fredag 11. mars 2016

Is it Real Gold?

Norway is one of the few countries in the world where you can sell 14 karat gold alloys (585/1000) mixed with dead cheap silver and copper for ten times the price of pure gold.

Nevertheless, why the insane love of this metal? Traditions, believes and the golden luster. True enough, there is not much gold on Earth (32 739 tons). However, scarcity is really no reason for the metal to be valuable. One of the most common illustrations to show quantity is a dice.
   Imagine a shiny Yatzy-dice where the length is 21 meters in all directions. At first glance the dice would seem huge, but the average length of a swimming pool is 25 meters. Even more remarkable is the fact that you probably could buy Norway for the gold’s value. At the time of writing one gram of gold is worth about 345 NOK (45 USD). If you care to calculate the value of 9 261 square meters, go ahead. I don’t care, because I know that the real value of gold is negative 345 NOK a gram. How can gold be worth less than zero? Everybody knows that gold is valuable. This we have been taught from the day we were born. The filthy rich got a gold spoon when they were baptized, and poor buggers got a measly silver spoon. Gold is valuable because we are brainwashed to believe it is valuable.

Gold has negative value
First of all, gold is not versatile metal. Barley 12-15 % of the metal dug up will be used in industrial production. The remaining metal is turned into things we really do not need: jewelry, coins and bars. Most of the gold that is dug out of the ground, is buried again. This time in vaults of steel with security worth millions and heavily armed guards.
   Secondly, gold mining represents major environmental destruction. As a rule of the thumb, you can say that you have to wash one ton of earth, sand, gravel and stones to obtain one gram of the golden metal. Or, in other words: One kilo gold represents 1 000 ton of raped nature and the release of huge quantities of CO2. Spend a few minutes watching the gold-digger programs from Dug in Alaska. Not exactly virgin nature is smiling back to you after uncountable tons of soil have been sifted through by swearing gold-diggers. The Smithsonian   However, TV-gold diggers are small fry compared to the devastation done in other parts of the world. Small fry

Children are expendable
Europe and USA have long traditions with expendable children in factories and mines. However, in the 1830s a growing recognition that children should not be worked to death led to the Factory Act 1833 - UK. The next hundred and fifty years brought children more rights, and in 1989 UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child ratified a worldwide guide.
   However, knowledge is not enough, you have to apply. Child labor is still a part of life for the poor in Asia, Africa and South-America. Children are still expendable and easy to replace. Not only must children work in dangerous mines, they are also forced to extract gold with the use of Mercury. Child labour

Lethal Brain Coctail
Mercury fumes are a nerve toxin, and if the slave children do not die of poison, they are crippled for life. Another consequence is that at least 500 tons are released into the atmosphere every year and transported northward by the wind. Mercury does not break down, but builds up in the food chain. How much mercury ends up in the food we are eating, we don’t know. However, we do know that this extremely dangerous toxic of heavy metal, damage genes and hamper the development of the unborn child. Mercury pollution

Fairtrade gold is Fool’s Gold
Yes, but what about Fairtrade gold? How about paying the gold digger a little more money if employers  stick to the Fairtrade regime on working conditions, health, safety, chemicals, women’s rights, child labour and the protection of the environment? After all, we are talking about jobs!    Fairtrade gold is a bluff! Fairtrade gold is not sold in Norway, and only a small quantity is produced.  If a 14 karat Fairtrade gold ring, containing 2.4 grams of gold, were to be sold  for 4 000 NOK (470 USD), the gold producer (miner) would get 75 NOK (9 USD) bonus on top of the current spot price. There is no Fairtrade gold, only backbreaking toil. The only protection we can offer the environment is to leave the useless metal where it is. Fairtrade gold

Conflict Gold
Conflict gold is gold used to finance wars and conflicts. Blood diamonds are a well known concept, and conflict gold is a good number two. Prisoners of war, slaves and other unfortunates are forced to dig gold for the African warlords operating in The Democratic Republic of Congo. They spend the money buying weapons and support for any cause they think is worth killing for.
   Representatives from the mining industry declare that they are working for a conflict free gold standard. Yet this is another bluff from their propaganda machinery. The moment gold is refined and sold, it is impossible to know and to claim that this is conflict free gold or not. Gold is by nature conflict creating and always in conflict with basic human rights, nature, environment and development.

Unquenchable Gold Thirst
Just like King Midas and his golden touch neither rich nor poor are able to quench their thirst for gold.  Gold was, is and will be seen as valuable no matter what kind of damage. The metal is so coveted that nothing can stop it from being mined, purified, processed, stored and flaunted as a sign of wealth and power. The enormous challenge will be to dampen the destruction. How this is going to be done, only the gods know, but little indicate that changes will be made in favor for the better.

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