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: 1448

Latest Articles

Negative interest rates to hit the US

It started in 1921.

World War I was over. The Treaty of Versailles had been signed two years before.

And Germany, the biggest loser from the war, had been stuck with both the blame and the bill.

Germany’s war debt-- which it owed not only for its own war-related expenses, but also for reparations to the victors-- was devastating.

They didn’t have the money, so they started printing it.

Not[...] Click here to continue reading

How is it possible that the dollar is rising and falling at the same time?

In astronomy, there’s an important concept known as ‘parallax’, which refers to how a star’s position appears to change based on the position and motion of the observer.

The earth is constantly moving along its orbit around the sun. And as this happens, the position of a star in the night’s sky will appear to change slowly, gradually over time.

There’s a great view of the Southern Cross constellation from our farms in[...] Click here to continue reading

Congress wants to seize your passport for unpaid taxes starting January 1st

Sometimes you just have to stand in awe at the level of corruption and incompetence in government.

Case in point, the new highway bill in the Land of the Free. And, trust me, you’ll love this.

The latest version of the highway bill is called the “Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act.”

And yes, they abbreviate it as the DRIVE Act.

I cannot even begin to imagine[...] Click here to continue reading

Advice for anyone who’s afraid

America in Decline
Lately when I talk to my friends around the world, I get the distinct sense that there’s a dark cloud hanging in the air.

I feel it particularly from those in North America and Europe.

Terrorism is on everyone’s mind. All the headlines have to do with ISIS, who’s been killed in police raids, new threats to cities like Washington D.C. and New York, etc.

It goes without saying that this has[...] Click here to continue reading

The last time I felt really helpless

I want to tell you about a time when I was really scared. Terrified.

It was back in 2003, right as George W. Bush made his final decision to send the 'coalition of the willing' north into Iraq.

Saddam Hussein knew he was finished. And, in a fit of desperation, he started launching loads of Scud tactical ballistic missiles towards the invading forces.

Missile attacks are pretty scary. You can't hide behind[...] Click here to continue reading

France’s answer to terrorism: The Law of Suspects

On April 5, 1793, decorated French military commander Charles Dumouriez caused a sensational panic in Paris when he fled the country and defected to Austria.

It had been nearly four years since French peasants stormed the Bastille, the event that historians generally regard as the start of the French Revolution.

And hardly a week had gone by since without some major crisis, emergency, or tragedy in France.

There were regular violent riots[...] Click here to continue reading

It’s official: Barack Obama wants to ‘help’ you manage your retirement savings

In 1875, right around the time the United States overtook the UK as the largest economy in the world, the American Express Company established the very first private pension plan in the US.

American Express had a simple goal: attract the best and brightest employees by giving them retirement security.

At the time, this was a revolutionary idea. The concept of “retirement” was practically martian.

Back then, most people worked until they[...] Click here to continue reading

Meet the entire town in Wales that went ‘offshore’

On September 25, 1794, US President George Washington issued a proclamation authorizing the use of military force against a group of defiant citizens.

It had all started a few years before when a handful of politicians had succeeded in passing an excise tax on liquor, something that became known as the Whiskey Tax.

The Whiskey Tax was the brainchild of Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, who was under pressure to pay off the government’s[...] Click here to continue reading

Why it absolutely, positively does not matter

I’ll admit that when I was a kid, I used to spend hours watching wrestling on television.

Hulk Hogan, the Macho Man Randy Savage… I loved all the old-school guys from the WWF, as they used to call it back in the 1980s.

It was mesmerizing, a bit like I’d imagined gladiator combat would be.

But I’ll never forget when the dream completely collapsed.

My father took me to a live[...] Click here to continue reading

What it means to be Sovereign

This morning at 7:30am, I was the first one to arrive at our new office.

As I unlocked the door and let myself in, the sun was just inching it’s way up over the Andes.

It was beautiful, one of those moments where I had to stop and reflect on the long path in life that ended up with me standing on the 41st floor in South America overlooking the city.

Life[...] Click here to continue reading

Astonishing report from the Fed says US banks are not “sound”


Late last week, a consortium of financial regulators in the United States, including the Federal Reserve and the FDIC, issued an astonishing condemnation of the US banking system.

Most notably, they highlighted “continuing gaps between industry practices and the expectations for safe and sound banking.”

This is part of an annual report they publish called the Shared National Credit (SNC) Review. And in this year’s report, they identified a huge jump in risky loans due[...]

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US government agency concerned that terrorists might use Kickstarter

November 5, 2015
Sovereign Valley Farm, Chile

They called it the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). But it’s one of the most poorly named pieces of legislation in US history.

They might as well have called it the “Bank Sell-Your-Customers-Out Act”, because that’s ultimately what it amounts to.

The BSA is a cornerstone regulation that requires banks in the Land of the Free to be unpaid spies of the government.

One of[...] Click here to continue reading

Congress proposes a chilling resolution on Social Security

On August 14, 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt arrived at his desk to sign the Social Security Act into law.

It had been a contentious legislative process, something like the Obamacare of its day.

Fiscally conservative politicians derided the program for its obvious long-term costs, the massive bureaucracy that it would create, and the huge tax increase that it represented on workers.

But Roosevelt was able to find support, and the law was[...] Click here to continue reading

Have you heard of this digital currency that’s a total scam?

It was back in May 2010 that the very first ‘real world’ Bitcoin transaction was conducted: 10,000 bitcoins traded for two Papa John’s pizzas.

Today that transaction would be worth nearly $4 million, probably making those the most expensive pizzas in the history of the world.

But back then it was considered revolutionary to trade a ‘digital’ currency, something that few people really understood at the time, for a real product.

People[...] Click here to continue reading

How to get a second passport without getting punched in the face

World champion boxer Roy Jones Junior is something of a Renaissance Man.

Roy Jones raps. Roy Jones fights. Roy Jones farms. Roy Jones designs fragrances (‘the scent of victory in a bottle’).

Roy Jones refers to Roy Jones in the third person. And Roy Jones loves Roy Jones.

This latter quality was on display back in August when the Champ sat down with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a visit to the[...] Click here to continue reading

China’s Communist Party bans… golf.

High up Yuntai mountain in China’s Henan province is a glass bridge that lets tourists walk out across the sky and look down at the lush valley floor over 3,000 feet below.

Glass walkways like this are quite popular across China, stunning visitors with both beauty and the thrill of danger.

Recently, this one cracked. And many tourists took to social media claiming that pieces of glass in the walkway broke away altogether.
[...] Click here to continue reading

Australia proposes eliminating passports. There’s just one problem…

It wasn’t that long ago that you could travel from one corner of the world to another with nothing but your good looks.

There are people still alive today, in fact, who were born into a world where passports were not widely used for international travel.

The passport itself is a relatively recent invention, an unfortunate consequence of World War I. And they didn’t really become ubiquitous until the late 20th century.

[...] Click here to continue reading

New bill to force US gov’t to liquidate assets. Turns out there aren’t any.

It was just weeks ago that the US government barely averted a debt ceiling shutdown with a last-minute bill to kick the can down the road until December.

This gave them 2 months to tackle a problem that’s been decades in the making, with a debt that now totals nearly $19 trillion.

So far the solutions they’ve come up with have been nothing short of comical.

In fact the very first ‘solution’[...] Click here to continue reading

Turkish government promises to find wives for single men

Now I’ve seen everything.

For anybody who thought that the Obama phone or giving out food stamps to 50 million Americans was ridiculous, the Turkish government is taking campaign promises to a whole new level.

“Once you have a job, salary and food. What is left? A wife.” Turkish Prime Minister told voters this past week, as he proposed government assistance for single Turkish men in need of spouses.

[...] Click here to continue reading

Americans renouncing US citizenship soars to yet another record high…

1,426. That’s the number of Americans who renounced their US citizenship last quarter according to the US government’s report just released this morning.

That’s a record high for a single quarter, easily beating the last record high set earlier this year, which beat the previous record high set in 2013.

This is clearly a trend on the rise, and it certainly raises the question: why?

What is it[...]

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Celebrating 14 years since we kissed our freedoms goodbye

If you haven’t already, now’s the time to get out your party hats to celebrate the 14th anniversary of the USA PATRIOT Act.

You know about the law, I’m sure; passed barely six weeks after the 9/11 attacks, the USA PATRIOT Act is one of the most sweeping, liberty-destroying pieces of legislation in American history.

Remember the rule of thumb: the more high-sounding the name of a law, the more disastrous its effects.[...] Click here to continue reading

Is America the greatest country in the world?

I’m in New Haven today to attend the funeral of Irwin Schiff, who unfortunately passed away last weekend.

If you’ve never heard of Irwin, he was one of the original “tax protestors”.

He believed not only that paying federal income was unconstitutional, but actually went so far as to stop paying tax altogether.

And he spent years of his life in prison as a result.

Now, you may not agree[...] Click here to continue reading

What your high school chemistry teacher never taught you about gold

One of the more unfortunate developments in human civilization over the last century is the devolution of money.

In fact, the word ‘money’ has now become synonymous with those funny pieces of paper that are conjured out of thin air by unelected central bankers.

Or even more ridiculous, ‘money’ has become the electronic representation of that paper.

Think about your bank account balance; it’s not like the bank has all that paper[...] Click here to continue reading

People are really starting to understand

I have a pretty bad travel habit of always waiting until the last minute to head to the airport.

Some people like to get to the airport three hours early. I’m not one of those people.

In fact, when I flew to Bogota a few weeks ago from Santiago, I arrived to the airport at 7:50am for an 8:25am flight.

That’s cutting it pretty close, and it doesn’t leave any room for[...] Click here to continue reading

Credit Suisse: with just $10 “you’re wealthier than 25% of Americans”

Last week Credit Suisse released its annual Global Wealth Report.

The big headline grabber was their analysis showing that the top 1% of people now own 50% of the world’s wealth.

That is true and rather astonishing.

However, the report had another finding that was even more astonishing and largely overlooked.

What they found was that, as a percentage of the world’s population, there are now more poor people in the[...] Click here to continue reading

Dr. Ron Paul on why the Fed’s days are numbered [AUDIO]

Just had a great weekend in Dallas, where I had the pleasure of spending some time with Dr. Ron Paul.

After our event on Saturday we sat down to record a quick podcast that I’m eager to share with you.

In this quick audio session we covered his views on the biggest issues surrounding the Fed right now:

- Why the Fed is not going to raise interest rates
- How they’ve lost[...]

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Capitalism explained in 2015: “You have two cows…”

When I was a kid, I used to proudly wear around a T-shirt explaining different economic systems using ‘two cows’ as a metaphor.

It started off like this:

Socialism: You have two cows. Give one to your neighbor.


Communism: You have two cows. The government takes both and gives you some milk.


Fascism: You have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.

I started[...] Click here to continue reading

Yes, the US government really is bankrupt. Here’s proof:

I’ve long-stated that the government of the United States is completely insolvent.

And that is 100% true statement.

The government’s own numbers show that official liabilities, including debt held by the public and federal retirement benefits, total $20.7 trillion.

Yet the government’s assets, including the value of the entire federal highway system, the national parks, cash balances, etc. totals just over $3 trillion.

In total, their ‘net worth’ is NEGATIVE $17.7[...] Click here to continue reading

FATCA: the dumbest law in history just went to the next level

The Road to Ruin, as they say, is paved with good intentions.

So I suppose the road to hell is paved in the best of intentions.

And that’s how most laws often start: with the BEST of intentions. That was certainly the case when Barack Obama signed the HIRE Act into law in 2011.

It was intended to spur job growth in the Land of the Free while the wounds of the financial[...] Click here to continue reading

Three obvious signs the entire system is changing

When I was a kid growing up in the early 80s, the United States was the undisputed dominant superpower in the world.

The US dollar was awe-inspiring; on a trade-weighted basis, the dollar index was at an all-time high, and had never been as strong ever before… or since.

And the dollar’s strength was backed by something real. The US economy was strong. Debt was low. Interest rates were actually greater than zero.
[...] Click here to continue reading

Here’s what happened when Venezuela imposed gun control laws

I just got back from Caracas, Venezuela, a city so dangerous that every time I left my hotel, the staff would warn me against even going outside.

It’s an incredibly difficult reality to reconcile. People hate the fact that they may get robbed or killed just steps from their front door when they leave the house every morning.

And nobody wants that.

After all, everyone wants to be safe. Even wild animals[...] Click here to continue reading

The US government just crossed the Rubicon

In 49 BC, a defiant Julius Caesar stood in front of his army at the River Rubicon and made the biggest decision of his life.

It was strictly forbidden by Roman law for a general lead his army out of its province and into Rome. And the Rubicon marked the boundary.

“Alea iacta est!” (The die is cast!) he said, and led his army across the river into civil war.

The phrase[...] Click here to continue reading

Venezuela is now the most expensive country in the world

Forget Norway. Japan. Iceland. Switzerland. Or any of the other places around the world that are notorious for being painful on the wallet.

Venezuela is now the most expensive country in the world, hands down.

To give you an idea, the cost of a 15-minute taxi ride to the beach yesterday afternoon totaled an eye-popping $158.

(I paid less than that to rent a helicopter in Colombia last week.)

With all[...] Click here to continue reading

Edward Snowden: “They’ve said they won’t torture me…”

Just in case anyone still foolishly believes that there’s a shred of decency left in the ‘justice’ system in the Land of the Free, I would humbly present exhibit A: Edward Snowden.

In a recent interview with the BBC, Edward Snowden disclosed that he has offered numerous times to the US government to return to the United States, face trial, and if necessary, spend time in prison.

It hasn’t mattered that hundreds of[...] Click here to continue reading

Here’s what $66 gets you in Medellin

Last night after a flurry of legal meetings and property tours throughout the day, I had drinks with a Canadian real estate developer who set up shop here in Medellin a few years ago.

He told me a great story about his family background-- he comes from a long line of real estate developers going back several generations.

His grandfather emigrated from Germany to Canada in the 1940s to escape the coming war[...] Click here to continue reading