November 11, 2019

All of the money...



I don't think that's how "money" works, but OK, Bloomberg.

103 comments:

rehajm said...

Like all real estate, location makes all the difference...

readering said...

Economics study of scarcity

madAsHell said...

They promised there wouldn't be any math in the future.

mesquito said...

It’s worth nothing until someone gets it to market. That’s how money works, Bloombito.

John Lynch said...

If you went and got it, it would become worthless.

Beasts of England said...

Space cash, baby.

Swede said...

There's no reason why an asteroid should have $17 Quintillion!
Tax the shit out of it!

rcocean said...

Well its supply and demand. Asteroids - no supply but lots of demand.

I'm assuming its because an Asteroid is full of gold, silver, and other precious minerals, which wouldn't be so "precious" if we had a lot more of them. Increase the gold supply by 10x and you wouldn't have "current price of gold x 10" but much, much less. So, maybe an asterroid is only worth a qaudzillion.

Edmund said...

It can pay for Warren's MFA plan. And give us all a pony.

As others have implied, if you could get the all resources in it to Earth, it would crash the price of the metals in it. However, at a reasonable rate of mining, it could still be worth quite a bit, enough to make it worth the investment to mine it.

Sam L. said...

It may be worth that, but until someone gets up there to really "check it out", it's nothing more than "pie in the sky". Also, how much will it cost to build a rocket to get up there (AND come back with the goods)?

Bunkypotatohead said...

I think the sun might have a bit more value.

cubanbob said...

If that thing were to hit the Earth, money wouldn't matter. Space mining is fantasy. Dropping thousands of tons of ore or refined metals at a time on earth isn't realistically possible.

dbp said...

The value of a resource is the difference between the thing, in useful form and the cost of getting it into that form.

So the value of an ounce of gold on an asteroid is the value of the ounce here on Earth - the cost of getting that ounce to Earth. Which at this point is either zero or a negative value.

The oceans contain 352 quintillion gallons of water, each of which could be purified and bottled, put into a store and sold for a buck each. Is the Ocean worth 352 quintillion Dollars? Sure, in the same (nonsensical) way that an asteroid is worth 700 quintillion.

Yancey Ward said...

The right way to look at it is that it would be a huge boon to prosperity if there were a way to bring the asteroid to the surface of the Earth to mine it, even if it crashed the market prices of all the metals it contains.

pacwest said...

I'd buck the odds and make a long term investment. I'll start the bidding at $1.25

Josephbleau said...

Fred Hoyle wrote an sf short called Element 79 about a gold meteor that crashed into the UK and left a large unvaporized core. They put guards on it and sold only enough each year to keep the gold price stable by displacing other mining volume

Gahrie said...

It would not be difficult, or even in the near future very expensive, to launch a couple of robotic spacecraft to the asteroid. The first would manufacture and/or deploy solar sails designed to slow the asteroid down, and gradually steer it towards a lunar orbit. The second would mine the water and carbon, make fuel and power onboard thrusters to make final course corrections. It might take a while, but it could be done with today's technology and once New Shepard and/or Starship begin flying, fairly cheaply

Ken B said...

Ha! That's nothing to how much money we'll have after President AOC starts printing it.

Bay Area Guy said...

It's only worth what the market will bear....

Gahrie said...

If that thing were to hit the Earth, money wouldn't matter. Space mining is fantasy. Dropping thousands of tons of ore or refined metals at a time on earth isn't realistically possible.

Yet. But all the signs point to that changing in the very near future. All that iron could also be used to build a space elevator...which would really revolutionize things.

Lewis Wetzel said...

It's inevitable that we'll mine the asteroids some day, unless civilization collapses or we invent a cheap method of transmuting elements. Almost all the heavier metals accessible by mining were concentrated and delivered to near or at the surface of the earth by slow geological processes. We are using them up at much, much higher rates than they are being replaced.

Yancey Ward said...

What if, tomorrow, we were to find an oil field that contained a 10000 times the amount of oil in all the world's known reserves today, and accessible at the lowest cost of those known reserves? That would crash the price of oil instantly to just above that cost, but it would be a huge windfall for all of us (except for the global warming alarmists).

Nichevo said...

Between the 16 quintillion dollars it would take to bring this asteroid to a useful Earth orbit, or to the ground on Earth, and the 1 quintillion dollars it would cost to process it for the raw materials, at some point all the fun goes out of it.

Crash in the mineral prices is irrelevant as it would lower the cost of the finished goods. And to some extent the recovery and processing costs would be good for the economy and would advance science. So, there's that.

mandrewa said...

There are many challenges here.

First is moving it to a near-earth orbit. That's not trivial.

Second if we are going to use a part of it on earth then we have to find a way to drop pieces of it to earth. It's not obvious how to do that. That's not to say that there isn't a economical way to do this, but it remains to be discovered.

Third, the most obvious and likely most realistic thing a massive lump of metal in a near-Earth orbit would be useful for is a space-based civilization in near-Earth orbit. There's no question that such a society could eventually find a use for all this metal and that such is the scale of this single asteroid that it might take them a long, long time to use it up.

Nichevo said...

Almost all the heavier metals accessible by mining were concentrated and delivered to near or at the surface of the earth by slow geological processes. We are using them up at much, much higher rates than they are being replaced.

Just mine the garbage dumps and landfills. The minerals exist there in highly refined states.

MadisonMan said...

Supply and demand is a real thing. Also: You didn't build that.

Tom said...

So, there’s this thing call supply and demand. If there’s a demand for something scarce, the value of that thing goes up. But if there’s too much of anything, the value goes way down. AND, there the added bonus of inflation when a valuable commodity is suddenly injected into a monitary system. It’s why the economy of middle earth would have collapsed after Smaug was defeated.

MikeR said...

'I don't think that's how "money" works' Well, no. Still, it would change quite a number of scarce metals into being non-scarce. The total demand will obviously have a way lower price for these commodities than it does now. That's good; it means the world is much richer. These metals can be used cheaply for their current uses, and can be used for a lot of uses we haven't even thought about because the metals were too expensive.
We just don't know all the good things that might happen when these scarcities end.

cubanbob said...

Gahrie said...
If that thing were to hit the Earth, money wouldn't matter. Space mining is fantasy. Dropping thousands of tons of ore or refined metals at a time on earth isn't realistically possible.

Yet. But all the signs point to that changing in the very near future. All that iron could also be used to build a space elevator...which would really revolutionize things."

One thing is for sure, iron isn't capable of being used to build a space elevator. It doesn't have the requisite properties needed.

mandrewa said...
There are many challenges here.

First is moving it to a near-earth orbit. That's not trivial.

That is the least of it. I don't claim the requisite knowledge needed to determine what putting an object of that mass in a near earth orbit would have on the earth's spin, axis or its effect on the moon and the resulting effect on the earth but it would seem to me that it is probably a very bad idea. A lot of the commenters here have the requisite math and physics knowledge and their impute would be rather interesting.

tcrosse said...

Here's a wikipedia piece on the Price Revolution which hit Spain with massive inflation in the 16th century due to importation of gold and silver from the New World. It eventually impoverished Spain for centuries.

Sigivald said...

Re above, we don't know how much gold was in the Mountain King's hoard before Smaug took it (having no thumbs or ability to carry things very well, it's not like Smaug collected a lot more himself); presumably not so much that it trickling back into circulation would cause an immediate collapse, any more than Smaug's taking Erebor caused a massive deflationary event in the first place, because it was already a hoard, not circulating.

Hoards that stay hoards don't really affect the value of circulating currency, and Dain II presumably didn't just send it all out into circulation instantly.

Nonapod said...

At some point, almost certainly within the next century or so, we'll begin mining the asteroid belt and all sorts of once rare metals will gradually become absurdly plentiful. An ounce of gold may one day be worth a fraction of a penny. William Devane & Rosland Capital have assured us that gold and silver will never be worth zero, but it may well be worth next to zero.

robother said...

I KNEW all those politicians promising the moon were holding back on the real deal. This asteroid is reserved for the Connected.

gspencer said...

"Hmmmm, it's got a lotta dents in it. And I don't know if my body guy can fix all those crater holes. And the paint's in terrible shape. Here, lemme make you an offer . . ."

SteveM said...

In the early 1990’s, my then girlfriend got a new car and gave her old car to her younger cousin in Peekskill, NY. The cousin parked the car in her driveway and it was hit by a meteor. The meteor when through the trunk and was dug out of the driveway. The cousin sold the meteor to some rich guy for $50,000 and the car went to the Museum of Natural History in NYC. See www.meteoritecar.com.

Char Char Binks said...

I'll take it.

PM said...

We'll mine the moon for rare earth elements long before we send Bruce Willis to drill an asteroid.

Larvell said...

Let’s auction it off and see if it goes for $700 quintillion. If not, it’s not worth that.

Rabel said...

It's not how science works either.

Well, actually I guess it is nowadays. We have little idea as to what Psyche is composed of, and no instruments which will tell us, other than that it appears to be dense enough to be primarily metallic - most likely iron.

The gold and platinum reports are just a wild ass guess meant to promote an eventual mission to get a closer look.

My working hypothesis is that it is primarily composed of 99.4% bullshit.

And I'm sure the readership here is keen enough to realize that that "picture" is an artists conception. They used to label those as such.

rehajm said...

Sure, the appraisal came back at $700 quintillion but if you total it the insurance company's only gonna cut you a check for $1 billion. Try buying a new asteroid for that...

Beasts of England said...

There are some funny sumbitches on this thread - cheers!!

~ ~ ~

I’ve done a few economic analyses for these theoretical missions - cost/benefit analyses for potential investors. NDAs prevent me from saying much more, although I can say that very serious dollars are chasing these cosmic geese...

MikeR said...

"If that thing were to hit the Earth, money wouldn't matter. Space mining is fantasy. Dropping thousands of tons of ore or refined metals at a time on earth isn't realistically possible." That's just silly. You don't land the whole asteroid, you carve off pieces and refine them. A ton of gold is a cube a foot on a side, currently worth around $50 million dollars. You don't think someone could devise a system to protect it during re-entry, followed by a parachute to land it? Or just dropping it in a big pond and fishing it out might be good enough.
You could work something out.

Roger Sweeny said...

It would not be difficult, or even in the near future very expensive, to launch a couple of robotic spacecraft to the asteroid.

Because in the future we'll be able to REVERSE GRAVITY. Yeah, that's the ticket.

JMW Turner said...

Meteorite strikes a random automobile. Hmmm (looking furtively towards the sky),something else to be paranoid about.

stevew said...

You know, if it cost you $699 quintillion to recover and harvest it your margin would be 0.1%, quite paltry, really. Though, you'd still walk away with $1 quintillion, which ain't bad.

Beasts of England said...

’You don't think someone could devise a system to protect it during re-entry, followed by a parachute to land it?’

Sample return is a mature technology with several successful missions. The returned mass has been in scientific, not economic, quantities; but scaling for ROI is feasible.

Rick.T. said...

You can't fool me. That's a thinly disguised Death Star. OPEN YOUR EYES, PEOPLE!!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_Star

Paul Snively said...

MikeR: Still, it would change quite a number of scarce metals into being non-scarce. The total demand will obviously have a way lower price for these commodities than it does now. That's good; it means the world is much richer. These metals can be used cheaply for their current uses, and can be used for a lot of uses we haven't even thought about because the metals were too expensive.
We just don't know all the good things that might happen when these scarcities end.


Haven't you heard? Deflation is evil! Deflation was what made The Great Depression so awful! We need price supports so commodities-producers can make a living!

The astonishing thing is that this isn't a caricature of what entire schools of economics—including the dominant neo-Keynesian Synthesis of Paul Samuelson—literally believe. And don't get me started on the "Modern Monetary Theory" moonshine. “There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them.” ― George Orwell

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SDaly said...

It's too bad that we can't mine the asteroid until our rocket scientists know better than to wear sexist shirts.

Gabriel said...

As other commenters have pointed out, prices are only meaningful when the quantity that is to change hands is not a hugely significant fraction the total supply...

It costs $10,000 per pound, roughly, to put something into Earth orbit. It's about the same price to land it in one piece without braking things or killing people. That ignores the cost involved in going to the asteroid and mining it and sending anything back to Earth orbit so it can be landed.

Currently the price of gold is about $20,000 per pound. Even solid gold asteroid that just has to be cut up is not worth retrieving.

That said, mining asteroids might make economic sense to a space-based civilization, but it's very hard to make it pay for a planet-based one. But a space-based civilization would probably want to mine water and hydrogen.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Lewis Wetzel said...
It's inevitable that we'll mine the asteroids some day, unless civilization collapses or we invent a cheap method of transmuting elements. Almost all the heavier metals accessible by mining were concentrated and delivered to near or at the surface of the earth by slow geological processes. We are using them up at much, much higher rates than they are being replaced.
************************

In 1980 Julian Simon made a bet with doom-sayer Paul Ehrlich whether certain metal prices would rise over the next decade due to scarcity, as Ehrlich predicted. Ehrlich lost, and had to fork over $10,000 in 1990.

Here are some charts showing prices for a number of mineral resources since then.. Do you see them rising inexorably?

I don't.

http://www.infomine.com/investment/metal-prices/

p.s we don't just "use up" metals. We recycle them.

rhhardin said...

It ought to be very profitable for middlemen. The people who take something from where it's cheap to someplace where it's expensive.

bagoh20 said...

"It can pay for Warren's MFA plan. And give us all a pony."

Don't give them any more crazy ideas. They'll run with anything, and they might win.

rhhardin said...

If it's gold, there'll be a big markup too.

bagoh20 said...

The new 49ers - 2049. I hope there are no indigenous people or frogs there, or the whole idea gets the kabash, no matter how important it is.

DaveL said...

That asteroid is about 200km in diameter. No one is going to move it. Maybe someday people will be able to mine it. Don't hold your breath, though.

Birkel said...

At current prices...
Assuming static conditions...
Assuming nothing changes...

Assume a can opener.

Caligula said...

" If there’s a demand for something scarce, the value of that thing goes up."

Well, yes, the Spanish Empire learned this when it looted the new world for gold:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_revolution

daskol said...

I look forward to wrapping my kids' tuna fish sandwiches in gold foil. Also to gold soda cans, and gold wrapped packaged cheese.

Apparently, aluminum was once so difficult to extract that it was a precious metal from which we made jewelry.

mandrewa said...

cubanbob,

The Moon is three orders of magnitude, or 2000 times, more massive than Psyche, so I don't think that a Psyche size object near to Earth would have much of a gravitational impact on the Earth. I mean you would be able to detect it, maybe, with some instruments, but it's not like it materially change the height of the waves, for example.

DaveL,

You are correct that the energy it would take to move an object the size of Psyche to a near Earth orbit is so enormous that it seems unlikely that that this would ever be done.

What I can imagine though is that Psyche might be mined and that relatively small amounts of metal might be moved to near Earth orbits for use by a civilization in orbit, or conceivably by the Earth itself. Whether this would actually make economic sense would probably depend on the relative cost of extracting metal from the Moon.

If extracting, refining, and launching metals from the surface of the Moon to near Earth orbit is cheap enough then it's possible Psyche will not matter, or at least not for near-Earth space.

People are acting like the cost of moving things from one orbit to another is small when in fact it is a serious barrier and can easily exceed the value of whatever we are talking about.

hstad said...

"...I don't think that's how "money" works...?" AA, really? A little information for you. Australia, Canada and Russia would not have any Economies without all of these naturally occurring metals - which a lot of countries don't possess - like China. These countries would be 3rd world economies without their natural endowment of metals. Even the USA is well endowed with such natural metals but is not overly dependent solely on a metals driven economy. I've always said that if they got rid of NASA's monopoly of Space entrepreneurs, such as Musk and Branson, etc., would've taken advantage of 'Space Rocks' a long time ago.

Gabriel said...

@hstad:I've always said that if they got rid of NASA's monopoly of Space entrepreneurs, such as Musk and Branson, etc., would've taken advantage of 'Space Rocks' a long time ago.

It's actually God's monopoly on the laws of gravitation that are the primary barrier.

For a space-based civilization, if they care about gold, this is a small barrier. For people living at the bottom of a deep hole, that don't like mass extinction events, it's a much larger barrier.

Gabriel said...

In 1492, Columbus was planning to travel thousands of miles in search of exotic spices that didn't grow in Europe and bring them back. He had some trouble getting the funding, partly because the skeptics were right: Asia was not where Columbus said it was (and still isn't).

Modern day Columbuses are planning to travel millions of miles, manufacturing air and water, to bring back things Earth already has in abundance. Imagine Columbus planning to transport Spanish soil, Spanish water, Spanish seeds, and Spaniards to Asia so that he can bring back Spanish grapes and Spanish wine to Spain, which already has those things.

rcocean said...

Gold has some industrial uses, but its mostly valuable because we've all agreed its valuable.

rcocean said...

A true cost to society is how much time, effort, etc. to produce or say mine something. Then there's the cost due to rent-seekers, monopolies, or simply supply and demand. If we got 1 million tons of Gold, society wouldn't be richer, the price of Gold would just go down. I suppose more people could have bigger gold rings - but that'a about it.

RMc said...

"This asteroid... (is) valued at $700 quintillion"

Do you get free delivery, at least?

johns said...

They're so great at math. Just think how much the sun is worth. Enough energy to power...well gosh

PB said...

If we increased the supply of gold a million-fold it's be cheap enough to use as sinkers on your fishing line.

Gabriel said...

When supply of a good greatly exceeds demand, we call that good "garbage" and we pay to have it hauled away.

Gahrie said...

It costs $10,000 per pound, roughly, to put something into Earth orbit.

SpaceX is already much lower than this. A Falcon 9 costs a little more than $1,000 per pound. Falcon Heavy costs less than $1,000 per kilogram. When Blue Origin and SpaceX start flying their next generation rockets (SpaceX will begin flight testing of their prototype this month) prices will get dramatically lower. SpaceX's Starship is being designed to take 220,000 pounds into orbit for a launch cost of around $2 million dollars. The payload is expected to increase by 50% as the system is optimized. The one consistent thing between both Tesla and SpaceX is the constant improvement of their vehicles.

Gahrie said...

That asteroid is about 200km in diameter. No one is going to move it.

It's already moving...the trick is to slow it down so it stops where you want it to.

Gahrie said...

Here are some charts showing prices for a number of mineral resources since then.. Do you see them rising inexorably?

The current problem isn't price, it's control of access.

johns said...

the increased supply of gold would drive the price down to near-zero, but the total value of the world's gold would increase.
--The paradox of value

Fernandistein said...

$700 quintillion

Fake news, apparently.

If you click back and back and back and back on the links referring to that number, you find it's invented by a Monique Scotti employed by globalnews.ca

AFAICT, no NASA or other "science" outlets mention that number.

Some Fun facts show that the the asteroid is not "made of gold and other precious metals!" as claimed by Bloomberg:
16 Psyche density: 4 g/cm3
Granite: 3.75 g/cm3
Iron: 7.8 g/Cm3
Gold: 19 g/cm3
Platinum: 21 g/cm3
Water: 1 g/cm3

It's about 10% denser than granite.

Fernandistein said...

And 1/5th as dense as gold or platinum.

Rabel said...

hstad said...

"...I don't think that's how "money" works...?" AA, really?

You misunderstand. She's saying, in a shorthand, sarcastic way, the same thing everyone else is saying - unit value will fall as the supply increases so the total value won't hold.

If you didn't catch that, I'm afraid it's on you, not her.

rcocean said...

"Do you get free delivery, at least?"

Delivery is free, but the sales tax is a bitch.

Skylark said...

I will bet 3 Quatloos that people who know more about it than most of us give it a shot within 20 years.

Lewis Wetzel said...

"The one consistent thing between both Tesla and SpaceX is the constant improvement of their vehicles."
Musk's projects are not scalable. Personally I've never seen the great advantage of "government subsidized projects" over "government projects."

Lewis Wetzel said...

Adam Smith wrote extensively about the economics of mining minerals in _Wealth of Nations_. I swear I am the only human being who has actually read the whole thing.
Basically the price is set by 1) the cost to get it to the earth's surface 2) the cost to refine it, and 3) the cost to transport it to the buyer. So if it costs a dollar per kilo of gold to do that, the price of gold will converge at a dollar per kilo.

Gahrie said...

Musk's projects are not scalable.

PayPal didn't scale?

The world doesn't make enough batteries for Musk to build and sell his cars to meet demand...even after he built a factory that doubled the world's battery production.

He has a fleet of mostly reusable rockets, and is building a fully reusable rocket that will be the biggest rocket in the world. (The first test flight of the prototype is this month) This rocket will be capable of deep space exploration, Mars (and/or Moon) colonization, exploitation of the asteroid belt, near Earth orbit cargo and passenger service, and even point to point long range transportation on Earth

Today he added another sixty satellites to his (eventually global) internet constellation.

By all appearances his solar roof and home energy systems are poised to take off. A similar system on a national level is current keeping Australia's energy grid functioning.




his long term goal is to create a human civilization on another planet...how much more scaleable can you get?

Gahrie said...

Personally I've never seen the great advantage of "government subsidized projects" over "government projects."

You can't tell the difference between SpaceX and the legacy launch business?

Unknown said...

"Do you want to see something shiny?"

Yes, it's off-topic, but since I'm re-watching Black Sails, that's what a discussion of gold immediately brings to mind.

dbp said...

rcocean said...

"Gold has some industrial uses, but its mostly valuable because we've all agreed its valuable."

This is true but incomplete. As the price falls, new uses become more feasible: Just about anything lead can do, gold will do better. Roof flashing, bullets, fishing sinkers, shotgun shot. Same with copper (wires and plumbing) and to some extent tin (coatings). (Copper is more conductive than gold but gold's corrosion resistance may compensate)

Lewis Wetzel said...

Blogger Gahrie said...

Personally I've never seen the great advantage of "government subsidized projects" over "government projects."

You can't tell the difference between SpaceX and the legacy launch business?


I can see the difference, but I am not certain it is because SpaceX is government subsidized and Legacy Launch is government managed. SpaceX is really into reusable components, it has to be if it wants investors. SpaceX needs to convince investors that it is bending the cost curve down, if not now, in the future.
ULA has rejected that path as being economically impractical.
How much money has SpaceX made to date? SpaceX's launch failure rate is close to historical norms for government managed rocket launches to orbit.
As I wrote, I've never seen the where the great advantage of "government subsidized projects" over "government projects" comes from.
Space afficienados (especially afficienados of manned space flight) are wrong when they compare the cost curve of space flight over time to the cost curve over time of air transport. It's apples and oranges. If airplane launches resulted in crashes 6% of the time, the market for jet travel would be miniscule.

Lem said...

#OkBoomer :)

Lurker21 said...

... And one-tenth as dense as Joe Biden?

Bloomberg is only running to get his hands on the asteroid.

Skylark said...

Elizabeth Warren could spend it all in a week.

Skylark said...

Maybe the Fed could just declare they own it and use it to back up bonds.

Tina Trent said...

Years ago I received a free and unsolicited subscription to Bloomberg Magazine. After a few weeks marvelling at their shamelessly pornographic attitude towards money, I tried to cancel it. The subscriptions guy was angry that I wouldn't want something so valuable sent to me for free. Apparently the dream lives on.

Freeman Hunt said...

"In the early 1990’s, my then girlfriend got a new car and gave her old car to her younger cousin in Peekskill, NY. The cousin parked the car in her driveway and it was hit by a meteor. The meteor when through the trunk and was dug out of the driveway. The cousin sold the meteor to some rich guy for $50,000 and the car went to the Museum of Natural History in NYC. See www.meteoritecar.com."

In a surprising coincidence, my kids told me about this car two weeks ago!

Freeman Hunt said...

"It's about 10% denser than granite."

Space counters!

Phil said...

"It's about the same price to land it in one piece without braking things or killing people."

Yup, you have to brake things to avoid breaking them.

Unknown said...

If we were somehow able to go get that asteroid, tow/push it into LEO, and then actually mine and process the materials, several terrestrial industries would be in deep, deep trouble.

Unknown said...

Second if we are going to use a part of it on earth then we have to find a way to drop pieces of it to earth. It's not obvious how to do that. That's not to say that there isn't a economical way to do this, but it remains to be discovered.

You crunch up the ore you're trying to send planetside and mix it hydrogen, creating a foam that will ablate as it enters the atmosphere and then floats (with most of the metal in the center, away from the heat). Then splash down large chunks into the ocean where a converted container ship retrieves it, breaks it down, and processes the ore while it's heading to port.

fleg9bo said...

First I've heard of that meteorite. My father was born in Peekskill. In 1906, same year as the San Francisco earthquake. coincidence?

Roger Sweeny said...

his long term goal is to create a human civilization on another planet...how much more scaleable can you get?

"Scaleable" isn't about goal; it's about possibility.

Elizabeth Warren's goal is Medicare For All with no new taxes on the middle class. That doesn't mean it's possible.

Unknown said...

"It's about the same price to land it in one piece without braking things or killing people."

You don't land it in one piece :) See above about landing "ironbergs" in the ocean.

Skippy Tisdale said...

"It ought to be very profitable for middlemen. The people who take something from where it's cheap to someplace where it's expensive."

Only a moron would think there was money to be made sailing small wooden ships halfway around the world just to get cloves at a discount.

hstad said...

Lewis Wetzel said...Basically the price is set by 1) the cost to get it to the earth's surface 2) the cost to refine it, and 3) the cost to transport it to the buyer. So if it costs a dollar per kilo of gold to do that, the price of gold will converge at a dollar per kilo.
11/11/19, 8:13 PM

You forgot the most important aspect of "Price" regardless of the items you listed [which is true] - you need to 'find someone willing to pay the "price", whatever it is!

Skookum John said...

The most inherently valuable treasure in our society, or indeed in any civilization, is a fertile young woman who is willing to engage in the painful, risky, and tedious business of giving birth to the next generation and raising it to adulthood. What do such women demand, quite reasonably I might say, in exchange for providing this blessing? Ever and always, they require resources from men who are strong, clever, diligent, or powerful enough to accumulate a surplus. In the very old days this meant bringing home hunks of mammoth meat and piles of buffalo hides to the cave. Now, thanks to the miraculous invention of media of exchange, we can forgo the hunt, and instead bestow our chosen females with pretty shiny things that other women don’t have, in token of our prowess as providers. This is the deepest source of civilization, whence comes not just money and trade, but much else besides: art, and law, and war, and the (mostly male) drive to explore beyond the horizon.

Speaking these truths aloud is cause for much clucking disapproval among Puritan prescriptivists on both the right and the left, but the underlying reality is as immutable as the law of gravity. Thus it ever was and thus it shall always be, as long as women possess the miraculous power of generation, and as long as men value their small part in the baby-making process and wish to enrich their lives with its intended product.

So if a giant golden asteroid landed from outer space, the value of the metal as a signal of a man’s willingness and capability to provide for his woman would instantly plummet to zero. Baubles have no intrinsic value to a woman, if any other woman can get them for the price of a bag of groceries or a gallon of gasoline. On such a simple calculus do the fates of empires rise and ebb.

Skylark said...

Might be cheaper to turn lead into gold.

You need is a particle accelerator, a vast supply of energy and an extremely low expectation of how much gold you will end up with. More than 30 years ago nuclear scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in California succeeded in producing very small amounts of gold from bismuth, a metallic element adjacent to lead on the periodic table. The same process would work for lead, but isolating the gold at the end of the reaction would prove much more difficult, says David J. Morrissey, now of Michigan State University, one of the scientists who conducted the research. “We could have used lead in the experiments, but we used bismuth because it has only one stable isotope,” Morrissey says. The element’s homogeneous nature means it is easier to separate gold from bismuth than it is to separate gold from lead, which has four stable isotopic identities. - Scientific American