News Hoards Gold As A Hedge Against The Apocalypse

For consumers looking for an online destination that provides discount goods with a faint pastiche doomsday-prepping, there is really only one choice:  Because there are lots of companies that you can order inexpensive goods from online, but only one that is currently hoarding gold and freeze-dried good in anticipation of the end times.

We are not even remotely kidding.

The chairman of Overstock’s board, Jonathan Johnson, announced a few weeks ago at the United Precious Metals Association annual meeting that his firm has put away $10 million in gold and silver doubloons as a hedge against future economic uncertainty.

OK, he technically said coins, but you just know he was thinking “doubloons” when he said it.

Johnson is one of many anti-establishment types employed by the firm; Overstock’s CEO is a well-known bitcoin and gun enthusiast. He is also a passionate libertarian and a vocal critic of the malign influence of central bankers.

Chairman Johnson told the Financial Times that its precious metal hoard held outside the banking system ensures the company will be able to pay its employees even if lenders slammed shut in a crisis.

Johnson, who is in the midst of a gubernatorial run in Utah, also noted that Overstock isn’t just hoarding gold — because after all, depending on how apocalyptic the situation gets, it is still of limited usefulness since you can’t eat it. Overstock, therefore, additionally keeps enough freeze-dried food on hand to feed each employee plus one family member for three months. 

What happens if employees have more than one family member (say multiple children) is not clear. But it does bear noting that Johnson thinks it probably won’t come to actually living off the freeze-dried food for a long time.

“We thought there’s a decent chance that there could be a banking holiday at some point caused by a crisis and it could last for two days or two weeks or who knows how long, and we wanted to be in a position where we could continue to operate during any such crisis,” he said.

The gold hoarding was approved in the aftermath of the last financial crisis in response to the Fed’s policy of quantitative easing, a policy Johnson found to be “irresponsible.”

Because not everyone can be responsible enough to put 10 percent of their firm’s liquid assets into gold coins.

He also noted that he does not consider himself a doomsday prepper, gold and food hoarding aside, as it represents one of many strategies the company has in place.

“Gold is just one of the financial contingency plans that Overstock puts in place,” he said. “We also have contingencies if sales don’t come in as expected.

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