Without government, and with enough means to hold it, the two terms become one and the same.
Precious metals: mainly worth something because they are valued high, not much intrinsic value / use in industry.
Gold and silver see some very heavy usage in industry, especially high-tech and electronics; it also sees a lot of use in many lower-tech industries as well (and not just as decoration).
Huge fluctuations based mainly on economic expectations (http://insiderfortunes.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Gold1.jpg)
Yes and no - I daresay a lot of it is fluctuations of fiat currency relative to the metal in question. I will definitely agree that it isn't something you wouldn't want to base any short-term investments on, but over the long-haul, it does have a steady-yet-usable increase in value.
Water rights, mineral rights: these are worth nothing more than the government that issues them, just like banknotes.
Yes and no. Most folks on the east coast probably wouldn't see much use for the former, but in the Western US where you see a lot of desert and near-desert regions, water rights are more valuable than property rights. It is perfectly conceivable (and has happened) where someone buys property, only to discover that he/she cannot legally own or use the water that falls on it, flows through it, or sits underneath it.
If you flee the US, you can at least take a suitcase of dollars with you.
Question: If the US ever got to the point where you had to flee the place, what makes you think that a suitcase full of intaglio-printed paper (okay, linen) strips that may or may not be backed by a government that may or may not exist
So, most of the tangible assets you mention have a worth that is greatly dependent on the current market whims and/or the government that backs them... just like banknotes.
Again, yes and no. The examples you gave make perfect sense (e.g. Eminent Domain condemnation), but the odds of that happening with a random piece of property are far, far lower than the odds of inflation. The odds of having a government do a house-to-house search for, say, all precious metals is also way lower than loss of currency strength (Why? because the logistics of doing so are too fantastically hellish to even contemplate, let alone succeed at).
If you think that's bad, try getting help on a server issue when you're not a Verizon customer.
Back in 2006, I was working for a DoD contractor, and discovered that our order emails to suppliers were bouncing as spam if it went to a Verizon address. We tried for a solid week to call everyone we could possibly find at Verizon that could help, but either got stonewalled, referred to some useless person, or (most often) shoved into the standard customer tech support queue. Mostly we were treated like either a social-engineering attempt, an idiot, or something similar.
Thing is, my employer ran the EMALL website, which all armed forces used to order anything which wasn't an actual weapon. Our index was bigger than Amazon's
Finally, I gave up and spoke with the managers at DLA (Defense Logistics Agency), laying out the problem to date. We then put out a system-wide notice to all DoD suppliers that if they wanted to sell something to the military, they'd damned well better use something other than a Verizon email account. Two weeks later, Verizon came out of the blue, desperately calling us asking what they could do to help us out. Turns out they weren't fully RFC-compliant at the time; they fixed it pretty quickly once they realized that a lot of their DoD-supplier customers were suddenly asking them how much the contract ETFs came to.
Sad part is, if my employer was some tiny company in BFE, there would likely still be a problem with the damned thing.
Ironically, it'd likely work just as well as hiring Indian help-desk staff.
I suspect Infosys (an Indian company) will likely end up stabbing their own jobs market in the gut with this one, should it take off.
That the studios won't get sued for it.
It's an even bigger shame that they won't get arrested for perjury, which is exactly what filing a known false DMCA takedown notice is supposed to result in.
Don't be silly. Without the US government, we'd be living in a Mad Max world, and money would be a moot point.
Actually, any working, viable government (be it local, regional, national, whatever) can prevent a "Mad Max world". The US government can theoretically be replaced by another government, making USD worthless. Now on a practical level, doing so would be messy and bloody, but the possibility is always there.
There is also instability within said government. Say inflation went apeshit and spiraled out of control. The US government in response decides to 're-calibrate' its money... suddenly $100,000 in USD equals 10 'Liberty Dollars', or whatever the new money happens to be. Joe Sixpack's life savings suddenly isn't worth so much. OTOH, if Mr. Sixpack happens to own his house and have a bunch of precious metals locked up securely? He's cushioned; the tangible assets carry the same intrinsic value as they had before.
Good point re. tulips. OTOH, tangible assets like precious metals, water rights, mineral rights, real estate? As long as you don't get stupid about investing in them, and do so with your eyes open, you generally do better in the long run, and have a very good hedge against monetary crashes (and don't invest in perishable items - hence you avoid commodities).
I'm not saying that one should entirely abandon cash, stocks, etc. What I am saying is that relying on fiat currency (or anything purely based on it, like stocks) as your sole source of security is pretty damned risky. You may get lucky, or you may lose your shirt if inflation ever gets out of its cage.
Maybe, maybe not. The stock-market aspect of Bitcoin tends to turn that "mint" into somewhat of a variable.
A particular situation?
Please, enlighten me.
Take the arguments over the constitutionality of certain laws (either existing or proposed). These can be deeply logical, and when you consider that new laws and precedents based on them can affect future outcomes and tests of those laws, and from there the future of the country at large changes? Well... yeah. It *is* important to watch this stuff before it becomes law, or at least to see how you can help (as a lawyer) mitigate any damages caused by it.
As you yourself mention viz. Obamacare, it does affect you eventually; problem is most folks, like yourself, look at lawyers as if they merely chased ambulances.
Maybe you should look around here a bit - you may be surprised by how many lawyers actually do consider this stuff - and ultimately do so on our behalf.
Sorta... Depends on which ones.
The ones in the building where I work are a mixed bag:
Attitude-wise, they range from egotistical asshats who deserve to be wrapped in chains and pitched into the river, to a couple of guys I know who are cheerful, friendly, and some of the kindest gents you'll ever meet... unless you're on the wrong end of their cases.
Nerd-wise? Some can dive damned deep into caselaw, to the point of sheer OCD - they argue legalities in casual settings like me and my co-workers debate offsite tape backups vs. offsite SAN snapshots. Those lawyers would qualify as pure nerds. Others are in it just for the ego boost, the money, the... wel, just like IT folk and programmers, really. Mixed bag.
Question is, which one is more "real"?
When you consider that USD and most other currencies are backed by nothing more than the governments that print/mint the stuff, suddenly Bitcoin doesn't seem so fake after all.
(Though personally anyone who doesn't have some sort of tangible assets in their pile is asking for a total loss...)
Actually, she gets her pick: Problem is they're all herbs.
This was not about the 80% spending rule. This was about the financial data on one individual, that just happened to be an employee at this company. If he worked at McDonalds, they'd have been pulling records on 60 million hamburgers.
Problem is, hamburgers aren't covered under HIPAA statutes, and don't/won't have privacy concerns.
Pity you didn't RTFA, because it says no such thing - even among climate scientists, let alone "scientists".
Hiding in semantics is a cute trick, but what I meant still stands - I'll clarify it for you if that helps:
You either provide the best and strongest proof, or the number of acolytes to your presented theory mean nothing.