'Bugs' get stamped on by their precious metal
PITY the poor gold bugs.
These are the people who invest in gold for what they perceive as financial security in the event of high inflation, and often also believe that the price of gold will continue to rise.
The term also refers to analysts and commentators who recommend buying gold.
And there have been quite a few of them in this country.
Of course they may still be proved right. The euro may yet sunder under the weight of its many political and economic tensions.
Then there is a threat of inflation, though right now the biggest fear is deflation -- where prices fall and consumers and businesses stop spending.
But the gold bugs should be embarrassed. The price of the precious metal has crashed by close to 40pc. The past few days have seen the falls continue after a third of the value of bullion was wiped away last year.
The Irish Independent repeatedly warned that gold was a doubtful investment, exhibiting the features of a bubble.
We told readers early in 2011: "Gold is a bubble and wise investors would do well to avoid its charms." All those in this country who piled into gold will now be nursing big losses.
They should have listened to the Sage of Omaha. Warren Buffett, the world's most successful investor, has always been sceptical about the wisdom of investing in gold. The man is not worth $58bn for nothing.
Mr Buffett famously said: "(Gold) gets dug out of the ground in Africa, or someplace. Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility. Anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their head."
His argument is that gold produces no income -- there is no dividend or interest rate.
The gold bugs have been well and truly stung.