Thursday, August 15, 2002

Money&Culture File
Now is the time that gold—solid, immutable, real—should be rocketing toward $800 per ounce, yet the yellow metal has confounded its long-suffering devotees by remaining tethered to the $300-per-ounce level, where it has been stuck for years. Either things are not as bad as they seem, or gold may finally be losing its ancient status as the investment of last resort. "About time," mutters the ghost of John Maynard Keynes, who long ago pronounced gold "a barbarous relic."

Deep in the pine forest of the Russian north, a battle is being fought over the shape of a Russian economy increasingly concentrated in the hands of just a few tycoons. ... The scene is more than just a fine piece of Russian corporate theater. These are the front lines of a phenomenon that has transformed the economy in the last three years. A handful of large business groups have been moving through systematically, buying up entire industries.

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