Join 3,553 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Do Iran's threats hold currency?
March 4, 2012 5:23 PM   Subscribe

Iran has pledged to open its oil bourse to currencies other than the US dollar as of March 20th, 2012. Previously. The phrase "nuclear option" gets thrown around in a lot of metaphorical contexts -- perhaps this one would be the most apt.

Shortly after the post-WWII gold standard was put to rest, the petrodollar was created.

It's a subject for debate whether the highly volatile petrodollar was ever intended to serve as a de facto substitute for the defunct gold standard. There's no denying that this standard helps cement the dollar's place as the world's reserve currency, which is recently been subject to attack for other reasons, and that widespread trading in other currencies (especially the Euro) threaten the dollar's international dominance and subsequently, the stability of our own economy.
posted by aydeejones (128 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Aaaand, it becomes clear to me that my first Mefi post is totally US-centric ("stability of our own economy"). At least I caught it early :) I pledge fealty to MetaFilter's international awesomeness.
posted by aydeejones at 5:25 PM on March 4, 2012 [11 favorites]


Iraq did this once
posted by IndigoJones at 5:28 PM on March 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Once.
posted by spicynuts at 5:32 PM on March 4, 2012 [56 favorites]


Clearly the euro is a more stable currency.
posted by Afroblanco at 5:32 PM on March 4, 2012 [11 favorites]


Here's a link to the Tehran Times article (at least one that I can find -- it's annoying reading articles that reference it without a direct link):

Iran to regularly offer crude oil on bourse next year

And a Telegraph article:

Iran presses ahead with dollar attack
posted by aydeejones at 5:37 PM on March 4, 2012


At the moment this does seem to be more about Iran trading with "non-superpowers" like South Africa and the like (and then there's always the 8,000,000 pound gorilla superpower - China), but it would certainly be a huge move on their part that would set a major precedent should they stick to their guns.

I haven't done as much homework as I should on this, but my impression is that the EU is blocking Iranian oil imports at the moment. This saber-rattling does have the convenient effect of helping to "justify" exorbitant oil prices, even as the US is currently a net exporter of oil.
posted by aydeejones at 5:41 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


our own economy.

Just a friendly reminder that MeFi is an international site.
posted by unSane at 5:47 PM on March 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


FWIW,"American Free Press" may not be the world's, er, most reliable source:

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Ron Paul: The only one who can run on his record instead of running from it

Rothschilds Want Iran’s Banks

They link to this story as "Just look at these black savages."
posted by BungaDunga at 5:49 PM on March 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


I say fuck Iran. Seriously, as a US citizen I want to just ignore them. Stop selling to them, stop buying from them.

Just a friendly reminder that MeFi is an international site.

Just a friendly reminder, maybe read the comments before posting.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:49 PM on March 4, 2012 [35 favorites]


A few years ago, China made the decision to unpeg the yuan to the dollar (or something)...is this similar? Because there was some gasping that went on that ultimately died down to nothing.
posted by zardoz at 5:50 PM on March 4, 2012


Apologies unSane; I've been running in "facebook discourse" mode today and lost my bearings after building up the audacity to make a MeFi post. I didn't officially say "sorry" in my first comment so I will explicitly apologize now: sorry for being "that USian" :)

Honestly I'd be OK with replacing my questionable primary link with the Tehran Times article.

I will now go away for awhile lest I become a thread-sitter.
posted by aydeejones at 5:52 PM on March 4, 2012


As nuclear options go, this isn't quite on the same scale as deploying an actual, you know, nuclear bomb. Although if Iran actually did that I'm sure they'd be more intrested in dropping it on Israel than on us.
posted by localroger at 5:52 PM on March 4, 2012


Can't we just deploy the solar option and no longer need to give a damn about this stuff? Please?
posted by cmyk at 5:55 PM on March 4, 2012 [10 favorites]


This may be a case of "making a virtue out of necessity". Looks like Iran's central bank is going to get kicked out of SWIFT. Which, among other things, would mean that dollars wouldn't be of much use to them anymore.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:56 PM on March 4, 2012


Didn't Iran print millions of counterfeit US dollars in the 1980s in an attempt to undermine the economy of the Great Satan?
posted by acb at 5:56 PM on March 4, 2012


I haven't done as much homework as I should on this,

Lets see:

even as the US is currently a net exporter of oil.

361,687 345,481 336,277 340,821 334,992 339,652 US Imports

90,498 95,192 94,743 96,233 95,456 110,028US Exports

Why not toss in some stuff about what a good friend Israel is to the US of A?
posted by rough ashlar at 5:57 PM on March 4, 2012


That questionable primary link includes a bookstore, that features (first up) 9-11 Made In Israel. This news source is as good as Stormfront.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:57 PM on March 4, 2012


Actually, that USAToday article blew my mind a little bit.


The U.S. exported more oil-based fuels than it imported in the first nine months of this year, making it likely that 2011 will be the first time since 1949 that the nation is a net exporter of such goods, primarily diesel.
That's not all. The U.S. has reversed another decades-long trend. It began producing more crude oil in 2008 than the year before and accelerated that upswing 3% in the first nine months of this year compared with the same period in 2010. That production has helped reduce U.S. imports of crude oil by about 10% since 2006.
"It's dramatic. It's transformative," Edward Morse, a former senior U.S. energy official who now directs global commodities research at Citigroup, says of the historic shifts. He says the U.S. is importing a smaller share — 49% in 2010, down from 60% in 2005 — of the oil it uses, adding: "We're moving toward energy independence."

posted by gwint at 5:57 PM on March 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


don't apologize and don't use USian.
posted by nathancaswell at 5:57 PM on March 4, 2012 [27 favorites]


Iraq did this once
posted by IndigoJones at 5:28 PM on March 4 [+] [!]


Once.
posted by spicynuts at 5:32 PM on March 4


Thank you for making me laugh, as i read this in Joe Piscopo's voice. ;)
posted by usagizero at 6:00 PM on March 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


I say fuck Iran. Seriously, as a US citizen I want to just ignore them. Stop selling to them, stop buying from them.

I'm guessing management over there feels the same way.

But what does the US of A have that Iran can only get from the US of A and not somewhere else other than stuff from the Disney Vault like Aladdin? What would Iran do without the smacking-wise Genie Robin Williams?
posted by rough ashlar at 6:03 PM on March 4, 2012


rough ashlar:

Net Exporter is in reference to finished gasoline.

Look by product and you'll see in December of 2011, we imported 1,870,000,000 barrels, and exported 19,103,000,000 barrels.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:07 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Which is very fishy; supply is waaaay up, demand is waaaay down, we're exporting - and prices are going up.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:09 PM on March 4, 2012


I'll check out those EIA numbers, thanks! It'd be illuminating to see a response to this Bloomberg News article regarding the net exporter claims.
posted by aydeejones at 6:09 PM on March 4, 2012


Look by product and you'll see in December of 2011, we imported 1,870,000,000 barrels, and exported 19,103,000,000 barrels.

Sorry - remove the last 3 zeroes on each of those.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:12 PM on March 4, 2012


I say fuck Iran. Seriously, as a US citizen I want to just ignore them. Stop selling to them, stop buying from them.

Couldn't it just be something like, "Fuck the mullahs, fuck Amedinadinnerjacket, fuck the Revolutionary Guards, etc"? Iran is a rich culture with a millenia of history and wonderful people, including friends of mine who run an import/export business. This pissing match with Israel and the US has basically ruined there life.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:13 PM on March 4, 2012 [48 favorites]


Iran makes this threat every year. One could argue that the US left the Gold Standard with the passage of the Gold Reserve act in 1934 (prior to WWII), Bretton Woods was a currency trading system that included gold as a component, rather than an absolute Gold standard. US citizens could not own depository gold and had to surrender it at a fixed price to the dollar. The petrodollar is a term invented by a Georgetown economist not an actual thing. Contracts for oil are regularly written in dollars because Germany, Japan and China sell a lot to the US and as a result have a lot of dollars floating around. Canadadian oil companies often write their contracts for Canadian dollars.
posted by humanfont at 6:17 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


@Benny Andajetz: The dollar is getting weaker.

Something is up with the US currency.
posted by psergio at 6:25 PM on March 4, 2012


Gold has almost exclusively been the standard for money for all of history. Our modern confusion of currency (a promise of money) with actual money is understandable... but does not change the facts.

Call Gold an old relic all you want... history is a series of empires that built up with the strength of a gold standard, then got drunk on the power, and then slowly debased their currency until extinction.

What makes you think this empire is any different?
posted by MikeWarot at 6:27 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is only something to for Americans to worry about if you think there's a currency out there that is going to be stronger and/or more stable over the long-term than the U.S. dollar.

Now, seeing as how everyone is still freaking out over the PIIGS countries and the Euro, and that China keeps buying U.S. dollars ... meh.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:30 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Call Gold an old relic all you want

I call it a shiny rock, and am constantly baffled and depressed at the amount of terror and bloodshed wrought over such a stupid fucking thing.
posted by curious nu at 6:31 PM on March 4, 2012 [22 favorites]


constantly baffled and depressed at the amount of terror and bloodshed wrought over such a stupid fucking thing.

Ok - what would be worth terror and bloodshed?
posted by rough ashlar at 6:34 PM on March 4, 2012


I say fuck Iran. Seriously, as a US citizen I want to just ignore them. Stop selling to them, stop buying from them.

I'm also a US citizen, and consider Jingoism of this sort to be completely useless.
posted by odinsdream at 6:35 PM on March 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


Jingoism of this sort to be completely useless.

Nations that trade are less likely to be shooting at each other. Bad peace better than a good war and all that.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:38 PM on March 4, 2012


Call Gold an old relic all you want...

OK, I will.

Since 1944 and Bretton Woods, and since 1971, when the U.S. left the gold standard, name the number of countries that have had a completely uninterrupted system of government. The U.S., Great Britain, France, Japan, Australia ... you know, when you think about it, that list is actually pretty small.

The gold standard isn't just a relic. It no longer exists anywhere. Nobody has been doing it for nearly 50 years.

Saying we should go back is a lot like saying feudalism was a great idea, so why don't we have knights and squires?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:38 PM on March 4, 2012 [14 favorites]


We've been over this "US is now a net exporter of oil" thing before, haven't we? To be clear: The US is NOT a net exporter of crude oil. It is, at the moment, a a net exporter of refined petroleum end products like jet fuel and gasoline. The US is still importing far more crude+refined oil than it can export, and the differential is large.

Someone please let me know if that's mistaken. Kevin Drum addressed this back in November, so if anything's changed in his analysis since then I'd love to see it.
posted by mediareport at 6:40 PM on March 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


Saying we should go back

Why not go forward? Others have pitched energy as "money" - Jon Roland is running for office on such a platform.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:42 PM on March 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Gold has almost exclusively been the standard for money for all of history.

Which undermined most of their economies, most clearly the Spanish Empire. Britain suffered from its backwards insistence on the gold standard once it was no longer a hyperpower that didn't have to worry about money supply.

There is nothing "objective" about the gold standard. The value of gold is just as arbitrary as "unbound" currency. Actually, scratch that, it's far more arbitrary and far more violatile. The actions of the Fed are easier to predict and understand the speculation of the gold market.

The gold standard is idiotic policy; any argument for it is based on a fairy tale of history.

unsane: Just a friendly reminder that MeFi is an international site.

So you were interested enough to snark, but not to read the first comment?
posted by spaltavian at 6:43 PM on March 4, 2012 [20 favorites]


Gold has almost exclusively been the standard for money for all of history.

If you define "all of history" as "mostly European history, some of the time."

Historically, China has rarely used gold as a currency. Silver at times, bronze at times, copper throughout most of the history, but in general, China has used fiat currency for over 1000 years. They have traded gold, but it doesn't matter what currency you are on for that, that's a simple "find someone willing to trade for it." There was one province that made something fairly coinlike from gold for about 100 years, but it didn't last, because it wasn't particularly portable. A currency nobody accepts as currency is useless.


The only use of gold, rather than a fleeting attempt at a gold currency in 1945, was a Customs Gold Yuan made for foreign trade uses -- in particular, to be given in exchange for gold, then used to pay customs fees.

And, of course, we can see what a disastrous effect that fiat currency has had on the world's longest running civilization, who is, of course, also the world's most populous nation and one of the true economic powers in the modern world.

Perhaps if we hadn't been fucking around with specie all of this time, we might have gotten somewhere!
posted by eriko at 6:44 PM on March 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


FWIW,"American Free Press" may not be the world's, er, most reliable source

THIS. Might as well link to Krazy Klansman's Kwarterly or Jew Hate Digest.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:46 PM on March 4, 2012


[The US] is, at the moment, a a net exporter

Considering the US of A was importing oil back in the 1950's - 50+ years of importing (back when silver was money and a quarter bought you a gallon of gas) and somehow for a couple of months of exports from one slice of the market - this is "reversing" a 50+ year trend?

Pull the other one - its connected to an gas well.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:48 PM on March 4, 2012


Iran has been threatening to value oil in something other than dollars for a number of years. First it was the Euro, then the yen, and somewhere in there a new sort of petrodollar based on a basket of currencies that did not include the USD. And every time, they quietly back off.

They may not have a choice pretty soon, though. Without trading with Europe and the US they're about to become China's main supplier -- and China is going to take a Wal-Mart stance with Iran, demanding oil at wafer-thin margins rather than what everyone else is getting on the spot market. I expect that just on that fact alone Iran will eventually have to yield to international pressure -- you can't "make it rain" on your people when you're selling oil at Wal-Mart prices.

I had a talk with a friend of mine in the oil industry. He thinks that Iran is playing a very dangerous game right now, but not because they're building a nuke, but because with their population and the current political ferment the last thing they need is the economic shock they're bringing on themselves with the nuke program and the saber-rattling in the Gulf.
posted by dw at 6:49 PM on March 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ok - what would be worth terror and bloodshed?

Personally? Not too much. But if the fighting was over something like water or food, it would at least be more understandable. Still terrible and probably avoidable, but understandable.

And now it's not even about rocks. It's about points! Points in a computer somewhere. An abstract shiny rock. Get the highest score and you win at society! It's what everyone wants.

*sad*
posted by curious nu at 6:54 PM on March 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


"(back when silver was money and a quarter bought you a gallon of gas)" -
That silver quarter will still buy you more than a gallon of gasoline.
posted by MikeWarot at 6:55 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is a major provocation against the U.S., whose economy depends on ensuring that the dollar is the only currency used to purchase oil around the world.

This is really nonsense for the financially illiterate and nationalistic jingoists. Nobody cares what currency is used to purchase oil. It is a non-issue. Currencies are freely exchanged on currency markets. It makes no difference if Iran sells oil for dollars and exchanges dollars for euros to buy European cars or whether Iran sells oil for euros and buys European cars directly. The same goes for yen or yuan. The price of oil is exactly the same in any case.
posted by JackFlash at 6:56 PM on March 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Also, the wikipedia article on the oil bourse has the following edits:
January 2012: India has held talks in Tehran to discuss alternate payment methods in the wake of US sanctions against Iranian oil exports, these are thought to include using Gold or Yen to continue purchasing oil. Mr Reddy, India’s Oil Minister, told reporters: “We will scrupulously adhere to the sanctions imposed by the UN. No less, no more. We will continue to explore various options of payment to Iran. As of now, supplies are on and Iran has been very positive and we are still optimistic.” India anually imports $12bn of crude oil from Iran[35]

March 20, 2012: the Iranian oil bourse will no longer trade oil in the dollar but start trading oil in other currencies like the euro, yen, yuan, rupee or a basket of currencies.[36]

since, as stated, americanfreepress is kind of a terrible source to go with here. 36 is listed as this.
posted by curious nu at 6:59 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


And the only thing the gold standard does is eliminate inflation. The problem is that because the supply of gold (or gold + silver + platinum + whatever else you want to throw in your mega-metal currency plan) is by definition finite, and because the amount of gold/silver/etc. within a country is even more finite, deflation is guaranteed. And the only way to keep that from destroying the economy is to keep the money supply moving. And that means high taxation and wealth redistribution.

It's either that, or you mine til you can mine no more, or you invade countries to take their gold, or you devalue the dollar until your price of gold looks ludicrous against the world market price.
posted by dw at 7:00 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I apologize for the dubious source -- I should have explored the site more and tried searching MeFi for negative references to it, but the article in particular didn't set off my loony-detector.

I'm not a Ron Paul supporter or a gold bug. The Telegraph article would've been a better link though admittedly I haven't vetted them thoroughly either and don't know what standing they hold as a reliable source at Metafilter.
posted by aydeejones at 7:02 PM on March 4, 2012


Didn't Iran print millions of counterfeit US dollars in the 1980s in an attempt to undermine the economy of the Great Satan?

$InconvenientNation is generally accused of producing supernotes.

Sometimes China gets accused. Sometimes it's North Korea. Often it's Syria. It was Iraq for a while.
posted by pompomtom at 7:06 PM on March 4, 2012


rough ashlar: "constantly baffled and depressed at the amount of terror and bloodshed wrought over such a stupid fucking thing.

Ok - what would be worth terror and bloodshed?
"

Personally, I like the Rai stones. Makes even more sense than gold.
posted by Red Loop at 7:09 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


And now it's not even about rocks. It's about points! Points in a computer somewhere. An abstract shiny rock. Get the highest score and you win at society! It's what everyone wants.

Gamification has really gotten out of hand.
posted by modernserf at 7:09 PM on March 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm not a Ron Paul supporter

Its ok, with or without your support Dr. Paul will still keep talking about how an attack on Iran is a bad plan.

they hold as a reliable source at Metafilter.

MetaFilter doesn't like posts to Lyndon LaRouche's pictures of Grasso and the FARC.

And in both cases you'll have a group mumble "stopped clock right twice".
posted by rough ashlar at 7:11 PM on March 4, 2012


I would be earnestly very interested in reading some debunkings of "petrodollar warfare" which is apparently the term of art for what is being discussed (just discovered that now). I'm starting to Google around; if this is a notion founded in financial illiteracy I'd certainly like to read up more on the counter-arguments.
posted by aydeejones at 7:11 PM on March 4, 2012


, whose economy depends on ensuring that the dollar is the only currency used to purchase oil around the world.

A pariah state leaving the dollar isn't going to threaten the US.
posted by spaltavian at 7:17 PM on March 4, 2012


@Benny Andajetz: The dollar is getting weaker.

Something is up with the US currency.
posted by psergio at 9:25 PM on March 4 [+] [!]


Ha, ha, ha! Number one, I noticed some strange information in that article. I seemed to remember a weaker dollar, so I checked the dollar index (weighted against a basket of currencies_ going back 30 years. The dollar is not very strong now, but it has been weaker - 1991 and 1993 (Gas cost around $1.10 per gallon at that time). Secondly, he seems to have made up an indicator called "gold per barrel". That indicator doesn't seem to take into account that the value of gold has inflated monstrously in the last couple of years. Now, one could take from that data that oil currently holds little value, or that gold is now very valuable. The author chooses to hitch his wagon to the former, despite the fact that gold is up 500% in the last 10 years or other seemingly obvious evidence to the contrary - like the fact that import prices are essentially where they were almost 10 years ago...

oh yeah, then I saw his bio:
I have a B.S. in mechanical engineering. I am a software entrepreneur who is currently an investor and board member in three startup companies. I am on the Leadership Council of the Club for Growth. I was born in 1948. This chapter of my life is about trying to help people make their dreams come true. I started writing about economics because I hate the way that our dysfunctional economy is crushing the dreams of so many people. Young people are delaying getting married and having children because of unstable jobs and incomes. It doesn't have to be this way, and I want to contribute to solving the problem. I believe that prosperity is possible.

Sorry, I thought this was an economics article. It was a political pamphlet. Now I get it.
posted by horsemuth at 7:17 PM on March 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fact: The gold standard does not eliminate inflation.
posted by humanfont at 7:18 PM on March 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty sure Iran did something like this years ago, like moving to the Euro.
The U.S. exported more oil-based fuels than it imported in the first nine months of this year, making it likely that 2011 will be the first time since 1949 that the nation is a net exporter of such goods, primarily diesel. That's not all.
All that means is that we convert a lot of crude oil into gasoline, diesel, etc that goes to Canada and Mexico.

It really has nothing to do with anything as far as oil prices, except to the extent that foreign demand keeps prices for refined products higher in the US.
Gold has almost exclusively been the standard for money for all of history. Our modern confusion of currency (a promise of money) with actual money is understandable... but does not change the facts.

Call Gold an old relic all you want... history is a series of empires that built up with the strength of a gold standard, then got drunk on the power, and then slowly debased their currency until extinction.
Ridiculous. Anyone can find "patterns" in history. All empires were run by men. COINCIDENCE!? The problem with, for example the British empire is that it didn't even make any money for the UK at the end, and with Germany they couldn't afford to keep their empire and defend themselves at home. Other then that what modern empires are there? The Spanish used gold, but they were able to mine so much of it in the new world that they 'debased' gold itself.
posted by delmoi at 7:18 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


dw writes "They may not have a choice pretty soon, though. Without trading with Europe and the US they're about to become China's main supplier -- and China is going to take a Wal-Mart stance with Iran, demanding oil at wafer-thin margins rather than what everyone else is getting on the spot market. I expect that just on that fact alone Iran will eventually have to yield to international pressure -- you can't 'make it rain' on your people when you're selling oil at Wal-Mart prices"

What's the average price of extraction for a barrel of oil in Iran? Half or a third of the spot price? Less? I'm pretty sure way before Iran gets to the razor thin margin level many countries are going to be working around the embargo.

If not it sounds like it's time to set up an oil export business in China. It wouldn't even take much infrastructure: a tanker going between Iran and China, a big ol' pump in some port in China, and a tanker going between China and the destination market. Rinse lather repeat for as many tankers as you can lay your hands on.
posted by Mitheral at 7:23 PM on March 4, 2012


MikeWarot: "Gold has almost exclusively been the standard for money for all of history. Our modern confusion of currency (a promise of money) with actual money is understandable... but does not change the facts."

What makes gold more intrinsically valuable than, say, my poo? Both are useful industrially, after all. Neither is a particularly convenient medium of exchange, however.
posted by wierdo at 7:33 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


cjorgensen: After 9/11 there was video of the populace in Iran dancing in the street and burning the American flag.

Yeah, and right after the Iraq war began, there were countless videos of Americans celebrating. This didn't effect my overall opinion of Americans in any way.

I've seen little of redeeming value from Iran in the last 20 years. They are a nation of assholes led by assholes. i'm sure there are nice people there though.

As justified as they'd be to share a similar view as you, I can tell you, with certainty, that the general population has a lot more respect for your country than you are showing for theirs.

Or in other words, the second coming of the messiah could occur in Iran, but as long as they are holding people like Hoder I am willing to paint the whole country with the same big fat bigoted brush.

Again, I wouldn't paint an entire country with one brush based on Guantanamo.
posted by gman at 7:38 PM on March 4, 2012 [21 favorites]


if this is a notion founded in financial illiteracy

Plenty of books on the idea of 'petrodollar warfare'. Just like books on "Austrian Economics" - plenty of 'em. Or the "Chicago School". (The petrodollar has an anchor/callback to the English Pound and that goes back to the whole Spanish/Dutch/German/Portugese/Ottoman and farther back to Roman and perhaps further back as one wants to try to take it. And as noted upthread - that is the 'Western' money thinking. There is the China "money" exploration.)

Then you got the 'lets have social benefits to transactions' lines of money-thinking http://complementarycurrency.org/materials.php Here one can ponder Potlatches. Or even the "favor" or "friend" "currency" mentioned in the Washington DC post here on the Blue.

Then one has the ideas of energy as 'money'. The lectro, the Joule, emergy of the technocracy.

Somewhere in here you have Will Rodgers 'land they ain't making any more of it' idea of wealth.

At the end of the day you are arguing a religion about what some people BELIEVE vs what others happen to BELIEVE. And at the point when a group of people decide "The Continental is no good" - the money becomes that....not worth a Continental.

I'd certainly like to read up more on the counter-arguments.

To what end? To "win" an argument? You can spend years studying the topic and ideas of "money". Same with "political theory". And the idea of 'petrodollar' combines 'em. And whatever POV you take there will be people who will argue how gob-smackingly wrong you are.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:40 PM on March 4, 2012


What's the average price of extraction for a barrel of oil in Iran? Half or a third of the spot price? Less? I'm pretty sure way before Iran gets to the razor thin margin level many countries are going to be working around the embargo.

Most analysts suggest they need $100 a barrel to keep their economy from cratering. Extraction costs are only a small part of their overhead. Also while they export oil, they import a lot of petroleum products like gasoline, fertilizer, plastics and other chemicals. This also has a negative impact on margins. Iran also needs access to large capital pools to finance continued production.
posted by humanfont at 7:41 PM on March 4, 2012


[Folks, the bullet in the head stuff is not on. Go to MetaTalk if you need to go in that direction. Not okay here, period.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:04 PM on March 4, 2012


Yeah, just make it a shot to the shoulder!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:18 PM on March 4, 2012


Export of crude oil is more or less forbidden from the US. There are a few exceptions, but it is practically impossible to do a net export of crude once in the US. Refined fuels are easier, but crude oil really can't cross out once imported.
posted by bonehead at 8:23 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Uh the link didn't carry over in the quote, but the article I was referencing here came from here
posted by horsemuth at 8:29 PM on March 4, 2012


Our modern confusion of currency (a promise of money) with actual money is understandable... but does not change the facts.

Somehow, I think you are working off your own definitions, or the definitions set forth by some particular theories that I am not familiar with. "Fiat money" and "fiat currency" mean the same exact thing, and you can call gold coins "money" or "currency"; that's not just the vernacular.

history is a series of empires that built up with the strength of a gold standard, then got drunk on the power, and then slowly debased their currency until extinction.

Is that's what history is? This is such a reductive statement that it's impossible for me to take it seriously. So that's why all those empires ended? Not waves of barbarians, not changing technologies and climates...it's all about the gold standard? This is why advocates for a gold standard have trouble getting traction for their ideas.
posted by Edgewise at 8:32 PM on March 4, 2012


And the only thing the gold standard does is eliminate inflation.

lol, dw.

Gold makes inflation worse, more volatile.
posted by Talez at 8:32 PM on March 4, 2012


even as the US is currently a net exporter of oil.

The Oil Drum recently had a pretty good summary of this situation, refuting Bill O'Reilly's claim that the U.S. is a net oil exporter:
O'Reilly is casually conflating exports of oil products and "oil exports." According to the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. currently produces 5.7 million barrels of crude oil per day, imports 9 million barrels of crude oil per day, and exports 50,000 barrels per day (less than 1% of our crude oil production). . . .

It is the finished products that are being exported -- not crude oil -- and these finished products are being made from imported oil. We have oil refiners like Valero -- who don't actually produce oil at all, but import oil from countries like Mexico and Brazil, refine it, and ship gasoline back to them. Between just Mexico and Brazil (and there are others), we are importing 1.5 million barrels of oil per day, and sending them back about a million barrels a day of finished products. (Some of the oil we get from them does stay in the U.S. as finished products). If you subtract our finished product exports from our oil imports, you still end up with net imports of crude oil and crude products of 8 million barrels per day. Hence, the U.S. still operates at a significant import deficit, which contradicts claims that we have plenty of oil and gas in the U.S. . . .

The truth is that the U.S. does not produce nearly enough oil to meet our fuel demands, but we import about a million barrels a day more than we need and export some of the excess as finished products, creating jobs and helping the balance of trade in the process. The reason we are doing this is that domestic demand for gasoline has fallen in recent years, and refiners can therefore either close more refineries or they can find other markets for their products.
posted by flug at 8:39 PM on March 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Which is very fishy; supply is waaaay up, demand is waaaay down, we're exporting - and prices are going up.

This would not be fishy. Even without the contextual error (finished vs crude) it was talking about local (ie US) supply and demand for a fungible commodity traded in the international market. How much the USA does or does not produce is pretty much irrelevant to the prices Americans must pay at the pumps, because changes in American production don't greatly affect total global production, and changes in American consumption don't greatly affect total global consumption.
And if someone in another country is willing pay more for oil than an American is, the oil will be sold to that person, regardless of whether it was drilled from America.
posted by -harlequin- at 8:52 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


humanfont writes "Most analysts suggest they need $100 a barrel to keep their economy from cratering. "

So is Iran's economy cratering? 'Cause the last few years since the spike of 2008 have seen prices mostly below a hundred. Much below a $100 in many cases. And of course they'd never been above a $100 before 2008.
posted by Mitheral at 8:59 PM on March 4, 2012


Ahmedinijad seems to have lost the power struggle with Khamanei. He is going to be called before parliament for corruption and practicing witchcraft. If he's lucky they just boot him from office and throw him in jail.
posted by humanfont at 9:03 PM on March 4, 2012


The Iranian economy has barely managed a 2% growth rate the last few years which has been a short of the 5% they need to stabilize the growing youth / young adult unemployment problem. On top of this the rial lost 80% of its value as the new sanctions took effect.
posted by humanfont at 9:14 PM on March 4, 2012


Looks like Iran's central bank is going to get kicked out of SWIFT. Which, among other things, would mean that dollars wouldn't be of much use to them anymore.

If the SWIFT network goes head to head with major oil sellers, my money would be on the SWIFT network losing it's stanglehold on the world a lot quicker than oil sellers ever will.

On the face of it though, it seems like we should have alternatives to SWIFT, preferably more open and free and transparent and accountable alternatives, so I guess I rooting for SWIFT to kick out Iran and then crossing my fingers that the fallout will be an improvement :)
posted by -harlequin- at 9:16 PM on March 4, 2012


To what end? To "win" an argument?

It's fascinating, that is all. I went into this with certain biases, some of which I knew were outright biases and could easily recognize as such, and others that I figured were foregone conclusions until reading contrary perspectives from a community that I respect. I suspect there's a more complex debunking of petrodollar warfare beyond "the currency doesn't really matter" in a world where currency itself is subject to sometimes rampant speculation. This (like perhaps all matters involving economics and politics) is clearly one of those areas where you can't just find a clear-cut answer of any substance that puts the argument completely to rest in the minds of rational individuals, but instead must learn the broader foundations and form an opinion that may still be easily dismissed but is at least grounded in an honest effort to understand.

Such is life -- a process of discovery. Meanwhile the story of civilization keeps repeating itself and most of the population is trying to figure out when and how they can start enjoying many of the trappings of modern civilization (I won the Buffett Lottery myself and am not suggesting that I am personally not basking like a pig in shit in a lifestyle that would befit many long-dead kings).
posted by aydeejones at 9:20 PM on March 4, 2012


What makes you think this empire is any different?

GOOGLE ROUGH ASHLAR.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:42 PM on March 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Iran's really shooting themselves in the foot with this. Suppose someone wants to buy a tanker of Iranian oil and sell it somewhere else. Because the oil needs to be delivered there will be a few weeks between purchase and delivery in which the relative value of currencies may change - but this won't affect the broker: the supplier quotes a price in US dollars and the broker does the same. But suppose the supplier quotes a price in (say) rupees. The broker knows that he's going to get paid in US dollars, so by placing an order he's exposing himself to the risk that the rupee will rise against the US dollar. He can insure himself against the risk, but that's an extra cost. In any event, the expense means he won't pay as much for oil denominated in rupees as for oil denominated in US dollars.

The same goes for someone in Iran who wants to buy something denominated in US dollars. He can't get any US dollars locally because of his country's embargo, so he either trades rupees for US dollars (at a cost) or he finds a supplier who will take rupees. Either way, it's costing him more.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:57 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Which is very fishy; supply is waaaay up, demand is waaaay down, we're exporting - and prices are going up.

Yeah, the same thing happened to the irish.

America is deeply in debt, and our economy is still in a shambles, so instead importing natural resources and creating finished goods, we're selling natural resources. This is not a good thing. It's basically us heading towards being a third world country.
posted by empath at 10:00 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


GOOGLE ROUGH ASHLAR.

Actually: don't. Its first hit leads to a Quebecois Freemasonry conspiracy. SEE?! The lizard people told you not to!?! Come on, sheeple. Get it together.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:01 PM on March 4, 2012


Oy vey, as they say back in Calcutta...

The last time Iran suggested a basket of currencies it was in spring of 2007 iirc and promptly there were newsbits about bombing them, after which the Shanghai Stock Exchange was rejiggered (like a yank on the chain of a runaway dog) and everything fell and a minor press note was seen saying er, perhaps we aren't going to bomb Iran anymore.

Me thinks I'm going watch what happens further east...
posted by infini at 10:29 PM on March 4, 2012


They should switch over to bitcoin.
posted by Bonzai at 10:37 PM on March 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Gold makes inflation worse, more volatile.

Wow, you're all missing the point.

If you tie the money supply to the supply of something finite like your nation's supply of gold, you cannot increase your money supply without adding more gold to that supply, not unless you devalue your currency. Having a finite money supply means less monetary circulation, and the less it circulates, the more valuable money gets, which leads to deflation.

When the only way to increase the money supply is to find more of a finite material, you're going to have a very tight monetary policy, save when you devalue the currency, in which case you deal with big bursts of inflation.

I am not for the gold standard at all. I am just stating that it's hard to have inflation when you can only grow the money supply annually by as much gold as you can mine in a year.
posted by dw at 10:37 PM on March 4, 2012


I am not for the gold standard at all. I am just stating that it's hard to have inflation when you can only grow the money supply annually by as much gold as you can mine in a year.

And I loved ya in that Cartoon Network program (what was it? -- ah yes!) GOLDBUGGERY. Good luck with that, dw.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:39 PM on March 4, 2012


No offense, but this is the precise moment when MetaFilter became its AM radio equivalent. Or you know, "I am not for the gold standard at all [BUT] I am just stating that ..."
posted by joe lisboa at 10:42 PM on March 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


[...]instead importing natural resources and creating finished goods, we're selling natural resources. This is not a good thing. It's basically us heading towards being a third world country.

Yes. A third world country. Just like Canada.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:43 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


... and I LIKE dw!!
posted by joe lisboa at 10:49 PM on March 4, 2012


I am just stating that it's hard to have inflation when you can only grow the money supply annually by as much gold as you can mine in a year.

When he said 'makes inflation worse', I think he meant that it essentially removes control the money supply from the control of the government and leaves it to the whims of the gold market, which means that you can have wild inflationary and deflationary spikes.
posted by empath at 10:56 PM on March 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I liked Douglas Adams' version of currency based on leaves that fell to the ground in one of the hitchhiker's guides books. When fall came they had to burn the forests down to prevent runaway inflation.

Seemed to put it all in place in me noggin.
posted by roboton666 at 11:01 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dear God this is the end. If only it was possible to convert money from one currency to another. Or indeed convert from one currency to another at a fixed rate at a predetermined time in future. But this is the stuff of dreams. We're doomed unless somehow there exists a market which is continuously open, which provides essentially unlimited liquidity and depth.
posted by Damienmce at 11:09 PM on March 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


If you tie the money supply to the supply of something finite like your nation's supply of gold, you cannot increase your money supply without adding more gold to that supply, not unless you devalue your currency. Having a finite money supply means less monetary circulation, and the less it circulates, the more valuable money gets, which leads to deflation.

You seem to miss the points.

a) A person in the present doesn't give a flying fuck if the money supply will be stable once the reserves of gold in the ground are depleted some day far in the future.

Inflation isn't an average percentage determined at finality far in the future. The stability of inflation needs to be constant.

b) Deflation is bad. Just ask Japan about that.

I am just stating that it's hard to have inflation when you can only grow the money supply annually by as much gold as you can mine in a year.

This is just fucking stupid. The amount of gold mined in a year back in the gold rush days fluctuated wildly. The monetary system was a fiscal rollercoaster ride of booms and busts.

It's like assuming a rollercoaster is perfectly level because it starts and ends at the same height.
posted by Talez at 11:10 PM on March 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Damienmce: can you speak more elaborately on the subject of Foreign exchange reserves and how that fits in with the "currency is easily traded and there's no negative effect to speak of" perspective? I'm just trying to figure this stuff out myself and am open to read anything relevant.
posted by aydeejones at 11:39 PM on March 4, 2012


How dare this sovereign nation exchange goods on an international market in its currency of choice!
posted by ecmendenhall at 2:20 AM on March 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Couldn't it just be something like, "Fuck the mullahs, fuck Amedinadinnerjacket, fuck the Revolutionary Guards, etc"? Iran is a rich culture with a millenia of history and wonderful people, including friends of mine who run an import/export business.

This. My impression of Iran, from what I've read and seen, is that, were the leaden hand of the theocratic dictatorship lifted, what would emerge would be a vibrant cosmopolitan society on a par with, say, Turkey or Lebanon.
posted by acb at 2:44 AM on March 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Iran Opens Space Program Site for First Media Tour
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:58 AM on March 5, 2012


Economic warfare against Iran won’t change its nuclear policy and will lead to severe worldwide repercussions. Overt war would be even more foolish and disastrous. There is a reasonable way out of all this and it is already on the table, concludes Gary Sick.
Iran has been signalling for more than a year that it is willing to undertake negotiations without preconditions (via middle east online as original article is behind Le Monde diplomatique paywall.)
posted by adamvasco at 4:16 AM on March 5, 2012


It's fascinating, that is all.

Then you've got plenty of fodder to read. There is an entire side-track you can take in the whole "this city was a port city/centre of commerce" examination of architecture and building materials VS the non port cities/centres of commerce of the same time/same nation and how a culture of vampire capitalism can develop.

As you wish to be 'fascinated' - there is always Mr. 5% Calouste Gulbenkian and his influence on oil. Toss in some Lawrence of Arabia for yucks.

Or you could spend time trying to noodle out the shipping container of bonds from a few years ago or the comments by a Brittish Lord last month about trillions in bonds if the 'money' is a fascination.

Good luck in your quest for what is 'fascinating'.

Fact: The gold standard does not eliminate inflation.

If one defines inflation as the increase in money supply then as you mine more gold there is "more money". Thus in one "school" of "economics" mining more Gold creates inflation. Using Gold for edge connectors in computers would be deflationary to the money supply in that Austrian model. The Silver of Arizona and its effect on the economy along with the scandals with the Morgan dollar would be an example of an influx of "money". If it makes it more 'fascinating' to you you can try to figure out what happened to that Silver - be it used for making weapons of war or just taken away by warehouse works one box at a time.

(you can spend a while trying to figure out which model or "school" of economic activity is right. Odds are someone as a new model they are flogging somewhere in an attempt to explain the world because the present ones in their opinion do not do it well enough.)

What makes you think this empire is any different?

Yes...why is this time gonna be the time that is different?

I see the bright intellectual lights of the blue have already weighed in on the topic already - so carry on.
posted by rough ashlar at 4:49 AM on March 5, 2012


Adamvasco, that's an extraordinarily tendentious article. The author says things like "Iran ... accepts inspections of its principal nuclear sites by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)" but that's directly contradicted by the IAEA itself, which says, e.g.
... the Agency team requested access to the military site at Parchin. Iran did not grant permission for this visit to take place
e.g.
The International Atomic Energy Agency can confirm that on 10 June 2010 it received a letter from Iran objecting to the designation of two IAEA safeguards inspectors.
e.g.
We want to know more about what they are doing... But Iran does not tell us well in advance about the construction of new facilities.
As for the claim that "Iran has been signalling for more than a year that it is willing to undertake negotiations without preconditions", last November the IAEA passed a resolution that
calls on Iran to engage seriously and without preconditions in talks aimed at restoring international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.
So evidently the IAEA itself either hasn't seen the signals, or hasn't understood them. Or, you know, your sources could be lies, placed there by Iran's immensely well-subsidised propaganda network.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:56 AM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


aydeejones - here is an example of 'schools' and 'money'.

The stability of inflation needs to be constant.
I am just stating that it's hard to have inflation when you can only grow the money supply annually by as much gold as you can mine in a year.


If you are looking at the world with the Austrian School - inflation is defined as an increase in the money supply.
So growing the money supply IS inflation. Yet other schools call inflation an increase in price.

With different definitions in play its hard to have a reasonable discussion. Imagine you hear a person make a sound like the letter C and a pointed finger at an object. If the speaker is using Spanish the 'Yes' and pointing a finger has different meaning then English 'Look at that' and pointing. Keeping the difference in definition in mind you can C how the topic of money are as heated now as they have been long before the posters here were born.

As for a need to inflate - you can spend time asking 'why' such a statement is 'true' aydeejones. That can lead you to all kinds of topics like Why is Money Creation tied to interest and who gets that interest or social justice issues.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:12 AM on March 5, 2012


Or, you know, your sources could be lies, placed there by Iran's immensely well-subsidised propaganda network.

Ahhh, what fine satire!
posted by rough ashlar at 5:20 AM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you seek more facinating about money - there ya go.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:24 AM on March 5, 2012


My impression of Iran, from what I've read and seen, is that, were the leaden hand of the theocratic dictatorship lifted, what would emerge would be a vibrant cosmopolitan society on a par with, say, Turkey or Lebanon.

Such an argument has been made before about the nation. Back in the 1950's.

Then something happened, I'm a bit foggy on the details. But in the 1970's Iran was so gung ho on having Fission the leader of the nation appeared in advertisements talking about how they ordered fission plants. I guess the TMI incident made 'em not take delivery on what was ordered.

What with Chernoybol and Fukishma - what rational sane nation would want Fission power - so the only logical conclusion would have to be bomb making because Iran can buy all the medical isotopes they need from the Canadian MAPLE line of reactors.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:38 AM on March 5, 2012


Or, you know, your sources could be lies, placed there by Iran's immensely well-subsidised propaganda network.
I take it you are working on your well known policy of "If you throw enough shit at the wall some of it is bound to stick".
The glaring fallacy in your linked statement about propaganda is that Gary Sick doesn´t figure there. In fact by his history you would expect him to be on the other side. Anyway what ever floats your irrational boat. I´m not getting into a fight with you as I remember the maxim about pigs and mudwrestling and I am having an interesting day.
posted by adamvasco at 5:39 AM on March 5, 2012


aydeejones - FX reserves have pretty much nothing to do with the convertibility of currencies in the modern era. In fact they only matter if you have a pegged currency you need to defend or you have large amount of foreign currency denominated debt. If you are a country like the US that borrows in its own currency, and full floats their currency it doesn't really matter so much. Only in the context of it being a component of a current account surplus does it say something about the health of an economy.

The best example of this is the chinese hoarding USD - precisely because they have a (sorta) peg they constantly need to defend. They need huge FX surpluses to do that.

Also the US wants a weaker dollar and wants inflation.
posted by JPD at 5:39 AM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


The best example of this is the chinese hoarding USD - precisely because they have a (sorta) peg they constantly need to defend. They need huge FX surpluses to do that.

The past:
China's Currency Reserves Rise to Record, Domestic Lending ...
www.bloomberg.com/.../china-s-currency-reserves-rise-to-record-do...
Jan 11, 2011 – China's foreign-exchange reserves climbed by a record last quarter and lending exceeded the government's annual target, increasing pressure ...

And now:

China's Share of Reserves in U.S. Dollar Is Reduced - WSJ.com
online.wsj.com/.../SB1000142405297020375370457725479406865...
3 days ago – Fresh data suggest China is moderating its appetite for investing in U.S. securities, a trend that could mean lower flows of cheap capital from ...
China Makes Plans to Diversify Its Dollar Reserves
dailyreckoning.com/china-makes-plans-to-diversify-its-dollar-reserves/
Apr 25, 2011 – China's plan to diversify its foreign reserve holdings, specifically those in US dollars, is discussed alongside the record gold price and the run ...
posted by rough ashlar at 5:55 AM on March 5, 2012


yes and the yuan has risen during that time period, i.e. they are not defending the peg.
posted by JPD at 6:00 AM on March 5, 2012


Also sometimes the current account surplus is large enough to make any attempts to intervene basically impossible.
posted by JPD at 6:01 AM on March 5, 2012


My impression of Iran, from what I've read and seen, is that, were the leaden hand of the theocratic dictatorship lifted, what would emerge would be a vibrant cosmopolitan society on a par with, say, Turkey or Lebanon.

Iran and America are natural allies, and aside from the spread of revolutionary Shite Islam, have the same overall goals in the region. A generation after the theocracy falls, they will be allies. Provided there isn't a war to embitter both nations for decades.
posted by spaltavian at 6:56 AM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Personally, I like the Rai stones. Makes even more sense than gold.

I love Rai stones. From Wikipedia:
In one instance, a rai being transported by canoe was accidentally dropped and sank to the sea floor. Although it was never seen again, everyone agreed that the rai must still be there, so it continued to be transacted as genuine currency.
posted by scalefree at 7:52 AM on March 5, 2012


The best example of this is the chinese hoarding USD - precisely because they have a (sorta) peg they constantly need to defend. They need huge FX surpluses to do that.

The "peg" is a result of strict currency controls not market intervention. The "hoarding" of dollars is the end result not an interventionist tool. A happy coincidence. Not like it matters since if China had any opportunity at all to devalue its currency without threat of starting a nuclear war they'd probably take it.

If you want a good example of a country hoarding USD to defend a peg you're probably better off using Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority as an example. The HKMA has a US dollar reserve several times the M0 to keep the peg. During the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis the HKMA spent billions defending the HKD's peg from speculative attacks. It worked and the HKMA eventually made a profit from propping up the peg and the stock markets.

yes and the yuan has risen during that time period, i.e. they are not defending the peg.

The yuan is being allowed to appreciate very slowly in a very controlled way as a token gesture to fucking workers in the west. If you think the yuan is fully convertible in any way, shape or form you are sorely mistaken. You can go to Hong Kong and buy CNH if you really need it but getting that money into China to be used for investment is still tied up in red tape.
posted by Talez at 8:11 AM on March 5, 2012


When the only way to increase the money supply is to find more of a finite material, you're going to have a very tight monetary policy...

I saw some kind of info-graphic, admittedly quite some time ago, that illustrated the amount of mined gold, plus all the gold estimated to reside in earth's crust, as a block having the base dimensions of the Washington Monument and a height of 40 feet.

Seems like an awfully small amount. Any better guesses as to how many vertical feet of the monument's dimensions that block would entail?
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:28 AM on March 5, 2012


Most analysts suggest they need $100 a barrel to keep their economy from cratering.

I had heard $60, but... this is from 2 years ago:

Iran planned next year's budget based on an oil price of $60 per barrel, nearly double the price from the last year, the official news agency reported on Sunday, indicating rising optimism over energy prices.

Last year, the parliament approved a budget based on $37.5 per barrel for the fiscal year ending in March, reflecting the steep drop in prices that severly impacted the economy. About 80 percent of Iran's foreign revenue comes from oil exports.

posted by gwint at 11:34 AM on March 5, 2012


Seems like an awfully small amount.

So?

Gold can be sub divided down to a per atom level or the "price" of gold per troy ounce could be raised to a very high amount.

Either weigh - every FRN has a weight of 1 gram. Every troy ounce is 31.1 grams. 32*20 = $640. So you C to carry about enough $20 to buy an ounce of Gold, you'll have to carry about more weight in paper than the Gold you are looking to buy.

Meanwhile on the net:
President Obama yesterday joined virtually every U.S. political leader in both parties in making the obligatory, annual pilgrimage and oath-taking to AIPAC: a bizarre ritual if you think about it.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:47 PM on March 5, 2012


Iran Drumbeat Watch: AIPAC Edition
posted by homunculus at 2:03 PM on March 5, 2012


StickyCarpet: I saw some kind of info-graphic, admittedly quite some time ago, that illustrated the amount of mined gold, plus all the gold estimated to reside in earth's crust, as a block having the base dimensions of the Washington Monument and a height of 40 feet.

Seems like an awfully small amount. Any better guesses as to how many vertical feet of the monument's dimensions that block would entail?


Well, Wikipedia claims that all the gold mined as of 2009 would form a cube 20.4 meters on a side. As the Washington Monument is only 16.8 meters across at the base, your hypothetical block of gold would be 30 meters / 100 feet tall even if it only contained all the gold currently mined.

As a back-of-the-envelope calculation, I assumed a crustal density of 2.5 g/cm^3, a crustal thickness of just 5 km, and an abundance of 0.003 ppm by mass of gold in the crust, giving a tower some 3.5 thousand kilometers high.
posted by JiBB at 6:24 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Obama told AIPAC that it wasn't time for bluster and to give diplomacy time.
posted by humanfont at 6:31 PM on March 5, 2012


“Despite the hour, there is still time to stop Iran without the use of force, but that time is running out quickly,” Howard Kohr, AIPAC’s executive director, told the crowd.

Much of his speech was about justifying the expected Israeli attack, as if it were a foregone conclusion. “Israel does not control the path Iran is on,” he said. “If at some point, Israel or anyone must act, only Iran will be to blame. . . . America must stand with the Jewish state.”


The Iraq war was enabled using a rhetorical trick I call "too soon, too late". It's always too soon to be be discussing opposition to the war until a certain unpredictable moment comes and then it's suddenly too late, the decision's already been made & there's no use trying to stop it anymore. I've never seen both halves of it being used at once, though. That's a real innovation, well done!
posted by scalefree at 6:37 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Full Text of Netanyahu Speech to AIPAC 2012

Despite the description I think that is actually the version prepared for publication; the version here looks more like the speech as it was given.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:19 PM on March 5, 2012


After 9/11 there was video of the populace in Iran dancing in the street and burning the American flag.

Just for the record, no there wasn't. There were candlelight vigils across Iran and expressions of sympathy from its leaders. Iran also "offered its air space and landing fields to the United States in its attacks on al-Qaeda and the Taliban."

posted by mediareport at 7:38 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why Iran’s Jews are Better Off Than Gaza’s Palestinians 25,000 Jews live in Iran. It’s the largest Jewish population in the Middle East outside of Israel. Iranian Jews are not persecuted or abused by the state, in fact, they are protected under Iran’s constitution. They are free to practice their religion and to vote in elections. They are not stopped and searched at checkpoints, they are not brutalized by an occupying army, and they are not herded into a densely-populated penal colony (Gaza) where they are deprived of the basic means of survival. Iranian Jews live in dignity and enjoy the benefits of citizenship.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:25 AM on March 6, 2012


Rough Ashlar, have you ever met a Jew from Iran? One who lived there recently, I mean. Here's an article that presents a very different picture:
Imagine being a Jew in Iran

Incidentally, a well-known poster here is presently in an Iranian prison serving a 19-year sentence after visiting Israel. Here's one of the reports that got him into trouble.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:42 PM on March 6, 2012


The Arabs with Israeli citizenship do a lot better than the Jewish community in Iran.
posted by humanfont at 4:36 PM on March 6, 2012


I don't think this is a good or a useful comparison. The article carries the unfortunate implication that Iran is excused or even justified in its oppressive practices because the people it is persecuting are Jews. Why should the civil rights of Jews in Iran be affected by the civil rights of Palestinians in Israel?
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:58 PM on March 6, 2012


It's a pointless comparison, because Gaza is objectively a living nightmare, no matter what is going on elsewhere.
posted by empath at 5:32 PM on March 6, 2012


Actually, I think that for most people life in Gaza is pretty normal. The documentary you linked to was describing the most recent war, when life there was as horrible as it is in any war zone. But right now it would be infinitely better to be in Gaza than to be in Homs, for example.

There are objective ways to measure quality of life and by those measures Gaza is better than half the places in the world, including most of its neighbours. To put it into context and make this at least somewhat on-topic, child mortality in Gaza is between two-thirds and half that of Iran.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:02 PM on March 6, 2012


The CIA doesn't say where they're getting those numbers from. I'm curious.
posted by empath at 8:07 PM on March 6, 2012


I wondered about that too. They're not strictly comparable with the UN's because it's a figure for a single year rather than a period, but Gaza isn't the only place to have a high discrepancy. You wouldn't think it's an easy thing to disagree about, either.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:25 PM on March 6, 2012


Obama aiding Tehran by pursuing diplomatic solution. Congress critters; your tax dollars working for you for the military industrial complex.
posted by adamvasco at 1:08 PM on March 12, 2012


U.S. asks Saudis to lift oil output from July
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:37 PM on March 13, 2012


« Older The SF Jazz Collective...  |  The ‘white’ slave children of ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments