Posts Tagged ‘Gold’

Quote note (#357)


Millions of millennia ago, in our own Milky Way galaxy, but far upstream of where we are today, two neutron stars spiraled around each other, each embodying the mass of a sun but smaller and faster than a speeding planet. Each of these tiny gigaworlds, millions of times denser than our sun, had been produced, not by a mere exploding star, but by a far more powerful supernova. Each supernova, burning a nuclear fire with a far greater power density than a normal star such as our sun, had besides a neutron star also produced a cavalcade of new elements. For elements lighter than iron, this nuclear fusion releases energy; but for elements heavier than iron, including copper, silver, and gold, nuclear fusion requires a net energy input as well as astronomical power densities. Our supernovae were powerful enough to create many metals, including copper and silver, from the fusion of lighter elements. But they were not powerful enough to create gold. Gold awaited the current, far more powerful and rarer event. […] Our two stars, fortuitously set into collision course by two separate supernovae, approached each other and then, captured by each others’ gravity, entered a death spiral. They collided in an unimaginable explosion, unleashing a power density far greater than that of a mere supernova and trillions of times greater than if a mere mountain-sized asteroid had hit the earth. The collision was so intense that it created a black hole and a burst of extremely high energy light called gamma rays. Escaping the black hole along with the gamma rays was a spray of new, heavier metals, including gold. This gold-rich cloud in part expanded and in part coalesced, participating in the subsequent formation of new solar systems, including our own. Due to this collision of rare intensity, our unusual solar system was seeded with astronomically rare heavy metals such as gold along with the more common supernova products such as copper and silver. …

His source.

June 2, 2017admin 57 Comments »

Quote note (#314)

Political economy as it ought to be done:

When business in the United States underwent a mild contraction in 1927, the Federal Reserve created more paper reserves in the hope of forestalling any possible bank reserve shortage. More disastrous, however, was the Federal Reserve’s attempt to assist Great Britain who had been losing gold to us because the Bank of England refused to allow interest rates to rise when market forces dictated (it was politically unpalatable). The reasoning of the authorities involved was as follows: if the Federal Reserve pumped excessive paper reserves into American banks, interest rates in the United States would fall to a level comparable with those in Great Britain; this would act to stop Britain’s gold loss and avoid the political embarrassment of having to raise interest rates. The “Fed” succeeded; it stopped the gold loss, but it nearly destroyed the economies of the world, in the process. The excess credit which the Fed pumped into the economy spilled over into the stock market, triggering a fantastic speculative boom. Belatedly, Federal Reserve officials attempted to sop up the excess reserves and finally succeeded in braking the boom. But it was too late: by 1929 the speculative imbalances had become so overwhelming that the attempt precipitated a sharp retrenching and a consequent demoralizing of business confidence. As a result, the American economy collapsed. Great Britain fared even worse, and rather than absorb the full consequences of her previous folly, she abandoned the gold standard completely in 1931, tearing asunder what remained of the fabric of confidence and inducing a world-wide series of bank failures. The world economies plunged into the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

With a logic reminiscent of a generation earlier, statists argued that the gold standard was largely to blame for the credit debacle which led to the Great Depression. If the gold standard had not existed, they argued, Britain’s abandonment of gold payments in 1931 would not have caused the failure of banks all over the world. (The irony was that since 1913, we had been, not on a gold standard, but on what may be termed “a mixed gold standard”; yet it is gold that took the blame.) But the opposition to the gold standard in any form — from a growing number of welfare-state advocates — was prompted by a much subtler insight: the realization that the gold standard is incompatible with chronic deficit spending (the hallmark of the welfare state). Stripped of its academic jargon, the welfare state is nothing more than a mechanism by which governments confiscate the wealth of the productive members of a society to support a wide variety of welfare schemes. A substantial part of the confiscation is effected by taxation. But the welfare statists were quick to recognize that if they wished to retain political power, the amount of taxation had to be limited and they had to resort to programs of massive deficit spending, i.e., they had to borrow money, by issuing government bonds, to finance welfare expenditures on a large scale.

The Great Depression myth is among the most disastrous ideological catastrophes in history.

The article (all good) is by a young Alan Greenspan, which is a cautionary lesson in personal degeneration.

December 8, 2016admin 39 Comments »
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Oil Pulse (II)

Given two finite natural commodities, one a consumable energy resource undergoing accelerating absolute depletion, the other an indestructible precious metal, there can be no question about the fundamental trend of price divergence, surely? Except, apparently there can. Pure reason (or principled intuition) fails once again:


The world seems determined to thrash us into empiricism.


If there is a trend, it shows up more persuasively in the erratic sequence of consistently-escalating negative oil price shocks.

ADDED: Patri Friedman helpfully points to Hotelling’s Rule.

January 30, 2015admin 31 Comments »

Rhythmic Reality

Read history through a real unit of account, and suddenly it emits hard information:


(Chart from azizonomics, via my favorite communist.)

September 10, 2014admin 3 Comments »