That realization, I believe, will cause folks to lose confidence, and that loss of confidence will set off an avalanche in stock prices, forcing them to be valued as the fractional shares of businesses that they are, instead of the conceptual fantasy lottery tickets that they have become. I believe that this loss of confidence, both here and worldwide, will also cause the dollar to be reappraised as the piece of confetti that it has become.

Now, I don't say any of this because I want it to happen. I say this because to me, it was preordained by the policies that precipitated the bubble and the policies that have gone on since the bubble. I don't root for any of this to occur, but I fear it will occur. My choice is to be prepared, and to do the best I can in that environment.

Unfortunately, when it comes to looking at other currencies, the euro and the yen are not a whole lot better than the dollar. I sort of view each of them vs. the dollar as a one-eyed man in the land of the blind. Not too interesting, just slightly better alternatives. However, all of this is very bullish for the only currency that has been in existence for 5,000 years, that cannot be printed, and is no one else's liability -- i.e., gold. I would like to be clear that when I say gold, I also mean silver in the same breath, as I stated at the outset. Just as buying stocks until your hands bled was a state of mind of supreme confidence in the mania, owning precious metals is, to repeat, the expression of the lack of confidence in the monetary authorities, an oxymoron if there ever was one.

I believe that investor demand, the lack of which has been responsible for holding back the metals, will finally manifest itself as this year unfolds and the problems that I have articulated become clearer to people. Greenspan, in particular, has painted himself into a corner, at last, by blaming all of our current problems on "geopolitical uncertainties" surrounding the Iraq war. This is why I feel that we have a potential catalyst to cause people to re-evaluate their thinking. When the alleviation of those geopolitical concerns fails to ignite the economy and the stock market, the game will be up, and the race to protect oneself will be on.