The world would be better off without gold mines, argues JP Koning. What would happen if mines (which are big polluters) stopped producing 3,000 tonnes of gold annually so we had to make do with what we already have (around 190,000 tonnes)? We already have enough to meet our needs for electronic circuitry and other applications, says Koning. And people who want gold as a store of value wouldn't care one way or another about how much gold is available:
Say that I want to buy some gold to hold in a vault. It doesn't make a difference to me that the price is higher than I planned for. If the price is $1000, I'll buy 1 ounce. If it's risen to $2000 I'll buy 0.5 ounces. Either way I end up with the same $1000 worth of gold. I'm perfectly indifferent between these two states of the world.
Because our demand for gold is expressed in dollar amounts, there can never be a shortage of the stuff. If everyone on earth suddenly wakes up wanting to own twice as much gold as before, the price of gold can rise to whatever price is necessary to meet that demand.