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: 2342

Latest Articles

What worked (and didn’t work) during 1970s stagflation

When the New York Stock Exchange opened for trading on January 2, 1970, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 809 points.

It was the start of a new decade, and expectations were high.

Consumer confidence was high, the economy was strong, and NASA had just put a man on the moon only a few months prior.

America was ready to move on from the tumultuous 1960s and was looking forward to[...] Click here to continue reading

And the winner of the next half trillion dollar bailout is…

At precisely 4pm on Friday October 17, 1975, New York City’s government would have a $453 million in debt to repay.

But literally the night before, the city’s government had only $34 million on hand.

It was the makings of an epic financial crisis: the wealthiest city in the world was about to declare bankruptcy.

New York City’s mayor Abe Beame had called US President Gerald Ford numerous times begging for federal[...] Click here to continue reading

Oregon County says “no whites allowed”

Are you ready for this week’s absurdity? Here’s our Friday roll-up of the most ridiculous stories from around the world that are threats to your liberty, your finances, and your prosperity… and on occasion, poetic justice.

“No whites allowed” safe space for employees of Oregon county

Do you know what’s been missing from the government’s response to coronavirus?

You might think-- ‘more testing kits’, or ‘honest information’.

Nope. According to at least ne[...] Click here to continue reading

Silver hasn’t been this cheap in 5,000 years of human history

More than 4,000 years ago, the city of Kanesh was quickly becoming an important commercial trading hub within the ancient Assyrian Empire.

Kanesh was located in the dead center of modern day Turkey, so it was perfectly situated on the route between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, and between Europe and Asia Minor.

As a result, Kanesh became a popular trading post. And merchants, scribes, and moneylenders from all over the Assyrian[...] Click here to continue reading

The first time they sent me to the gas chamber

The first time I was sent to the gas chamber was in late July 1996.

I’m not being dramatic-- that’s literally what they called it.

I was 17 years old… a brand new cadet at West Point undergoing my first summer of basic training.

It’s affectionately known as ‘Beast Barracks’, and one of the highlights is a few days’ worth of Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical training.

The culmination of this is[...] Click here to continue reading

This is a power grab we haven’t seen since 9/11

Thousands of years ago in 458 BC, Lucius Quintius Cincinnatus was hard at work behind his plow on the family farm when a group of Roman Senators showed up with urgent news.

A foreign enemy called the Acqui had vanquished one of Rome’s armies and was rapidly approaching the city. The Republic was in deep trouble.

Cincinnatus was a former consul and renowned military leader, so in their panic, the Roman Senate unanimously[...] Click here to continue reading

Coronavirus response: Ban alcohol, free speech, and homeschooling

For this week’s round-up of articles, we’re taking a look at some of the things the government thinks should be banned in response to coronavirus.

WHO urges governments to ban alcohol during lockdown

Last week we talked about how the World Health Organization was coming for your sick family members.

This week, they want your booze.

WHO says that alcohol compromises the immune system. And since we are fighting a virus, they think[...] Click here to continue reading

America finally found the lost City of Gold

In the early 1530s, a Spanish conquistador named Diego de Ordaz was exploring modern-day Venezuela when he first heard rumors of a nearby City of Gold.

Ordaz thought he was about to hit the jackpot. And he wasted no time ordering expeditions of the area to find this city-- what eventually became known as El Dorado.

The mission failed, and most of Ordaz’s men died. But one survivor, a crewman named Juan Martinez,[...] Click here to continue reading

They’ll wreck the currency if they have to

Nearly seven centuries ago in the mid-1300s, the first major outbreak of the Bubonic Plague forced Europeans into some of the harshest social distancing measures in history.

As Boccacio wrote in The Decameron in 1353, the hysteria was so extreme that “brother abandoned brother. . . fathers and mothers refused to see and tend their children, as if they had not been theirs.”

When people sensed the worst was over, they slowly came[...] Click here to continue reading

The next giant industry in need of a bailout

Well this is starting to become a trend.

Over the past few weeks, state governments across the Land of the Free have been feverishly proposing new legislation that will virtually guarantee the entire insurance industry is wiped out.

The root of the issue has to do with something called business interruption insurance.

Business interruption is a pretty common type of insurance that’s designed to protect business owners against a number of risks.
[...] Click here to continue reading

WHO wants to separate families “in a safe and dignified manner”

For this week’s round-up of articles, we noticed a theme: the most alarming articles are about governments going over-the-top, grabbing powers in the name of stopping the Coronavirus.

Here are some examples that we found absurd, and downright creepy:

WHO officials says next step could be separating families

A World Health Organization official said that the next step in controlling the spread of the virus could involve raiding homes, and separating families.

Here[...] Click here to continue reading

Why it makes so much sense to own REAL assets

Earlier this week we talked about why the economic consequences of this pandemic could last a lot longer than what a lot of people expect.

Now, I say all of this from a position of complete ignorance and uncertainty. Nobody knows what’s going to happen next, or how long this pandemic will last.

But to simply expect that everything will return to normal in a few weeks-- and willfully ignore the countless other[...] Click here to continue reading

5 reasons why the ‘V-shaped recovery’ is a fantasy

The big story over the last few days has been ‘reopening the economy’.

And that’s certainly a nice idea. Countless people have been living in despair over the last month, and the prospect of everything going back to normal soon feels really great.

I certainly hope for the best.

But a couple of weeks ago I quoted James Stockdale-- one of the toughest men who ever lived-- talking abut how he cultivated[...] Click here to continue reading

Why the price of silver could skyrocket

By the mid-6th century BC, Darius the Great was ‘King of Kings’, ruling over the vast Achaemenid Empire.

By that time, gold and silver had already been in use by earlier civilizations for thousands of years.

There are cuneiform tablets that are nearly 4,000 years old from ancient Sumeria which record commercial transactions made in gold and silver.

And subsequent civilizations-- the Babylonians, Egyptians, Lydians, etc. all used gold or silver in[...] Click here to continue reading

Welcome to your new Freedoms: “Shoot them dead”

In the words of Rahm Emanuel, former Chief of Staff to Barack Obama, “never let a good crisis go to waste.”

Emanuel first said this during the 2008/2009 financial crisis… meaning that politicians can use a crisis as an opportunity to push through radical ideas that would otherwise never be accepted.

Late last month, Emanuel uttered the same words on ABC News This Week, admonishing politicians to not let this crisis go to[...] Click here to continue reading

Genius! Spend $100+ billion to give away what’s already free…

Well, it’s official. Bernie Sanders dropped out of the US Presidential race yesterday.

This leaves Joe Biden-- a career politician with obvious signs of dementia-- as the presumptive opposition candidate.

To be clear, I’m not making light of Biden’s mental health. Tens of millions of people around the world suffer from dementia. It’s a terrible syndrome.

But facts are facts, and Biden’s symptoms have been on public display throughout his campaign.

[...] Click here to continue reading

That was fast! Wells Fargo already ran out of money for small businesses

I think one of the funniest movies of the 1980s was Brewster’s Millions.

In the movie, Richard Pryor plays Monty Brewster, a minor league baseball player who finds out that he is in line to inherit a vast $300 million fortune.

In order to inherit the money, though, Brewster must spend $30 million over the next 30 days… and if he fails to do so, he forfeits the entire inheritance.

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

The global food supply chain wasn’t designed for this

In the early 1980s, doctors and medical researchers around the world were confounded by the growing number of young, otherwise healthy patients who were dying of rare infections that typically only occurred in people with very weak immune systems.

The situation was so alarming that the CDC in the United States set up a special task force in 1982 to study the condition and stop its spread.

By 1983 the medical community had[...] Click here to continue reading

Congress proposes 50% tax on guns and ammunition in the US

Are you ready for this week’s absurdity? Here’s our Friday roll-up of the most ridiculous stories from around the world that are threats to your liberty, your finances, and your prosperity… and on occasion, poetic justice.

Street Gangs enforce lockdowns in Brazil

Last week we highlighted how Brazil’s president claimed Brazilians don’t get sick.

Unfortunately for President Bolsonaro, his driver is now in the hospital, sick, being tested for Covid-19.

But Bolsonaro is[...] Click here to continue reading

There’s a major sovereign debt crisis looming

By the mid 1300s, the Republic of Florence in modern day Italy had experienced one of the greatest economic booms in human history.

In less than a century, Florence had grown from a tiny, irrelevant backwater to become one of Europe’s largest cities and preeminent financial center.

The expansion was truly impressive. Florence’s population had grown 10x. It had become a leading manufacturer in both weapons and textiles.

(Many etymologists believe the[...] Click here to continue reading

I screwed up

First thing’s first-- I screwed up.

Yesterday I wrote to you about the US government’s initiative to loan money to small businesses, and I was wrong about an important detail.

I said the maximum amount of the loan was equal to 2.5x a company’s annual payroll expense. That’s incorrect.

The correct maximum loan amount is 2.5x a company’s average MONTHLY payroll expense over the past 12 months.

[The total amount that[...] Click here to continue reading

The ‘Small’ Business Administration is now bigger than Walmart

[Editor's note: this article was corrected on 30 March 2020; the proper way to calculate your loan is based on your average monthly (not annual) payroll multiplied by 2.5]

As you’ve probably already heard, the US government unleashed a giant tsunami of money on Friday, passing a $2 trillion stimulus bill to help boost the economy during the Covid pandemic.

Let’s put that number in context:

$2 trillion is more than it[...] Click here to continue reading

Marvel introduces superheros “Snowflake” and “Safespace”

Are you ready for this week’s absurdity? Here’s our Friday roll-up of the most ridiculous stories from around the world that are threats to your liberty, your finances, and your prosperity… and on occasion, poetic justice.

Alcohol to go: Why wasn’t this always a thing?

You realize how absurdly micromanaged the economy is when the government starts lifting pointless restrictions.

For example, New York and Washington DC will now allow people to order takeout[...] Click here to continue reading

FDIC asks Americans to keep their money in the banks

Yesterday the Chair of the FDIC released an astonishing video asking Americans to keep their money in the bank.

Accompanied by soft piano music playing in the background, the official said:

“Your money is safe at the banks. The last thing you should be doing is pulling your money out of the banks thinking it’s going to be safer somewhere else.”

Amazing. I was half expecting her to waive her[...] Click here to continue reading

Powerful wisdom from one of the toughest men who ever lived

One day back in the late 1990s when I was a wide-eyed 20-year-old cadet at West Point, we were told that a distinguished visitor was coming to speak, and to be seated in the auditorium by 1pm sharp.

This was pretty routine; one of the great things about attending West Point was the seemingly endless line of world leaders, athletes, scientists, and even celebrities who would address the Corps of Cadets.

During my[...] Click here to continue reading

If you think it’s too late, think again. There’s still time

[Editor’s note: This letter was written by Tim Staermose,  Sovereign Man’s Chief Investment Strategist and Editor of the 4th Pillar newsletter.]

I’m writing from my remote rural villa in Southern Bali. I made a mad dash to get back here from Hong Kong before the borders effectively shut to visitors, and airlines cancelled virtually all flights.

Nearly a quarter of a million tourists and other temporary visitors have left Bali in February and[...] Click here to continue reading

COVID-19 -might- actually force governments to be more efficient

Well, at least there’s a bit of good news from the Corona Virus. In a few cases, it at least seems to be making government more efficient, and calls into question why so much bureaucracy existed to begin with.

We think there’s a LOT more to come in terms of streamlining government.

Millions of people will lose their jobs, and that includes government workers too. With tax revenue drying up, federal, state, and[...] Click here to continue reading

107: Peter Schiff and I talk stagflation, $50 trillion debts, and more

This morning I reached out to my old friend and colleague Peter Schiff to talk about some uncomfortable truths that very few people are discussing right now.

I wrote to you about this yesterday: banks are in trouble. You can’t expect to shut down practically an entire world economy that is in debt to the tune of $250 TRILLION and not expect massive loan defaults.

The last financial crisis in 2008 was caused[...] Click here to continue reading

Banks are going to drown in an ocean of defaults

On November 6, 2000, then US presidential candidate George W. Bush told a crowd of cheering supporters, “they misunderestimated me.”

Now, if English is not your native language, allow me to clear the air: ‘misunderestimate’ is not a word. But then again, George W. Bush was legendary for hilarious slip-ups like this.

There are entire books dedicated to his ‘Bushisms,’ the ridiculous made-up words and incomprehensible sayings that became routine for the 43rd[...] Click here to continue reading

Writing to you from lockdown

As you might have heard, Puerto Rico is now on lockdown. Government offices and private businesses are closed, and no one is allowed to leave their homes except to buy food, attend medical appointments, etc.

This is quickly going to become global policy, at least in the West. If these measures haven’t hit yet where you live, they’re probably coming soon.

So much of what we’ve been writing about for so long is[...] Click here to continue reading

Venezuela wants every woman to have six children…

Are you ready for this week’s absurdity? Here’s our Friday roll-up of the most ridiculous stories from around the world that are threats to your liberty, your finances, and your prosperity… and on occasion, poetic justice.

Solved: why is Mississippi is so fat? Jail time for diet advice

Mississippi is officially the fattest state in the US.

So Donna Harris thought she would help.

Donna has a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, and a[...] Click here to continue reading

Predictions are hard. But here goes…

We certainly live in extraordinary times.

Even people who have been irrationally dismissive of the Corona pandemic up until this point finally had to wake up and smell reality yesterday. The NBA. Tom Hanks. European travel ban.

Our human brains, while magnificent and inspiring, are also wired in bizarre ways. We’re filled with countless ‘cognitive biases’ which affect our judgment, usually for the worse.

Among them is that human beings often cannot[...] Click here to continue reading

Anyone with courage and clear thinking will do extremely well

The year 1348, in the words of historian A.L. Maycock, was the closest that humanity ever came to going extinct.

That was the year the Black Death descended on the European continent. And many historians today estimate that it killed as much as 60% of Europe’s population.

Italy was hit especially hard by the plague. Port cities like Venice were accustomed to receiving ships from all over the world, and many of them[...] Click here to continue reading

Court demands husband compensate ex-wife for career she never had

[Editor’s note: This letter was written by Joe Jarvis, a Sovereign Man team member based in Puerto Rico.]

Do you ever wonder what your bank account would look like today if you had made different career and life decisions?

Well, a UK judge took the liberty of answering that question for one woman going through a divorce.

The London couple were both studying to become lawyers when they decided to have kids.[...] Click here to continue reading

No, the world is not coming to an end…

This is going to be a rough day for a lot of folks. But it’s one that I’ve been writing about for quite some time.

I’ve been saying for years that, at some point, there will be a severe financial reckoning. We wouldn’t know how, and most likely, we would have very little advance warning.

As an example, in June 2018 I wrote “whatever causes the next major downturn can be something completely[...] Click here to continue reading