Social Question

ragingloli's avatar

With printing your own money being illegal, what legal arguments would the state use to criminalise you, if you had the technology to transmutate literal dirt into gold?

Asked by ragingloli (48221points) 1 month ago

I have little doubt that they would try to outlaw it.

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14 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Since gold is not money, it isn’t a matter of counterfeiting. But true transmutation would mean that the gold produced from dirt would be indistinguishable from gold mined in the traditional manner. So it would not be criminalized as much as outlawed to stop the devaluation of gold stores.

It would be like someone finding an alternative way to mine bitcoins at 1/1000th the necessary computing work.

stanleybmanly's avatar

You should understand that you can probably print all of the money you want. It is when you attempt to circulate it as legal tender that your problems begin. My question for you is about how the government would distinguish your transmuted product from that ordinarily separated from “dirt”?

elbanditoroso's avatar

If you could manufacture huge amounts of gold and spread it around, it would rapidly lose value, because it would be so common.

It is valuable because it is so rare. Once it isn’t rare, it’s just another metal.

zenvelo's avatar

An old Twilight Zone episode tells you the outcome : The Rip Van Winkle Caper

LuckyGuy's avatar

I’m not certain it would be criminalized. Effectively, isn’t that what mining companies do? They dig up tons of dirt, crush it, clean it, process it and magically come up with a product that has thousands, maybe millions of times higher value on a per weight basis. “There’s gold in them thar hills!”
Actually there are very few activities that add to the wealth of a nation. The big ones are: farming, mining, construction, and manufacturing.

Bitcoin just came to mind. I’m not sure where it fits in the puzzle.

gorillapaws's avatar

@LuckyGuy Is exactly right. You’re simply creating a finished good from a raw material. It’s no different from turning horse dung into potatoes. If you manage to figure it out, please let me know, I’ve got plenty of dirt to pay you with.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are not controlled by the state. That is one of the key aspects of them according to proponents/fanatics. Personally, I think normal money works fine and does not need replacing, but I know I am too steeped in its use (and not knowledgeable or interested enough) to make an entirely unbiased judgement.

Actually there are very few activities that add to the wealth of a nation. The big ones are: farming, mining, construction, and manufacturing.

That is based on the idea all wealth is material. But knowledge, organization, institutions, ethics, culture, cooperation are all wealth.

Imagine a group of expert engineers, chemists, botanists, farmers, teachers, carpenters, nurses, etc. dropped on a desert island and left on their own to survive, compared to a group of social media influencers, QAnon devotees, socialites, and professional video gamers.

Check back in a year. Given the same starting physical resources, which group will be more wealthy?

YARNLADY's avatar

From 1933 to 1974 it was illegal in the US to own gold bullion. It is not anymore.
Using credit cards and taking loans is the same as making your own currency.

zenvelo's avatar

FYI, two of the greatest cycles of global inflation were the shipments of gold from teh Americas to Spain, and the California Gold Rush.

Gold mining does not create national wealth; it distorts it.

kritiper's avatar

No legal means would be required. If people could turn dirt into gold, gold would become worthless.

gorillapaws's avatar

@kritiper Dirt isn’t worthless, but your general point is correct.

zenvelo's avatar

@gorillapaws Dirt isn’t worthless, but it’s dirt cheap!

stanleybmanly's avatar

@kritiper that would be true “if people could turn dirt into gold”. But if a single individual possessed the “secret”, the game changes. Consider what deBeers has achieved regarding diamonds.

kritiper's avatar

Dirt is dirt cheap, if not worthless. Soil is worth more. But that wasn’t the point…Figuratively speaking, dirt is worthless.

@stanleybmanly “If” is a pretty big word, in that instance.

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