01 August 2010

The Social Construction of (Gold) Reality

I have a book in my library called The Social Construction of Reality. Its basic thesis is that reality is socially constructed, or to put it another way, reality is what people believe it is. For example, if you moved to a new town and a rumor was circulated that you were an axe murderer, then you can imagine that people would avoid you, police would monitor you and if there was a murder, you would be an immediate suspect. Even though it was not true, you would in effect be experiencing the life of an axe murderer, at least in how people related to you. For you it would become reality because the social group believed it to be true.

You said “But if "smart" dollars of size (or let's just say all dollars of size) are not getting a bid from real physical gold of size... and only "idiot" dollars are getting a bid from "paper gold"... can we really say the gold basis is reflecting reality?”

My contention is that if the social belief is that paper gold is as good as physical gold then for all intents and purposes it is. As a result the basis reflects that and does not go into backwardation because people are accepting paper gold bids for their dollars. Saying this does not mean I condone it, but while the social belief continues, what the real “level of physical gold's bid for dollars” is does not matter regarding price.

There is little proof I have for my claim that we are still in phase two of the Degrees of Distrust as the gold market is opaque by nature. One fact I do have is the recent revelation by the Financial Times that the 346t of gold for the BIS swap “came mainly from investors' deposit accounts at the European commercial banks”. That is 346t of trust by those investors and indicates there are a lot of people who still believe in the system.

I can't 100% sure where we are at, but would caution against too much optimism. If we are still in phase two then a lot of education is still called for. I think the mass market is still not into gold in any major way and when it does it needs to be directed into products that take real physical off the market. We have to ensure investors are properly informed, that they understand the true "gold reality". That the Chimps turn into Champs, not Chumps.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Perception is reality.

What happens when different groups perceive the reality differently though? Half the population believes you are an axe murderer, the other half believes you are a messianic figure?

When two tribes go to war...

Great discussion all the same, and a lot of insight on all sides.