was a natural or superior store of value.

To take a modern example, when your paycheck is automatically credited to your bank account, and you then make a purchase with a debit card, you are employing a digital store of value, not even a physical currency. What you want to avoid is the ability to add/subtract to digital stores by hacking an account or faking a payment card, but if done right, the digital value storage works fine. In fact, if we had no need for cash, there would be less of a tendency to view things such as gold as natural currencies.

Finally, the reason a physical good such as gold or silver, gems or whatnot, are bad as currencies is that precisely because they are goods, the supply of currency is tied to the supply of goods. Thus, when gold supply growth is low, trade cannot increase at the rate it might otherwise. Similarly, those in ownership of gold mines have an unfair advantage.

If you cannot grasp this easily, just do a thought experiment of two villages undertaking trade with a fixed amount of gold. Now add a third village, without adding gold, and figure what happens to the price of goods and if trade expands easily or not. Now do the same experiment with an expansion of paper or digital money that is in ratio to the addition of the third village, and consider prices and growth.

The results explain why I do not believe in goods such as gold as money stores, and why I do believe in tying monetary growth to trade and GDP growth, to avoid inflation and deflationary pressures.

George
2010-Nov-06, 08:32 PM
Pro: no inflation. If a dollar is a gram of gold (making up numbers here) then the dollar is always worth a gram of gold. Yet if you were among a group or cartel that had the vast majority of the gold and gold mines, then the group could set whatever price they wanted for the gold at the expense of others. Switch gold for oil and look at the gas price at the gas pumps, and oil isn't even the designated standard.

I think the concern goes back to the earlier part of the last century when some countries printed money madly. Germany before WWII is the classic example, though there are some modern examples today. The point is that many people, likely the ones who remember those times, highly respected an anchor (ie gold) to restrict goverments from over printing because the government was obligated to honor the conversion of the "gold certificate" dollar ( I think it was called).

Cranking-up the printing presses and flooding the country with dollars will cause inflation. Imagine everyone being given a million dollars to go out and spend, do you think all the prices on goods would remain the same? Nope. [Which is why you are correct that it restricts inflation.] :)

HenrikOlsen
2010-Nov-06, 09:57 PM
If you cannot grasp this easily, just do a thought experiment of two villages undertaking trade with a fixed amount of gold. Now add a third village, without adding gold, and figure what happens to the price of goods and if trade expands easily or not. Now do the same experiment with an expansion of paper or digital money that is in ratio to the addition of the third village, and consider prices and growth.
Or just look at history, when the Spanish started shipping gold from the Americas by the ton, they destroyed their economy and thus their empire to the point where they's just recovering now.

George
2010-Nov-06, 10:19 PM
Another example, though debated, is "Dutch Disease", which attempts to demonstrate similar consequences of a newly discovered vast resource. For Holland, it was the discovery of natural gas in 1959.

A small version is taking place here in S. Texas where the oil & gas business is booming again in certain areas. It has put pressure on normal businesses because workers are paid so much more in the oil field. The net effect, however, is positive given the experience workers have with the feast and famine history this business had brought them or their friends. Also, the boom is not huge.

[Added: You wouldn't believe the mineral rights price oil companies are paying for acerage out there. It can easily exceed the market price for owing the land out-right prior to the recent discovery. One rumor is that $10,000 per acre was paid to a 100,000 acre ranch for mineral rights. The typical contract usualy has a 3 year limit because the land owners want to benefit from their share of the oil/gas revenue once production takes place.]

Hlafordlaes
2010-Nov-06, 11:18 PM
Or just look at history, when the Spanish started shipping gold from the Americas by the ton, they destroyed their economy and thus their empire to the point where they's just recovering now.

Well, yes!... I say, good show, old chap. Not a broadly known episode, that.

captain swoop
2010-Nov-06, 11:42 PM
I was going to mention Spain but Henrik beat me to it. Virtualy unlimited gold and silver from Spain resulted in massive inflation and the destruction of their domestic economy as the unlimited gold and silver was used on imports and domestic traders couldn't compete. It's ironic that most of the gold and silver ended up going to Spanish competitors like England and the Netherlands woh used it to fund their own imperial adventures at Spains expense.

mike alexander
2010-Nov-07, 12:03 AM
Not to mention privateers on the high seas stealing the gold and silver shipments.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Nov-07, 12:24 AM
Well, yes!... I say, good show, old chap. Not a broadly known episode, that.
I think I was perhaps unclear, it was the Spanish economy that was destroyed by their idiotic move, not the Americas'.

Agemegos
2010-Nov-07, 12:31 AM
Pro: no inflation.
Unless gold mines produce gold faster than the economy grows. Or unless your country runs a balance-of-payments surplus.

If a dollar is a gram of gold (making up numbers here) then the dollar is always worth a gram of gold.
But not necessarily always 1/3 of a Big Mac. The purchasing power of gold is prone to fluctuate: take a look at a graph of the price of gold for the last ten years.

Con: fixed money supply. If the (insert country of choice here) has only 10 billion grams of gold, then they only have $10 billion. Should they need $11 billion, someone needs to give them the extra gold.
Or they need to mine gold. Or run a trade surplus.

What you do have is no monetary policy. The supply of money is not under control, and cannot be used to counter the business cycle. Instead you get changes in the price level (i.e. inflation and deflation) and the amount of credit effecting the real money supply (ie. money supply adjusted for purchasing power), which lays you open to uncontrollable debt-deflation recessions.

publius
2010-Nov-07, 12:47 AM
The question is what do you mean by gold standard. :) I'm not being a smart aleck, but there's local gold standards and international/global standards. With the former, the internal economy is on the gold standard, but with the latter, you are using gold or gold backed currency as the international "reserve" currency. We went off the former here in the US back in the 30s when FDR outlawed private gold ownership and then devalued the dollar against it. After WWII, with the so-called Bretton Woods agreement, we were on an international gold standard until Nixon "closed the gold window" back in the early 70s. What this meant was that a citizen couldn't exchange dollars for gold, but foreign governments could. We had printed too many dollars and some countries were calling our bluff (France being the main one, IIRC) and they had to close it. After that, the international reserve currency has been pure fiat.

We may actually return to some form of "hard money" for international reserves thanks to Helicopter Ben and Fed machinations (China and others tell us to take our dollars and stick 'em where the sun doesn't shine). It probably won't be gold exclusively, but some "basket" which will include gold.

Now, for a local gold standard. Contrary to what you may think at first blush, you can easily have inflation on a gold standard, and we did. The equation of exchange, dP/P = dM/M + dV/V - dQ/Q still applies. V = velocity can still vary, real output Q can still vary. You may think M would be fixed. But what is really fixed is M0, the monetary base. Bank money creation through fractional reserve lending can still occur (and note how deadly a run on the bank would be here, as you'd need hard gold backed money to redeem).

So you can have inflation. What tends to happen, however, is the fixed monetary base tends to cause snap backs after periods of inflation (bubbles burst and deleveraging kicks in, increasing base money demand). If the economy overheats, it tended to crash back hard with periods of depression and deflation. If you look at the historical CPI back through the 1800s you will see this behavior. I can't quickly find a chart, but here's the data from the Minneapolis Fed:

http://www.minneapolisfed.org/community_education/teacher/calc/hist1800.cfm

(FRED data at St. Loius only goes back to 1914 or so). Anyway, you'll see that inflation then deflation trend, and the greater the inflation, the greater the deflating snap back. Note you'll see high inflation during the Civil War years, but this was due to Congress printing lots of fiat "greenbacks" during those years, and thus not normal hard money behavior.

So the theory is, which most modern economists subscribe to, is that hard money makes the business cycle much worse. However, you need monetary discipline (hear that Helicopter?), or you blow the fiat currency up eventually.

As it is now, I'm leaning toward Milton Friedman's idea of fixed growth rates in the monetary base. Let the central bank basically be a computer, allowing no human mischief. You'd still need an overide there in case of emergencies, but maybe you could program that in. :lol: At any rate, I've decided the "money power" is just too dangerous to be in human hands.


-Richard

wolfflair
2010-Nov-07, 08:25 AM
I was going to mention Spain but Henrik beat me to it. Virtualy unlimited gold and silver from Spain resulted in massive inflation and the destruction of their domestic economy as the unlimited gold and silver was used on imports and domestic traders couldn't compete. It's ironic that most of the gold and silver ended up going to Spanish competitors like England and the Netherlands woh used it to fund their own imperial adventures at Spains expense.

It would indeed be ironic if the same gold that destroyed the Spanish economy had beneficial effects on the economies of England and the Netherlands when it came into their hands. Do you really think that is what happened?


Or just look at history, when the Spanish started shipping gold from the Americas by the ton, they destroyed their economy and thus their empire to the point where they's just recovering now.

Uh oh.

Let's take your advice, and look at history. Angus Maddison estimated GDP of fourteen European countries, per capita, adjusted for purchasing power parity, expressed in 1990 dollars. Here is a graph I prepared from his data that shows how these fourteen countries did from 1500 to 2003.

http://i1094.photobucket.com/albums/i443/wolfflair/Olsen-4.jpg

The countries are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. I didn't label the countries, but what with that economic collapse that took centuries to recover from, it shouldn't be hard to identify Spain. Here is the same information from 1500 to 1870, which makes it a little easier to see how the countries did earlier in the sample period.

http://i1094.photobucket.com/albums/i443/wolfflair/Olsen-3.jpg

Note the prominent collapse of the Spanish economy.

It is entirely possible that the economy of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria today is much larger than the economy of all of Spain in 1500. They are not recovering from some centuries-old calamity, any more than Germany is recovering from the hyperinflation of 1923, or Denmark is recovering from the ice age.

captain swoop
2010-Nov-07, 11:26 AM
It would indeed be ironic if the same gold that destroyed the Spanish economy had beneficial effects on the economies of England and the Netherlands when it came into their hands. Do you really think that is what happened?
Yes, where do you think the Spanish spent their gold and silver? It was used by Britain at least to fund colonial expansion at the expense of the Spanish.

BBC Radio 4 has just finished a long running series 'History of the world in a hundred objects' One of the episodes was based arounf a 'Piece of Eight' made from silver minded in the 'Americas'. This individual coin had been salvaged from a Spanish ship wrecked as the Armada tried to run round the top of Britain and back down to Spain after the failed invasion.

Being on the 'Gold Standard' is all very well but when the Govt has an unlimited and increasing dupply of Gold and Silver to mint 'vellones' then they will become devalued.

There is more to it than the supply of silver and gold though

Spain was the largest wool producer. Huge flocks of sheep were annually moved from the mountains of the north to the south every winter trampling farmland in the process. Complaints against the shepherds were ignored by the govt which received a huge tax income from wool. Eventually, with this and overtaxing grain production in Castile was virtualy destroyed and Spain became dependent on large imports of grain.
Add to this plague outbreaks, famine, drought, corruption in the system, internal tarrifs and taxes on the transport of goods between the various regions of the country and the huge casualties caused by almost continuous warfare (paid for with credit).
Spain's economy crumbled, the average cost of goods quintupled and its population decreased by nearly two million people during the 17th century.

swampyankee
2010-Nov-07, 04:38 PM
What is the intrinsic value of gold? I'm going to say that about 99.9% of the current "intrinsic" value of gold is just as arbitrary as the value of pieces of paper with numbers printed on them.

Of all the gold on the planet; how much is actually used for anything other than looking pretty? A few kilos a year to the electronics industry and a bit for electrochemical machining wire, and what else?

grapes
2010-Nov-07, 06:53 PM
hI think the concern goes back to the earlier part of the last century when some countries printed money madly. Germany before WWII is the classic example, though there are some modern examples today. The point is that many people, likely the ones who remember those times, highly respected an anchor (ie gold) to restrict goverments from over printing because the government was obligated to honor the conversion of the "gold certificate" dollar ( I think it was called).

Cranking-up the printing presses and flooding the country with dollars will cause inflation. Economy of Zambia, wiki, inflation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Zambia#Inflation):
Inflation held at 32% in 2000; consequently, the kwacha lost the same value against the dollar over the same period. In mid- to late 2001, Zambia's fiscal management became more conservative. As a result, 2001 year-end inflation was below 20%, its best result in decades. In 2002 inflation rose to 26.7%. However in 2007 inflation hit 8%, the first time in 30 years that Zambia had seen single digit inflation.

mike alexander
2010-Nov-07, 07:38 PM
What is the intrinsic value of gold? I'm going to say that about 99.9% of the current "intrinsic" value of gold is just as arbitrary as the value of pieces of paper with numbers printed on them.

Of all the gold on the planet; how much is actually used for anything other than looking pretty? A few kilos a year to the electronics industry and a bit for electrochemical machining wire, and what else?

The intrinsic value probably depends upon how hungry you are.

If you happen to be Amish I suspect the intrinsic value of gold is rather low. If you have convinced someone else that the best thing he could do is swap all of his belongings for a couple of lumps of gold in your possession the intrinsic value is somewhat higher.

Romanus
2010-Nov-07, 08:25 PM
Let's not forget that Spain was also hamstrung by a long series of ineffective and/or dim bulbs after Phillip II.

tashirosgt
2010-Nov-08, 05:06 AM
If an economy can create more and more useful things and the money supply is held constant then shouldn't there be deflation? Imagine an economy in isolation, say on a small planet. Suppose it has one universal currency and a supply of gold in its vaults that hardly increases from year to year. If it sets a fixed ratio between its dollars and an ounce of gold and never changes it, won't prices have to drop as more and more goods come into existence? Perhaps the psychological reality of a planet populated by humans is that there would be an irrational resistance to lowering prices, sales would drop, the economy would stagnate.

Ivan Viehoff
2010-Nov-08, 03:45 PM
Another bit of history that is not as well known as it should be is that Winston Churchill was Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1924-1929 (in the conservative adminstration of Stanley Baldwin - Churchill was a liberal during part of his parliamentary career), and put Britain back onto the gold standard in 1924. A large part of the error was the high rate which was fixed, which made the British economy uneconomic in the export market. But the fixed money supply also resulted in deflation. This combination led to unemployment and the disastrous 1926 miners' strike.

Churchill later viewed this as the greated mistake of his life. JM Keynes wrote a book about it called "The Economic Consequences of Mr Churchill".

Ara Pacis
2010-Nov-10, 05:41 AM
As it is now, I'm leaning toward Milton Friedman's idea of fixed growth rates in the monetary base. Let the central bank basically be a computer, allowing no human mischief. You'd still need an overide there in case of emergencies, but maybe you could program that in. :lol: At any rate, I've decided the "money power" is just too dangerous to be in human hands.

That's what I've been thinking about for a while. Instead of a commodity money, we (as in the world) need a single fiat currency removed from political control that can change to reflect the sum total capacity or output of the world economy, but otherwise not be altered for short term effects. This would be a reserve currency for satellite/regional "central" banks that convert it to local currency. Thus, this digital and virtual world currency would act like a commodity without the detrimental effect of actually causing supply issues (hoarding or discovery) with a real and industrially useful commodity. Of course, this idea is predicated on the idea of a real, legitimate world government, and since that gets into politics, I'll leave it at that.

Cougar
2010-Nov-10, 03:11 PM
Actually, alongside my collection of "I voted" stickers, I have a "Free Silver!" sticker made by a group of my classmates from college for their presentation about Populism.

Well, that went right over my head. On the other hand, silver is at a 30-year high. Time to sell! (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=190465033932&ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT) :)

HenrikOlsen
2010-Nov-10, 03:27 PM
Well, that went right over my head.
Free Silver (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Silver) was a movement, started after the US moved from silver to gold as the base for the currency, with the intent to have the dollar on both a gold AND a silver standard at the same time, by demanding a forced acceptance by the mints of metallic silver in exchange for minted silver at a minor deduction for working it, as was the case for gold.
This at a time where silver production was exploding so the silver in silver coins was worth considerably less that their denomination and dropping fast, so it was in effect a movement to artificially prop up the silver price while forcing inflation for the benefit of debtors and at the expense of the banks.

It was never instituted as people with even a little bit of idea about economics could see that a double commodity based currency is just plain insanity as its a control system with more dependencies than variables.

Gillianren
2010-Nov-10, 07:40 PM
See also William Jennings Bryan.

http://www.micheloud.com/FXM/MH/crime/crossof.htm#Speech

swampyankee
2010-Nov-11, 01:02 AM
Or just look at history, when the Spanish started shipping gold from the Americas by the ton, they destroyed their economy and thus their empire to the point where they's just recovering now.

I think that Spain's economic woes had less to do with their import of gold and silver than their use of it for all sorts of military adventures in Europe.

Ronald Brak
2010-Nov-12, 01:35 AM
There are a couple of simple explanations for the current high price of gold beyond "OMG teh GFC! Time to POQ to buy Au." Firstly, gold production has been pretty flat for several years. We may have reached "peak gold", but improvements in mining technology could change this, or less likely, large new deposits could be found. Secondly, China has continued to experience impressive economic growth and India has been doing well as well. People in these countries often like to own gold and as people in these countries get richer on average they buy more. Anyway, it's probably not very helpful to have a unit of exchange that varies in response to mining practices and Indian fashion.

Ivan Viehoff
2010-Nov-12, 11:32 AM
>Anyway, it's probably not very helpful to have a unit of exchange that varies in response to mining practices and Indian fashion.
Putting aside fiat money, any commodity used as money is going to have such problems. Among potential commodities, gold is probably close to the best you can do, because it is (1) highly non-perishable (2) uniform and (3) scarce (although always at risk of a large find).

It is the use of cowrie shells I find bizarre.

A different idea is the use of certain non-scarce things which are labour-intensive to produce, such as tea-bricks, and lengths of woven cloth. They represent a kind of store of labour value. Though since they are perishable, they need to be things which are actually valued in common use, and not devalued by over-production. Mechanisation is of course the death of them.

Delvo
2010-Nov-12, 06:33 PM
What is the intrinsic value of gold?... Of all the gold on the planet; how much is actually used for anything other than looking pretty? A few kilos a year to the electronics industry and a bit for electrochemical machining wire, and what else?Well, decoration and fashion are real uses just as much as wiring is. But there is also still definitely a problem with the idea of gold as having intrinsic value. What's really useful is certain kinds of things made from it, like rings or wires or electrostatic plates... but not coins or bricks. If you need one thing made of gold and only have another, the fact that it's made of the same substance does you no good unless you have the ability to change it from one to the other. But how many people have the equipment and skills that that requires? Almost none. For anybody else, the ONLY thing you can do with gold coins or bricks is get rid of them in exchange for something else, something that's actually useful to you, like bread or a bike or even gold that somebody else has already put in the shape of a necklace for you... it has NO value to you other than as a way to get something else... just like with printed money or digital money.

captain swoop
2010-Nov-12, 08:55 PM
If an economy can create more and more useful things and the money supply is held constant then shouldn't there be deflation? Imagine an economy in isolation, say on a small planet. Suppose it has one universal currency and a supply of gold in its vaults that hardly increases from year to year. If it sets a fixed ratio between its dollars and an ounce of gold and never changes it, won't prices have to drop as more and more goods come into existence? Perhaps the psychological reality of a planet populated by humans is that there would be an irrational resistance to lowering prices, sales would drop, the economy would stagnate.

Japan is suffering from Deflation.

Ara Pacis
2010-Nov-14, 06:23 PM
Well, decoration and fashion are real uses just as much as wiring is. But there is also still definitely a problem with the idea of gold as having intrinsic value. What's really useful is certain kinds of things made from it, like rings or wires or electrostatic plates... but not coins or bricks. If you need one thing made of gold and only have another, the fact that it's made of the same substance does you no good unless you have the ability to change it from one to the other. But how many people have the equipment and skills that that requires? Almost none. For anybody else, the ONLY thing you can do with gold coins or bricks is get rid of them in exchange for something else, something that's actually useful to you, like bread or a bike or even gold that somebody else has already put in the shape of a necklace for you... it has NO value to you other than as a way to get something else... just like with printed money or digital money.


Why couldn't gold bricks be used for housing like regular bricks? Or maybe for non-corrosive cladding. There are a lot of things gold could be used for that it isn't used for because other materials are better at it, but that doesn't mean gold couldn't be used.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Nov-14, 06:57 PM
Why couldn't gold bricks be used for housing like regular bricks?
Too soft, too heavy, far too heat conductive. Utterly useless for making houses of compared to abobe or fired clay bricks.

captain swoop
2010-Nov-14, 07:57 PM
Gold has lots of uses apart from jewellery and currency

http://geology.com/minerals/gold/uses-of-gold.shtml

swampyankee
2010-Nov-14, 10:07 PM
I know that gold has some industrial uses, but many fewer than steel, titanium, aluminum, or beryllium. All of these uses are because its soft and relatively non-reactive, such as coating electrical connectors or for EDM wires. Gold compounds are (were?) also used for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Nonetheless, it's "intrinsic" value is certainly not based on its industrial utility.

publius
2010-Nov-14, 10:53 PM
Monkeys like shiny things, and the human variety likes gold as their shiny thing. The value we place upon gold is indeed not intrinsic, but psychological. Maybe we can say it is intrinsic *to us*, and not to gold itself. :) But at any rate, the thing is gold endures through history as a store of value. Its real price is not constant and those who tell you its an inflation hedge are wrong (it's a stinky-stuff-hits-the-fan hedge), but it nonetheless endures as something valuable.

If you're interested in the supply and demand "fundamentals" of gold to try and gauge how much of the recent gold bull market is due to fundamentals and how much is due to SHTF demand, look up the gold demand and production figures. Here's one, (a bit dated) from Kitco:

http://www.kitco.com/charts/CPM_charts.html

and here:

http://www.research.gold.org/supply_demand/

One important thing to keep in mind is that in terms of real (inflation adjusted) price, gold is nowhere near the peak of 1980. Depending on how you define the peak (instantaneous spot price vs various moving averages) and which price index you use, the 1980 peak was around $2400 in current dollars. If you look at it in terms of how much of the world's total (paper value) wealth was wrapped up in gold then, the current price would need to be over $5000.


-Richard

Ara Pacis
2010-Nov-15, 05:10 AM
Too soft, too heavy, far too heat conductive. Utterly useless for making houses of compared to abobe or fired clay bricks.

I'm not saying it would be better, just that it would be doable.