Rocketman on October 10, 2009, 11:10:24 am

Actually, the single largest industrial use of silver is passing fast, with the replacement of film by digital cameras, both motion and still.  Just a couple of months back was the announcement that they're going to take the Kodachrome away.
  Actually that's a common fallacy.  While your right that they're not using much silver for photographs any more there are all kinds of new uses for silver being discovered.  For example, I read recently that silver works as a broad spectrum virus killer.  It seems that silver ions actually loosens the chemical bonds of viruses which helps keep the viruses from multiplying and spreading.  Silver coated facemasks have been developed to help keep you from getting colds.  And that's just one example.

Sandy:  As a lawyer I'm sure that you know more about this than I do, but it's my understanding that the "law of the sea" treaty" allows the U.N. to tax any vessel that traverses the seas.  They can tax out of existence any nation that depends on marine commerce.  The old saying that the power to tax is the power to destroy is applicable here.  >:(

J Thomas on October 10, 2009, 03:49:09 pm
If ever an alchemist figures out how to create gold on demand, in the way that Ben Bernanke creates faith-based paper currency on his printing press, the value of gold will plummet just as the value of faith-based paper currency has.

Value is in the eye of the beholder.

If we got cheap gold we would be a lot better off, apart from its use as a medium of exchange. There are lots of things that would benefit from goldplating or being made of solid gold, that we currently can't afford.

Given the technology, we could do barter without a lot of inconvenience. Say you own a few tons of wheat. You want to buy a pair of shoes. You go online and see who'll trade something for your wheat, and who'll trade something for that, and the network traces a path of trades from you to the guy with the shoes. If either of you thinks it's too expensive then no sale, maybe try again later.

Some things would trade easily and quickly. Some would hold value well. You don't have money, you have stuff that you hope somebody wants.

There would be no guarantee that whatever you have will keep its value. Paintings by grand masters get more and less valuable as fashions shift. Grain gets more and less valuable as people have more or less time available to drink alcohol products. No guarantees, you take your chances like everybody else. If there's a government they can tax your stuff or outright confiscate it. They can temporarily decrease the resale value of your wheat by taking their strategic wheat reserve and dumping it on the market. But there's a subtle difference between that and the government printing money.

SandySandfort on October 10, 2009, 06:55:38 pm
Sandy:  As a lawyer I'm sure that you know more about this than I do, but it's my understanding that the "law of the sea" treaty" allows the U.N. to tax any vessel that traverses the seas.  They can tax out of existence any nation that depends on marine commerce.  The old saying that the power to tax is the power to destroy is applicable here.  >:(

News to me. I'm not saying your are wrong. I just don't know either way. (If I had to guess, though, either no such power exists or even if it does, no one would comply with it.) Also, as far as I can tell, there isn't a nation on earth that doesn't depend on marine commerce. So it is in nobody's best interest to give the UN such a power.

wdg3rd on October 11, 2009, 11:40:45 am
Sandy:  As a lawyer I'm sure that you know more about this than I do, but it's my understanding that the "law of the sea" treaty" allows the U.N. to tax any vessel that traverses the seas.  They can tax out of existence any nation that depends on marine commerce.  The old saying that the power to tax is the power to destroy is applicable here.  >:(

News to me. I'm not saying your are wrong. I just don't know either way. (If I had to guess, though, either no such power exists or even if it does, no one would comply with it.) Also, as far as I can tell, there isn't a nation on earth that doesn't depend on marine commerce. So it is in nobody's best interest to give the UN such a power.

It's there.  It just isn't much enforced.  Like a lot of laws.  Reread Rand.  Those who claim to rule need productive "guilty" people available for the next crackdown.  Like having a ten year old parking ticket brought up when you try to register a five year old "new" car.
Ward Griffiths        wdg3rd@aol.com

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.  --  Denis Diderot

SandySandfort on October 11, 2009, 11:46:34 am
It's there.  It just isn't much enforced.  Like a lot of laws.

Anybody got an actual citation?

wdg3rd on October 11, 2009, 01:18:16 pm
It's there.  It just isn't much enforced.  Like a lot of laws.

Anybody got an actual citation?
The full text is at  <http://www.un.org/Depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/closindx.htm>.  It's a bit thick (as in pile it higher and deeper, like the Patriot Act and the Obamacare Bill) and I haven't read it all the way through in over two decades (nor am I going to now), so there may be amendments I've missed.  Not a big priority for a computer geek whose main source of seafood is cans.  (wdg2nd and wdg1st were seriously into deep-sea fishing, mostly off Baja, but if I really want fresh fish, I prefer to use explosives that the DHS is making it hard to buy without a permit --  I'm not a sportsman like my ancestors were but my baby sister [she's 50] has a picture of those two assholes with some dead swordfish or something on her myspace page).


« Last Edit: October 11, 2009, 01:22:37 pm by wdg3rd »
Ward Griffiths        wdg3rd@aol.com

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.  --  Denis Diderot

Rocketman on October 11, 2009, 01:24:59 pm
I got the following for "The New American"

"Moreover, LOST may conger upon the UN, for the first time, the ability to tax Americans directly without congressional approval."
"Many Americans have experienced firsthand just how burden U. S. regulation of our own waterways, including wetlands regulations can be.  But how about international  regulation of our waterways?"  "What national interest can be served by subjecting ourselves to the regulatory ministrations and taxing authority of UN bureaucrats and judges and the legational ploys of foriegn dictators and anti-american NGO's."  "Obviously, none."  "Nonetheless, Senate ratification of LOST is a 'top priority' for the new Obama administration."  
« Last Edit: October 11, 2009, 01:26:39 pm by Rocketman »

SandySandfort on October 11, 2009, 02:37:53 pm
The full text is at  <http://www.un.org/Depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/closindx.htm>.  It's a bit thick (as in pile it higher and deeper, like the Patriot Act and the Obamacare Bill) and I haven't read it all the way through in over two decades (nor am I going to now)...

Nor do I. I have neither the time or burden of proof. However, if anyone can point to an actual citation of the relevant chapter and verse, I will be happy to address it.

quadibloc on October 12, 2009, 11:51:42 am
Tradition has it that money was invented by a king. I believe Herodotus hd a name for the king, Croesus maybe. The place was definitely Lydia.

Yes, but paper money was invented in China. Only the fiercely dictatorial rule of the Chinese Emperor could institute such a thing originally.

Asteroid mining, or gold from seawater as a byproduct of desalination and uranium extraction, could indeed cause the value of gold to decline, but we probably have some time before that happens.

J Thomas on October 12, 2009, 04:38:20 pm
Tradition has it that money was invented by a king. I believe Herodotus hd a name for the king, Croesus maybe. The place was definitely Lydia.

Yes, but paper money was invented in China. Only the fiercely dictatorial rule of the Chinese Emperor could institute such a thing originally.

The romans did something vaguely like that at some point, it may have been pieces of leather to represent cows or something similar. it isn't just autocrats, there are times when people really want to run things on promises. When they see opportunities to create a whole lot of wealth, but they can't pay to develop it yet, only after the development is done....  A lot of times people are willing to work for promises but they want to have those promises very clearly made and they like it if they can sell the promises too. So money -- not valuables to barter with, but money -- is consistently a promise. It's worth as much as people's faith that it will pay off someday, plus the convenience of having it to circulate today.

Quote
Asteroid mining, or gold from seawater as a byproduct of desalination and uranium extraction, could indeed cause the value of gold to decline, but we probably have some time before that happens.

Gold as money depends on there not being too much gold mining to dilute the value. Sometimes it's better to depend on the vagaries of miners and markets than to depend on whoever gets to issue money as promises. Anybody who gets to pay for things with promises might at some point violate the trust people have in them....

But the more gold we have available to use for actual uses, the better off we are. Get the price of gold down to, say, $5/pound and a whole lot of our machines can be redesigned to work better. We would be rich in a completely different way than just owning something that people want.

Brugle on October 12, 2009, 06:56:21 pm
there are times when people really want to run things on promises. When they see opportunities to create a whole lot of wealth, but they can't pay to develop it yet, only after the development is done
Lending at interest is certainly easier with money, but doesn't require it.  "If you buy me a hamburger today, I'll give you two hamburgers on Tuesday."

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money -- not valuables to barter with, but money -- is consistently a promise
No, money is anything that is used as a medium of exchange.  Valuables have often been used for money, and still are in some places.  Traditional banknotes are promises, typically to redeem the note on demand for a specified amount of a precious metal, although I wouldn't be surprised to see other standardized goods used as backing for banknotes in the future.  Federal reserve notes are neither inherently valuable nor have promises to redeem them for anything, but are still used as money (since people expect that nearby stores will trade valuable goods for them).

Quote
Gold as money depends on there not being too much gold mining to dilute the value. Sometimes it's better to depend on the vagaries of miners and markets than to depend on whoever gets to issue money as promises.
Gold (or anything else) is useful as money if (among other things) its relative value is fairly constant in the short term.  When I sell something (such as my labor) for money and use the money to pay the rent, I don't care whether the same money would pay the rent 20 years from now (unless I signed a 20-year lease, of course).

If I want wealth in the future, I might collect some precious good (perhaps money), start a business, educate myself to increase my earning power, or something else.  Depending on money to retain or increase its value might work out well or might not, just as any investment decision might work out well or might not.

All else being equal, a good that is expected to retain its value for a long time would be a better money than a good that is expected to lose some value in the same time, but all else is seldom equal.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2009, 07:45:59 pm by Brugle »

terry_freeman on October 13, 2009, 07:09:41 pm
Before gold clauses were abrogated in the 1930s, it was common practice to write contracts in terms of gold. Some even specified a reputable private mint. Such contracts are an excellent hedge against inflation, under most conditions; governments can print paper, but they can't print gold.


Frank B. on October 14, 2009, 05:04:48 pm
Before gold clauses were abrogated in the 1930s, it was common practice to write contracts in terms of gold. Some even specified a reputable private mint. Such contracts are an excellent hedge against inflation, under most conditions; governments can print paper, but they can't print gold.

Well, they use to (debasing the metal in the coin), but paper is infinitely more inflatable.  :)

browncoat4 on December 16, 2009, 11:02:10 am
Yes, i see several correlations to Heinlein's the moon is a harsh mistress, the state of social anarchy is interesting in such an environment. Anarchy may not be the best idea (do libertarians have building inspectors?) but it is infinitely preferable to the state of social repression that would be found in a world run by the UN and others of their worthless, incompetent ilk. However i do not think that what we saw in this beautiful and well written comic was actually anarchy. It seemed to be more like a state of self governance, like democracy with out the middle man. if you pooped in the drinking water, everyone who didn't like it was going to gather around and beat you with sticks. there you go, democracy, majority rules.

SandySandfort on December 16, 2009, 12:45:51 pm
Yes, i see several correlations to Heinlein's the moon is a harsh mistress, the state of social anarchy is interesting in such an environment. Anarchy may not be the best idea (do libertarians have building inspectors?)...

Yes, but not in the coercive sort of way. Whenever a question like this comes up, I ask the person, "Okay, assuming there were no government building inspectors, how would you solve this problem? It turns out that most statists are completely stymied. They cannot even conceive of the existence of a solution that does not involve coercion. Every once in a while, though, I see a light go on as the questioner has an "aha" moment. Now I am not accusing you of being a statist. That was just an extreme example. So, if there were no building inspectors and you thought there should be, what could you, or someone else, do to rectify this situation? (This question goes for anyone else who wants to jump in.)

... However i do not think that what we saw in this beautiful and well written comic was actually anarchy. It seemed to be more like a state of self governance, like democracy with out the middle man. if you pooped in the drinking water, everyone who didn't like it was going to gather around and beat you with sticks. there you go, democracy, majority rules.

You used one important word, "everyone," i.e., individuals. Some people wouldn't care, some would care, but not enough to do any thing about it. Those that did beat you with a stick, had better have an airtight self-defense argument ready, when you take them to arbitration.

You also labeled this self-help as democracy. Well, it isn't. The demos (people) do not rule anyone but themselves. They, and they alone, are responsible for their acts. A group of people with sticks is no more "majority rule" than one guy with a stick.

Self-defense, is a universally recognized right. However, it might be a stretch to whack a guy with a stick to stop him from defecating in your drinking water and he refused when you asked him nicely to stop polluting your water. Then I can envision a possible need for the stick. Otherwise, no.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2009, 04:00:16 pm by SandySandfort »

 

anything