Friday, November 20, 2009
By Rusty Goe
What good is gold if a person's world collapses around him? Plainly the people touting the value of gold as a protective hedge against a global economic meltdown aren't interested in the answer to this question. Instead, they advise fearful individuals how to "crash proof" their portfolios before the looming currency crisis—and even how to profit from it. Still, there needs to be a stronger slogan than "Buy gold for protection and profit." Will a pile of gold save you from an economic disaster, as a vaccination will immunize you against the swine flu?
The implication of higher gold prices is obvious: the United States and its dollar are doomed. The concepts of "America the Beautiful" and "One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all," are about to be exposed for the illusions they are—At least as far as the proponents of gold are concerned.
Every increase in gold's value over the past two months has stirred rally cries of vindication from the gold crowd. Members of this golden group shriek with delight whenever they hear that currency traders dumped the dollar, that they should prosecute President Obama for treason, or that the Federal Reserve is anti-constitutional. It's all about bashing the government "of the people, by the people, for the people," and hoping that it will "perish from the earth." "So what if this once mighty nation is in shambles," shout the dissidents, "as long as the value of our gold continues to increase, we'll be okay."
Think again, crusaders. For if the United States cannot recover from its current predicament, the damaging effects of the Great Depression will pale in comparison to its future course of events. Zimbabwe and Germany's Weimar Republic might sparkle in contrast to the crisis proportions to which the United States could succumb.
The trillions of dollars of U. S. debt will inflate to quadrillions of dollars (or perhaps by then our leaders will introduce a new currency). Business failures will rise to unprecedented levels. The unemployment rate will rocket past 75%. Property foreclosures will wipe out real estate values. Major cities will be in ruins, with buildings decaying into rubble, and the stench, resulting from a lack of plumbing and utility services, will be intolerable. Wall Street will close up shop and an underground economy will evolve. The principles governing the survival of the fittest will determine who can endure in such an environment.
Those who own gold might have an advantage over those who do not. But all the gold in the world won't restore the amenities lost during the collapse of the U. S. economic system. Once popular destination spots, such as Las Vegas, Orlando, and New York City won't offer much for wealthy owners of gold to enjoy—even if the yellow metal's price has risen to $100,000 an ounce.
Let's just say that gold's value does increase 100-fold (or 1,000-fold), what will it profit the owners? If life as they once knew it is extinct, where will they spend their hyperinflationary wealth? And will gold hold that much attraction by then, anyway? Other resources, such as food, clothing, and medical care might be in much greater demand. A bartering system could certainly include precious metals, but of probably much greater value will be services like those provided by farmers, doctors, nurses, tailors, and mechanics. Religious priesthoods might also be in demand as more people turn to a higher power to help them cope with the depression of living in such woeful conditions.
If the United States moves in the direction so longed for by gold investors—that is, economic turmoil—it will be a target for a takeover. So not only will the future of its citizens be one of gloom and doom, prisoner of war camps might also be concerns to dread. Unless, of course, the super power that conquers us has a benevolent spirit (fat chance).
To me, it seems as if those who root the loudest for the price of gold to rise are like vendors selling rubber rafts after hurricanes. The more flooding that occurs, the more valuable the rafts become. Likewise, the worse our country's economic conditions grow and the more despised our leaders become, the brighter the prospects for money to be made in gold. Woo hoo! Go get `em Blade Runner!
I just can't believe the foundation of the United States is not stronger than the collective wisdom (or lack of it) of President Obama, Secretary Geithner, and Chairman Bernanke. The forces that govern the direction of the gold market—e.g., the dollar carry trade, the hedge funds, and the constant barrage of rumors—appear as bullies walking the streets taunting neighborhood children. And just like bullies, the effects of these forces give the illusion of gloating over the fear they provoke. The gold backers cheer over every fearful headline that hits the newswires. "Yeah, you tell `em; gold rules, the dollar sucks!" "President Obama and all the criminals in his administration are fire-selling the United States. Let's lynch every last one of them and go buy more gold!" Is there not a David to stand up against the Goliath of gold bearers? Or some John Wayne or Clint Eastwood figure that can step forth and prove to the bullying forces that the United States is not the spineless, has-been nation as portrayed in the international press. Until officially dethroned, the United States is still the greatest republic in the history of the world.
Here's a multiple-choice question for every U. S. citizen to answer. What would you choose? 1. The price of gold to be $400 an ounce and our economy to be back on track, with life returned to the better-memories version we have of it over the past seven decades. 2. The price of gold to rise to $10,000 an ounce (or more) and our country to be faced with hyperinflation, as it moves toward the deplorable conditions described earlier in this article.
One warning for you goldbugs, before you answer: You can't have your cake (or crash-proof portfolio) and eat it (life in the comfortable conditions to which you are accustomed) too.
"Feeling lucky, Pilgrim?"