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TheStreet Open House

The Implication of Currency Dilution

VANCOUVER ( Silver Gold Bull) -- In our daily lives, we learn that there are many immutable principles of cause and effect. Drop an object and it will fall down, not up. Throw a rock at a pane of glass and it will break. Put an ice cube in the sun and it will melt.

So, too, is it with the cause and effect known as dilution. Whether we are an adult buying watered-down booze from a bar or a child buying a watered-down beverage from a lemonade stand, we immediately comprehend that diluting the product has reduced its value and thus we refuse to pay the same price for it.

Similarly, should a jeweler attempt to tell us that (less pure) 10-karat gold is worth as much as (more pure) 24-karat gold, we would simply scoff at such nonsense and walk away. As I have noted before, even the dim bulbs in the mainstream media can grasp the concept that if a company prints up a lot of shares (and thus dilutes shareholder equity), the value of its shares must decline.

Indeed, in the entire known universe we have only one example of an item that (supposedly) does not automatically decline in value as it is diluted: the bankers' fiat paper currencies. In fact, we have no shortage of clueless scribes claiming that it is possible for these currencies to actually increase in value as they are being diluted. Search the phrase "U.S. dollar rises in value" and you would acquire repetitive strain disorder before you finished reading all the idiocy on that subject.

Regular readers know that I have found this logical absurdity to be positively maddening. Suggesting that (any of) our incessantly diluted paper currencies could rise in value is just as insane as suggesting that I could drop something and it would "fall" upward...at least at first glance.

Then it occurred to me that there was one (and only one) theoretically possible scenario where a good that is being diluted could rise in value: if it was already worthless before the dilution even began.

Obviously something that is "worthless" cannot possibly decline in value, as a matter of definition. So even though there is no reason to expect a worthless item to increase in value (as it's being diluted), since it's impossible to decline in value then it becomes at least quasi-rational to suggest that it might appreciate in value (somehow).

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