Category: Z Legacy: Expat

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This major trend is an obvious business opportunity

July 19, 2012 Vilnius, Lithuania It’s critical to be realistic about what’s happening in the world and to take steps to reduce the impact of governments gone wild. But as an unapologetic optimist, I think it’s likewise important to recognize that there is extraordinary opportunity all around us, no matter what. I’ll give you an example.

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Quite possibly the dumbest thing I’ve heard an economist say

July 17, 2012 Vilnius, Lithuania In the mid-1800s, a cousin of Charles Darwin by the name of Francis Galton wrote a series of works expanding on an old idea of selective breeding in human beings. Galton’s theory became known as eugenics. At its core, eugenics was underpinned by an assumption that talent and genius were hereditary traits,

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Become a spectator instead of a victim

July 13, 2012 Warsaw, Poland One of the things that sets Warsaw apart from every other European capital is the noticeable lack of an old city center. Athens, Paris, London, Rome, Prague, Kiev– these cities are thousands of years old, and it shows. One of Europe’s delights, in fact, is the continent’s well-preserved architecture. Yet despite

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German tax authorities raiding homes of ‘suspected’ evaders

July 12, 2012 Brussels, Belgium Late last night I arrived to Brussels. As the capital of the European Union, Brussels is Europe’s political mother ship, the home base of the continent’s good idea factory. You may recall, for example, the proposed EU regulations from 2010 which required all foods to be labeled by weight instead of

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Why we’re light years away from solving our problems

July 10, 2012 Porto, Portugal It’s been said that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again but to expect a different result. On that basis, the western world’s economic policymakers are clearly certifiable. They cut rates. It does nothing. So they cut rates again. And again. They in

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Five things I’ve learned on the ground in Portugal

July 10, 2012 Porto, Portugal Portugal is a country that I’ve always enjoyed, full of warm, welcoming people, excellent wine, and great weather. I came to Porto, the country’s second largest city of some 1.5 million, to get a sense of what’s been happening since the eurocalypse. 1. Capitulation of hope Excluding the city’s still-bustling

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Border controls are back in Europe

July 6, 2012 Lake Lugano, Switzerland Somewhere in America, Barbara Boxer is weeping. The California senator’s version of the Highway Bill (S.1813, also known as MAP-21) which passed the senate and seemed destined to become law, has been dropped in favor of a rival bill that President Obama will sign into law today. If you recall,

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Guess who’s bailing out bankrupt western governments now…

July 5, 2012 Jakarta, Indonesia Fourteen years ago during the Asian financial crisis, Indonesia endured a currency collapse, a severe 2-year recession, and an embarrassing IMF bailout. Western bureaucrats wagged their fingers incessantly at Indonesia, lecturing the country about the dangers of excess and fiscal irresponsibility. How sweet the irony is. In a stunning rags-to-riches

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Why it’s better to be a convicted felon

July 3, 2012 Liechtenstein Being a convicted felon in America is starting to look pretty good. Let me back up a second and explain: The Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act, also known as ObamaCare, became law on March 23, 2010. Within the law, there is a provision that requires all Americans to

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Go figure, the poorest place in Europe is run by Communists

July 2, 2012 Chisinau, Moldova Ah Moldova… the poorest country in Europe, which just so happens to have had a Communist party majority in its parliament since 1998. These two points are not unrelated. Despite having achieved its independence from the Soviet Union over 20 years ago, the state is still a major part of

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And you thought your government told big lies…

June 27, 2012 Yerevan, Armenia Despite being neighbors, there are no flights between Tbilisi, Georgia and Yerevan, Armenia. No reason to bother with air travel from one poor country to another, I suppose, the demand just isn’t there. So I opted for the train. Specifically the overnight Armenian train. And everything about it is a throwback

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Is silver finally bottoming out?

Over a year ago, I penned an article entitled “4 Silver Investments to Avoid.” About two weeks later, on April 26th, I wrote another article: “Should I Sell My Silver?” saying that I expected an imminent correction in the silver price, after it had gone “parabolic.” It caused quite a stir at the time. There was

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Surprise! An economy with a pulse!

June 25, 2012 Tbilisi, Georgia With so much economic doom and gloom out there, it’s easy to forget that there are actually some bright spots in the world. I’ve spent the last few days in one of them– Georgia. Perhaps most famous for being continually stomped on by Russia, this place has suffered severe hardship practically

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Could this make Ben Bernanke a Soviet dictator?

June 22, 2012 Minsk, Belarus More than two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, the Iron Curtain is still alive and well in an often forgotten corner of Eastern Europe… albeit a kindler, gentler version. Belarus has been ruled by the same person, Alexandr Lukashenko, practically since its independence in the early 1990s. He

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What’s next…

June 20, 2012 Vilnius, Lithuania One of the things that’s really unique about this part of the world is having access to so many people with first-hand experience of living under Soviet rule. It’s a bizarre thing to say, but the stories they have to tell are extraordinary. Last night I had dinner with some friends,

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Sentiment vs. Reality: Total disconnect

June 19, 2012 Vilnius, Lithuania Exactly three years ago, we launched this daily e-letter… and needless to say, it’s been eventful. It should be clear by now that the topics we routinely discuss in our daily conversations are actually happening: – The grand fiat experiment is unraveling. – Governments are, in fact, going bankrupt. –

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The experiment has failed. Are you ready?

June 18, 2012 Vilnius, Lithuania After about an hour’s worth of air traffic congestion delays around JFK airport, I finally departed New York City yesterday evening en route for Vilnius, Lithuania… one of my favorite inconspicuous corners of Europe. The route took me through Helsinki, Finland for a brief connection, and I was on the ground long

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Mission Accomplished.

June 13, 2012 New York City In Medieval Europe when most people were living short, brutish lives wallowing in muddy serfdom, there was one city that served as a shining economic beacon for the rest of the continent: Venice. At the time, Venice was one of the richest places in the known world, underpinned by its

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It starts: the government’s plan to steal your money.

June 12, 2012 New York City There are consequences to being flat broke. There are consequences to investing any level of confidence in a financial system underpinned by debt and the creation of paper currency. There are consequences for ignoring reality and pretending that everything is normal. This is one of them: European officials yesterday

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Presenting the CBO’s ‘Long-Term Outlook’ infographic

June 8, 2012 en route to San Francisco When you hear two politicians in the US going toe to toe arguing about public finances (i.e. money that isn’t theirs), they’ll often cite numbers published by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). In political circles, the CBO is considered an honest broker… an objective referee that simply

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Why you should be excited about national bankruptcy

June 7, 2012 New York City One of the great absurdities of our modern financial system is that a nation living within its means, i.e. spending less than what it confiscates in tax revenue, is no longer the norm. Living within your means is now considered ‘austerity’. And unfair. Whether in the UK, Europe, or

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Brainwashing starts with this two-letter word

The big news out of New York City these days is Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s proposed ban on the sale of soda drinks over 16-ounces (about 1/2 liter) at restaurants, movie theaters, sports stadia, street carts, fast food chains, etc. Bloomberg stressed that we have a responsibility to combat obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, and that the government

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Chinese Renminbi

Another shoe to drop for the US dollar

June 1, 2012 New York City This week saw yet another move from the Chinese government to internationalize its currency and eventually overtake the dollar. The latest? Direct foreign exchange between the Chinese renminbi and the Japanese yen. In other words, when the two nations trade, they’ll no longer need to use the US dollar as

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Uncle Sam

Uncle Sam admits monitoring you for these 377 words:

May 31, 2012 New York City One of breakout standup routines from the late, great George Carlin was his 1972 monologue “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.” In the presence of polite company, I shall not repeat them… but rest assured, the routine is still hilarious to this day. I wish I could say

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CNBC gets it wrong… again.

May 30, 2012 New York City After a ridiculous 6-hour delay that bordered on the surreal, I finally arrived to New York’s Laguardia Airport last night at nearly midnight. Miraculously, my checked bag arrived quickly… and without the usual trappings of physical abuse from airport ground crews. The taxi line was long… but I eventually settled

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Ik hunter

It’s not like I can talk to my neighbor about this stuff…

May 29, 2012 Denver, Colorado, USA There’s a rather peculiar tribe of people in northern Uganda known as the Ik that has completely mystified anthropologists for decades. You see, the Ik are unlike just about any other people on the planet in that they shun cooperation, community, and even family. Due to the constant disruption of

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Burma ceiling

Boots on the ground in Burma

May 25, 2012 Yangon, Burma If you’re sick and tired of all the doom and gloom that pervades the US and Europe, and should your personal circumstances allow, I unreservedly recommend that you hop on a plane and go and check out Burma. This is a rare good news story, and it may very well

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Why we’re nowhere near the mania phase in precious metals

May 24, 2012 Lake Tahoe, USA Yesterday was my lucky day. While hiking in the middle of nowhere around Lake Tahoe, I literally stumbled onto a 1-ounce US silver eagle coin, 1996 issue. It was just lying there on the ground without a soul in sight. The coin was pretty muddy, but I managed to

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How to avoid a Soviet-style grocery store

May 23, 2012 Lake Tahoe, USA Let’s face it– our modern consumer society makes things easy… we don’t have to think about, or even know how to ‘do’ ANYTHING, from lawn care to vehicle maintenance to carpentry. While it may be convenient, this level of specialization does breed a certain amount of dependency… and nowhere is

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US CITIZENS NOW ONE STEP CLOSER TO BECOMING PERMANENT TAX SLAVES

US citizens now one step closer to becoming permanent tax slaves

May 22, 2012 Los Angeles, USA This week, the universally stupid brainchild of US Senators Chuck Schumer and Bob Casey known as the Ex-PATRIOT Act inched a bit closer towards becoming law. ‘Ex-PATRIOT’ is an absurd acronym that stands for “Expatriation Prevention by Abolishing Tax-Related Incentives for Offshore Tenancy”. I call it the

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HOW CAN YOU HAVE ANY PUDDING IF YOU DON’T EAT YOUR MEAT

How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?

May 21, 2012 Los Angeles, USA I had the privilege of seeing Roger Waters perform ‘The Wall’ to a live crowd of over 40,000 fans at the LA Coliseum on Saturday night– the second time I’ve seen the show on this tour. It was an amazing production– I wholeheartedly recommend the experience as

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FIVE REASONS TO THINK TWICE BEFORE BUYING FACEBOOK STOCK

Five reasons to think twice before buying Facebook stock

May 18, 2012 Undisclosed location, USA When you think about it, it’s easy to understand why financial markets and media have been so fixated on the Facebook IPO. The creation of so many billionaires and millionaires overnight is certainly cause for good cheer, and given the debacle in Europe coupled with America’s looming

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The deadline is today

May 15, 2012 Santiago, Chile Over the weekend, I had the privilege of breaking bread with our workers at the farm in celebration of the phenomenal harvest season we’ve had. And a celebration it was– everything from the blueberry harvest in December all the way up to the wine grape harvest that just ended, this season

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