Is Gold Completely Useless?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by NickZac, Jan 31, 2011.

  1. NickZac macrumors 68000

    NickZac

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    #1
    Someone told me that money is worthless because it is no longer backed by gold. I asked them why gold is any more useful and they said because it is valuable. So I ask this at the chance of being called ignorant as I know little of its actual use...what value does gold have beyond jewelry? Does it have any industrial applications (other than the ole 'anti corrosion' sillies)?

    Even things such as diamonds, iridium, tungsten, silver, copper, platinum, etc have some value that goes beyond looking at and calling it pretty...what use does gold serve us?
     
  2. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #2
    It's a great conductor and is used in electronics often.
     
  3. RITZFit macrumors 65816

    RITZFit

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    #3
    Some people way back when though it looked neat and hyped it up? Either way, this gold thing seems to have really blown up recently. Hell, I can't drive down the road for more than 3 min w/ out seeing some guy dancig on the corner wearing a "we buy gold!!11!!" sign :rolleyes:
     
  4. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #4
    It's also extremely malleable and ductile, so it can form very thin sheets and threads. Let's not forget Rutherford's Gold Foil Experiment which demonstrated that most of an atom's mass is contained in the nucleus.
     
  5. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #5
    Gold is a mineral that this world has put a lot of value. Its a rare mineral that still equates to wealth and financial stability.

    for instance, I recall some financial guru stating that you could buy a business suit with a 5 dollar gold coin in the 18th century and now, you could buy that same suit with that same gold coin. Using paper money, you'd need to plunk down 300 - 500 bucks.

    Gold is a vehicle to impart a value system and drive an economy. We could have used a different mineral but for what ever reason gold was it.
     
  6. lewis82 macrumors 68000

    lewis82

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    #6
    Gold is a very good conductor, but not as much as silver. However, its cost makes both impractical to use for conductors. Copper is used in most cases, except maybe ultra high-end equipment.

    Gold is used as a plating on other materials to prevent them from corroding (ad gold reacts with almost nothing), that's where it is the most useful.
     
  7. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

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    #7
    Gold is also used as a heat shield for spacecraft/satellites, since it does a great job of reflecting radiation.

    But most of it's value is in the fact that it a) looks nice, and b) is rare.
     
  8. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #8
    And gold is inert to the body as well, for medical uses. :)
     
  9. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

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    #9
    While gold has some industrial value, it has been assigned value because it is rare, pretty and there are a variety of ways to tell if it is real. Otherwise it has value only as long as people regard it as a store of value. It can be a reasonable investment if you're into speculating, but it's not really a good hedge against economic instability. If I were scared of a major economic collapse, I'd probably try to get my hands on resource rich land—farmland, forest.
     
  10. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #10
    A lot have said it looks nice but lets not forget how it feels in the hand. That's part of the allure.
     
  11. leandroc76 macrumors regular

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    #11
    Homework?

    Out of the seven things you listed inlcuding gold, one of them is not an element. Diamonds are an allotrope of carbon. All elements in their elemental state are very rare and very expensive. Gold is one of the few metals that don't react to any other compound or acids. Only a few, un-natural acids can dissolve gold*.

    *Sounds like a good synopsis for a movie!
     
  12. NickZac thread starter macrumors 68000

    NickZac

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    #12
    I am a little bit of a hypocrite considering I wear mens jewelry, but I've never been a gold person.

    I know some gold salts are (more so have been, in the past) used as a medical treatment with debated ability, but I had no idea of all the other things. This makes me feel a little better when I see people go gaga over gold. I've always liked the customizable look of tungsten and the rather bland look of titanium. When I am not at work, I have about 7 ear piercings and I've always loved wearing anodized titanium. I also wear a lot of of John Hardy stuff: bracelet, necklace, cuff links, clip...I've always gone with Sterling Silver though and more due to the design appearance than the material. I've just never been about the gold I guess...possibly because historically I've been too poor to get it. Platinum as a jewelry has never struck me either, but different folks for different strokes I reckon..or something like that :confused:
     
  13. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #13
    I'll be a little nit picky. Not all elements are rare (most are). Hydrogen is the most plentiful element in the universe.
     
  14. NickZac thread starter macrumors 68000

    NickZac

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    #14
    I've been looking for a new mainstream trend...where can I get me some of that? ;)
     
  15. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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  16. maccompaq macrumors 65816

    maccompaq

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    #16
    Brokers are pushing gold hard lately. They must have a lot of it and want to unload it.
     
  17. barkomatic macrumors 68040

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    #17
    Buying Gold right now is not a good investment in my opinion--but an excellent time to sell. Although its value may go up a little more, anyone who buys at over $1300 an ounce with the intention of making money is in for a disappointment. It's a minor bubble which is set to burst in the next year or two. There are a few limited industrial uses for gold but these do not come close to justifying the current price.

    About 10 years ago, gold was sitting at its low--about $280 an ounce. The inflated value it has now is based almost entirely on fear about the economy and the belief that there are no viable investement alternatives. Once the economy starts to recover, jobs are more plentiful, and there is money to be made elsewhere the price will fall quickly.
     
  18. heehee macrumors 68020

    heehee

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    #18
    The economy might look good, but how are the US going to pay the trillions they owe?

    From 1970 - 1979, it went up 650%. 1979-jan 1980, it went up over 400% in just one year.

    Same period of time in the present 2000-2010 it went up just over 500%, guess what's going happen in the next 3 years?
     
  19. barkomatic macrumors 68040

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    #19
    The U.S. does not have to pay off our entire debt immediately to remain solvent--just the interest payments, which we have been doing all through the recent crisis. There is very little chance the U.S. will default.
     
  20. Queso macrumors G4

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    #20
    I like the fact you can eat it and it won't harm you in the slightest.

    But that's the limit of my interest I'm afraid :D
     
  21. anjinha macrumors 604

    anjinha

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    #21
    But there was an episode on House where a woman was poisoning her husband with gold flakes!! I think.
     
  22. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #22
    Try here (for an interesting sort of convergence of topical elements).

    If I understand correctly, you kidneys have a duct with a tight little bend, sort of like a p-trap in a sink drain: heavy metals like gold, lead, mercury, etc, can accumulate in the low spot and eventually block flow (if they are in the right concentration over the right length of time).
     
  23. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

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    #23
    Gold is used frequently in the aerospace industry. Things are gold plated, attached with gold solder, etc.
     
  24. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #24
    gold is probably the best metal to use in electronics, and the use is mainly limited by cost. it's malleable, can be easily worked to very fine details and does not tarnish, assuring optimal and reliable conductance under diverse conditions.
    it is also an essential material in aerospace industry with many application (including lubrication!).

    in addition there is dentistry and many more uses. so no, it is not "useless".

    even it's selection as a precious material was not random, but its many distinctive characteristics (including look, color, purification and processing) allowed for it to no be easily 'faked'.
    it's not by chance that every single civilization identified gold as a precious material.
     
  25. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #25
    Besides 50 cent, how many people have gold teeth?
     

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