A cache of treasure rediscovered last week beneath a temple in India is worth at least $22bn. The ensuing interest in ancient valuables was probably partly responsible for the 5 per cent jump in the share price of the US-listed treasure-hunter Odyssey Marine Exploration during the week. The Indian find will surely spark a new wave of treasure hunts around the world.
But the ramifications are broader. If a gold standard were still in force, India’s windfall would have been the equivalent of a sudden cut in interest rates. Further, if the value of the Indian treasure rises to $100bn, as some antiquities dealers predict, it will be worth the equivalent of one-quarter of Greece’s debt. This is a lesson for indebted European countries. What lies hidden under Tara, in Ireland? Portugal’s Belém Tower? Or the Parthenon, Delphi, or Olympia in Greece? Forget austerity, start digging.
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