Gold fact of the day

…the world produces a cube of gold that is about 4.3 meters (about 14
feet) on each side every year. In other words, all of the gold produced
worldwide in one year could just about fit in the average person’s
living room!

The total amount of gold, ever produced by mankind, is estimated to fill only one-third of the Washington Monument.  Here are the calculations, including an estimate for the even more scarce platinum.  Hat tip to Jason Kottke.

Comments

The version I heard, as a high schooler on a field trip to the New York Fed circa 1982, was that all the gold ever mined, if formed into a cube, could fit inside a basball diamond.

Here's another platinum trivia point, via Isaac Asimov. You can make a relatively small piece of platinum, say a one-meter cube, and put enough handholds on it for it to be lifted by the "bare, unaided strength" of the exact number of people it would take to lift it, but in reality, they would be unable to do so.

The reason why is because that one-meter cube of platinum would weigh 22,420 kilograms (49,429 pounds). If you assume that a typical person can lift maybe 120 kilograms (265 pounds) through their "bare, unaided strength," it would take 187 people to lift it. While you could put enough handholds on the platinum cube for all those people to grab onto, in reality, you could really only fit about nine people around that one-meter cube to lift it.

It's a classic example of the kind of problem whose solution is possible, but not practical.

but the pure laisser-faire nonsense he espouses is a huge part of what got us into this diaster in the first place.

What wacky weed have you been smokin'?

The one thing that Ron Paul 'nominally' gets right is that Greenspan held interest rates too low for too long in an attempt to fight delfation and thereby encouraged bubbles, the housing bubble in particular. And Greenspan did work for the government.

Of course, it's a silly argument because had there been a more competent, non-"free markets solve all problems" Fed chair in his place, we'd almost certainly be in much better condition than we are now.

The evidence is now undeniable what happens when we put one of you free market radicals in charge. Very bad things.

Because, like you, he had a misplaced faith in free markets to solve all problems, and did not exercise his authority to bring more transparency and regulation, something every credible economist on the right and the left now believes we needed much, much more of.

Greenspan himself, Libertarian to his very core, has publicly admitted this serious mistake.

Will you?

"Ron Paul is fun to listen to and a smart guy, but the pure laisser-faire nonsense
he espouses is a huge part of what got us into this diaster in the first place. R
on Paul should go hide with his guns and stop pretending he understands economics,
where all he does is fire up people who aren't smart enough to understand anything
more nuanced than "government bad"."

If you think that "pure laisser-faire nonsense" is even a minute part of the current
situation (disaster has a specific meaning in risk management and it isn't applicable here,
you are the one pretending to understand economics. People who, for a minute espouse that
view are either brain dead or invincibly ignorant and easy fodder for politicians with
messianic delusions who prey on idiots that are leading us on the road to serfdom.

"Ron Paul is fun to listen to and a smart guy, but the pure laisser-faire nonsense
he espouses is a huge part of what got us into this diaster in the first place. R
on Paul should go hide with his guns and stop pretending he understands economics,
where all he does is fire up people who aren't smart enough to understand anything
more nuanced than "government bad"."

If you think that "pure laisser-faire nonsense" is even a minute part of the current
situation (disaster has a specific meaning in risk management and it isn't applicable here,
you are the one pretending to understand economics. People who, for a minute espouse that
view are either brain dead or invincibly ignorant and easy fodder for politicians with
messianic delusions who prey on idiots that are leading us on the road to serfdom.

When the hyper-inflation comes (some time in the next five years)

Maybe if you understood how recessions and interest rates work, you would know that we're probably headed toward not hyperinflation but rather deflation (unless the Fed does something about it). Actually, it's funny: one good policy for the Fed to pursue would be inflation because that will increase real interest rates and give people an incentive to invest. And maybe if you understood that, you wouldn't be such an ardent supporter of a loony gold standard.

Daniel Reeves,

Quantitative easing on steroids will produce inflation, no deflation. This is not your father's Great Depression.

How could it be otherwise, in a nation with massive consumer and government debt? Economists outsmart themselves when they try to analyze the inflation-vs-deflation issue, because at this point it's purely a matter of politics, not economics. Many economists will get this wrong, while laypersons wholly ignorant of economics are actually far more likely to deduce the correct answer.

How could it be otherwise, in a nation with massive consumer and government debt?

Because that really has nothing to do with it.

conomists outsmart themselves when they try to analyze the inflation-vs-deflation issue, because at this point it's purely a matter of politics, not economics.

1) the Federal Reserve is not hampered by the political process.

2) There's no other way to interpret your comment than to conclude that you don't think you understand that recessions, left unchecked, usually create low inflation (or deflation) and not high inflation (in such a case, it would be stagflation). With our current extremes, stagflation is far from a possibility; in fact we are possibly looking at deflation. And, you know, we actually want a good amount of inflation because that would lower real interest rates.

Many economists will get this wrong, while laypersons wholly ignorant of economics are actually far more likely to deduce the correct answer.

No.

The idea that the Federal Reserve is not hampered by the political process is patently absurd. This can only be true if by "political process" one means something akin to "election cycle."

To state "we actually want a good amount of inflation" assumes "we" have the same goals, asset and debt structure, age, etc.

I have been amused with level of gold in ocean water (one estimate: a cube approximately 1/2 mile per side). Perhaps a method for mining it involves farming organisms which make use of it (at some very different price level than today's).

Amoebas with really little pans?

Anon At 3:45. Then don't tell the Japanese about my army of amoebas. I don't want to give away my idea before I get a patent.

Ron Paul is fun to listen to and a smart guy, but the pure laisser-faire nonsense
he espouses is a huge part of what got us into this diaster in the first place. R
on Paul should go hide with his guns and stop pretending he understands economics,
where all he does is fire up people who aren't smart enough to understand anything
more nuanced than "government bad".

I agree with you!

my favourite gold fact: The source of ALL gold on earth and elsewhere, is the last couple of sequences during a supernova.

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