Friday, April 10, 2009
To quote J.M. Keynes whose reputation & alleged big government ideas are being dragged around by our leaders to cover their borrow & print "By a continuous process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method, they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some". Keynes was not nearly as good a Keynesian as his followers - this is a common problem affecting all deceased leaders from Jesus to Marx.
The total value of all the gold ever mined would be around $4.5 trillion. This is less than the value of circulating money in the U.S. alone, where more than $7.6 trillion is in circulation or in deposit. Therefore, a return to the gold standard, if also combined with a mandated end to fractional reserve banking, would result in a significant increase in the current value of gold.This is considered a significant disadvantage but it also suggests that the value of the metal is being artificially held down by government policies. There is also another factor. When the supply & demand prices of a good are out of whack a rise in the buying price will lead to an increase of supply thus bringing down the supply price.
If the value of gold went up where would the supply come from. Well it would certainly make more & deeper mining more feasible. However there is an untapped source of metals of all sorts.
Another example of wealth can be found on an asteroid called Amun, the smallest metallic asteroid of several dozen known. According to Lewis, Amun contains roughly 30 times as much metal as the entire amount of metals mined and processed over the history of humanity.I don't know the exact proportion of gold there but since fold is a very heavy metal we must expect that most of Earth's metal is trapped near the core whereas in an asteroid it will run much commoner.
I'm not exactly saying we should invest all our money in asteroid gold mining but I am saying (A) it & silver & platinum is going to be one of the many significant pay offs from space & (B) that for those libertarians who oppose X-Prizes or other government funding of space we already see the depression in what we might call the natural price of gold has acted as a disincentive - It seems to me that any distortion of the market encouraging space development by X-Prizes would not be more (& would cost the world hundreds of billions less) than the costs foregone by the fact that gold has not been expensive enough to prompt a space mining rush.
1. Send a government funded expedition like Ferdinand and Isabella sent Christopher Columbus. X-prizes are a variation on this. Besides it is better to have a national government fund this than abide by the Outer Space treaty and let the UN do it. Like your proposal New Spain returned vast amounts of gold and other worthwhile materials, which allowed Spain to pursue its foreign policy with a freer hand.
2. License a private company to settle a territory, like the British did with the Puritans. If I remember correctly Britain didn't make all that much money from the thirteen colonies, but I could be wrong.
Right now the Outer Space treaty and national laws prevent private men from claiming property, or settling space. So a successful space venture needs a state patron willing to defy the international order that declares that space is either off limits or property of the UN. The Reformation removed England from the European Union and gave it the opportunity to act independently of international authorities. The Reformation also gave the remaining countries under the Vatican's control an incentive to compete with England.
Right now there are two blocs, the West and China. The West doesn't have the courage to take on its internal enemies and China is busy developing. So we need a regional power like Brazil, Russia, Apartheid South Africa, maybe Japan? I can't think of any other countries that could do it.
Of course, Spain could explore again...
Another "power" that could do it is multinational corporations, operating from wherever is most friendly. For example Space Adventures is now based in Singapore. One aspect of such friendliness would be the existence of local X-Prizes. I wonder what size of X-Prize would be required to get Burt Rutan to move to Scotland?
2. During the housing bubble my mother went to go get her real estate license and went to take an eight week class for it. The instructor stated that if a landlord writes a lease longer than 99 years the title to the land reverts to the tenant. I don't know if this is because of the Common Law or the Arizona Revised Statutes. In practice if the colony became big enough it would want to determine its own future.
3. The Outer Space Treaty is one of many UN power grab treaties. Here is a partial list from memory:
A Law of the Sea Treaty
B Antarctic Treaty
C Outer Space Treaty
LOST states that the oceans belong to the UN, and that all businesses wanting to exploit the ocean floor need to share their technology with the UN so its wholly owned subsidiary can do it too. Also, LOST requires all businesses to pay taxes to the UN finally giving it a revenue stream independent of the US. The other treaties may be the same.
3. The US is wholly responsible for this abomination (LOST) even if we won't sign the treaty. We allow the UN sanctuary in our country, fund it and look the other way while our elite and academics write articles and promote this. We need to withdraw from the UN and expel it from our territory.
Even if seasteads had to have a state patron this need be no more onerous than applies to ships. We may get Panamanian registerd floating islands.
I remember that the issue I had that dealt with LOST stated that the treaty was written broadly enough that the Mississippi river could be regulated under it, and as such maybe even the Thames could be regulated as well. I remember reading that our bungled effort to recover from Katrina could have required the approval of the UN had we signed the treaty. After the local Black police were done looting the Army Corp of Engineers showed up with large diesel driven pumps to drain the floodwaters into Lake Pontchartrain, an act that dumped large amounts of contamination into a body of water that could in theory been regulated by the UN.
The last thing we need is to have ecopagans, socialists and Luddites controlling the entire globe with nowhere to run. Having the US with its large navy ratify the treaty would effectively make it binding law on every square inch of the globe. The Outer Space Treaty was written before LOST when the conquest of space was thought possible, and may contain most of the garbage that LOST does. You should do a post on LOST, OST and the Antarctic Treaty showing how they are stepping stones to world government.