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: 2139

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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[...]

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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[...]

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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[...]

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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[...]

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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,[...]

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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

AOC and Bernie Sanders hate this tax incentive

At the Sun Valley investment conference in mid-1999, Warren Buffett made a rare prediction about the stock market.


1999 was THE top of the dot-com craze.


And Buffett saw countless companies going public, attracting billions of dollars of investor capital, despite being UNPROFITABLE and having NO business plan to EVER make money, ever.


This made absolutely no sense to him, and Buffett warned that the technology bubble was about to pop.


In normal times, every[...]

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More ridiculous Civil Asset Forfeiture shenanigans

Each Friday we highlight a number of important, and often bizarre stories from around the world that my team and I are closely following:

Chicago police run a vehicle impound racket


Imagine dropping your car off at the local mechanic because you need to get your engine tuned up.

A few days later you come back to pick up your car, only to find out that it has been impounded by the police.

[...] Click here to continue reading

Here’s a lesson from the 108,000 millionaires who left their home countries last year

According to a recent report from Bloomberg, more than 108,000 millionaires left their home countries last year in search of greener pastures.


Most emigrated from countries like China and Russia… no surprise there.


India also saw a large outflow of millionaires as tax authorities tightened their grip. And Turkey continues to see an exodus, in the wake of strong-man President Erdogan.


But Western countries like France and England also lost boat loads (or planes full)[...]

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The surprising reason you might qualify for citizenship in these five countries

In the year 1492, at a port city about 50 miles south of where Columbus was preparing to set sail for the New World, Spanish Jews were desperately scrambling to flee Spain.


King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella gave all Jewish Spaniards just four months notice to leave the country, convert to Christianity, or die.


They were called Sephardic Jews (Sephardic is Hebrew for Spanish), and they were forced to sell their properties and businesses. With[...]

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Yet another reason to slash your taxes to zero

I’ve long been vocal about my belief that if you have a problem with your government, you should vote.


But not vote in the traditional sense, i.e. stand in line at a polling station and be forced to choose between the lesser of two evils… or perhaps more appropriately, the evil of two lessers.


Traditional voting is a demeaning and pointless activity.


In most cases your vote doesn’t really matter; national elections are typically decided[...]

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Green Revolution: Washington State to allow composting of human beings

Each Friday we highlight a number of important, and often bizarre stories from around the world that my team and I are closely following:


1. Washington State will allow human body composting

It doesn’t get much greener than this.

Staking his presidential run on climate change, the Governor of Washington is set to sign a bill legalizing composting of deceased humans.

An especially high percentage of the deceased in Washington[...] Click here to continue reading

Social Security will cross another dangerous milestone next year

In the year 1890, according to census records, my great-great-grandfather was spending the final years of his life living with one of his children on a farm in Choctaw County, Oklahoma.


I’ve spent most of the last twenty years doing some hardcore research into my family history-- and I’ve identified records going all the way back to 1250 in England.


And one common theme that I’ve noticed: when people reached a certain age, they almost[...]

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This is one of the best countries in the world to have your child

Most of us have only very few opportunities to do something that has a true lifelong impact on someone else.

One of these opportunities is to do something for your children that will pay dividends for a lifetime in the form of freedom, choices, and safety.

And that gift is a second passport.

A passport from a foreign country gives you the right to live, work, invest, bank and thrive there. And[...] Click here to continue reading

This asset class has maintained its value for thousands of years

At the peak of its power in 1350 BC, thousands of years ago, ancient Egypt was like nothing ever seen before.


The great Kingdom was thriving under an efficient system of agricultural production and trade with foreign nations.


Egyptians had learned to adapt to the natural irrigation of the Nile river to produce surpluses of food, which supported a larger population, trade specialization and social and cultural development.


Mineral exploitation in the surrounding areas gave[...]

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How to buy a gorgeous property in Europe for 50% off

When Hugh Hefner finally sold one of the most famous homes in the world back in 2016-- the Playboy Mansion-- the market was a bit slow. And Hefner had to settle for about half of his original $200 million asking price.


But in exchange, the then-90-year-old got a sweet deal: He didn’t have to move out. The buyer would only take possession of the property once Hefner passed away.


A similar deal took place between[...]

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This is a rare win-win offer from the government that won’t last long

I’m not used to seeing the government offer taxpayers a win-win.


But a little known provision snuck into Trump’s 2017 tax reform law is possibly the best tax-advantaged investment strategy offered in decades. And it will help some of the poorest areas of the US too.


It’s the brainchild of Sean Parker, the founder of Napster and the first major investor in Facebook.


Traveling in Tanzania, he realized none of the $2 billion worth of[...]

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Here’s an easy way to tell if your bank is actually safe

March 15, 2013 was a pretty normal day in Cyprus. It was a Friday, and most people were looking forward to a relaxing weekend.


The next morning the entire nation woke up in horror. Their politicians had been up all night, negotiating with international lenders to provide an emergency loan to the country, and its banks.


It turned out that the banks in Cyprus were all insolvent; just like banks in the United States during[...]

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Just released: Social Security earned a pitiful 2.8% on your money last year

Hot off the presses: The Board of Trustees for the Social Security and Medicare programs in the United States just released their annual report a few minutes ago.


And if you want to read all of its gory detail, check it out for yourself here.


Both of these programs are massively and terminally underfunded. And not by a little bit.


The Board of Trustees itself calculates Social Security’s long-term shortfall at a mind boggling $43+[...]

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Are you descended from the Visigoths? Get ready to pay up!

Each Friday we highlight a number of important, and often bizarre stories from around the world that my team and I are closely following:


Cory Booker introduces reparations bill


Get ready for a slippery slope, because because Cory Booker just introduced a reparations bill in Congress.


The 2020 Presidential contender said, “this bill is a way of addressing head-on the persistence of racism, white supremacy, and implicit racial bias in our country... and propose solutions[...]

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Netflix’s unbelievable cash burn just got 60% worse

If you’re a big fan of shows like Narcos, Stranger Things, House of Cards, or Orange is the New Black, you might want to think about sending a fruit basket to anyone you know who is a Netflix shareholder.


Netflix reported its quarterly earnings again yesterday afternoon. And, as expected, the company is losing a metric truckload.


According to its own financial statements, Netflix burned nearly half a billion dollars in the last quarter. That’s[...]

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Astonishing opportunities in one of the oldest cities in the world

By the time Alexander the Great and his Macedonian army conquered the city of Samarkand in 329 BC, the city had already existed for centuries.


Samarkand had been a prominent, vibrant regional capital in the Persian Empire prior to the Macedonians’ arrival.


And under Alexander the city flourished even more. He declared it one of the most majestic places he had ever been, and the city served as a critical outpost for his conquests in[...]

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Even Elizabeth Warren is maximizing her tax deductions

On September 11, 1791, sixteen men disguised themselves as women and waited patiently in a forest outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the local tax collector.


The tax collector’s name was Robert Johnson. And he was tasked with collecting the new Whiskey Tax that had recently been signed into law.


This was -very- early in US history; the Constitution had only been ratified two years earlier, and George Washington was barely into his first term as[...]

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Elizabeth Warren wants to end “beyond a reasonable doubt” for criminal convictions

Each Friday we highlight a number of important, and often bizarre stories from around the world that my team and I are closely following:


Elizabeth Warren wants to destroy centuries of legal standards


To take your freedom requires more evidence than to take your money. For now.


Criminal convictions depend on the accused being guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. Civil convictions depend only on a preponderance of evidence pointing to guilt.


But Senator Elizabeth Warren[...]

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