Trivia, but not Trivial
by Kevin Brekke
Casey’s Daily Dispatch
Posted originally January 18, 2011
OVER THE WEEKEND I TOOK IN THE RETRO CULT-CLASSIC GOLDFINGER, the perfect elixir, I reckoned, to allay a couple things niggling my thinking of late: remembrance of the good ole days of my youth, and what gold is saying about the days ahead. I was ten when the movie opened at cinemas across America. I recall vividly the night my dad drove the family – in a metallic-green Buick Skylark – to marvel at Bond’s machine-gun fitted Aston Martin DB5 that was on display at the local Sears, part of a multi-city promotional tour.
There is a scene in the movie that struck me as particularly telling, one that had failed to impress until this latest viewing. In it, Bond and Goldfinger are sipping mint juleps at a stud ranch in Kentucky, not far from the villain’s intended target at Fort Knox. Bond speculates during the verbal spar with Goldfinger that he is plotting to steal the gold at Fort Knox and chides his adversary for a crucial oversight: the number and weight of gold bars will simply take too many men and too much time for them to be loaded and carted away before the robbery is exposed.
“But who said anything about moving it, Mr. Bond?” replies a confident Goldfinger.
Bond then learns that Goldfinger plans to irradiate the gold with an atomic device supplied by the Chinese and render it useless for 58 years, reducing the supply of world gold and greatly increasing the value of Goldfinger’s own gold. This will also give the Chinese an exploitable advantage resulting from economic chaos in the West.
The role of Auric Goldfinger is played by Gert Fröbe, a popular German actor. For trivia buffs, his voice was dubbed because he did not speak English, a fact that was hard to detect as I watched his performance.
Not trivial is the eerie foreshadowing presented in the film. If we imagine Goldfinger as Ben Bernanke and substitute the Fort Knox gold with the U.S. dollar, and put a Chinese monetary war in place of the Cold War of the era, we find ourselves in a modern-day Ian Fleming script. In this misadventure, the role of Bond is played by paper assets. But, alas, it is to be his last role, as paper money is killed in the final scene.
It is jokingly said that truth is stranger than fiction because fiction must make sense, and that is certainly the case here. The scene described above accurately explains the interplay between supply and price. Today, if a large chunk of the world’s above-ground gold were destroyed, its price would rise, and probably dramatically. The inverse of this basic dynamic is no less true for paper money. As Ben Bernanke increases the supply of paper currency, its value has fallen dramatically and is reflected in a rising gold price.
The Federal Reserve is the atomic bomb that is turning the dollar into toxic waste, albeit gradually rather than in one mushroom cloud as was Goldfinger’s scheme. As for China, it has been converting its over two trillion in dollar reserves into gold, adding several hundred tonnes to its hoard in the last two years. In the midst of monetary chaos in the West, China’s gold strategy may very well give it an exploitable advantage as the final act for paper money unfolds.
Gold is certainly saying that the years ahead will be fraught with spy-thriller-type analogs and dangers. Don’t let your wealth get destroyed by the actions of those plotting to steal your wealth. If you do not own physical gold and silver, now is the time to get started. That’s not fiction. It is the real world.