Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fractional Reserve System Crash Course

Here is one of my biggest topics of research in the last couple months... the monetary fractional reserve system. Read the following crash course by Chris Martenson at I have highlighted the chapter on Environment as this is what I studied in Univeristy and my life currently revolves around.

"Here’s an example. When we first came to this country, we were finding some pretty spectacular things just lying around, like this copper nugget. Soon those were all gone, and then we were onto smaller nuggets, and then onto copper ores that had the highest concentrations. Now?

Now we have things like the Bingham canyon mine in Utah. It is two and a half miles across and three-fourths of a mile deep, and it started out as a mountain. It sports a final ore concentration of 0.2%. Do you think we’d have gone to this effort if there were still massive copper nuggets lying around in stream beds? No way.

Let’s take a closer look. See that truck way down there? It’s fueled by petroleum; diesel, specifically. If we couldn’t spare the fuel to run that truck, what do you suppose we’d carry the ore out with? Donkeys? These trucks carry 255 tons/ per load. Suppose a donkey could carry 150 lbs. This means this truck carries the same in a single load as 3,400 donkeys. That’s quite a lot of donkeys.

My point here is that a hole in the ground a couple miles across and three fourths of a mile deep is a pretty spectacular display of the use of energy. When energy begins to get scarce, it seems unlikely to me that we’ll be digging too many more holes like it, which means copper will become scarce.

Now here’s where the concept gets interesting. The amount of energy and money that is required to extract any mineral or metal is a function of the ore grade. We would measure that as the percent of the ore that consists of the desired substance. So a 10% copper ore, for example, would consist of 10% copper and 90%, uh, other stuff. Like rock or something. If we plot out how much other stuff we have to extract and then dispose of in pursuit of our desired substance, we get a chart that looks like this. Look familiar to you yet? It should; it’s an exponential chart.

It tells us that if we had an ore body with only 0.2% copper in it, we’d need to mine 500 pounds of ore in order to extract one pound of copper. I used this particular value because that happens to be the concentration of the Bingham Canyon mine. This helps to explain why this hole is so big. It tells us that without these giant trucks, we probably wouldn’t be mining such low ore grades. It means that we are already on the far right edge of this bell curve, in terms of energy and cost.

Do we do this because we like the challenge of low ore grades? No, we do it because we’ve already high-graded all the other known ore bodies, and this is what we are down to. We do it because it is the best option left. We do it because, in only 200 years, we’ve already burned through all the better grades. "

For more info on this subject watch; Zeitgeist: Addendum, or research our FIAT monetary system. Mind blowing stuff.

"The choice seems clear – either we undertake voluntary change now, or face involuntary change later. " - Christ Martenson

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