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The one-time apostle of gold, silver, and Swiss francs argues persuasively (with his collaborator) that such vehicles have passed their prime: they have appreciated so greatly that they no longer offer favorable risk/reward opportunities. But this time around, no specific recommendations are put forth; instead, the authors provide five possible inflation scenarios--level, rising, runaway, soft landing (with a relatively painless end to the price spiral), and deflationary depression--without, in the body of the book, expressing a personal opinion as to the likelihood of any single one. Only in the epilogue do we learn that Browne assigns a 40 percent probability to both a rising inflation rate and deflation; Cox-on's estimates of these likelihoods are 50 percent and 25 percent, respectively. Overall, and at considerable length, the two review available options--including precious metals, foreign currencies, collectibles, equities, fixed-income vehicles, money-market funds, and real estate--in the context of their five economic projections. For example, their prognosis for Treasury bills (assuming at least partial shelter for interest returns) is: a virtual standoff with a level inflation rate; mediocre to poor if the cost of living soars or abates; and good to excellent in a deflation. There are also some sensible caveats against borrowing as a sure-fire way to beat inflation and any number of informed observations (e.g., ""The US stock market is living evidence that inflation does not push all prices up together""). But in selecting from the assets menu proffered by the authors, investors must go it alone, on the basis of their own economic expectations. Substantial, if standard, fare served up as a moveable feast.

Pub Date: March 9th, 1981
Publisher: Morrow