Thursday, May 26, 2005

ALL THAT GLITTERS Is Gold

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Central State Museum Kazakhstan
Gold is the oldest metal. It caught the eye of stone age humans. At first, humans looked only for rocks that could be shaped into tools which meant mostly flints and obsidian. But once humans conquered the rigors of the Ice Ages, they turned their minds to the subject of creating beautiful things. This is when carving of images, decorating bones and drawing on stones and cave walls suddenly appeared.

And they found gold.

Easily melted and shaped by hammering, gold shimmers and shines like the sun reflecting off of still water. The sun was most precious as the last Ice Age reluctantly loosed its grip on the land. And gold was the sun that never set. Gold has some uses in industry because of its density and stability but its primary purpose is magical. It glitters and catches the eye and the precious sunlight qualities makes it most precious to us all.

We worship gold. It is a religious matter more than anything.

Gold has been used as a marker for money. It is tangible and beautiful so it stands in place for value. Silver does this too, only it is much more common thus cheaper value. Rarity has something to say in this matter. So why am I talking suddenly about this?

"Gold mining 'key to poor nations' says the BBC today. I read the article and then saw this:
"The gold industry is of tremendous and growing importance to highly indebted countries," WGC chief executive James Burton said.
Want to guess which country produces the most gold today? Hmmm....here is the list of countries panning for gold:
GLOBAL GOLD PRODUCTION 2004 (metric tons)
South Africa: 343
United States: 262
Australia: 258
China: 217
Canada: 129
Indonesia: 114
Ghana: 58
Tanzania: 48
Mali: 39
Guyana: 15
The world's biggest debtor nation is the world's second biggest digger of gold. Isn't this..poetic justice? The African nations frantically sell gold so they can pay off high debts incurred by projects riddled with corruption and inappropriate technology handed over to the nascent rulers who took over from the colonial empires.
The WGC also called on the International Monetary Fund not to sell its gold reserves as a means to fund debt relief for poorer countries.

The warning comes as the UK - as current head of the G8 group of the world's seven most industrialised nations and Russia - is calling on the IMF to sell some of its gold reserves to fund debt-relief plans.

However another member the United States has opposed the move.
Ahem. Hahaha. Russia used to be a gold rush country. This is why Siberia was annexed: gold and fur. The Czars wanted and needed both. When one looks at the great horde of riches of the Czars, one is looking at the fruits of this gold rush, for much of it is from the period of time when Siberia was ruthlessly exploited. Unlike the American gold rush, the Czars controlled the mineral assets of Siberia and used prisoner slave labor to dig out and process the gold. This is why the gold produced a lot of fancy knick knacks and goodies for the rulers of Russia and precious little wealth for the people which is one reason why the Czar and his family were lined up against a wall and shot.
Oxfam, which supports the sale of gold reserves to finance debt relief, said that the policy has the support of leading African gold producers including Tanzania and South Africa.

"The IMF believes it can be done in a way that would not hurt the price and would not penalise these countries," said Oxfam spokeswoman Helen Palmer.
Question: why does the IMF have to sell anything to cancel debts? The USA plans to ditch our debts by simply ditching them. This happens all the time. Argentina did this recently. What the IMF is doing is holding onto debts that were ridiculous in the first place and forcing poor people to pay them or else. Selling gold off will only tear apart the gold investors who will be out for blood and I am talking about quite a few rather rich people including the Saudi Royals and gold investors who surround Bush especially those who mine the gold.

I remember when Greg Palast was taken to court for an article detailing the bloody history of some of these people. The gold mining scam in Indonesia which ended with a literal splat as a man who claimed he found vast gold mining potential there jumped out of a helicopter. Some on line groups worried about world oil supplies are also worried about money suddenly collapsing as the monetaristic religion of the Bretton Woods deals collapses so they have invested heavily in gold. And what will the real rulers do?

Jerk around the gold market, of course.

Fort Knox has a lot of gold that can be dumped. This makes America a key player, being one of the very top gold producers as well as holder, we do have an arm lock on this particular metal right now.

My position is, there is no safe haven. All things intertwine and every time someone thinks they have a nifty "out" they discover there is none. The only thing in this universe that has real value is humans cooperating. Yes, the unity of mind and action is the Holy Grail. This is why joint ventures are better than the lone hero. Why families stubbornly survive and even thrive when things are hard. The lonely individual is a lion's dinner.

The story of Midas' touch is ancient and true. You can't eat gold. Gold can't buy love. It can be useful but not when everything is falling apart. When the Mongols took Babylon they asked the ruler, "Look at all your gold, why didn't you use it to buy more troops?" and the Vizier couldn't answer them.

I was reviewing Paul Kennedy's famous book, "The Rise and Fall of Great Powers" and noted suddenly that he didn't talk about gold hunting. When the Europeans went forth on their ships they were seeking ways to China to see if they could pry off, via theft, the great wealth in Asia. They couldn't attack China directly but could pry off bits and pieces of the outer edges. When Columbus stumbled upon the New World, the very first thing he noted in his diary was astonishment at all the gold jewelry and how swiftly the stone age people wanted iron and were willing to trade gold for iron. Columbus had to threaten his crew with punishment because they nearly tore the ships apart selling the nails for gold. When Columbus returned to Spain, he came with excited tales about gold. The poor people of the New World were forcibly turned into miserable slaves to dig up and send off to Spain all that gold. Most died.

The quest for gold was because China demanded payment in gold for trade. No goods. This is why the Chinese fell behind the ravening Europeans in technology and they forced Europe into invading since this was a great way to get back all that gold: burning cities and stealing everything, outright. Which takes us to today: America is where all the gold has been flowing, all excess lending money is flowing here and we are going deeper into debt as we spend it on frivolities and silly stuff, neglecting our people, our industry, everything.

We are the new Old China.
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