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: 2174

Latest Articles

Just when you think you own your own private property…

The year was 1967. Ronald Reagan had just become governor of California. Aretha Franklin was belting out R-E-S-P-E-C-T on the radio. Marxist revolutionary leader Che Guevara was captured and executed in Bolivia.

And a restaurant chain called The White Spot opened its newest location in Denver, Colorado.

It was a popular diner; the White Spot served pancakes and milkshakes to customers for decades, and ownership of the Denver location eventually changed hands when[...] Click here to continue reading

The latest sign that absolutely nothing makes sense

In the latest sign that absolutely nothing makes sense anymore, WeWork filed formal regulatory paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week, officially notifying the world that it will soon be going public.

If you haven’t heard of WeWork (or it’s parent-- ‘The We Company’), it’s a real estate company that owns practically zero real estate.

Instead, they lease vast amounts of office space in commercial buildings on long-term contracts, and then[...] Click here to continue reading

Medical patient falls off the examination table, sues his physician. . .

Welcome to our Friday roll up, where we highlight the most interesting, absurd, and concerning stories we are following this week.

New Zealand officially legalizes paying employees with crypto-currency 


New Zealand issued a tax bulletin this month officially recognizing that it is legal for employers to pay employees with crypto-currencies like Bitcoin.

The crypto-currencies just have to be able to be converted into fiat currency… which is typically the case with every major crypto.
[...] Click here to continue reading

Italy was the world’s superpower TWICE. They screwed it up both times

In 750 BC, according to ancient legend, the twin brothers Romulus and Remus founded a tiny hilltop settlement in central Italy.

Romulus slew his brother for violating a magical superstition, and then named their new city after himself: Rome.

And for the first several centuries of its existence, Rome was nothing special. It was one of many minor kingdoms on a peninsula controlled by the Etruscan civilization… and existed at a time when[...] Click here to continue reading

The Federal Reserve might as well use carrier pigeons

In the early 1760s, Mayer Rothschild began building a banking dynasty that would last for centuries.

The elder Rothschild sent his five sons across Europe to establish banks in cities like Paris and London.

One son, Nathan Rothschild, took the lead and expanded the family’s banking dynasty.

With siblings in different countries, the family now had a trusted network of lenders with whom they could finance large government projects like infrastructure and[...] Click here to continue reading

106: Central banks should consider giving people money

I thought in this age of insanity that we are living in, nothing would surprise me anymore. But sure enough, there was a headline in the Financial Times the other day, “Central banks should consider giving people money.”

It seems almost impossible that someone could believe in something so ridiculous. And yet this is the world we are living in. The path to prosperity is now based on unelected central bankers conjuring millions of[...] Click here to continue reading

Dad sued for slander because he criticized the education system

Welcome to our Friday roll up, where we highlight the most absurd and concerning stories we are following this week.

Dad sued for slander because he criticized the education system


Careful what you say about your kid’s public school curriculum.

The company behind a controversial common core math program in North Carolina is suing a dad for libel and slander.

The parent of a high school student has been on a “crusade,” the[...] Click here to continue reading

When in Rome, get Italian citizenship

It was probably after 2am last night when I walked up the stairs to bed after a marathon seven hour dinner.

But that’s pretty normal here. This is the eighth year in a row I have spent my summer holiday at this 400 year old villa in the Italian countryside.

I invited a number of my close friends, family, and Total Access members to relax and break bread. We always end up engaging[...] Click here to continue reading

Why this is one of my favorite cities in Europe

I feel like a complete broken man right now.

I’m exhausted. Sleep deprived. Malnourished. My muscles are sore. My back is killing me. I’m so hoarse I can barely speak.

Yet despite all that I couldn’t possibly be feeling more excited and exhilarated.

My 10th annual liberty and entrepreneurship workshop just ended yesterday here in Lithuania. And as you can tell, it’s a physically and mentally draining event.

The workshop is[...] Click here to continue reading

10 year old charged for assault… with a dodgeball

Welcome to our Friday roll up, where we highlight the most absurd and concerning stories we are following this week.

10 year old charged for assault… with a dodgeball


A ten year old boy will be brought to juvenile court on assault charges.

His heinous crime was hitting another 10 year old in the face with a dodgeball at recess.

He originally got suspended from school for one day… which seems like a[...] Click here to continue reading

The Treasury Department is in desperate need of a sucker

Ten years ago, at the peak of the global financial crisis, the Board of Trustees which oversees Social Security in the United States issued a stark warning:

They projected that Social Security’s enormous trust funds would completely run out of money in 2039.

Naturally nobody paid attention. Back in 2009 the economy in shambles, so focusing on a future economic crisis that was more than three decades away was a low priority.

[...] Click here to continue reading

Here’s how you can protect yourself from crazy lawsuits like this one…

Our annual Sovereign Academy is just around the corner.

Each year, I invite the most talented entrepreneurs I know to teach and mentor a group of 50 young people from around the world.

The camp is entirely free for students - I pay for everything myself out of pocket. It’s also one of my favorite times of the year.

One of the mentors there has been with me since the inception of[...] Click here to continue reading

The federal government sold your Social Security Number for FIVE dollars

The federal government sold your Social Security Number for FIVE dollars

Welcome to our Friday roll up, where we highlight the most absurd and concerning stories we are following this week.

Equifax fined $700 million… for 147 million person data breach


Do you remember back in 2017 when Equifax (the giant consumer credit agency) admitted that it had been breached?

Hackers broke into Equifax’s databases and stole personal and financial records of 147[...] Click here to continue reading

The easiest (and safest) return on investment you’ll ever achieve

In 1993, William Kurt Hauser, a San Francisco investment analyst, presented his results from an incredibly interesting study.

Hauser had analyzed tax revenues in the United States over time and came to the conclusion that tax revenue as a percentage of GDP had remained around a narrow band of 19% since 1946.

That was astonishing. After all, over that same period, tax rates had been all over the place.

The top marginal[...] Click here to continue reading

Here’s a phrase you’ll never hear again in the USA

“Gentlemen... the National Debt... is paid.”

That sentence has been uttered in Washington DC exactly one time ever, by a Senator announcing that the US government was officially debt free.

That was on January 8, 1835 when the debt that the United States government had accrued since its birth was finally paid off.

Never again would the United States be debt free.

It took 174 years for the debt to rack[...] Click here to continue reading

US teacher’s union prioritizes “white fragility” over children’s education

Here’s our Friday roll up of the most bizarre stories we’re following this week.

Mom can’t sue cop who accidentally shot her child


On July 10, 2014, a Sheriff's Deputy from a rural county in southern Georgia was in pursuit of a suspect when he wandered onto the property of Ms. Amy Corbitt.

Corbitt’s ten year old child was playing outside with several other children (as young as 3 years old), under the supervision[...] Click here to continue reading

Living like a Hollywood king in Bangkok, Thailand

The first time I met Steven Seagal, it was in the lobby of a posh hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.

He came downstairs sharply dressed, complete with his yellow-tinged ‘Tony Stark’ sunglasses, ready to hit the nightclubs for the evening.

My friend Adam introduced us. Steven bowed to me, and, slightly puzzled, I bowed back, unsure if we were saying hello or preparing to engage in ritualistic combat.

Fortunately it was the former,[...] Click here to continue reading

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