One of the baffling circumstances of this phenomenon has been the wholesale reliance on ETFs as the secure proxy for gold. The most popular ETF for gold, trading under the symbol “GLD” is an asset line item in millions of portfolios throughout the world. Created by Barclay’s Capital, GLD represents proportionate shares in a London-based “Trust” (aptly named!!) that purportedly holds physical gold in a vault somewhere in that city. I do not doubt that such a cache actually exists, despite what some conspiracy theorists continue to insist. However, what does puzzle me is the curious notion that if all goes to “hell in a hand basket”, that “paper money’ is worth less (as opposed to “worthless”, a very important distinction!!), civil disorder (too close to home, London? !!) takes hold and financial institutions fail, how is one “secure” by owning the third or fourth “derivative” of the precious metal itself? Try going to riot-torn London and demanding your share, or better yet, see if your local, heavily barricaded, store owner will accept proof of this “store of value” by presenting him with a copy of your monthly brokerage statement in exchange for bread or milk? It all seems ridiculous, does it not? Ah, the marketing machine of Wall Street!! This could be the greatest single sales job of all time.