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Show ALL Forums  > Science/philosophy  > Alchemical Gold: Effects on Market?      Home login  
Joined: 10/14/2006
Msg: 1
Alchemical Gold: Effects on Market?Page 1 of 2    (1, 2)
I have a bit of a silly question. One that isn't necessarily scientific or philosophical, but is a little too techncial to ask anywhere else. So ...

If one had the ability to create gold, ex nihilo, via some alchemical process perhaps, how would that impact the market value? Global stability? Would the amount produced have to be extraordianry ? And if discovered, what would the consequences be? As long as they were paying their taxes on it, and had all the proper documentation would they be free to produce as much gold as they wanted? Or would there be a legal reaction; be it born of existing law or the drafting of new legislation?
Joined: 6/18/2008
Msg: 2
Alchemical Gold: Effects on Market?
Posted: 3/15/2010 7:35:24 PM
Tall made a good point about the probable expense if it were plausible.

But something to consider, I think, is this question:
Are items expensive because they are rare, or rare because they are expensive?

Take the diamond for example, they really aren't extremely rare. There are, in fact, great stockpiles of diamonds in many countries (Russia comes to mind) which are kept off the market thus keeping the prices (artificially?) high.

Furthermore, we can produce diamonds synthetically, yet "real" diamonds maintain their value. So with all of these factors in mind, I'm not sure how much it would effect the real gold market. I would imagine there would be a greater demand for the real stuff (though perhaps more buyers of the synthetic type due to price restraints).
Joined: 7/10/2006
Msg: 3
Alchemical Gold: Effects on Market?
Posted: 3/17/2010 4:31:14 PM
Anyone smart enough to be able to create gold via some alchemical process would never be stupid enough to tell anyone else about it.

They'd just start creating it en masse on the sly and introduce it into the market in countries where there's a huge demand for gold and mildly incompetent governments which cannot keep track of it. They'd steadily flood the world gold supply and short 10 or 20 year gold futures constantly.
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 4
Alchemical Gold: Effects on Market?
Posted: 3/17/2010 8:13:56 PM

If one had the ability to create gold, ex nihilo, via some alchemical process

You can't create gold via a chemical process. In order to transform some other element into gold, you need to change the number of protons and neutrons in nucleus of the initial element to match that of gold. Doing that requires nuclear reactions for which the energies involved are a million times greater than chemical processes. Acheiing those energies requires an accelerator, but if you were to produce gold this way, you would be counting gold nuclei with charged particle detectors because you would never produce enough to be seen with a microscope. much less be measured by more conventional means like a scale.
 Super Ryan
Joined: 9/15/2007
Msg: 5
Alchemical Gold: Effects on Market?
Posted: 3/17/2010 9:06:52 PM
Slybandit has the right idea. And with his plan you have the option of killing the gold market, or just sneaking out a few million here and there.

But there is kind of two answers to the first question.
First the supply of gold on Earth is and throughout human history has always been very scarce. The current estimate for all gold extracted and predicted extractable gold would form a cube that would fit inside the doubles line of a tennis court, and when you think of the size of the Earth, this is an extremely small fraction of the entire planet. There is a lot more in the oceans, but it is in such a small dilution that extracting it is far from worthwhile.

So let's first say your machine has a cost of $500 per ounce of pure gold. Depending on production capabilities, and more than likely production will meet demand, then expect the price of gold to stabilize at a few dollars over $500. This would result in the closing of all gold mines that can't produce at under $500 per ounce.

Now let's say your machine is built out of a few common parts found at the local scrap yard, and it just spits out gold with zero costs. You could destroy the gold market. Expect every 1% increase to the gold supply to result in roughly a 1.5% decrease in the price of gold until you hit the price of transportation.

As far as I know there are no laws barring people from making gold, unless it is unsafe to the greater public like building a nuclear reactor in your basement. But I could see almost every government in the world banding together to stop you from taking over the gold market with your fancy machine.

If you ever succeed I will gladly offer my services to help you release gold onto the market for maximum profits, for only a small fee of 5%.
Joined: 11/7/2009
Msg: 6
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Alchemical Gold: Effects on Market?
Posted: 3/17/2010 11:06:39 PM
Ben Bernanke actually wrote about this exact scenario in an op-ed he penned to defend the Fed against an audit.. although, I completely disagree with his logic.

In a word, crash. The gold market would be utterly destroyed if it were discovered that gold could be easily and cheaply produced on demand, with no practical limit. This is true for any market. Demand/Supply = price.

So, if you have discovered the mentioned alchemic process, I beg you not to spread the word. I own gold!!! :p
Joined: 3/1/2010
Msg: 7
Alchemical Gold: Effects on Market?
Posted: 3/19/2010 2:43:02 AM
If Gold could be mass produced, I think the demand would still be higher than ever. Its a very good metal for electronics and it would surpass longevity of copper electronics. But you're talking about a process that is atomically unnatural. The amount of R&D required to develop such a process and impliment by today's standards would be astronomically expensive. How many $ do you think it would cost to split 1 atom and recombine it into gold? 1g of gold has APPROXIMATELY 3.057 x 10^21 atoms

Good luck, new subject.
Joined: 11/20/2004
Msg: 8
Alchemical Gold: Effects on Market?
Posted: 3/19/2010 6:04:48 PM
Taking into account what everyone above stated about the price of gold falling in such a scenario. The price to produce it would also fall if the process involved electrical equipment. Not many people seem to realize it but old electronics devices (mostly early hand made computers) contain a notable amount of gold, so much that you can peel it off the board with a flat head screwdriver. Gold is the conductor of choice for precision instruments due to it's properties, given the choice I'm sure a lot of electronics producers would switch to gold since after all a better performing device ensures more consumers will want to buy it. So you would probably see a temporary rise in price in electronics (to cover the cost of equipment), followed by a decline in price in both electronics and gold.
Joined: 11/7/2009
Msg: 9
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Alchemical Gold: Effects on Market?
Posted: 3/19/2010 6:41:19 PM
Gold has enormous industrial uses. It has a lower resistance than any other metal.

Gold is in many many electronic devices, including most cell phones.
 Divorced, Broke, Bald
Joined: 7/9/2009
Msg: 10
Alchemical Gold: Effects on Market?
Posted: 3/19/2010 9:08:25 PM
If I had the secret to creating gold, I wouldn't bother. I'm way too lazy to change my user-name.
Joined: 2/8/2009
Msg: 11
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Alchemical Gold: Effects on Market?
Posted: 3/19/2010 9:25:56 PM
If gold could be created cheaply it would likely have a similar effect as the Hall process for Aluminum, its cheap now and we use it for everything. People have forgotten it used to be pricey.
Joined: 12/30/2009
Msg: 12
Alchemical Gold: Effects on Market?
Posted: 3/21/2010 5:54:33 PM

create gold, ex nihilo

The creation of 'something' from 'nothing' (ie create 'something' ex nihilo) has never ever been witnessed and all scientists typically base their work on this and similar ideas. This idea is called the first law of thermodynamics.

some alchemical process

This is sort of a tautology, since 'alchemy' essentially meant 'art of transmuting metals'. In more modern terms, this would be a nuclear reaction. I'm not aware of a decay chain which even includes gold, nevermind terminates at gold, which means you would need a particle accelerator and would likely end up with an unstable isotope which would decay almost instantly.

how would that impact the market value? Global stability?

Although I hesitate to make sweeping claims as economics is not my specialty, I think most countries today do not have a gold standard. This means that currencies are not defined by how much gold backs them rather by the economic output (steel, cars, computers, watches, food, etc) of the country implementing the currency. So obviously more gold on the market would mean a drop in the price of gold, however this drop would not likely impact global stability.

Would the amount produced have to be extraordianry?

Relative to the amount of 'stuff' ordinary particle accelerators produce? Certainly. By orders of magnitude.

And if discovered, what would the consequences be?

Cheaper electronics and jewellery, assuming nobody withholds supply (probably a bad assumption).

s long as they were paying their taxes on it, and had all the proper documentation would they be free to produce as much gold as they wanted? Or would there be a legal reaction; be it born of existing law or the drafting of new legislation?

Bureaucrats would find a way to ruin this agreeable development in technology, I'm almost certain. It's a shame, I know
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 13
Alchemical Gold: Effects on Market?
Posted: 3/22/2010 9:51:22 AM
if it were possible to manipulate the outer shells of Mercury by removing an electron it would be in effect Gold
No. An element is determined by the number of protons it has.
Joined: 12/30/2009
Msg: 14
Alchemical Gold: Effects on Market?
Posted: 3/22/2010 4:43:54 PM
enriquecalor... your creativity is admirable however you should take an introductory chemistry course. "Manipulating the outer shell" of atoms happens all the time... the result is called an 'ion', ie a charged atom. So as has already been stated, you need to manipulate the proton content of the nucleus to transmute a metal. However if you were to ionize mercury for some reason, you would only be able to ionize a small fraction of your mercury and still have a cohesive piece of material. A high percentage of ionization would mean essentially a ball of positively charged particles, which would promptly explode due to like/like repulsion. Of course, that amount of ionization would require huge amounts of energy, and at that point you'd probably have a plasma. Now that I think of it... that's exactly what you'd get- it's called a mercury vapor light bulb:

Regarding Chinese emperors... your claim doesn't surprise me. I expect dead people near large amounts of mercury... that's one nasty metal! If you've heard the phrase 'mad as a hatter' or perhaps the fictional character 'the mad hatter', you know what I mean. Hatters, ie people who make hats, used to use a mercury solution to turn fur into felt for their hats... the fumes poisoned them. They went mad and died.

As for cultures with large amounts of gold, I imagine they mined it like everyone else
Joined: 8/20/2006
Msg: 15
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Alchemical Gold: Effects on Market?
Posted: 3/22/2010 5:34:28 PM
As other have stated, elemental gold can only be "created" by nuclear reactions which would involve enormous amounts of energy, could be fairly destructive and would trouble your neighbors.

Otherwise you can take low grade finely divided sources of gold ore and process it in a cyanide solution to extract the gold and silver by precipitation. Unfortunately for you health and safety and environmental folks have a few issues with this method due to one word- CYANIDE.

But if you did find a way to do this and destroyed the gold market as well as the world monetary system, you would find gold has very neat conductivity, ductility, shielding and anti- corrosive properties. Lots of interesting things could made en mass like taste free cookware and monuments that would last for eons.

Your respective governments and many wealthy investors such as the Mafia and drug cartels may take issue with this however and may come to have a "talk" with you. Your time horizon to get returns on your investment could grow very short and end quite painfully.
Joined: 12/30/2009
Msg: 16
Alchemical Gold: Effects on Market?
Posted: 3/23/2010 2:22:43 PM

On the chemistry end of things: you absolutely cannot make the electron cloud of mercury so it looks and behaves like that of gold even if you do get the correct number of electrons. The mercury ion's electron arrangement then *resemble* that of gold, however the nuclei are different therefore the potential well which the electrons are confined in will look different, thus giving different energy levels which means that the optical properties of the resulting ion will differ from those of gold, same for most other properties.

About the orbitals, you've gotta realize that 'orbitals' are an idealization used to help explain chemical bonding and stuff... it's not what's "really" happening. It's a model. So is something more advanced such as solving the quantum wave equation and finding probability waves and so on... it's still a model. We can't "look" at electrons- we can only stimulate an atom in some way and infer the behaviour by the results we measure. The Heisenberg uncertainty principle probably puts solid limits on how well we can ever 'observe' things like electrons. So to answer your question, yes you get 'funny' things like Platinum having 9 electrons in its 5d shell and 1 electron in its 6s shell instead of 8 electrons in its 5d shell and 2 in 6s. Why? Because if you solved the quantum wave equation using the parameters of the platinum atom (not that you could ever do that by hand, need a supercomputer at least) you would find that ten electrons in 5d is a higher energy configuration than 8 in the 5d and 2 in the 6s... so just like balls roll down hills and water falls down waterfalls, the Platinum atom fills its shells with 9 in the 5d and 1 in the 6s.

Regarding paramagnetism: it's the result of uncancelled electron spin. It sounds funny, but basically electrons have a number describing them called 'spin' and it's sort of like "spin" in the world around us (a ball can spin around an axis, the earth spins around its axis once ever 24 hours or so, etc). And if you have a "spinning" electron, you have an electric charge in motion which induces a magnetic field. If you have two electrons "spinning" in opposite directions, the fields induced cancel each other nearly everywhere and so when you're not right up close you see no magnetic field. And so electrons tend to 'pair up' in pairs of opposite spin (due to a combination of the Pauli exclusion principle and a tendency for the lowest energy configuration), and when all electrons are 'paired up' you essentially have a non-magnetic material. If you've got an unpaired electron then the atom its on will have a magnetic axis, and the bulk material tends to have these axes in random orientations- unless an external magnetic field exists, at which point the atomic magnetic dipoles line up with the external field, giving the bulk material a net magnetic orientation.

It's been a year since I did quantum physics and statistical mechanics, so I'm a little rusty, but I think the above addresses your questions in a mostly factual way.
Joined: 9/18/2009
Msg: 17
Alchemical Gold: Effects on Market?
Posted: 3/23/2010 7:53:18 PM
Well if you have an overabundance of something useless, it would actually be worth less and bring down the market value for gold. Basic answer, if supply goes up too high, demand would go down, it's called diminishing returns also. For example, if you have so much cake, you will be able to eat so much before you throw up.
MAYBEEE, the production of such gold would be regulated, but what is gold useful for? NOTHING, you can't eat it, you can't use it, it's just there, it's shiny and pretty.
That's my take, take it away economists!

Joined: 2/6/2010
Msg: 18
Alchemical Gold: Effects on Market?
Posted: 3/29/2010 6:37:39 AM
I believe some of that gold came from refining gold/silver composite called electrum. Something which occured as a natural mineral event in Egypt and was used quite a bit. I have a nice pair of electrum earings. They refined it using salt.
Joined: 2/6/2010
Msg: 19
Alchemical Gold: Effects on Market?
Posted: 3/29/2010 6:47:18 AM
Extracting gold from composite ores is expensive especially if the deposits contain pyrites. If you can find deposits free of contaminants which are expensive to remove then your profits are higher . Then your gold is of greater value relative to the average price of gold so indeed you have alchemicaly created gold as you can use your excess profits to buy more. In the future bio-leaching and biological processing using bacteria will further cut the cost of extraction and refining.
Joined: 2/25/2009
Msg: 20
Alchemical Gold: Effects on Market?
Posted: 3/31/2010 8:31:50 PM
Think Star Trek matter replicators. If we could produce - at will - anything we want from cloth to food to gold, it would end poverty as we know it. Than we could get down to focusing on ourselves and doing what we really want. The market wouldn't collapse, it would end. And that would be a wonderful thing.
Joined: 1/27/2009
Msg: 21
Alchemical Gold: Effects on Market?
Posted: 3/31/2010 10:22:16 PM
^^^^^ Unfortunately, as eutopian as that sounds, I'm inclined to disagree.
Take a look at the plentiful 'black gold' of the Middle East. The families in control still have the vast wealth and there is still a class system in place.
If one can produce it, it depends on one's intent to distribute it, and ultimately, the choices of the ones it is distributed to-
A blunt end to the market would create a collapse and it would have reverberating effects until it corrects. Again, much would depend on the distribution of the manufactured gold, et al. Hopefully, it would be equally shared.
Joined: 2/8/2004
Msg: 22
Alchemical Gold: Effects on Market?
Posted: 4/1/2010 10:05:27 AM
Probably the same way they can make -perfect- diamonds in a lab... those diamond analysts with eye-pieces can see that it's "factory made", and I believe they are of LESS value (still not super cheap though), despite actually being perfect, because it's not as rare. People want rare things. You think people wear gold because of the color? No. It's because it costs a lot.

With that said though, gold can be used in a lot of other ways if they could create it from labs. The demand would grow as the production grows for a good while, due to places outside jewelry stores wanting to get in on the action, as it's a great conductor.
Joined: 6/15/2010
Msg: 23
Alchemical Gold: Effects on Market?
Posted: 6/26/2010 7:44:31 PM
google Nicholas D. Collette, here is his book.

Be careful ...

Gold is not becoming any more valuable the currency is becoming more worthless.
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