The underlying assumption when people say gold is the ultimate store of wealth is that there will always be a market infrastructure in which we can exchange the gold for other things (nutrients, potable water, cell phone chargers, etc.).
Perhaps this assumption is always why I've found discussing the issue with goldbugs so exasperating. A miscommunications about scenario parameters. The term "economic collapse" to them means fiat currency lowering in value so other people eat generic-label cereal while they get to buy Ferraris by trading for a few bracelets. Whereas to me the term "economic collapse" means that there is no food to buy at any price (or medium of exchange), and no gas for Ferraris at any price (or medium of exchange).
In a way, goldbugs are more optimistic about social stability in the future. It just seems to me that in past crises, the planet had a low human population and abundant resources. The peasant farmers may have been poor in terms of cool stuff (silks and toys), but the basics (food and water) were still obtainable. So a stable, tolerable poverty. The planet is at a point now where if the infrastructure fails due to an economic collapse, the basics aren't going to be obtainable. So social instability on a scale never before imagined.
In summary, I now feel a sense of peace with my gold-loving brothers. A miscommunication in perception. They believe in a market after dollar death whereas I am an eternal skeptic. Like with my religious friends who believe in life after death, I disagree but am open to pleasant surprise and will be very happy to be wrong.
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