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Humankind`s feverish attachment to gold shouldn`t have survived the modern world. Few cultures still believe that gold can give eternal life, and every country in the world has done away with the gold standard. But gold`s luster not only endures; fueled by global uncertainty, it grows stronger.

While investors flock to new gold-backed funds, jewelry still accounts for two-thirds of the demand, generating a record $53.5 billion in worldwide sales in 2007. In the U.S. an activist-driven"No Dirty Gold"campaign has persuaded many top jewelry retailers to stop selling gold from mines that cause severe social or environmental damage, but such concerns don`t ruffle the biggest consumer nations, namely India, where a gold obsession is woven into the culture, and China, which leaped past the U.S. in 2007 to become the world`s second largest buyer of gold jewelry.

For all of its allure, gold`s human and environmental toll has never been so steep.Part of the challenge, as well as the fascination, is that there is so little of it. In all of history, only 161,000 tons of gold have been mined, barely enough to fill two Olympic-size swimming pools. More than half of that has been extracted in the past 50 years. Now the world`s richest deposits are fast being depleted, and new discoveries are rare.

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精緻な訳が必要ですか?適当なら協力できますが。

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