Just how much gold exists today?
With secrecy and illegal mining blurring the numbers, estimates of the world's stores range from a tennis-court-size pile to one as large as a skyscraper.
Depending on the source, one of those options is the actual visual representation of the amount of mined gold that exists on the planet. The other is a steaming pile of fiction fabricated by feeble-minded twits who need to be reminded to breathe.
It's kind of tough to determine who's correct, as folks who have massive stores of gold and aren't publicly accountable nation states usually don't like to advertise. However, as reported by The BBC, the Thompson Reuters (TRI) GFMS just released its annual gold survey and estimated that roughly 171,300 metric tons of mined gold are on the planet, which would measure roughly 314,000 cubic feet. That's just a bit more than Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A BRK.B) Chief Executive Warren Buffett's estimate of 300,000 cubic feet, but well short of what gold industry group the Gold Standard Institute says is the real amount of yellow metal circulating around the globe.
The Institute insists that 2.5 million metric tons are kicking around -- or roughly 4.5 million cubic feet. Just for comparison's sake, the Thompson Reuters figure would cover Centre Court at Wimbledon and stack 32 feet above it. The Gold Standard Institute's figure could still use Centre Court as its footprint, but would stack 469 feet high. That's roughly the size of Smith Tower in Seattle.
How do you get such a huge discrepancy? Mostly because gold has piling up for a long time. The first gold coins were minted in about 550 BC, and Thompson Reuters estimates that by 1492, 12,780 metric tons had been extracted. James Turk, the founder of Gold Money, believes that's a drastic overestimate. He maintains that crude mining techniques would have yielded just 297 metric tons of gold by 1492 at best.
Turk's figure is only about 10% lower than the Thompson Reuters number, but that's a $950 billion disparity at current prices. That has already prompted critics to snipe that Turk's figure is a viable alternative to existing numbers "in the same way that Jedi is an alternative to Christianity."
Given the uncertainty of the gold market, the Gold Standard Institute thinks both estimates are way off. Its numbers take into account that China hasn't exactly been open about how much gold it's extracting, while countries like Colombia and the Democratic Republic of Congo have been rife with illegal gold mining.
The U.S. Geological Survey says 52,000 metric tons of gold are still in the ground, but the way we're using it now means supplies won't remain fixed for long. While the overwhelming majority of the world's above-ground gold has been recycled for the last few millennia or so, gold's use in tech products is making it far more difficult to recycle. The incredibly small amounts used in some gadgets are nearly impossible to extract, but the British Geological Society says those tiny pieces add up to 12% of the world's existing gold.
If those gold estimates end up shading more to the tennis court side of the debate than the golden skyscraper theory, that pile might drop to net level just a few tech generations from now.
The same amount that existed a million years ago. The original stockpile doesn't increase or decrease; it only changes hands.
According to Thompson Reuters GFMS annual gold survey, there are 171,300 metric tons of gold that have ever been mined and currently exist anywhere on the planet. 171,300 metric tons * 2204.62 pounds per metric ton * 10 troy oz per pound = 3,776,514,060 troy oz. At $1550/oz that is $5.853 trillion.
All the gold in the world:
That is about 1/3 of the size of US National Debt.
That is slightly more than the additional debt incurred during the Obama presidency, so far.
That is about the amount of the addtional debt incurred during the 10 years prior to Obama.
That is the amount spent by the US Federal government in just the last 21 months.
Think about that.
Reading this article was a total waste of two minutes of my life... as was posting this comment.
Which weighs more? A pound of gold or a pound of feathers. duh
Who gives a crap unless it's yours.
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