A fabled coin set goes for the record price of $8.5 million

Section:

8p ET Sunday, October 30, 2005

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

Last week The New York Times published several
long reports examining what it considers the high
social and environmental costs of gold mining.
If you haven't already seen them, you can find
them here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/24/international/24GOLD.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/25/international/americas/25GOLD.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/26/international/26gold-questions.html

GATA did not call your attention to these reports
because links to them were posted quickly and
prominently at Kitco and The Bullion Desk and
other gold-oriented Internet sites with large
audiences that probably include most people
on GATA's e-mail dispatch list, and because these
reports seemed a little beside GATA's point, the
manipulation of the precious metals markets.

But maybe they were not so much beside the point.

Probably no one would dispute that mining can be
a messy business requiring close supervision, but:

-- ALL the extractive industries can be messy;
gold mining is hardly unique in this respect.

-- Messy or not, there is simply no human progress
or even survival without the extractive industries.
Perhaps only journalists can seem to imagine that
all the things they rely upon in ordinary daily life
-- from the computers they type on, to the chairs
they sit on, to the desks they clutter with their
papers, to those papers themselves, to the take-out
food they order, to the telephones and wires that
convey their orders, to the gasoline in the cars
that take them home to their dinners, to the very
homes they live in -- are conjured out of the air
just as the money in their wallets is.

-- The prerequisite for environmental protection
and remediation for the extractive industries is
simply a higher price for their products. For with
a decent price for its product, even a strip mine
can be turned into the Tuileries. That's why only
prosperous countries have much environmental
protection -- they can afford it, while countries
struggling just for subsistence, the countries
cited in the Times' reports on gold mining, can't.
If central banks were not strategically dishoarding
their gold reserves so as to depress the gold price
-- a policy Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan
acknowledged in testimony to Congress in 1998 --
the gold price would not be at a record low relative
to the oil price, and gold-producing countries would
be becoming as prosperous as oil-producing countries.

For the supposed newspaper of record in the United
States to sneer at the lack of environmental
protection in gold mining in developing countries
when the United States is masterminding the
suppression of the gold price is worse than smug.

It is also less than half the story.

For as messy as gold mining can be, good journalism
about it might include an attempt to measure the
cost of the alternative, the cost of a financial
system that uses something other than precious
metals as money -- a system of seemingly infinite
money from which governments are so much more free
to finance or subsidize all the worst excess in the
world, from aggressive wars to childbearing outside
marriage, producing what U.S. Rep. Ron Paul R-Texas,
has called "the welfare/warfare state."

That is, the gold issue is a lot more complicated
than The New York Times lets on. It will be very
unfortunate and unfair if the Times' coverage of
the issue should stop with last week's reports.

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

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----------------------------------------------------

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----------------------------------------------------

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