MONEY: A Mystical Boom

Investors have concluded lately that most major currencies will lose much of their purchasing power in the months ahead. The doubts have set off a worldwide stampede to buy tangible commodities of all kinds: copper, silver, sugar, even potatoes. Most of all, the nervous are buying gold, a mystical symbol of eternal value. The price of gold rocketed up to a record $163 an ounce in London last week, almost double the quote a year ago, and up $23.50 in less than a month (see chart).

The gold rush is paradoxical for two reasons....

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