While gold has been an excellent store of value for thousands of years, in modern times it has attained another useful purpose. In an age where just about everything is tracked and cataloged by the authorities, gold isn’t just a good way to store your money outside of the banks. It’s one of the few ways you can keep your money in something that is anonymous and untraceable. That also makes gold one of the best tools for getting your money out of the country, should the need ever arise.
At least for now anyway. If you tried to leave the country with cash, you’d have to declare anything above $10,000, but you can get around that by carrying gold. However, that may not be the case in the future. Writer and investor Doug Casey has recently noticed that when he tries to cross national borders with precious metals on his person, it now catches the attention of customs agents in multiple countries where that was not the case before. Doug Casey a prolific traveler, so if anyone would be able to notice that something is amiss, it’s him. Here’s the disturbing trend that he’s been seeing over the past few weeks.
I’ve gradually accumulated about a dozen one-ounce silver rounds in my briefcase, some souvenirs issued by mining companies, plus others from Canada, Australia, China, and the US. But when I left Chile a couple of months ago, the person monitoring the X-ray machine stopped me and insisted I take them out and show them to her. This had never happened before, but I wrote it off to chance. Then, when I was leaving Argentina a few weeks later, the same thing happened. What was really unusual was that the inspector looked at them, took them back to his supervisor, and then asked if I had any gold coins. I didn’t, he smiled, and I went on.
What really got my attention was a few weeks later when I was leaving Mauritania, one of the world’s more backward countries. Here, I was also questioned about the silver coins. A supervisor was again called over and asked me whether I had any gold coins. Clearly, something was up.
I haven’t seen any official statements about the movement of gold coins, but it seems probable that governments are spreading word to their minions. After all, $10,000 in $100 bills is a stack about an inch high; it’s hard to hide, and clearly a lot of money. But even at currently depressed prices, $10,000 is only nine Maple Leafs, a much smaller volume. Additionally, the coins are immune to currency-sniffing dogs, are much less likely to be counterfeit, and don’t have serial numbers. And if they’re set aside for a few years, they won’t be damaged by water, fire, insects, currency inflation, or the complete replacement of a currency. Gold coins are in many ways an excellent way to subvert capital controls. And I think they’ll become much more popular in that role.
As banks and governments all over the world push for the cashless society, you can expect these antics to escalate. The ‘powers that be’ hate cash because it’s so hard to keep track of, so they’ve done everything they can to make it difficult for you to carry it in vast sums, much less take it out of the country.
That makes gold a choice option for moving your earnings around anonymously. If stories like this are true however, then it’s only a matter of time before the government starts targeting gold as well. At the end of the day, no asset is completely safe from the meddling hands of a power tripping government.