Futurology blog: what’s the next trend that’ll disrupt our world, financially, socially or just pointlessly?

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Gold - the new bubble

It hasn’t taken long for the bubble-makers to come up with something to replace the buy-to-let flat.

Apparently, if we convert our wealth into gold coins we’ll be safe from any financial crash, while our new investment will rise and rise as other assets fall.

Gold, we’re told, is the ultimate safe investment.

Well, “safe as houses” used to be a fact.

And the gold hucksters’ sales pitch sounds rather like the property developers’ tarnished rhetoric. (Watch out for irresponsible schemes that enable low-income people to purchase gold at 'fixed' prices with low monthly instalments.)

The thing is, you can still live in a house. Gold just isn’t all that intrinsically useful. Even as jewellery, it’s tacky in any large quantity.

Take a look at the historical fluctuations in the value of gold – the downside is terrifying. The only thing that’s keeping the price up at the moment is hysteria. And even that won’t be enough when Joe Average realises he can’t afford the stuff at today’s price – and really doesn’t need it anyway, at any price.

The people who moved into gold early have already made their profit. Now the latecomers and the conmen are hoping we'll make them rich. Sorry.

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