NEW YORK (June 2): INVESTORS who have taken the advice of the 'gold bugs', who consider gold and gold-related investments the best hedge against inflation, have profited rather handsomely, Fortune magazine reports. While Wall Street generally has been a disaster area, gold has been soaring. In the past four years, the price of a troy ounce has risen substantially from about US$36 to about $165, and in the same period the Financial Times gold stocks index has soared 500 per cent. Fortune says the best known gold bug is Harry Browne of British Colombia, author of the best selling You Can Profit From A Monetary Crisis. His version of gold-bug doctrine is both simple and extreme: 'The basic protections against a runaway inflation will be - as has always been the case historically - gold, silver and foreign currencies that are not afflicted with similar runaway inflations.' But by just protecting oneself merely against inflation, Mr Browne warns, may not be enough to fend off real danger. The prudent investor will also make ready and prepare for the 'possibility of a total collapse' by getting himself a comfortable rural retreat and laying in stocks of food and silver coins 'to use as money after some order is re-established but before a new purchasing medium is available . . . ' Other prominent gold bugs, Fortune reports, are Franz Pick, an author and consultant, E.C. Harwood, an investment adviser, and William Snow, who is an institutional money manager.