The gold bug


Partner, who knows a lot about finance, was advising a friend recently on the purchase of gold. “I want it,” she said, “but what happens if the government collapses? Can I trade the gold for a quart of milk?”

He tried to explain the system to her. He even helped her to buy some small gold coins on the Internet, from a reliable dealer who offers decent prices. (She bought half an ounce of gold, so the coins will be very small. I think she expects to receive a chunk of gold about the size of a manhole cover.)

Why gold? It occurs naturally worldwide. It’s malleable and can be made into almost anything. It’s beautiful. It’s rare, and difficult to obtain.

It is, in Karl Marx’s terminology, a “fetish.” You can’t eat it, or benefit from its ownership in any natural way. But you know that you (and many others) are fascinated by it, and will give you outlandish amounts of useful goods (currency, food, clothing) in exchange for a small amount of it.

Gold will keep its “value” if even a vestige of the current civilization continues. People will still want it, and will barter valuable items for it. (Don’t barter it for milk, however. You can probably find something else around the house to barter for milk. Extra bedsheets? Candles? A family member?)

I’ve seen gold coins in museums, and I can vouch for the fact that they’re beautiful. They are also usually (as I said above) very small.  (I saw a great advert in Reader’s Digest recently offering gold coins for $150. The picture accompanying the advertisement made the coins look as if they were the size of Oreo cookies. Given the price, however, they can’t be larger than the nail of your little finger, and perhaps smaller than that.)

But gold enchants people.

Partner’s friend has been bitten by the gold bug.

She will never be the same.

(I’ve looked at the websites too. My goodness, those coins are pretty. And they’re not all that expensive . . . )


About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

2 Responses to The gold bug

  1. starproms says:

    I can well see how buying gold could be addictive. There are lots of different types too.

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