Posts by Simon Black

Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter Notes from the Field is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom, make more money, keep more of it, and protect it all from bankrupt governments.

  • First post: 16/06/2009
  • Posts written: 2122

Latest Articles

Insanity: Now even JUNK bonds have NEGATIVE yields

75 years ago this month, a group of 744 delegates from around the world gathered at the very posh Mount Washington Hotel in New Hampshire to build a brand new global financial system.

The year was 1944. World War II was still raging in Europe and the Pacific.

But with the successful invasion of Normandy well underway, the Allies knew that Hitler’s days were numbered. And they needed to start preparing for a[...] Click here to continue reading

Congress courageously sticks US taxpayers with a $6 trillion liability

There seems to be an unwritten rule with lawmakers that, every time they create a terrible piece of legislation, they give it the most noble-sounding name.

The USA PATRIOT Act from 2001 was a great example. It sounds great. Who wouldn’t love a law named for Patriots?

And yet that was easily among the most freedom-killing laws ever passed in US history, giving the federal government nearly unlimited authority to wage war and[...] Click here to continue reading

British schoolteachers want price controls for vacation packages

Here’s our weekly roll-up of the most absurd and concerning articles we came across this week from both sides of the Atlantic.

8th grader gets 3-week suspension for picture of airsoft gun


Airsoft guns are toy guns which shoot little plastic BBs.

As long as kids are wearing safety glasses, these guns pose no actual threat of injury. And their painted red plastic tips make it obvious they are toy guns.

They are[...] Click here to continue reading

This may be your last chance to take advantage of Puerto Rico’s best tax benefits

Imagine a place where you could spend all day sitting on a beautiful beach, sipping piña coladas, mingle with some of the most fascinating people you’ll ever meet, and not pay any taxes…

It’s the classic dream of the offshore tax paradise. Unfortunately, that dream is largely dead due to Uncle Sam’s aggressive policies of cracking down on foreign tax havens.

But there’s still one place left in the world where this dream[...] Click here to continue reading

Here’s how to get a second passport (almost) for free

I remember the day like it was yesterday.

Fifteen years ago, I received my Italian passport in the mail, shipped to me directly by the Italian consulate in New York.

A few years prior, I found out I was eligible for an Italian passport through ancestry.

My grandparents are of Italian descent... so Italy deemed me eligible to become a citizen as well.

On top of that, I was able to[...] Click here to continue reading

Why Singapore is an outstanding “Plan B” option

Every time I come to Singapore I can’t help but marvel at its spectacular rise.

I have a number of local friends who have been living here since independence in the 1960s, and they tell me the most incredible stories about how impoverished and underdeveloped Singapore was back then.

Things were so backward back then that people would literally throw their own human waste out in the middle of the street. There was[...] Click here to continue reading

US government mulls banning encryption

Here’s our Friday roll up of the most absurd and concerning articles we came across this week.
US Government officials consider banning end to end encryption
Leaders from US government agencies are rumored to be pursuing a ban on end-to-end encryption.

Tech companies like Apple and Google often build encryption into their technology to prevent data from being hacked and stolen.

Apps like Whatsapp and Signal also encrypt communications so that even if[...] Click here to continue reading

Three solid ideas to help you get started

In October of 2008, a plumber from Ohio named Joseph Wurzelbacher made national headlines when he confronted US Presidential Candidate (then Senator) Barack Obama at a campaign rally:

“Your tax plan’s going to tax me more,” Joe told Senator Obama.

The confrontation sparked a sensation, and Joe became known nationwide as “Joe the Plumber”.

He was right-- his new business would be subject to a tax increase under Obama’s plan to raise[...] Click here to continue reading

The Bolsheviks aren’t coming. They’re already here.

The average Westerner who hasn’t traveled very much believes Moscow to be a cold, bleak, desolate capital city that’s filled with Stalinist-era architecture and a population that lives in utter misery.

But the reality of this place is nearly the complete opposite.

Moscow is a bright, beautiful, cosmopolitan city. I’ve always found Moscow to feel more European than most European capitals, with gorgeous architecture that never seems to end.

Moscow is easily[...] Click here to continue reading

The ridiculous return of the Zimbabwe dollar

Here’s our Friday roll up of the most absurd and concerning articles we came across this week.

Jail time for offensive image in Great Britain


Recently some idiot teenager in Britain edited an image of Prince Harry into something that was stupid and racist.

This moron clearly intended to be offensive. His photo depicts the prince (who married Meghan Markle) with a gun to his head and the caption, “see ya later race traitor.”
[...] Click here to continue reading

Uzbekistan is seriously compelling

Last week when I was in Japan, I met up with an old friend of mine who is a senior executive at one of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers.

He’s one of the top people in the organization-- reports to the CEO, flies around on the corporate jet, the whole nine yards. So he knows his stuff.

I won’t use the name the car maker to protect his anonymity, but rest assured, there’s[...] Click here to continue reading

Quite possibly the world’s cheapest stock market

[Editor’s note: Yesterday we accidentally sent the wrong version of Simon’s article about Kazakhstan. We posted the correct version to the website-- and definitely recommend you check it out.]

Late last week, the Federal Reserve gave its strongest signal yet that they would cut interest rates soon.

And in anticipation of yet another endless flood of cheap money, the US stock market soared to an all-time high.

Honestly it’s a bit absurd[...] Click here to continue reading

Not quite ready for investment… but still Disneyland for nature lovers

In the spring of 1937, a young Scottish diplomat named Fitzroy Maclean embarked on a two year journey across the Soviet Union.

It was something that no Westerner had done in more than two decades, and this was well before any modern conveniences, so Maclean had to travel by any means necessary-- including donkey cart.

Years later he published a wonderful book about his experience called Eastern Approaches.

To give you a[...] Click here to continue reading

Texas wants to make sex jokes illegal

Here’s our Friday roll up of the most absurd and concerning articles we came across this week.

UK bans advertisement with “harmful gender stereotypes”


UK bureaucrats will now decide if ads and commercials are too offensive.

New regulations ban advertisements with gender stereotypes "that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence."

So a woman cleaning while a man is being lazy-- banned.

Suggesting a poor physique caused other failures--[...] Click here to continue reading

Yikes! Japan has more people over the age of 80 than under the age of 10

Earlier this week the United Nation’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs released its 2019 world population report… and there were a number of very interesting findings:

1) World population continues to grow slightly, but the rate of global population growth is at the lowest level since at least 1950.

 2) Global population growth rates are unevenly distributed. Developed nations (including the US, Japan, Western Europe) suffer from alarming declines in fertility rates,[...] Click here to continue reading

Rejoice. The end of Banking is nigh.

On January 3, 2009, about six months before I launched Sovereign Man more than a decade ago, the Bitcoin blockchain came into existence.

50 bitcoins were mined by the network’s creator in that very first transaction. And within a few days, the first open-source Bitcoin software was released.

Few people noticed. By October of 2009, the value of a single Bitcoin was still just $0.0009 (9/100th of a penny).

[...] Click here to continue reading

Celebrating 10 years from the oldest hotel in the world

In the year 705 AD, a Japanese entrepreneur named Fujiwara Mahito opened a small inn at the foot of the Akaishi mountains in central Honshu.

At the time, few people probably thought the inn would last very long.

Fujiwara didn’t know anything about being an innkeeper... he had been groomed to follow in his father’s footsteps and serve the emperor as a bureaucrat.

And the location he selected for his inn[...] Click here to continue reading

Four insane data privacy scandals, just from this month

For this Friday’s roll-up of bizarre and disturbing stories from around the world, we found ourselves zeroing-in on some ridiculous data privacy violations.

Soccer app spies on fans


The Spanish soccer (sigh, OK-- football) league, known by fans around the world simply as La Liga, knew that most pubs across Europe showing its matches weren’t paying for the subscription.

La Liga was sick of losing out on royalties from the pirated video streams. So[...] Click here to continue reading

Meanwhile, over on Planet Japan

It was only a few days ago that the Japanese government’s Financial Services Agency published its oddly-titled “Annual Report on Ageing Society”.

(Like everything in Japan, English translations often hilariously miss the mark...)

This is a report that the Ministry of Finance puts out every year. And as the name implies, the report discusses the state of Japan’s pension fund, and its future prospects for taking care of its senior citizens.

Bear[...] Click here to continue reading

As Hong Kong refuses to bend the knee…

Sun Tzu, the legendary Chinese general of the 6th century BC Zhou Dynasty, famously wrote in the Art of War:

“When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength.”

Modern day governments understand this principle very well. And that’s lesson #1 I want to discuss today.
[...] Click here to continue reading

Who would possibly do something so crazy? Pretty much everyone in Japan.

It was precisely 20 seconds past 9:44am on November 14, 2017 that Japan Railways train number 5255 departed from Minami Nagareyama Station on the outskirts of Tokyo.

Hardly anything seems noteworthy about a train leaving a station. It happens countless times each day all over the world.

Except THIS particular train was supposed to depart FORTY seconds past 9:44am. So it left the station 20 seconds early.

In virtually every other country[...] Click here to continue reading

Not too shabby for a place with no natural resources…

There are truly so many things to love about Hong Kong.

Most visitors would probably gush about the exotic night life or legendary cuisine (the Cantonese, they say, eat anything with four legs... except the table.)

All of those things are fine and good. But at the top of my own list of things that I love about Hong Kong is that this place is a veritable monument to the awe-inspiring forces of[...] Click here to continue reading

Local government seized countless children based on falsified drug test results

Rejoice, it’s Friday. Here is our weekly roll-up of bizarre and disturbing stories from around the world.
1. Local government seized countless children based on falsified drug test results
For years, the county of Ozark, Alabama hired a private laboratory to analyze paternity and drug tests.

These were pretty critical tests… because the county would rely on those test results to determine whether or not to take someone’s children away from them.

It[...] Click here to continue reading

What I’ve learned being an ‘insider’

I’ve been in Australia for a little while now as part of my many professional responsibilities.

In addition to running Sovereign Man and several other businesses, I am also the Chairman of the Board of Directors a company that’s listed on the stock exchange here in Australia.

I’ve been on the Board for almost two years, and I’ll admit it’s been one hell of an experience.

I say this because most of[...] Click here to continue reading

New York City trying to “liberate” teachers from their “whiteness”

Happy Friday everyone. Here’s our weekly roll-up of some of the most bizarre (and occasionally happy) stories from around the world that we’re following:

NYC schools training teachers to discriminate against white students


A new mandatory, $23 million “anti-bias” program is training New York City school teachers to discriminate against white children, no matter what.

The New York Post recently published remarks from one training session, in which the instructor defined ‘racial equality’ as[...] Click here to continue reading

Here is how your startup can access millions in investment funding

Five years ago, a company called Yo raised $1.5 million at a $10 million valuation.

What did investors and end-users get for this much money? An app that allowed users to send the message “Yo,” (and NOTHING else) to their friends.

It didn’t take long for the company to blow through all that cash in typical Silicon Valley manner, and let go of all its employees.

At the peak of investing[...] Click here to continue reading

BMW cars have outperformed BMW stock by over 600%

In 1956, BMW released a brand new line of roadsters, the 507.

It was a slick convertible and became a hit with celebrities. In 1959, the very first Bond girl from Dr. No - Ursula Andress - took possession of this brand new BMW 507 roadster.

It was re-designed 40 years later into the BMW Z8, which is the car that Pierce Brosnan drove in James Bond, The World is Not Enough.

[...] Click here to continue reading

How to get an education that empowers you for life

Each year, I invite an incredible mix of young people from more than a dozen countries to join me in Lithuania for an intense week of business, investing and entrepreneurship classes taught by the smartest people I know (it’s also entirely free for the students who attend. I pay out of my own pocket for everything).

I do it because I feel strongly about self-education. It’s how I got to be where I am[...] Click here to continue reading

Congressman wants to ban Bitcoin because it threatens the Federal Reserve

Happy Friday everyone. Here’s our weekly roll-up of some of the most bizarre (and often disturbing) stories from around the world that we’re following:


Apparently it’s a crime to sit down in public


A dangerous criminal in the United Kingdom has been sentenced to 20 weeks in prison after an egregious crime spree.


This psychopath admitted to the heinous crime of SITTING in public THREE TIMES, without a valid excuse.


The homeless man had already[...]

Click here to continue reading

Crypto prices are surging… is it time to buy again?

Last week the price of Bitcoin was double what it was on April 1 of this year.


Then it crashed by almost 20% in matter of days. Then it surged again. And at the time of this writing, the price of bitcoin is just shy of $8,000.


That's a pretty volatile ride.


Naturally the “experts” are back to predicting Bitcoin will hit anything up to $10,000 this month, and $100,000 this year.


Obviously no one[...]

Click here to continue reading

Better results start with an independent, global view

Last week when Uber finally went public, the stock set a record for the largest first-day dollar loss in IPO history: over $6 billion vanished from the company’s valuation in a matter of minutes.

But that shouldn’t be surprising since Uber doesn’t actually make a profit.

And the company acknowledged in its IPO filing that it may, in fact, NEVER turn a profit, given that it expects operating costs to “increase significantly in[...] Click here to continue reading

After so many years, this place is still amazing

Like many of our readers, I’ll never forget the Great Crash and the Global Financial Crisis from more than a decade ago.


Some of you may be too young to remember. But it was pretty gruesome.


One of the largest investment banks in the world collapsed in September 2008, nearly dragging down the world economy with it.


Practically overnight it became apparent that the global financial system was a house of cards. Some of the[...]

Click here to continue reading

Five years in prison for offending someone online…

Let the weekly absurdity begin!


New SAT scoring will combat Asian privilege


The infamous SAT has been used since 1926 as a sort of university entrance exam to objectively test high school students’ scholastic aptitude. Until now.


Test administrators announced plans this week to include an ‘adversity score’ for every student taking the SAT.


This score will excuse poor test results if the student lives in a high crime neighborhood, went to a poor high[...]

Click here to continue reading

This is a much better alternative to keeping your money in a bank

The banking scandals are all starting to blur together.


When I heard that five big banks were fined by regulators today, I had to think…


Was that the scandal over employees creating fake accounts? No. Was it the scandal over recommending investments “highly likely to lose value”? No, not that one either.


Today’s fine didn’t stem from when banks scammed customers into buying auto insurance they didn’t need, illegally repossessed vehicles, accidentally foreclosed on homes,[...]

Click here to continue reading

Central banks are buying gold at the fastest pace in six years

Earlier this month the World Gold Council published its quarterly report-- and it shows that central banks and foreign governments from around the world are buying up gold at their fastest pace in six years.

This is pretty big news, and it says a LOT about the future of the dollar.

Remember, central banks and foreign governments hold literally TRILLIONS of dollars of reserves... and traditionally they do this by buying US government[...] Click here to continue reading