Sharp is the founder of The Albert
Einstein Institution which conducts research and analysis into nonviolent
activism, and also exchanges information with activists and governments
worldwide — training activists on how to use nonviolent methods for political
ends, and showing governments how to use the power of popular nonviolent
resistance to supplement or replace conventional military homeland defense.
One Richard Parker did
some interesting back-of-the-envelope calculations
. He took the $87 billion that Dubya
announced he’d be asking us to pay to clean up after the adventure in Iraq,
added to that the $55 billion extra that members of his administration suggest
he forgot to mention. “On a whim,” Parker writes, “I investigated whether $142
billion (87 + 55) is sufficient funds to buy enough gold to pave the highways
He notes that at today’s prices gold costs about $12 per gram, and that there
are about 330,000 “lane kilometers” of interstate highways, with each of these
lanes being in the neighborhood of 3.6 meters wide. “According to
labeling requirements,” Parker notes,
“24kt gold plating must be at
least 0.5 microns thick to be called ‘gold plate.’” By his calculations, the
interstate highway system could be gold-plated with $142 billion in gold at
today’s price, with 10,000 “lane kilometers” worth of gold left over to pave a
few extra roads in important congressional districts.
This begs the question, of course, of whether this would be as much of a
delight and consolation to our nation’s drivers as the slump in gas prices
that is anticipated when Iraqi oil starts hitting the market in quantity.
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