I’m not the only person out there trying to reconcile how gold could be both an inflation hedge and a deflation hedge.
How a thing could be something while at the same time being the opposite of that something is a logic puzzle worthy of Raymond Smullyan or perhaps the Tootsie Pop Owl.
Apparently, there is a line of reasoning out there that may be of help to those troubled by the inflation/deflation hedging potential of gold ownership.
From WhiskeyAndGunpowder.com (I know, awesome):
Knowing how governments will respond to deflation, the case for inflation-proof gold looks increasingly clear to cautious wealth…
Useless for pretty much everything except storing wealth (its economic value is social, not industrial), gold acts as inflation-proof money when investors need it most — right in the middle of an asset-price deflation.
Given central banks’ default response to any level of financial stress, it’s a unique and appealing attribute. Because rather than leaving cash hoarders alone, sub-zero real rates of interest — plus the ever-present threat of massive devaluation — force sleepless nights on cautious savers. (The risk of banking collapse is an extra, but non-government-inspired threat.)
In simpler terms, the case for gold-as-deflation-hedge can be made based on the obviousness of what policy response will likely be toward deflation – deliberate inflating.
Think of it this way – if you are a cartoon character and your house is infested by mice, you should buy a whip and a chair, because eventually someone will be bringing in a lion to deal with those meeces mice.
It is this chess-like premonition of cause-and-effect that allows you to look at gold as both a deflation and an inflation hedge – you’re simply predicting that the powers that be will swing their pendulum too far in each direction.
If you’ve hit upon this answer before I have, one gold star for you. I’m not always the quickest, but eventually I get there.
Riddle solved, next!