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: 1599

Latest Articles

How to stay optimistic even as terrorists “threaten our existence”

terrorism-existence
Earlier this week the German government leaked a frightening 69-page memo entitled “Concept for Civil Defense.”

Citing multiple terrorist attacks, cybercrime, and a host of other threats, the report states that Germans should prepare for an event that could “threaten our existence.”

Yikes.

The report proposes a number of mandatory countermeasures, including that Germans should stockpile food and water.

There’s also peculiar language about “civil support for the armed forces” suggesting[...] Click here to continue reading

Four more mega-banks join the anti-dollar alliance

Dollar-Ben-Franklin
That was fast.

Yesterday I told you how a consortium of 15 Japanese banks had just signed up to implement new financial technology to clear and settle international financial transactions.

This is a huge step.

Right now, most international financial transactions must pass through the US banking system’s network of correspondent accounts.

This gives the US government an incredible amount of power... power they haven’t been shy about using over the[...] Click here to continue reading

Barack Obama may have finally destroyed America’s #1 advantage

No inflation here...
In July 1944, just weeks after the successful Allied invasion of Normandy, hundreds of delegates from around the world gathered in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire to determine the future of the global financial system.

The vision was simple: America would be the center of the universe, and every other nation would revolve around the US.

This arrangement ultimately led to the US dollar being the world’s dominant reserve currency which still remains today.
[...] Click here to continue reading

The ultimate breakdown likely to be surprising, sudden, intense, and large

8-dot-coms-that-spent-millions-on-super-bowl-ads-and-no-longer-exist
[Editor’s note: This letter was co-written with Tim Price, London-based wealth manager and co-manager of the VT Price Value Portfolio.]

On January 30, 2000, the 88+ million viewers of Superbowl XXXIV were treated to a commercial featuring a now infamous sock puppet.

The advertisement was from a company called Pets.com, founded just two years before in 1998 at the height of the dot-com bubble.

Pets.com went public on the NASDAQ just weeks[...] Click here to continue reading

Secret Federal Reserve minutes leaked

janet-yellen-secret
Yesterday the Federal Reserve released the minutes from its July meeting a few weeks ago in which they decided to NOT raise interest rates.

These minutes are the official archive of the meeting, providing details about the presentations, debates, and discussions that took place.

They contain very formal sounding language, referring to their near-zero interest rates as “accommodation” in the same way that my high school health teacher preferred to use the more[...] Click here to continue reading

Is a second passport only for the ultra-wealthy?

money-passport
When you think about ‘insurance’, chances are you probably think about term life, home insurance, or liability insurance.

But one of the best insurance policies you could ever get your hands on is a second passport.

Like most types of insurance, it’s one you hope you never have to use.

No one wakes up in the morning and thinks “I hope my house burns down today so I can cash in on[...] Click here to continue reading

Your bank has worse technology than Delta Airlines

delta-airlines-tech
It started in 1946.

American Airlines, then the largest airline in the United States (and second largest airline in the world after the Soviet Union’s Aeroflot) created a bold, new technology to book flight reservations.

They called it the “electromechanical reservisor”, and it was the first machine of its kind.

Before the reservisor, American Airlines employees booked all reservations by hand using index cards and lazy susan filing systems.

Needless to[...] Click here to continue reading

FDIC slams biggest US banks, says capital reserves “inadequate”

capital-reserves-inadequate
On Friday morning, a gentleman named Thomas Hoenig wrote some rather unflattering comments about the US banking system in a little known publication called the Wall Street Journal.

In his remarks, Hoenig stated that “while the largest U.S. banks have increased capital since the [2008] crisis, their capital is still lower than the industry average and inadequate for bank resiliency.”

Think about what means. A bank’s “capital” is essentially its rainy day reserve[...] Click here to continue reading

Here’s how the government is stealing more than ever before–

police-theft
The year was 1986.

Top Gun was the #1 movie in America.

Halley’s Comet was visible with the naked eye.

Microsoft went public, instantly making Bill Gates one of the wealthiest people in the world.

And the US government took in $93.7 million through a little known authority called “Civil Asset Forfeiture”.

As you’re likely aware, Civil Asset Forfeiture is a legal process that allows the government to seize assets[...] Click here to continue reading

One simple reason why gold can still jump 50%

Gold-bars-vault
Heike Hoffman is a 54-year old fruit merchant in a small town in western Germany.

She has no formal training in finance. She’s not running a multi-billion dollar portfolio.

And yet, as the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, “[w]hen Ms. Hoffman heard the ECB was knocking rates below zero in June 2014, she considered it ‘madness’ and promptly cut her spending, set aside more money, and bought gold.”

She’s right. It[...] Click here to continue reading

This trend tells you everything you need to know about America’s future

Dependence
Long ago in the Land of the Free, if you wanted to start a saloon, you rented a space and started serving booze.

You didn’t have to go through years of petitioning a bunch of bureaucrats for permits and licenses.

If you weren’t qualified or good enough at your job, your reputation would suffer and you’d go out of business.

This is the way it used to be for just about every[...] Click here to continue reading

The worst place in the world to bank

too-big-to-fail
It started with an illegal wiretapping scandal.

Jean-Claude Junker, after spending nearly 18 years in office as Prime Minister of Luxembourg, was forced to resign in 2013 after evidence surfaced of his complicity in a domestic spying operation.

So what does a disgraced politician who resigns in shame do?

Why, receive a promotion, of course.

Less than a year later, Junker was appointed to the most powerful political office in Europe--[...] Click here to continue reading

There’s no reason I should be alive right now

future
One of the most profound moments of my entire adult life came to me when I was learning about my family history, which I’ve managed to trace back over eight centuries.

I discovered so many incredible stories from the past, and the indelible conclusion that I’ve reached is that it’s an absolute miracle that any one of us exists.

The last few millennia have seen war, plague, and some of the worst conditions[...] Click here to continue reading

Did you receive this email from the Social Security Administration?

social-security
If you are a taxpayer in the Land of the Free, you may have recently received a love letter from the Social Security Administration that went something like this:

“Dear [Medieval serf paying into an insolvent pension fund]:”

(OK I added that part myself)

“Starting in August 2016, Social Security is adding a new step to protect your privacy. . .”

Whoa. Full stop. I love it already.

My dear[...] Click here to continue reading

Here comes the mandatory Bitcoin database

bitcoin-database
It was only a matter of time.

In the wake of multiple terror attacks, the European Commission is moving towards creating a mandatory, centralized database of Bitcoin ownership.

Of course, their official reason is that Bitcoin is being used to finance terrorism.

So for everyone’s safety and security they need even more authority to spy on people’s finances.

But the reality is that these governments have hated Bitcoin since the beginning.
[...] Click here to continue reading

It’s about to become much easier to open a bank account in Hong Kong

Hong Kong
It all started with 9/11.

After the twin towers fell in 2001, the US government sprang into action to wage the global war on terrorism.

Within days following the attack, Congress pushed through the USA PATRIOT Act, providing unprecedented authority to the US federal government.

The legislation also gave several government agencies sweeping powers over the US banking system. And they made an important discovery.

You see, the entire world relies[...] Click here to continue reading

17,359 Americans have renounced their citizenship under Barack Obama

record-renunciation-passport
Another 508 people renounced their US citizenship last quarter according to documents published this morning by the Internal Revenue Service.

This brings the total number of US ‘renunciants’ under the Obama administration to 17,359.

It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when a government’s tax policy is so oppressive that it drives people to permanently divorce themselves from their country.

Now, it’s easy to dismiss these people as traitors and cowards, and[...] Click here to continue reading

Get ready for America’s new $29 trillion debt

sinking-dollar
According to Jacques Necker, everything was just fine.

The year was 1781, and Necker, France’s finance minister, had just published a report called Compte Rendu au Roi, an accounting of French public finances.

Necker’s report showed that, despite extraordinary public services and military spending, France had a net credit position of +10 million livres.

In other words, the country was in perfect fiscal health.

It turns out that Necker had cooked[...] Click here to continue reading

US government pays $475,000 for illegally searching woman’s vagina

us-border-patrol
Have you lost that loving feeling? If so, the United States federal government might just be able to help.

Before you swipe right on Tinder or update that eHarmony account, consider instead taking a quick trip out of the country.

Because on your way back home into the Land of the Free, US Customs and Border Protection will have agents standing by ready with heaps of government stimulus.

It happened to a[...] Click here to continue reading

New legislation proposes to “bail in” Social Security

retirement-bail-in
It was only a few weeks ago that I told you about the government’s annual report on Social Security.

It was a veritable death sentence for the program.

The Board of Trustees for Social Security (which includes the US Treasury Secretary) wrote that major parts of the program have already run out of money, and the rest of Social Security will run out of money in the next decade.

Amazing. Even Social[...] Click here to continue reading

How we’re investing to disrupt the system

disrupt-the-system
I’ll be brutally honest-- I’m so tired right now I can barely write this email.

For the past five days I’ve been going on almost no sleep.

I’ve been on my feet almost all day, every day, with an absolutely sadistic schedule trying to cram a year’s worth of education into a single long weekend.

We even spent several hours engaged in rigorous outdoor exercise and physical activity, to the point that[...] Click here to continue reading

“These are the danger signals and they are flashing now.”

danger-ahead
I’m excited.

Tomorrow starts our summer Liberty & Entrepreneurship camp, an annual event that our foundation sponsors in which some of my most accomplished friends and I mentor young students from all over the world.

This year we have students from dozens of countries, places like Indonesia, Ecuador, Nigeria, Brazil, New Zealand, Ukraine, Canada, Estonia, China, Venezuela, Singapore, India, and the United States.

We’ll spend five days together at a beautiful lakeside[...] Click here to continue reading

The financial system is breaking down at an unimaginable pace–

Dollar-Decline
Now it’s $13 trillion.

That’s the total amount of government bonds in the world that have negative yields, according to calculations published last week by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Given that there were almost zero negative-yielding bonds just two years ago, the rise to $13 trillion is incredible.

In February 2015, the total amount of negative-yielding debt in the world was ‘only’ $3.6 trillion.

A year later in February 2016[...] Click here to continue reading

How to legally steal $35,000 from Vladimir Putin

ruble-putin
Jim Rogers told me to come here.

We were having dinner a few weeks ago in Singapore, and Jim had just returned that morning from Russia full of optimism for the improving economy.

I had been meaning to come back here anyhow to scout out private equity deals.

But after hearing Jim’s take on Russia having just met with a lot of the country’s business elite, it really lit a fire.

[...] Click here to continue reading

We’re witnessing a complete breakdown in western values

RS4525_600x313_RS4526_Protest_crowd
Two months ago I was with the former President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, at his home outside of Medellin.

He was telling me some hilarious stories about his interactions in the early 2000s with Hugo Chavez, who had recently seized power in Venezuela.

Chavez was a fanatic socialist. He believed so strongly in the idea of redistributing wealth from rich to poor.

Yet even when it was clear his policies weren’t working[...] Click here to continue reading

Some disturbing figures about the upcoming banking crisis

Some disturbing figures about the upcoming banking crisis
In early 1870, the Kingdom of Prussia and French Empire were about to go to war.

It was one of countless conflicts between the dozens of European kingdoms and empires throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, and this one was over before it even started.

Prussia’s military might was legendary. They had recently beaten the pants off of Austria and Denmark, and they’d go on to neutralize or capture over 80% of French[...] Click here to continue reading

Obtaining a foreign residency is a no-brainer, especially if you have a family

Venezuela-waiting-line
By 2014, inflation was at 50% in Venezuela.

Just paying the bill at a restaurant now required a thick stack of cash.

When that happened, some people simply tightened their belts and stopped going out to eat. Others saw this as a warning sign to look for another, more stable country.

Then in 2015, supermarkets started facing shortages.

So in order to get the groceries they needed, people started lining up[...] Click here to continue reading

19-year old paralyzed cancer patient brutalized by TSA

hannah-cohen
19-year old Hannah Cohen should have been partying.

Living with multiple disabilities like paralysis, partial deafness, and blindness in one eye, Hannah also suffers from a brain tumor.

And five days ago, she and her mother were traveling home via Memphis International Airport to celebrate the end of her cancer treatment with the rest of her family.

That’s when Hannah found out how free she really is.

After her wheelchair[...] Click here to continue reading

The subprime bubble grew by $1.4 trillion in just one month [video]

Dollar sign cracked floor dollar crisis financial crisis concept.
[Editor’s note: Check out Simon's video podcast of today’s Notes.]

In the late 12th century while the rest of Europe was choking on feudalism, Venice was rapidly becoming the most advanced power on the continent.

At that point Venice had already created a free society where anyone, regardless of origin or class, could work hard and prosper. It was truly the America of its day.

The Venetians were very forward thinkers. They established[...] Click here to continue reading

Scathing new report shows just how bankrupt Social Security really is

insolvent-social-security
Last week, a group of analysts published an astonishing report about the future of Social Security in the United States, and their remarks were nothing short of damning.

According to their calculations, for example, these analysts claim that Social Security is already running a huge deficit to the tune of tens of billions of dollars each year.

In fact, this Social Security funding deficit has been taking place for several years now, and[...] Click here to continue reading

This new breed of celebrities makes China’s rise even more obvious

china-social-media
In the year 605 AD, Emperor Yang of the Sui dynasty in China formally established what became known as the ‘imperial examination.’

This was a standardized test that public officials were required to take, covering everything from arithmetic to writing to military science.

The idea was to ensure that all public servants were educated and qualified.

This concept grew through the centuries, from the Sui to the Tang, Sung, Yuan, Ming, and[...] Click here to continue reading

Tim Price on the Brexit investment opportunities

brexit-investment
I’ve never been so happy to be so wrong.

Britain’s referendum on whether or not to stay part of the European Union was marred by some of the most blatant propaganda we’ve seen in the West in a very, very long time.

But… at the end of the day, the British government at least accurately counted the votes. No shenanigans.

“Leave” prevailed. So the UK will officially be leaving the European Union.
[...] Click here to continue reading

Brexit: I’ve seen more subtle propaganda coming out of North Korea

brexit-2
On November 11, 1947, Winston Churchill, then ex-Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, rose to speak at a debate in the House of Commons:
“Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise.

Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from[...] Click here to continue reading

Looking for a second home? Put this country on your radar

kuala-lumpur-malaysia
Nothing quite shocks the senses like the colors, smells, spices, and prices of Asian street food.

Some of the tastiest (and most bizarre) things I’ve ever had in my life were consumed on the streets of Asia, for a cost of almost nothing.

From China to India, Myanmar to Malaysia, street food is a great metaphor for this entire region: exotic, deceptively flavorful, and incredibly cheap.

Kuala Lumpur is no exception. Sure,[...] Click here to continue reading

Reflecting on the past seven years of Sovereign Man

sovereign-man-7-year
I’ve always been pretty bad with birthday and anniversaries. Even my own.

So I didn’t even realize until this morning that Sovereign Man actually turned seven years old over the weekend.

Seven years. I can hardly believe it. But it seems even more incredulous to think about how much has happened over the last seven years.

When I sent out the very first Notes from the Field email in June 2009, the[...] Click here to continue reading