Thursday, December 23, 2010

Is gold a good investment at these prices?

Here (pdf) is a balanced viewpoint by Howard Marks of Oaktree. You can suspect a bona fide attempt to look at all sides of the argument, when he starts with:
In 1952, Noah S. “Soggy” Sweat, Jr., a member of the Texas House of Representatives, was asked about his position on whiskey.  Here’s how he answered: 
If you mean whiskey, the devil’s brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean that evil drink that topples Christian men and women from the pinnacles of righteous and gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, shame, despair, helplessness, and hopelessness, then, my friend, I am opposed to it with every fiber of my being.  
However, if by whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the elixir of life, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer, the stimulating sip that puts a little spring in the step of an elderly gentleman on a frosty morning; if you mean that drink that enables man to magnify his joy, and to forget life’s great tragedies and heartbreaks and sorrow; if you mean that drink the sale of which pours into Texas treasuries untold millions of dollars each year, that provides tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitifully aged and infirm, to build the finest highways, hospitals, universities, and community colleges in this nation, then my friend, I am absolutely, unequivocally in favor of it.  
This is my position, and as always, I refuse to compromise on matters of principle. 
Sweat’s response shows, depending on how you look at it, either how views can diverge on a given subject or how differently a tale can be spun.  Thus it serves well to introduce the topic of this memo: gold.  
And a little further on:
My view is simple and starts with the observation that gold is a lot like religion.  No one can prove that God exists . . . or that God doesn’t exist.  The believer can’t convince the atheist, and the atheist can’t convince the believer.  It’s incredibly simple: either you believe in God or you don’t.  Well, that’s exactly the way I think it is with gold. Either you’re a believer or you're not.
 It is a great read. Check it out.


milieu said...

The quote by Noah Sweat,Jr. is great! On a more sciency note, i saw this podcast on gold recently and might be a nice complement.

Sachin Shanbhag said...

will check that out when i have a faster internet connection. thanks.