Gold prices plunged this week, creating havoc and leading many analysts to declare an end to the long run-up in the yellow metal's price over the past decade. But ordinary investors may wonder why they should care about gold if they stick largely to conservative stocks such as those in the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI)

In the following video, Fool markets analyst Mike Klesta talks with Fool contributor Dan Caplinger about the impact that gold's decline will have on typical investors. Beyond exchange-traded funds that track the price of the metal and gold-mining stocks that count on high prices for their profits, Dan notes that many companies, including some Dow components, rely on a healthy gold-mining industry for their own businesses. Moreover, entire national economies benefit from strong gold prices, and the plunge may force them to accept slower growth or even recessionary conditions in the near future.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger and Mike Klesta have no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool owns shares of General Electric. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.