Sunday, March 18, 2007

Fool's Gold

I'm reading through H.G. Wells' book 'The Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind' and it's a fantastically thorough discussion of history, economics, psychology etc. One paragraph just begged to be quoted:

From a careful study of available records, it is concluded that the world's production of gold since the discovery of America, from the year 1493 to 1927 inclusive, amounted to 1004 million ounces, including one per cent for unrecorded or underestimated output. Expressed in ounces, this sounds to be an immense quantity, yet in dead solid weight it amounts to about 30,720 tons, occupying a volume of slightly more than 56,000 cubic feet, or if we consider the whole of the gold produced in the world since the time of the discovery of America, this would go into a 38-foot cube. Not a very impressive block as regards size or weight to have ruled men's passions and destinies for more than half a thousand years! (p. 350).
Fool's gold indeed!