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: 1875

Latest Articles

Why the most-recent selloff was just the beginning

On October 19, 1987, the Dow experienced its biggest one-day percentage loss in history – plunging 22.6%.

It was “Black Monday.” The selloff was so fast and so severe, nothing else even comes close.

The second worst percentage loss for the Dow was October 28, 1929 (also Black Monday) when the exchange fell 12.82%. It fell another 11.73% the next day (you guessed it… “Black Tuesday”). Then the Great Depression hit.

A[...] Click here to continue reading

South Africa’s brand new president vows to confiscate land from white farmers

If you’ve been following much international news, you’ve probably heard that, after literally years of scandal, abuse, and incompetence, South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma was finally forced to resign last week.

This is a big deal for South Africa.

The country has been suffering for nearly a decade under Zuma’s corruption.

And people are certainly hoping that the new President, Cyril Ramaphosa, will represent a positive, new chapter for South Africa.

[...] Click here to continue reading

Meet the Italian government’s Orwellian new automated tax snitch

By the end of the 3rd century AD, the finances of ancient Rome were in terminal crisis.

Years and years of debasing the currency had resulted in severe hyperinflation-- a period of Roman history known as the Crisis of the Third Century (from AD 235 through AD 284).

During the time of Julius Caesar, for example, the Roman silver denarius coin was nearly 98% pure silver.

Two centuries later in the mid-100s[...] Click here to continue reading

088: The dangerous, false logic of “Common Sense”

On the morning of May 18, 1927 in Bath Township, Michigan, a 55-year old municipal worker named Andrew Kehoe used a timed detonator to set off a bomb he had planted at the local school.

Kehoe was Treasurer of the School Board, so he had unfettered access to the school.

According to friends and neighbors, he was having personal issues with his wife (who he had murdered days prior) and extreme financial difficulties.[...] Click here to continue reading

Bitcoin back above $10,000

Cryptocurrencies exist in dog years.

That’s how my colleague Tama Churchouse explained the rapid innovation and massive volatility in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

The technology is advancing so quickly that one year in the crypto sector is like seven years anywhere else.

And the price action reflects this breakneck pace.

Bitcoin returned 1,318% in 2017. The S&P 500, for comparison, returned less than 19%.

But bitcoin’s rise comes with massive[...] Click here to continue reading

Terrified of Bitcoin, banks forced to innovate for the first time in 40+ years

Yesterday morning, several banks in Australia started rolling out a new payment system they’re calling NPP, or “New Payments Platform.”

Until now, sending a domestic funds transfer in Australia from one bank to another could take several days. It was slow and cumbersome.

With NPP, payments are nearly instantaneous.

And rather than funds transfers being restricted to the banks’ normal business hours, payments via NPP can be scheduled and sent 24/7.

[...] Click here to continue reading

087: You won’t want to miss this crypto podcast

As I write this, bitcoin is trading at $8,600.

That's down more than 50% from the December highs of $20,000.

But is this selloff a natural correction, or something to be worried about?

That's one of the questions I ask my guest Tama Churchouse in today's podcast.

Tama was an investment banker for a decade, most recently with JPMorgan. Then he went on to manage a family office. And in 2013,[...] Click here to continue reading

This may be the beginning of the Great Financial Reckoning

Less than two weeks ago, the United States Department of Treasury very quietly released its own internal projections for the federal government’s budget deficits over the next several years.

And the numbers are pretty gruesome.

In order to plug the gaps from its soaring deficits, the Treasury Department expects to borrow nearly $1 trillion this fiscal year.

Then nearly $1.1 trillion next fiscal year.

And up to $1.3 trillion the year[...] Click here to continue reading

Meet the world’s next central banker: Mark Zuckerberg

Within the last week, Facebook announced a ban on all advertisements about bitcoin, initial coin offerings and other cryptocurrencies.

Facebook (along with Google) virtually controls Internet advertising. So their policies have enormous influence over consumer behavior.

Banning ICO advertisements on its platform, for example, will certainly have a negative impact on the amount of money flowing into new ICO’s.

Facebook said it instituted this ban to “protect its users” from financial scams[...] Click here to continue reading

Here’s what the ‘Warren Buffet of Crypto’ told us yesterday

If you’ve been on the Internet in the past six months, you’ve no doubt seen loads of ads touting “crypto geniuses” that have found the next token that’s going to explode…

One guy in particular seems to be following me around to every website I visit, claiming to have some special insight into the “truth” about crypto.

But the truth is, nobody has a crystal ball.

Ultimately, what’s going to drive crypto[...] Click here to continue reading

No. It’s not over

Last night I was checking out tickets for some upcoming travel.

I’ll be headed to Colombia soon to check on the progress of a large cannabis investment we’ve made there, then off to Miami for an event with our Total Access members.

After that it’s Puerto Rico to meet with some officials there and check out some exciting investment opportunities on the island.

And then finally back to Asia where we’re setting[...] Click here to continue reading

This tiny corner of Rhode Island shows us the future of Social Security

The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit gave us an interesting glimpse of the future last week when it ruled on an obscure case involving government pension obligations.

Ever since the mid-1990s, police officers and fire fighters in the town of Cranston, Rhode Island had been promised state pension benefits upon retirement.

But, facing critical budget shortfalls over the last several years that the Rhode Island government called “fiscal peril,”[...] Click here to continue reading

Why Albert Einstein thought we were all insane

In the early summer of 1914, Albert Einstein was about to start a prestigious new job as Director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics.

The position was a big deal for the 35-year old Einstein-- confirmation that he was one of the leading scientific minds in the world. And he was excited about what he would be able to achieve there.

But within weeks of Einstein’s arrival, the German government canceled plans[...] Click here to continue reading

This is the most important meeting I attend every year

[Editor’s Note: Today's Notes, originally published one year ago, is about one of the most impactful things I do each year. If you know a young entrepreneur who may be interested in what we're doing, please forward this piece along. It could change their lives…]

I’ve always been a big believer in entrepreneurship.

But not in the sense that most people think of that word.

My dictionary defines “entrepreneur” as “a person[...] Click here to continue reading

“We choose debt. . .”

I’ve long held a working theory that US voters are completely predictable in Presidential elections.

The idea is that Americans almost invariably tend to swing wildly every few election cycles, voting for the candidate who is as close to the opposite of the current guy as possible.

Let’s go back a few decades to, say, Jimmy Carter.

In 1976, the country was sick and tired of the corruption, scandal, and disgrace of[...] Click here to continue reading

GE just signaled the next crisis and nobody’s paying attention

Earlier this month, General Electric took a $6.2 billion charge to its insurance unit for the fourth quarter. And the company said it will set aside another $15 billion over seven years to bolster reserves at GE Capital.

The charge had to do with long-term care policies (to pay for nursing homes and other late-life care) GE holds on its books.

So, one of the oldest and most highly-regarded companies in America just[...] Click here to continue reading

Message from Planet Japan: The good times never last forever

After having traveled to more than 120 countries in my life, the only person I know who’s been to more places than I have is Jim Rogers.

Jim is a legend-- a phenomenal investor, author, and all-around great guy.

(His book Adventure Capitalist is a must-read, chronicling his multi-year driving voyage across the world.)

Some time ago while we were having drinks, Jim remarked that he occasionally tells people, “If you can[...] Click here to continue reading

Common sense investing wisdom from Mr. Miyagi

Almost exactly a year ago to the day, on January 23, 2017, I wrote to you in this column that the US dollar was overvalued against almost every currency in the world.

Specifically, I described how Donald Trump and Fed Chair Janet Yellen BOTH wanted a weaker US dollar:
Donald Trump told the Wall Street Journal last week that the US dollar is “too strong. And it’s killing us.”

On that single statement[...] Click here to continue reading

How the new tax bill hurt one of the greatest ways for Americans to slash taxes

Puerto Rico won’t repay any of its $72 billion of debt until 2022…

The US territory declared bankruptcy last May. A combination of a shrinking population, bloated pensions and a job crisis (in 2006, the US government repealed tax incentives that attracted manufacturers to the island) caused Puerto Rico to go broke.

Even in its fragile economic state, PR was planning on paying creditors $3.6 billion through 2022.

Then Hurricane Irma and[...] Click here to continue reading

Is there any new information that didn’t exist two weeks ago?

The year was 1720. And one of the smartest people to have ever lived had just made one of the dumbest financial mistakes imaginable.

Sir Isaac Newton was a genius in every sense of the word.

He practically invented the science and mathematics that is at the foundation of nearly every bit of modern technology that we enjoy today.

Newton was such an intellectual superhero that even Albert Einstein idolized him.

[...] Click here to continue reading

The time when Kiefer Sutherland beat me to the punch

Back in 2013 I had an idea for a movie.

The basic premise was that some unknown domestic terrorist group executes an attack on the United States government by blowing up the Capitol during the President’s State of the Union Address.

It’s a little silly, but I even wrote a small treatment for it, including this scene--
ATTACKER speeds off to a parking garage where he ditches the bike, takes off his black[...] Click here to continue reading

086: The only sector that offers value today

In today’s podcast, I talk with our Chief Investment Strategist, Tim Staermose, about the global economy.

We’re in the midst of one of the longest economic expansions in history. Most assets are trading at all-time highs. Meanwhile, debt is also at all-time highs.

But we don’t have a crystal ball… this boom could easily continue for longer than anyone expects.

However, Tim notes the US economy largely runs on cheap money and[...] Click here to continue reading

One of the biggest financial mistakes anyone can avoid

I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately…

A very good friend of mine, who is also an executive at the agricultural company I founded here in Chile, was in a terrible accident with his family.

We’re very fortunate today because it looks like everybody is out of the danger zone.

There were some intense moments as this played out. And it led to the inevitable discussion with next of kin.

[...] Click here to continue reading

This fund’s investment performance rivals Bitcoin, puts Warren Buffett to shame.

There’s a really unique investment company in Europe you ought to know about… because they are insanely profitable.

In fact, a few days ago the company announced that they expect to report an annual profit of $55 BILLION for 2017.

That’s more money than Apple makes… which makes this European group THE most profitable company in the world.

Its stock price has more than QUINTUPLED in the past three years, and nearly[...] Click here to continue reading

His passion for vintage pornography led him to become a Bitcoin millionaire

Over the weekend, the New York Times published a satirical article entitled “Everyone is Getting Hilariously Rich and You’re Not.”

That headline perfectly encapsulates the ‘Fear of Missing Out’, or FOMO, that’s so pervasive in cryptocurrency right now.

Just about everyone either knows, or has heard of someone, who’s made an absolute fortune in crypto.

And this plays perfectly to one of the darkest and most basic of human emotions: envy.

[...] Click here to continue reading

Don’t ignore looming catastrophes… take action

In today’s podcast, we discuss the recent crypto meltdown (led by Ripple) and how it plays into our recent theme of avoiding huge mistakes.

Here’s the thing about big mistakes… they’re usually obvious and avoidable.

Like when the Social Security Board of Trustees told the world in its 2017 report that the “Trust Fund reserves will be depleted by 2035”… and that an “immediate and permanent reduction” in benefits to all[...] Click here to continue reading

The fastest way to get rich in cryptocurrencies

We’ve all heard the term “Kodak Moment.”

It’s a popularized phrase to describe a picture-perfect moment – one that should be forever captured on Kodak film.

Like Kleenex tissue, Kodak was once so large and popular, the company worked its way into basic lexicon.

Kodak was founded in 1880 by a man named George Eastman. He started producing dry plates (a new type of photographic plate that reduced the cost of photography)[...] Click here to continue reading

Social Security proposes “immediate and permanent reduction” in benefits

On a deep, dark evening last June in the spectacularly celestial deserts of northern Chile, scientists made a phenomenal discovery.

It was a supernova… one that they named ASASSN-15lh.

This wasn’t just any supernova. It was the BIGGEST and BRIGHTEST supernova ever recorded.

Supernovas are exploding stars whose ejected mass and energy can create a light show so brilliant that they can sometimes be seen with the naked eye in our own[...] Click here to continue reading

The day I found out it was all rigged

May 6, 2010 started off as a pretty boring day.

The most exciting stories from the morning’s newspapers were reviews of the upcoming Iron Man 2 film.

But all that changed at around 2:45pm when, without warning, the stock market crashed, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1,000 points within minutes.

It was unprecedented… especially because there was absolutely no reason why stocks should have fallen so much.

It’s not[...] Click here to continue reading

Read this before doubling down on Ripple

You’ve probably heard that Ripple (abbreviated as XRP) has soared, more than tripling since Christmas.

The overall market cap for XRP (i.e. the combined value of every single token) now exceeds $140 billion.

In the incredibly faddish and volatile cryptocurrency sector, this makes Ripple the flavor of the month.

Now... this week we’ve been talking about avoiding MAJOR mistakes.

Remember-- it won’t matter how much success you achieve if you lose[...] Click here to continue reading

The second time I went broke

A looong time ago, back when I must have been around 25 or so, I launched my first really BIG deal.

It was the first time in my life that investors were backing me in a deal worth more than $1 million… which at the time seemed like an unfathomable amount of money.

Now, to be perfectly blunt, I was in way over my head. I simply hadn’t yet developed the skills to[...] Click here to continue reading

Simple wisdom from one of the most famous people to go broke

In the late 1800s towards the end of his life, Mark Twain wrote one of his greatest observations of humanity:
“When you remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”
Twain’s quote was primarily a commentary on himself.

A lot of people don’t know this, but Mark Twain went bankrupt late in life.

His enormous fame as an author had brought him substantial wealth. But Twain squandered it all[...] Click here to continue reading

It doesn’t matter that we “owe it to ourselves”

[Editor’s Note: As we’re coming up on the end of the year, we thought it would be appropriate to republish some of our most popular articles. Today’s was originally published on March 14, 2017]

Thousands of years ago, as far back as 3000 BC, the ancient Egyptians had developed a highly advanced system of writing using hieroglyphic symbols.

The used hieroglyphs for numbers as well.

A single line, for example, represented the[...] Click here to continue reading

Just a quick reminder of who’s really in charge

[Editor’s Note: As we’re coming up on the end of the year, we thought it would be appropriate to republish some of our most popular articles. Today’s was originally published on May 3, 2017]

Today the world of banking and finance waited with baited breath for the Federal Reserve in the United States to hike... or not to hike... interest rates.

This happens several times each year as the central bank’s Federal Open[...] Click here to continue reading

How to make 13% on your favorite song

[Editor’s Note: As we’re coming up on the end of the year, we thought it would be appropriate to republish some of our most popular articles. Today’s was originally published on December 9, 2016]

Did you know that until June 28, 2016, the song “Happy Birthday” was actually copyrighted material?

Yes, I’m serious. And I’m talking about THAT Happy Birthday, as in the song we all sing at birthday parties.

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