This has been a most peculiar summer. In the U.S. it has been blazing hot, while across Europe the weather has been unseasonably cool. Despite an increasing number of momentary flashes of societal breakdown, from Athens and London to Philadelphia and Vancouver, the social mood has been relatively calm. In fact, it has been almost too calm, as if the usual instigators of unrest are concerned that creating the usual sparks might set off a conflagration that would threaten to engulf them as well.
The markets are in a precarious state, too. The Dow is behaving erratically, with giant movements both upward and downward, but predominantly down, in much the same way that it was behaving in the bear market that ran from October 2007 to March 2009. That downward slide took more than 50 percent off the Dow, and a repetition of similar magnitude would be expected to bottom around 5,000. Should that happen, we can reasonably anticipate that gold, which has risen from $320 in 2002 to $1,850, will be approaching the 1:1 ratio that Robert Prechter predicted back when the ratio was 50:1.