THE FALSE STANDARD

Richard_NixonArticle by Barbara Cornell

Syndicated by Barbara Cornell’s personal blog.

August 15, 2011 was the 40th anniversary of our official abandonment of all pretense of having a gold standard.

And marks the last substantive opportunity to avoid our nation’s downward spiral into bankruptcy. (We’ve had times when our government voluntarily refrained from spending more than those of us who apply our efforts to useful production could compensate for, but they were brief, fleeting anomalies).

The reason being that once a currency has no inherent value, it can be manipulated and devalued by political machines.

But, in fact, gold itself is a currency with no inherent value.

Gold has always been a «false standard» because gold has no inherent value. You can’t eat it, can’t make shelter out of it, it’s too soft to make functioning tools or weapons. It has a few, limited industrial uses but few of them can’t just as easily be accomplished by other materials. Its only value lies in:

It’s pretty, it’s rare and difficult to get to and: people agree to take it in exchange for things that do have inherent value.

investing-in-goldThe fact that it has consistently for many centuries been widely accepted as a value holder is why it’s the standard. Gold’s increasingly «false standard» is displayed in its comparative «value» to silver better than anywhere else. Silver has exactly the same inherent value as gold (it’s pretty…), and for many centuries gold and silver held approximately the same «value» (people accepted gold in exchange for inherently valuable commodities at approximately equal or up to twice the rate of silver), but gold has been increasing in «value» much much faster than silver. (As of today, gold sells for $1818 per troy ounce and silver for $40, a differential of 45 times.)

The difference between gold and currency issued arbitrarily by an entity (currencies haven’t always been issued exclusively by governments) is that its perceived value has maintained its independence from policy makers and was one step removed from its direct manipulators.

The only thing that can assure a population’s currency is not subject to manipulation is direct barter. And that sucks.

For centuries, the next best thing was gold.

But nearly anything is better than letting the value of your entire life’s work depend on Ben Bernanke’s morning bowel movement being satisfactory.

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TAKING EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE

beautiful-sunriseArticle by Barbara Cornell.

Syndicated from Barbara Cornell’s personal blog.

I’ve often thought that intelligence is a double-edged sword. Being smart probably gives a person greater opportunity for success (defined in this instance as «happiness»), but at the same time it raises the threshold for happiness. The smarter you are, the more chances you have to attain the things that will make you happy, but you have to attain more of them in order to be happy.

One of the reasons this is true is becoming more apparent to me the older I get, because unlimited mental capacity seems to be one of the first things to suffer. When I was 23, there was literally nothing anyone could say to me that I couldn’t grasp immediately (faster than they could say it) and there was no line of reasoning that I couldn’t leap-frog to the end of faster than the intermediary steps could be specified.

These things are no longer true.

For example, just today I encountered the concept of «prions.»

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prion)

I never heard of these dudes before today, but they are basically proteins responsible for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (like mad-cow disease). Somehow these things aren’t … alive … exactly … (which is why they cannot be killed via normal sterilization procedures such as heat or radiation) but neither are they strictly chemical … exactly … (which is why they can be affected by vaccines similar to those which prevent viral infections, even if none has to date been developed that is completely effective.)

Now there was a time when I would have chased that rabbit down its hole until I cornered it and claimed that sucker as mine. But now, I know that such might be possible but it probably isn’t worth the effort. Now I’m content to say, «It’s something that isn’t exactly alive but isn’t exactly not alive either.»

With age comes wisdom that it’s better not to concern myself with it. Maybe I could «claim» those things, but I have other issues that are better uses of my resources.

It seems that wisdom dictates this is true of a lot of things.

You know these things. They are «the things I cannot change» for which I strive to have «the serenity to accept.»

«Accepting» things doesn’t necessarily mean finding in yourself the ability to say they are right. It’s directing your thoughts to things that are better uses of your energy.

Take every thought captive, allow only those which are good for you to roam your mind.

«I trusted him, and he wronged me, and it makes me so mad.» But you’ve decided he is still your friend, and he’s asked forgiveness (or he never admitted he was wrong). Let it go. Stop it in its tracks before it gets started.

«But if that happens, then this will happen and then … I dunno what then, but it will be bad.» You’ve done everything you can to prevent it, and now it’s just wait and see. Take it captive. Give it no quarter in your heart or your mind.

Whatsoever things are true, honest, lovely, excellent. Think on these things.