A New Universal World Currency

By on Thu 5 January 2012

With all of this talk of fiat currencies and their imminent collapse, what do we do? How do we price things so that we are free from the inflation of the “printing press” economy? Gold is a widely-talked-about standard, the most stable standard for money throughout history. But how do we initiate that in practice, particularly in today’s society, geared heavily on digital payments?

We could use the “gg” (gold gram) as a standard, with 1 gg being 1/31.1034768 troy ounce. At $1600 per ounce, this is $51.44 per gram, or about 5 cents per milligram. This makes milligrams of gold to be a good standard unit to use. But, of course, the gram is defined as 1/1000 of the mass of a chunk of platinum-iridium alloy held in Paris (as shown here). This can be changed; not that it will, the scientific community will be outraged, and rightly so, were this to happen. But it suffers the same problem as the coins of old, in that if the platinum “master kilogram” were to be hacked away at, it has further repercussions than just the financial stability. (This would actually increase the value of physical gold in circulation.)

But, what is the smallest unit of gold that we can imagine, that isn’t dependent on any other measurement? Of course, that would be a single atom. So, we can use atoms of gold. The only stable isotope of gold is 197Au with an atomic mass of 196.966568662, or 3.270707×10-22 g, an amount too small to work with. We are saved by chemist Amedeo Avogadro, who gives us a fixed conversion from atomic mass units to grams. Thus, 6.02214×1023 of any substance measured in atomic units (particles, atoms, molecules) has a mass of that same number of grams.

So, one mole of gold, ie 6.02214×1023 atoms of gold has a mass of 196.966568662 g, and a value (at $1579.124672 per ounce, which it was a few days ago, 22:45 02 Jan 2011 to be more precise) of exactly $10000. This gives us another couple of units, a millimole of gold (mmolAu) of $10, and a micromole of gold (µmolAu) worth one cent. Alternatively, using a unit of one ten-thousandth of a mole, say, a “shi-mole” (“sī” is an ancient Chinese word for one-ten-thousandth, which entered Japanese as “shi”), also known as “that female rat-thing”. Thus, at this price, one shi-mole of gold (I’ll use the symbol §) is conveniently $1. It is only good for that point in time, but it serves as a good and convenient index to base dollar-to-gold pricing from. So, just take the dollar amount multiplied by the price of gold in ounces, and divide by 1579.124672, to get a figure in §. So at $1600 per ounce, $20 is worth §19.74; and at $10000 per ounce, only §3.16.

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