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Stefan Kanfer
The Gold Bubble « Back to Story
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The bet when buying gold is not to 'invest' as in a value-creating company that stands to earn profits on the value of products created or services provided. The bet is against the debasement of our currency by fools in Washington. It is the only hedge against inflation that follows loose money policy. that's all.
When they print the dollar like it's toilet paper - you can be sure gold and silver are goin' up!
Wow. American TV commercials are making the Chinese, Russian and most other sovereign wealth funds (that have the dough) purchase record amounts of gold! What a collection of morons!
While gold's ability to retain value without a P/E or dividend may not seem justified to all observers, the humbling reality we all must face as investors is that the market doesn't care if we understand "why". Opposing the theory that gold is not a store of wealth is 2,000+ years of data that says gold is a complete and unique store of value. There is a saying that only fools bet on their own wisdom, and with such precedent in gold one may be better off siding with history rather than being caught up in our own intellects. Please also remember equity multiples are at the whim of inflation which cannot be contained at current levels of CPI (as bogus a number as that metric is) and even cash flow is largely dependent on the vagaries of government taxation and regulation.

Siegel's book does not present the real success of gold that its owners have enjoyed. It neither highlights gold's performance vs. dollar cash which is its true comp because gold is a form of money, or does it highlight the unrepeatable tailwinds buried in his difficult to be repeated equity numbers. For a more detailed study of this, you may wish to consider "Gold for the Long Run" an online article that can be found at

As it relates to gold's performance vs. equities, don’t forget that for much of the period Siegel holds up, gold's price was fixed so such a comparison is not really a fair study. We now have nearly 40 years of data since gold and equities have traded freely in America. Any guesses as to how gold has done? Suffice it to sat that gold has outperformed equities since it has been allowed to trade freely, a stunning reality for a country whose gold allocation is 0%. (Details can be seen at )

Gold bubble? If we were in a bubble, more than 1 in 50 Americans may own the real thing, the crescendo of bubble/market top calls may be less ubiquitous, and perhaps gold would have clawed its way back to within 50% of its real peak adjusted price which is more than $6,000 / oz. when you use classic CPI.

In full disclosure I am a gold bull, but if your advisor is not you may want question him as to why it doesn't make sense to diversify your dollar cash with some gold cash... and if he still fights back you may want to ask him how much money he made shorting the internet and real estate bubbles. Compared to the 30 year old bull market in bonds we are early in the gold bull market at ten years. Gold's best days are ahead.

Please continue to be negative, and let me know when you tell your mom to buy gold. Thanks
How old are you? Gold has been the best perofming asset for over a decade. What percentage of your life is that? And in a woreld of all zero rates, i'll take my currency in paper or plastic?...or gold.
This is the single best way to get short Obummer, Pelosi, and Reid.
Wrong...Stupid and wrong.
GOLD - If you don’t trust GOLD, do you trust the logic of taking a tree, cutting it up, turning it into pulp, putting ink on it and calling it one billion dollars?
"This all sounds plausible until the prospective investor takes a second look and realizes that there’s no logical reason that gold should retain its stratospheric value."

Wrong, worng, wrong.

Gold perserves wealth and protects a person from the constantly diminishing value of the dollar -- and other fiat currencies.
A warning worth listening to. Buying now, while the gold price is at an all time high, makes sense only if one believes that all other assets will go down the drain.

Furthermore: More gold is traded than what actually exists. Investors don't get gold in their pockets, they get some sort of certificate that some amount of gold exists somewhere and is owned by them. If worts comes to worst... will it be there?
Obviously gold has some value, which cannot be deflated as a fiat currency can by the printing press. The question is how much value.

At present prices gold seems to be grossly over-valued. As one of your commentators said, it can be extracted for about $600 to $700 an ounce; anything in excess of that is 'bubble' value. Buyers at $1300 will likely loose at least the difference when the bubble bursts.
So gold is (worthless? it's seems you think it has no ecomomic value except as a pretty rock) because it has no intrinsic value? Well let me ask you, what intrinsic value does the dollar have? like gold, none, only what people are willing to pay for it. The difference is that the cash supply is in the hands of an entity who can and will print more and raise inflation. Gold will always be used as currency even without a gold standard, and as the other currencies weaken, metal strengthens. the government is devaluing paper money therefore metal money is worth more. And even though gold itself has gone up, the gold mining stock index (where the speculative money goes) has stayed pat. How can there be a bubble if there's no speculative money going into it?
Well, Stefan, there are a number of problems with your article. First of all the bottom for Gold was in 2001 at $250 and at today's price of $1,300 it has gone up five fold, not tripled as you write.

There is a reason for the price of Gold. Gold is money and price measures the fall of fiat currencies, in this case the U.S. dollar. In 1968 an ounce of Gold would buy a man's suit. Today it still does.

Gold is not something that is merely dug from the ground, but is extremely rare. All of the gold every mined would be about 1/3 the size of the Washington Monument or a cube 82 feet per side.

As far as the dot com stocks and Gold, most of those stocks that many people made amint on (and some lost) didn't pay dividends. In fact, take a CD today. It doesn't pay enough to keep up with taxes and inflation yet people still buy them.

From 1970 to 1980 Gold went from $35 to $850. An equivalent move would put Gold at $6,000 in 2011. I'll continue to hold my Gold that I purchased in 2001,thank you very much.
You can't eat gold. Eleven millionaires went down with the Titanic in 1912. One who survived was A.H. Peuchen, who said that he left $300,000 in money, jewelry, and certificates in a lockbox box in his cabin. "The money seemed to mock me at that time," he said. "I picked up three oranges instead."
the value of gold is partially determined by how much is costs to extract it. I believe that it is about 600-700/ounce. This is the current floor in terms of price. Given the increasing cost of labor, this should only rise with time as labor costs are met in fiat currency.
I refer the author to the insanity called the Weimar Republic. People aren't buying gold because it's a great investment; they're buying gold because it's the ONLY investment (relative to the impending collapse of the dollar). Of course, an argument can be made that the globalists (once Obama completes the destruction of the U.S. economy and the sheople abdicate what little influence they have in return for the new global world order) will stomp with both-feet on anyone who uses anything but the new global currency (now that's an argument against gold I can believe).
hmmm, 'companies are regulated' didn't help all those retirement accounts get cut in half and it depends on when you sell. The value of the stock market hasn't nudged in 10 years except oops remember inflation, so it lost. Gold has a constant market in jewelry and would be trading much higher if the government wasn't in the treasury bond business. We bought gold at $650/ounce as a hedge, a core investment we hope to never have to sell and so it's doubled when the dollar has been devalued and iras make little interest. there's a season for everything.
While gold does indeed glitter, love for it can drive one mad, if not bankrupt. There are various imprecations concerning gold by Old Testament Prophets, but we are genetically wired to ignore sage advice. Just remember the Tulip craze in Holland. A little bit of fungus or whatever was mistaken for divine intervention. Today's alchemists are TV touts.
Mr. Kanfer's observations are true, of course, but celebrities have nothing to do with the value of gold -- it is going through the roof because of uncertainty caused by global economic and power shifts, and because of our government's insouciant attitude towards debt and the value of the dollar.

If present trends continue, we will soon have to borrow even to meet the interest payments on our debt! Should that happen, nothing can prevent default and the collapse of the dollar. Given that not-impossible scenario, few things will be as valuable as gold.
Please suggest how inflation will be managed in the next 10 years or so. We are all interested. Without touting gold or any other alternative it does appear that the current financial obligations of the US taxpayer might be 60- 160 trillion USD depending on how you view such programs as Social Security. Today I see we are stepping up as taxpayers to bail out the credit unions for 50 billion.
We just bailed out the National Bank of Afghanistan in the past month.
Naturally hindsight will make this all very clear.
The only worse investment is dollars...

I can't afford to buy gold with the meager amount of savings I keep. I have a year's supply of food, some clean water, a good well with a working backup genny, clothing that should last a couple years for all of us, and 5000 rounds for every caliber I shoot.

If things start looking really bad, I'll up that number by four, to 20,000 rounds for each caliber except for the 12 gauge ammo, since that many rounds of shotgun ammunition would just take up too much room.

Do I anticipate firing that many rounds? Oh, I've shot that many. But I keep my stock rotated and topped up. If things get tough, no more trips to the range. If the currency collapses (which I view as inevitable) bullets and shot shells are wampum. Even people who don't own guns will trade for them.

And unlike, say, toilet paper or cooking oil, bullets are a reasonably dense store of value that are useful, unlike shiny gold, which serves no survival purpose whatsoever. Mostly it's just pretty. When you need to get down and dirty, bullets trump gold every time.

Of course, Glenn Beck isn't going to start hawking bullets on his radio program (I don't think). But he could do worse than investing in a warehouse full of ammunition.

Like buying gold.
Nice to see some counter to gold fever. However, what is an 1801 dollar (the paper one) worth now?
It is true that gold as an "investment" may not make sense for most people, since then you are just treating it as a commodity -- and any commodity can go up or down quite a bit. But that is not gold's primary role in human life -- it is as a store of value, which Mr. Kanfer either doesn't understand or chooses not to name, as the historical truth for many millennia. A dollar performs very very poorly as a store of value. If you want your savings not to lose, say 50% of its value, as has a dollar if you earned it in 1985, then it is best not to hold your wealth in dollars, which are designed to be debased.
This incredibly simplistic piece falls far below the standard I have come to expect from City Journal. To put it simply, gold is money. It always has been and always will be. It is no different than Dollars or Euros except for the fact that Central Banks can't print it. That City Journal would implicitly be expressing a preference for the paper garbage spewed out by governments over "the gold standard" -- literally -- for all currencies is simply beyond belief. Please find someone to write about gold who actually knows something about the subject.
All true, but you have to exchange goods, labor and services for SOMETHING. If that something is a "dollar" (technically, far more worthless and less "rare" than gold), which can be inflated into virtual worthlessness, then there is something to be said for keeping a portion of your net worth in something that cannot be dissipated quite so easily.