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: 2339

Latest Articles

The best of 2010: A Multiple Flags Overview

Buenos Aires, Argentina
December 28, 2010

As we're quickly approaching the end of December, I thought it would be appropriate to republish a few letters from earlier this year. 2010 brought substantial growth for this community-- our numbers swelled, and I know that many readers probably missed some important letters from earlier days.

Today I want to repost a letter that I originally sent to you in early January, just after the 2009[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: Cuba, Gold, and why Chile is the answer

December 24, 2010
Santiago, Chile

It's a long flight from Auckland to Santiago. Hell, it's a long flight from Auckland to anywhere. You know, Australia is about 15 hours from anywhere, and New Zealand is 3 hours from Australia... so it's out there.

My primary mission over the last three weeks in New Zealand was to spend time all over the south island looking at agricultural property. I wanted as much information as[...] Click here to continue reading

Sometimes the grass actually -is- greener

The other night in Auckland, the alternative rock band Gorillaz performed at Vector Arena down the street from my flat. I didn't have to go to the concert-- I had the best seat in the house right from my own balcony, sort of like the Wrigley Field Rooftops in Chicago.

It was the first summer evening of the southern hemisphere, and I sat listening to the band with a few expat friends and a[...] Click here to continue reading

When the gold market tops…

December 21, 2010
Auckland, New Zealand

My friend Doug Casey has frequently written that you'll know the bull market for gold has peaked when there's a picture of a golden bull tearing up the dollar or the New York Stock Exchange on the cover of Time Magazine.

I have a similar view, but with a different indicator.

I'm sure you've seen those TV commercials, fliers, and billboards that say "WE BUY GOLD".[...] Click here to continue reading

How to help your friends and family see the truth

December 20, 2010
Auckland, New Zealand

One of my favorite movies is the Matrix. I remember when it came out over 11-years ago, my best friend went to go see it. He called me immediately afterward and said, "I just saw the Matrix. You need to stop whatever you're doing and come see this movie with me right now."

Sure enough, the movie was spectacular... and if you haven't seen it, you should[...] Click here to continue reading

They finally got one right…

December 17, 2010
Auckland, New Zealand

Earlier this week, the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals (one step below the Supreme Court) made an important ruling that should please anyone who longs for freedom.

In US vs. Warshak, the court ruled that government agents must obtain a warrant in order to compel Internet service providers to turn over customer email accounts.

Anyone who has ever read the Fourth Amendment and has[...] Click here to continue reading

Young people: get ready to grab your ankles

If you're reading this and under 30, let me be absolutely clear about one indubitable point: your government is going to sacrifice your future in order to pay for its own mistakes from the past.

To give you an example, students in London came out to the streets in droves last Friday to protest the British parliament's most recent austerity measures which tripled the cap on their university tuition to $15,000.

Sure, Britain[...] Click here to continue reading

Are they spying on you?

December 15, 2010
Wellington, New Zealand

Do you remember the good old days the when it used to be illegal for governments to spy on their citizens? I don't either... but I'm told that it used to be illegal. Oh how times have changed.

The British government went out of control years ago; one report from the BBC in 2009 showed that an average of 1,500 petitions are submitted -every day- to conduct[...] Click here to continue reading

This is definitely worth 4-minutes of your time

December 14, 2010
Nelson, New Zealand

Professor Hans Rosling is a sword-swallower. Crazy, I know. But as freakish and mesmerizing as that talent may be, the data that he has been compiling about developing countries is even more mesmerizing, and I promise it will surprise even the most worldly and well traveled among us.

Rosling has an uncanny ability to take enormous heaps of data, crunch the numbers, and present them in such[...] Click here to continue reading

Apple’s Success and Peak Empire

December 13, 2010
Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand

Even before Edward Gibbon published his famous treatise in the late 1700s, historians have frequently debated the causes of the fall of the Roman Empire.

Some, like Gibbon, argued that Roman society's moral decline was the root cause, while others such as Toynbee suggested that the mere concept of the empire was doomed from its inception due to institutional decay.

Whatever the reason, one[...] Click here to continue reading

Riding out a food crisis in New Zealand

December 9, 2010
Picton, New Zealand

The ferry from Wellington across the Cook Strait to New Zealand's beautiful south island was a bit rough today. I've mentioned before that I'm not particularly seaworthy, so I asked my friend Chris, a New Zealand native, to step in today on my behalf and give you a bit of his local perspective.

Chris is an international investor like me, and we share a common outlook on[...] Click here to continue reading

Crushing the McFlation protests in China

December 8, 2010
Wellington, New Zealand

The price of a Big Mac is going up in China by 7%. In fact, Chinese state media outlets are reporting that prices for all items at McDonalds fast food restaurants across China are going up by 1/2 to 1 renminbi (RMB), roughly 7.5 to 15 US cents.

It doesn't sound like much, but it's a sign of the times; the epic battle between countries which export[...] Click here to continue reading

Surprise! You might be eligible for a second passport…

December 7, 2010
Wellington, New Zealand

Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, is a marked man.

My hat is off to him.  As far as I'm concerned, all he's done is publish some information that shines a light under some big rocks and down some very deep crevices, and that is now making quite a lot of politicians squirm.

However, in a perfect illustration of how fraught with danger it is to fight[...] Click here to continue reading

Is New Zealand on your radar? Maybe it should be.

December 6, 2010
Auckland, New Zealand

Someone asked me recently, "Simon, if there are so many great places in the world full of opportunity, why don't you just pick one and stay there-- why keep traveling?"

Simple. I wouldn't be much good to you if I sat in one place and speculated about the goings-on in various countries without frequently putting my boots on the ground. The world changes quickly, and it's important[...] Click here to continue reading

Six countries with freedom and opportunity

December 2, 2010
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

A few days ago, I wrote an article on the merits of productive citizens leaving their home countries that are no longer aligned with the values of freedom and independence.

I find this 'starve the beast' approach to be the most effective non-violent method to affect change... and needless to say, this notion stirred quite a bit of controversy.

Among many other blogs, the[...] Click here to continue reading

What if your bank account disappeared?

December 1, 2010
Katoomba, New South Wales, Australia

It all started a week ago. National Australia Bank, one of the largest in the country, had a technical malfunction in its core system.  Within hours, a simple problem had practically brought a large part of Australia's banking system to its knees. It was a crazy turn of events.

You see, banks don't use regular operating systems or database applications; they run specialty software that[...] Click here to continue reading

Is Panama dead?

November 30, 2010
Katoomba, New South Wales, Australia

There are an overwhelming amount of offshore tactics and jurisdictions that people can choose from-- corporations in the Marshall Islands, foundations in Panama, insurance structures in Switzerland, bank accounts in Dubai, trusts in Nevis, holding companies in Labuan, property in St. Kitts, etc.

With just a bit of professional help, you can build your own offshore strategy and apply a selection of these tactics to[...] Click here to continue reading

Lessons from the fall of Rome

November 29, 2010
Katoomba, New South Wales, Australia

In 43 BC, over 2,000 years ago, warring consuls Antony, Lepidus, and Octavian were duking it out with each other over control of Rome following Julius Caesar's assassination the prior March.

Each had legions at his disposal, and Rome's terrified Senate sat on its hands waiting for the outcome.

Ultimately, the three men chose to unite their powers and rule Rome together in what[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: Swiss bankers, education

November 26, 2010
Katoomba, New South Wales, Australia

Greetings from beautiful Australia once again; I'm spending the next 7-days in the very lovely Blue Mountains, about 2-hours west of Sydney. I've never been to this part of the country before, and it's absolutely breathtaking.

You can rent a holiday home here with an amazing view for around $1,000 per week.  Property owners tend to rent their homes for the short-term, collect[...] Click here to continue reading

Where freedom still exists

November 24, 2010
Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia

One of the few absolutes that we can always count on is that change happens. It's inevitable-- people grow older and change, cultures change, countries change, businesses change, families change, etc.  Change is inevitable, there's nothing that lasts forever.

You might even find that your own attitude is changing... it's possible that the erosion of personal and economic freedoms that you're witnessing in your home[...] Click here to continue reading

Tip of the spear

November 23, 2010
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Military tacticians and historians often make use of the term 'tip of the spear.' It refers to a combat force that is used to puncture the enemy's initial lines of defense, to be quickly followed by concentrated forces which destroy any remaining threat.

Tactically, the tip of the spear is a bit of a blitzkrieg-- an unexpected onslaught of firepower and destruction that takes the[...] Click here to continue reading

The other “I” in BRIC

November 22, 2010
Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia

It was a spur of the moment decision, but I felt like a bit of a break. Friday's trip to Brunei didn't exactly go as planned, and I opted instead to spend a few days on the beach in Bali. Good choice: it was -very- relaxing and gave me the opportunity to put my boots on the ground once again in this growing country.

It seems[...] Click here to continue reading

They’d lock me up for this

November 19, 2010
Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam

The ferry ride from Labuan to Brunei is a quick hour and fifteen minutes... and I have to be brutally honest with you about something: I'm not exactly what you would call 'sea-worthy'.

I've traveled by ferry just a handful of times in the last few years, once from Helsinki to Tallinn, Estonia and another time from Spain into Tangiers, Morocco. Both times were white-knuckle rides[...] Click here to continue reading

The offshore center that never took off…

November 18, 2010
Labuan, off the coast of Borneo

About 25-years ago in the mid-1980s, a bunch of Malaysian politicians got together and plotted. Hong Kong, the region's undisputed financial center at the time, was due to be handed over to those "Communist China" in about 10-years time, and everyone was terrified of what would happen.

Fully expecting Hong Kong to sink into the ocean under Chinese control, Malaysia set out to build[...] Click here to continue reading

Bernanke’s inflation is fueling a bubble in Asia

November 17, 2010
Labuan, off the coast of Borneo

Because I travel so much, I'm able to compare real estate prices among all the places I've been recently. How does a flat in London compare with an apartment in Bangkok? How does an estate in Cape Town compare with a single family home in Singapore?

I have to say, residential real estate prices in many developing economies are astoundingly high on a value-adjusted[...] Click here to continue reading

The easiest place to be an entrepreneur

November 15, 2010

I've long argued that the path to becoming a successful entrepreneur lies in finding ways to create value-- solving problems. The larger the problem, or the more people affected by the problem, then the more value is created... and hence, the greater the reward for the entrepreneur.

It takes a bright and creative mind to do this; coming up with innovative solutions takes focus, energy, and out of the[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: Where’s gold going? Chile or Colombia?

November 12, 2010
Bangkok, Thailand

I've been back and forth along the route from Pattaya to Bangkok more times that I can remember.  It takes about 90 minutes along one of Thailand's best toll roads and costs less than $30 to hire a driver for the one-way journey, shockingly cheap by western standards.

This afternoon, my driver had to stop during our trip to gas up; something that a lot of foreigners don't[...] Click here to continue reading

Great Medical Care: Yet another reason to consider your overseas options

November 11, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

Today I got another boots on the ground perspective of Thailand's professional, high quality private healthcare system.

I was accompanying a friend of mine this afternoon to the Pattaya branch of Bangkok Hospital, a private chain with five locations across the country. Bangkok Hospital is accredited by JCI, a private,  non-profit organization that serves as the gold standard for hospital certifications.

JCI tests just about everything-- the[...] Click here to continue reading

Another kind of inflation

November 10, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

I stared at the sign for a full 30 seconds to make sure I was reading it correctly.

"Dear valued members: Due to rising prices, we are no longer able to provide free water at this facility. We regret any inconvenience caused. Management."

The gym in Pattaya that I always patronize is cutting costs-- and the first thing on the chopping block was the water dispenser. Apparently[...] Click here to continue reading

Why this place is on my shortlist

November 9, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

If you know anything about Thailand, you know about Pattaya. It is, without doubt, one of the wildest places on the planet.  From the mundane to the urbane to the profane to the insane to the inhumane, if you can dream it up, you can do it in Pattaya.

Funny thing, I really like it here... so much that it's on my short list of places where I[...] Click here to continue reading

Why there’s reason to be hopeful

November 5, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

It's been interesting to travel through Asia's developing economies lately given what's happening in the west.

The Irish government recently announced a budget shortfall exceeding 30% of GDP. In France, millions of workers protested the two-year increase to their pension age. In the US, Ben Bernanke once again removed all doubt about his intentions to continue devaluing the dollar.

Among Asia's rapidly expanding economies, what's happening in[...] Click here to continue reading

Can your iPhone do this?

November 4, 2010
Colombo, Sri Lanka

I'm a bit of a technology enthusiast-- I have a tremendous appreciation for humanity's intellect, and I'm continually amazed at how it is leveraged. Technology, along with a large pool of savings, is ultimately what drives productivity, increases standard of living, and lifts millions out of poverty.

It's truly amazing what human beings can achieve when their creativity is unconstrained, and this is fundamentally what gives me[...] Click here to continue reading

Great advice from -Emergency- author Neil Strauss

November 3, 2010
Colombo, Sri Lanka

A few weeks ago when I was in Africa, I had a great conversation with Neil Strauss, author of Emergency.

Neil Strauss, author of Emergency, interviewed by Simon Black of from Simon Black on Vimeo.

In his book, Neil tells a very compelling story about the awakening he had years ago when he realized that the system in place-– our banks, government, jobs, logistical infrastructure, etc. are[...]

Click here to continue reading

Wise words from the beautiful Sophia Loren

November 2, 2010
Colombo, Sri Lanka

My sister recently sent along this quote from Houseboat, the 1958 movie starring the always-lovely Sophia Loren. Given the circumstances, I thought it appropriate:

Sophia Loren:  Perhaps I will get a job.

Her Father:  A job?

Sophia:  Yes!  A job.  A job.

Her Father:  I have given you the finest education in all of Europe...You do not know how to do anything.

Sophia: [...] Click here to continue reading

Government bureaucracy at its finest…

November 1, 2010
Colombo, Sri Lanka

I'm writing to you from Sri Lanka, even though I'm supposed to be in Thailand today; it turns out that the government of India had other plans for me.

It all started on Saturday night; I had a flight booked from Sri Lanka to Bombay that departed just after midnight, and then a connecting flight from Bombay to Bangkok at 4:40 in the morning... yeah, I know,[...] Click here to continue reading