Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fool's Gold

I’ve spent some time beating up on witless conspiracy theorists/”truthers” this month and I’m almost over it. That said, there is one more topic dear to their heart I’d like to skewer before moving on and writing something more relevant. Today I’m going to talk about gold. That’s right, gold, that shiny metal that makes pirates go “argh!”

You may have heard as of late that the world economy is teetering on the brink of collapse. In fact, according to conspiracy loons, this imminent economic collapse has been right around the corner since…well, let’s say it’s been so long it’s not actually imminent. At any rate, given the impending doom, you may have heard it’s a good time to buy gold (or, if you can’t afford gold, silver). Why gold? Because as any conspiracy theorist will tell you, gold is real money. Meaning, gold will be the only thing that is still valuable if fiat money collapses; fiat money being whatever a government declares to be money. The conflict in monetary theory arises from the fact that In the United States, until 1971, fiat money – dollars and coins – were theoretically convertible/exchangeable for gold. Well, some economic theorists (basically the weathermen of the business sector and just about as accurate) insist that fiat money is actually useless, having no intrinsic value. If an issuing government decides to withdraw any guarantee of their money’s worth, YOU won’t have anything tangible to exchange for goods or services but what you already own. To complete the circle, that’s why it’s considered necessary by people who’d like to see the world’s economy collapse to have gold. After all, it says only gold and silver shall be legal tender, right there, in the US Constitution Article I Section 10. Wait, is this where the idea of gold as ‘real money’ is coming from?

I think it is amusing that the people who buy gold as a hedge against an economic collapse or runaway inflation are the same people who wish dearly for the collapse of the US government (for starters). The thing is, if they’re getting the notion of gold being real money from the US Constitution, then the US government must avoid collapse for the US Constitution to retain its meaning. Sure, “truthers” could organize their own country and write their own constitution that values gold, but we’re talking about the same people who couldn’t organize a bake sale that didn’t sell special brownies. Naturally, conspiracy nuts couldn’t possibly be so ignorant as to not see this, so where else might they be getting the idea that gold is worth more than anything else? Where are they getting the idea that only gold (and sometimes silver) is real money?

Advocates of gold like to point out the history of gold’s many uses. Problem is, such a view is wrong. Yes, gold has been used as currency in the past. Funny thing is, in being so, it was actually fiat money since how much a gold coin was worth was derived from a state’s laws. Before gold’s use as money, it was used in the making of all sorts of ornaments, seeing how purty it is, to say nothing of its malleability. That’s right, gold’s value was – and often still is – based upon its aesthetics. In the 20th century, gold has become very useful in the manufacturing of electronics due to its conductive properties and resistance to corrosion, but this does not count as part of gold’s historic value since this value of gold is rather new. Now, obviously I can’t say gold hasn’t been valuable to many people over the course of history but what I’d like to point out is that gold is no more valuable than anything else: What is valuable arises from the agreement of two or more people. While two or more people can agree that gold is valuable and can be used in exchanges (which is what money is, a facilitator of exchanges), two or more people can just as easily agree that sex is valuable enough to be used in exchanges. Thousands of years ago, two people would have considered sea shells a better form of money than a hunk of gold and used that in exchanges. That said, gold does not have any inherent value. Such an idea is utter nonsense.

My reasoned and brief examination of gold as not being inherently valuable will not stop the nearly-certifiably insane from insisting gold is real money, especially if they actually own gold. In such cases, the owner of such “money” pray for economic collapse so that they will become the new upper class. Not surprisingly, conspiracy wackos who buy gold are the same people who buy lottery tickets despite the odds (at least the ones I know). Somehow, despite the millions-to-one odds, they’re banking on an early retirement by either winning the lottery or the collapse of the New World Order, an organization that has the whole world under their thumb while the world simultaneously teeters on economic collapse. (That’s the consistency of their theorizing for ya.)

Finally, I’d like to say that should the conspiracy asshats be right and the world economies and world governments collapse, what’s going to stop me from going to their house with a gun and taking their gold or anything else they have? Their own guns? Wow, I guess I just pointed out something more valuable than gold come the apocalypse. Although, it’s not like I need it to shoot fish in this here barrel.

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