Richard Russell on Gold and Fiat Currency

Richard Russell began publishing his Dow Theory Letters in 1958 and has been writing them ever since. His letters are published every three weeks and legend has it that the he’s never once skipped a letter. The 89-year Russell is probably known best these days for his bearish opinions on everything other than precious metals. But I think he may have set a new high in this respect with his most recent comments.

In the first letter of 2013 Russell gets right to the point:

Bull market or bear market?  Below we see a listing of the year-end cost of gold denominated in Federal Reserve Notes (these notes are now commonly called “dollars”).  From a market standpoint, we’re looking at one of the greatest bull markets in history.  But ironically, referring to “dollars alone,” this is one of the worst bear markets I’ve ever seen.”

“Bear market?  Sure, back in the year 2000, for only 273 dollars you could buy one ounce of gold.  But by 2012, you needed over 1600 dollars to buy the same one ounce of gold.  The eternal value of gold doesn’t change.  It’s the purchasing power of the Federal reserve note that has changed.

The price of gold in terms of “dollars” has now risen thirteen years in succession.  But what is even more remarkable is the fact that most Americans have totally ignored (even despised) this remarkable bull market.  Let a stock rise seven or eight years in a row, and it will be the talk of Wall Street and the talk of every social gathering in the nation.

Yet this amazing bull market in gold stands alone, sneered at and almost hated.  I’ve been in this business for over 60 years, and I’ve never seen anything quite like it.  However, I do think I know something about human nature.  What I’ve learned about human nature is that it doesn’t change.  For instance, if a stock creeps up year after year, sooner or later the crowd will discover it — and then they’ll pounce on it, ultimately sending that undiscovered stock far above its reasonable price.

My belief is that somewhere ahead, the crowd will latch on to gold.  Then, as disinterested in gold as they are now, the crowd will pile into gold with the same frenzy that overtook the storied “49ers” when they packed their bags, kissed their wives and kids good bye, and headed West in search of gold.

Gold is the only item that elicits both greed and fear.  The greed factor is so well known that I don’t have to explain it here.  But the fear factor only arises when men (and women) see the “value” of their money disappearing.  Nothing concentrates the mind as dramatically as seeing the purchasing power of one’s hard-earned income and savings being ruthlessly destroyed.

To me this is fascinating. I specifically enjoy the sentiment and psychological aspects of this discussion. Go check out the entire interview with Richard Russell on King World News


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