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The future of gold?


#1

Hello fellow metal bashers,

It’s been a while since I’ve written, but I saw an item in today’s
paper that made me laugh. It fits right in with some of the
admittedly offensive streams of consciousness that meander through
my lively mind. Gotta do something to keep entertained while my hands
are busy.

A Chinese jewelry tycoon, Lam Sai-wing, recently died. The photo
accompanying the article showed him seated in surroundings of
stunningly rococo oriental excessiveness. Well, I said to myself, to
each his own in matters of taste. Lam’s most outstanding claim to
fame - he built the world’s most expensive bathroom. The centrepiece

  • a solid gold toilet worthfive million dollars. On this subject Lam
    explained that he was inspired by the words of his boyhood hero,
    Russian revolutionary, Vladimir Lenin.

Surprised? I was. Lenin is an unlikely source of inspiration, I
thought, for a jewelry tycoon.

What had Lenin said?

“After the revolution and the victory of socialism, gold should be
used to make toilets - to remind people of capitalist waste.”

Let’s think about this.

Given the current meltdown (appropriate word) in the very heart of
capitalism, the hemorrhaging of astronomical sums of imaginary and
illusory dollars down the tubes, the disappearance of various forms
of “value” (hah!) upon which millions of people centred their hopes
and dreams, I though Lenin’s thoughts might resonate.

There can come a time in anyone’s life when even a golden toilet
would willingly be traded for a good loaf of bread. eh?

No offense at all is intended to all you goldsmiths out there - your
personal value is in your creativity and skills, not in the bits of
metal you work. At least, I hope you see things that way.

With affection,
Marty


#2
Given the current meltdown (appropriate word) in the very heart of
capitalism, the hemorrhaging of astronomical sums of imaginary and
illusory dollars down the tubes, the disappearance of various
forms of "value" (hah!) upon which millions of people centred their
hopes and dreams, I though Lenin's thoughts might resonate. 

Maybe the answer to this isn’t golden toilets, though. Perhaps we
should be reconsidering the original place gold held in backing
currency. Would the value of paper money evaporate as easily, if that
paper were backed by an actual material with (percieved) value, like
gold, as it used to be, instead of being backed only by the
government who printed it.

As to the gold toilet and loaf of bread, again, yes perhaps I could
be in sufficiently dire straits as to want to trade you my gold
toilet for a loaf of bread. But oh, by the way. Tomorrow, after I’ve
finished the bread, and need to deal with it’s residue, can I borrow
your new gold toilet again, please? (grin)

Peter


#3

Hi Marty;

After the revolution and the victory of socialism, gold should be
used to make toilets - to remind people of capitalist waste. 

Value, or the perception of value, is a strange and complex thing.
In China, a black bear’s gall bladder can fetch a lot of money. In my
opinion, it’s a cruel waste of the life of a beautiful animal,
arguable one that’s in danger of extinction in some places. And I
suspect if’s efficacy as a medicinal is similar to that of snake oil.

Gold, diamonds, etc., achieve their market value as a result of
scarcity, demand, and the elaborate systems of mining, distribution,
and marketing. Why is a beautiful amethyst worth less than a much
smaller mediocre emerald? Not with me, the amethyst will sell itself,
the emerald needs talking up.

I have a 1973 Stratocaster guitar, which I bought new back then. I
saw one like it on Ebay, asking price, nearly $7000. I paid $275 for
it new. Will I sell mine? I doubt it. That guitar earned me my way
through college as I played weekends in Country Western bars, strip
clubs, biker parties. I dodged a lot of flying beer bottles in my
time. But for $7000, I could probably buy several of the best new
guitars on the market, ones that would play and sound better than
the old Strat.

You’re right, our skills and talents and hard work should determine
the value of what we make, but for all times, jewelry’s value has
been largely based on the beauty and rarity of the materials. The
master craftsman who made it usually remain anonymous. I say, sell
both values, because WalMart is selling gold without craftsman, and
all the high end manufacturers are selling their name with products
that have little originality or design. Make good jewelry, use good
materials, hope for the best. At least you’ll have a product you can
believe in. And that’s the secret to successful sales.

David L. Huffman