"What has happened is lobotomized Westerners have sent much of their gold to Asia just as the financial system prepares to melt down again".We have an odd situation where demand for real gold is up and demand for paper gold is down.
This has happened before.
What happened to the gold and silver grabbed from the Incas and Aztecs? It caused inflation in Spain and Portugal and moved towards the mercantile countries like the Netherlands and gradually moved from there to India and China. We hear about the spice, tea and silk trade from the east. Those ships and caravans weren't all going empty on the outbound leg.
Professor Braudel in his wondrous tour de force, "The Structures of Everyday Life" makes the point, p 462.