I just noticed this "It's just a fucking integer" thread...http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=111.msg39861#msg39861
Very true. Therefore, the deflation argument that needs to be defended is that even with 8 decimals and the largest nominal attrition occurring in the earliest years, bitcoin supply is not only static but decreasing
. This is a slightly different economic defense than the deflation inherent in a static gold-based economy, because in the case of durable precious metals, they are usually found by someone else. Bitcoins can be completely eliminated and never found unless you luck upon the private key.
It's also unknowable if the bitcoin are lost or possessed by someone, unless someone point out all the public address they lost bitcoin in. However, people can never be sure if they lost it if the person is telling them the truth, and nothing but the truth.
Bitcoin ownership is pretty much absolute and more sure than property ownership in land but it's also almost impossible to know without people telling the truth.