When thinking about the macroeconomy, I think about two continua. We have changes in the amount of real goods services bought as well as changes in the general price level associated with those transactions.
I created an animation that shows how these measurements have changed over time.
The Permanent Portfolio exploits both axes. Gold does particularly well if the black dot is expected to be moving towards the upper left quadrant. Long-duration Treasuries do best when the black dot is expected to be moving towards the lower left quadrant. Equities do well if the dot is expected to be on the right side of the graph. Finally, T-Bills are held because occasionally the Fed tightens to a level where no asset class is attractive.
From my perspective, the Permanent Portfolio has exposure to each quadrant. That helps ensure that the overall portfolio will be robust in a wide variety of economic environments. If for some reason I began implementing a different strategy, I would be sure to think about the quadrants. For now, I think the Permanent Portfolio remains the ideal choice for retail investors to passively exploit changes in the macroeconomy.