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I often listen to talk radio.  And one commercial that is a frequent one on talk radio is for one of several different companies which specialize in precious metal investing.  They often even have the various talk radio personalities themselves talking about how they have diversified their holdings by buying gold.  The claims seem reasonable I suppose.  Gold has seen a steady rise in prices in recent years.  And, as they have said over and over “gold has never been worth zero.”

This is where they lose me.

Maybe its because I’m a child of the cold war, a geek, or an aficionado of the horror genre, but this last claim seems a bit out there.  Gold never worth zero?  Perhaps not in the past, but that may not hold in the future.  You see, these commercials are selling gold as the ultimate hedge against disaster.  The idea being that if everything goes to hell then your gold will still have value that your currency will not.

OK, I get that.  But, and again this may be me, most of the disasters I envision in the modern age that would cause currency to become worthless would do the same to anything like gold.  In the disasters I see its not gold that is the ultimate commodity.  It’s things like food, gasoline, heating oil, and maybe guns and ammunition.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  Here he goes calling for a zombie outbreak or similar apocalyptic event.  But, while I don’t think those things are beyond the scope of imagination, something as comparatively mundane as a world economic collapse applies as well.  If international markets experience a total collapse how long do you think the “gold has never been worth zero” truism will hold out?  In those conditions do you think someone with a stockpile of food is going to trade even a loaf of bread for a pile of gold?  I know I wouldn’t.

I know this sounds like I’m a bit of a whack-job nut, some shotgun toting hick sitting on a pile of canned goods and warning IRS agents to get their government asses off my property.  Please understand I am not saying some catastrophe that will devalue everything is right around the corner.  But, I think that the selling od precious metals as a hedge against catastrophe is a bit of a stretch.

Gold is just another form of currency, and if everything starts down the highway to hell I’d rather be riding in the rusty old trailer with a full larder than the gold-plated Cadillac with my tummy-rumbling.

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