The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The past couple of weeks have seen a strong pullback in both commodity prices and stocks. Gold fell sharply off its peak after soaring just past $1,900. Volatility in commodity, currency and equity markets has been very high recently, and these short-term price movements have Wall Street pundits in an uproar. As gold prices soared, many advisers recommended investing in the yellow metal with appeals to the "bandwagon effect." A rising price, they argued, indicated changing sentiment, and thus future appreciation. For those who bought on this reasoning, a falling price is a bad omen. In addition, for a while, gold prices were rising even as stock prices were falling. As a result, some investors bought gold to hedge stock market risk. When gold eventually followed equity prices lower, these trades were unwound. But as my readers know, following the crowd has never been the reason to buy gold. After all, that same logic would have recommended buying a house in Phoenix five years ago. Since the fundamentals still point to gold's long-term viability, our phones have been ringing off the hook with customers smartly seeking to take advantage of the dip.
You may think I'm joking, but this is quite serious. While monetary policy was bad under Greenspan, Ben Bernanke has literally instituted a revolutionary devaluation program for the dollar. And gold is the only way to avoid his guillotine.
Moody's said its decision to downgrade the banks included the assumption of debt restructuring that would cost investors up to 60% on Greek sovereign debt, 50% on Portuguese and Irish debts, 10% on Spanish debt and 7% on Italy's debt."
In other words, the Western financial system is a debt-laden house of cards. This is the root of the current market panic. But what's harder to explain is why investors are responding by selling gold and buying dollars and euros. Then again, I was always told not to look a gift horse in the mouth.