Price per ounce of gold on Oct. 14, an all-time record
Economic anxiety often pushes people to invest in commodities they believe to be more stable than traditional stocks or retirement funds. When the economic crisis turned into a global downturn in 2009 and remained one in 2010, many who feared a mix of everything from inflation to deflation to plunging currencies looked to gold for protection. Those fears, driven home by the likes of Fox News' Glenn Beck (who is a spokesman for Goldline) pushed the metal to its highest ever price per ounce on Oct. 14. Adjusted for inflation, gold is still not as pricey as it was in the early 1980s. But the depth of the crisis showed itself in the clamor for the commodity; when the world's major economies inevitably get back on their feet, the buying of gold will almost surely wane.