The US dollar is now overvalued against almost every currency in the world

dollarbubble
In September 1986, The Economist weekly newspaper published its first-ever “Big Mac Index”.

It was a light-hearted way for the paper to gauge whether foreign currencies are over- or under-valued by comparing the prices of Big Macs around the world.

In theory, the price of a Big Mac in Rio de Janeiro should be the same as a Big Mac in Cairo or Toronto.

After all, no matter where in the world[...] Click here to continue reading

Nobel Prize winner says US should “get rid of currency”

onedollar
In the mid-1800s at a time when the United Kingdom was still the dominant superpower in the world, an English scientist named Francis Galton wrote a series of papers arguing for the selective breeding of human beings.

Galton’s ideas became known as eugenics.

The concept was that genius and talent were hereditary traits passed from generation to generation, and that, to ensure the growth of our species, the best and brightest should be[...] Click here to continue reading

This data proves US stocks aren’t as healthy as we’ve been told

stockmarket
[Editor’s note: Tim Price, London-based wealth manager and co-manager of the VT Price Value Portfolio, is filling in for Simon today.]

Here’s some food for thought.

There’s been so much discussion over the past few years, and 2016 in particular, about the roaring US economy and stellar performance of US companies.

As an example, we are constantly told about the cash piles that US companies have hoarded around the world.

This[...] Click here to continue reading

This is definitely an asset that you want to own

investing
I’ve got auditors sitting in my office here in Santiago right now.

No, not those auditors. Not the kind from the IRS that strike fear in the hearts of taxpayers.

The auditors in our office are from one of the big international accounting firms, and we invited them to review our agriculture company’s 2016 financials.

This is something that nearly all large, responsible businesses do in order to provide their shareholders with[...] Click here to continue reading

Two more major problems for Social Security & Medicare

ssmedicare
Not too long ago my step-dad had to spend a few days in intensive care. Pretty scary stuff.

He had just about every nasty symptom imaginable, from constant vomiting to dizziness to ultra-high fever, but the doctors couldn’t figure out why.

Fortunately his condition improved enough that he was released from the hospital, and now he’s on the mend.

Now, my step-dad is a Medicare patient. But he just found out that[...] Click here to continue reading

Land of the Free: Michigan man issued parking ticket in his own driveway

parking-ticket
The state of Michigan is not exactly known for its balmy weather this time of year.

And residents reasonably do what they have to do to cope with often extreme winter temperatures.

Last Thursday a man named Taylor Trupiano of Roseville, Michigan did what a lot of people do in cold climates.

He walked out of his house, started his car, turned on the heat, and went back inside for a few[...] Click here to continue reading

How two people from New York started over in Chile

newstart
Yesterday on the drive back to Santiago from one of our blueberry farms, I stopped to visit some friends who lived in the area.

About a year ago they bought some land in Chile’s incredibly fertile 7th region, which boasts a rare Mediterranean climate.

It never gets too hot, and it never gets too cold. Plus, the rich, volcanic soil is packed with powerful nutrients.

As long as you’re in the[...] Click here to continue reading

Here’s a unique sign of inflation

100dollars
I remember the first time I ever saw a $100 bill.

It was back in the early 80s, I must have only been 5 or 6 years old.

My parents took my sister and I to a fancy restaurant, and I distinctly remember a man dressed in a dark business suit a few tables over paying his bill with a crisp $100 note.

He pulled it out of his wallet, slid[...] Click here to continue reading

Wow. 60 Minutes was totally wrong about second passports

dominica-passport
Steve Kroft has a problem with second passports.

Specifically, the reporter and his team of producers slammed “citizenship by investment” programs in an editorial piece that aired on 60 Minutes this past Sunday night.

As we’ve discussed before, many countries around the world, including Malta, Dominica, St. Kitts, and Antigua, have Citizenship-by-Investment (CIP) programs.

The programs differ between countries, but they all provide an opportunity for foreigners to receive citizenship in exchange[...] Click here to continue reading

US national debt soars by $100 billion. . . in just 8 hours

debt-bomb
According to the latest statement issued yesterday afternoon by the Department of Treasury, the US national debt has reached $19,976,826,951,047.80.

That’s $19.976 trillion, as of the close of business on Friday December 30, 2016.

(The government is typically a day or two behind when it sends out these reports.)



That number itself is obviously remarkable, just shy of $20 trillion.

But what’s even more astounding is that, according to[...] Click here to continue reading

The coming crackdown on Free Speech

ministryoftruth
It’s amazing what can happen in a week.

Before this publication went on hiatus last week, one of the last letters I wrote to you in 2016 was about the National Defense Authorization Act and its treasure trove of freedom-killing provisions.

Section 1287, for example, creates a new agency called the “Global Engagement Center”, aka Ministry of Truth.

It has one purpose: to combat fake news.

The Global Engagement Center will[...] Click here to continue reading

A great story from when America was still the Land of Opportunity

americaopportunity
Last week during a long overdue vacation, a close friend of mine recommended reading the autobiography of Rich DeVos called Simply Rich.

DeVos is a billionaire entrepreneur who started countless ventures during his nine decades on this earth.

Back in the 1946, for example, DeVos started an airline... virtually overnight.

He just bought an airplane and started flying people around. No rules. No regulations.

They didn’t even have an[...] Click here to continue reading

Italy proves that banks are not the risk-free fantasy we’re told to believe

money
In the late 1400s, the city-states of Italy were among most dominant powers in the world.

Most of the city-states had abandoned the feudal system that persisted across Europe.

So Italy was one of the only places on the continent where anyone, including foreigners, could work hard, take risks, and become wealthy.

People could start businesses and own private property-- revolutionary concepts in the 1400s.

Italy was truly the America of[...] Click here to continue reading

Three ridiculous ways Congress plans to Keep America Safe Again

vader
Around the time of Passover in 67 AD, the Jews of Judea were in the midst of a major rebellion against the occupying Roman Empire.

Riots and violence were commonplace, and an organized rebel force of more than 25,000 men fought regularly against the imperial legions.

But a small group of zealots decided that conventional warfare wasn’t good enough.

So they went to the nearby town of Ein Gedi in[...] Click here to continue reading

How is Martin Sheen any different than Vladimir Putin?

putinsheen
One of the quirks about being an expat in a faraway land is that, whenever something unusual happens in your home country, your local friends look to YOU for answers.

You become, by default, the de facto expert of your home country’s nuances.

Case in point: this weekend we had an intercompany Christmas party down here at the farm for two of the businesses that I run.

(Sadly there may be some[...] Click here to continue reading

Here’s one surprising deal that the government actually got right

usvirginislands
On January 17, 1917, as the Great War raged in Europe, the government of the United States signed a deal to purchase the Virgin Islands from Denmark.

The agreement transferred Denmark’s territories in the West Indies, “including the islands of Saint Thomas, Saint John and Saint Croix together with the adjacent islands and rocks.”

Good thing they picked up those rocks!

The US government paid “a sum of twenty-five million[...] Click here to continue reading

Former intelligence officer on the bogus Russian hack

bears
If there’s one thing that’s certain in the intelligence business, it’s that there’s rarely any certainty.

That’s pretty much the first thing they teach you at spy school.

Back in the early days of my intelligence career, I had one instructor who explained it in a way that I’ll never forget.

“If you present your analysis as if it’s fact, instead of conjecture, the person who’s relying on your intelligence could end[...] Click here to continue reading

Three signs the American Dream is fading

americandream
One of the best books I’ve ever read is the autobiography of Charlie Chaplin.

That’s probably not what you were expecting. But it’s true.

Chaplin’s book is a remarkable story of his impoverished childhood in England, subsequent migration to America, and rise to wealth and worldwide stardom.

Chaplin lived the textbook American Dream.

He came from nothing, took huge risks, and leveraged his tremendous talent, hard work, and pioneering spirit to[...] Click here to continue reading

How to make 13% on your favorite song

pinkfloyd
Did you know that until June 28, 2016, the song “Happy Birthday” was actually copyrighted material?

Yes, I’m serious. And I’m talking about THAT Happy Birthday, as in the song we all sing at birthday parties.

The original melody was written by two sisters, Patty and Mildred Hill, back in 1893. But instead of “Happy Birthday” they called it “Good Morning to All.”

The Happy Birthday lyrics started appearing in the early[...] Click here to continue reading

Which of these would you rather have in your safe?

opensafe
Let’s say you have two equal size safety deposit boxes.

One box you completely fill up with stacks of $100 bills.

The other box you fill up with gold.

Which of the two is “worth” more?

It’s easy to calculate. A stack of 100x $100 bills is 6.14 inches long, 2.61 inches wide, and 0.43 inches tall.

That’s a volume of 6.89 cubic inches (112.92 cubic centimeters… and we’ll use[...] Click here to continue reading

Here’s what happens when a currency completely breaks down

venezuelacash
In Venezuela, hyperinflation has become so pitiful that shopkeepers are no longer bothering to actually count money.

Instead, they’re weighing it...

... as in literally pulling out a scale and weighing giant stacks of money. Do you want to buy a bottle of Coca Cola? That’ll be 1 kilo of currency please.

One shopkeeper interviewed by the Guardian newspaper said he’s piling up bricks of cash so quickly he feels[...] Click here to continue reading

The biggest gold heist of all time

goldheist
In 524 BC, a group of pirates set sail for Sifnos, an ancient Greek island famed for its vast gold and silver mines.

The mines of Sifnos were unparalleled in the ancient world.

They produced so much gold and silver that the local government at Sifnos could erect countless monuments, invest in new public works, and still easily have a substantial balance remaining at the end of each year to distribute to the[...] Click here to continue reading

Here’s a completely different idea about Sunday’s “apocalypse”

apocalypse
The latest apocalypse du jour, following in the footsteps of Brexit and the Donald Trump election, is Italy’s Constitutional referendum that takes place this weekend.

Global financial media is in a panic about this, suggesting that a “NO” vote will lead to total chaos in Europe.

The referendum itself isn’t particularly revolutionary; Italians are voting whether or not to change the Constitution and reform their government.

Right now Italy’s legislative system is[...] Click here to continue reading

An interesting perspective on the War on Cash

cashwar
It’s happening faster than we could have ever imagined.

Every time we turn around, it seems, there’s another major assault in the War on Cash.

India is the most notable recent example-- the embarrassing debacle a few weeks ago in which the government, overnight, “demonetized” its two largest denominations of cash, leaving an entire nation in chaos.

But there have been so many smaller examples.

In the US city of New[...] Click here to continue reading

Incredible opportunities in a hidden corner of the world

georgia
[Editor’s note: This email was written by Peter K, a former McKinsey consultant and securities analyst who now leads the private investment division at Sovereign Man.]

Simon Black sent me to the former Soviet republic of Georgia to spend some time on the ground conducting due diligence on some potential private investments.

Georgia is a fantastic country that Simon has been to several times, and the opportunities here are simply amazing.

It’s[...] Click here to continue reading

Here’s what happened when ancient Romans tried to drain the swamp

romanempireusa
In late January of the year 98 AD, after decades of turmoil, instability, inflation, and war, Romans welcomed a prominent solider named Trajan as their new Emperor.

Prior to Trajan, Romans had suffered immeasurably, from the madness of Nero to the ruthless autocracy of Domitian, to the chaos of 68-69 AD when, in the span of twelve months, Rome saw four separate emperors.

Trajan was welcome relief and was generally considered by his[...] Click here to continue reading

This guy got destroyed by the system

system-steal
My friend Richard got destroyed by the system.

As a financial advisor in Sacramento, California, he spent years building a thriving firm and has even landed a few celebrity clients.

Richard did well for himself. Successful. Married. Wonderful kids. Financially secure.

But back in 2008 things started to turn sour.

His wife left him and took the kids, along with half of everything else.

The divorce forced the liquidation of[...] Click here to continue reading

About that “Fair Share”

Confiscation
There are two words that kept coming up over and over again over the last 20+ months during the US Presidential circus: “fair share”.

Hardly a day went by without hearing that certain taxpayers “need to pay more of their fair share.”

It sounds really great, and given the voter statistics, this idea resonated with tens of millions of people. After all, who could possibly be against fairness?

When you dive into[...] Click here to continue reading

Enjoy this four minutes of paradise [video]

royster
In light of the insanity that has transpired over the last several weeks, today I thought I would show you a beautiful, forgotten corner of the world.

This is a video that my friend Shawn took of his home in New Zealand. He lives in a very small town, and his house is entirely off-grid.

He has solar panels and wind turbines to power the house, plus he’s able to produce his own[...] Click here to continue reading

Obama on pace to increase the debt by $2.4 trillion this year

obama-cool
OK, this is pretty nuts.

According to data released by the Treasury Department yesterday, the US national debt has soared by a whopping $294 billion since the start of the 2017 fiscal year, just 45 days ago.

That’s an annualized increase of 13%.

So if they keep up this pace, the national debt will increase by $2.4 trillion this fiscal year, surpassing $21 trillion by next September.

It’s hard to believe[...] Click here to continue reading

War on Cash intensifies: Citibank to stop accepting cash at some branches

india
Less than a week after India’s surprise move to scrap its highest denomination cash notes, another front in the War on Cash has intensified down under in Australia.

Yesterday, banking giant UBS proposed that eliminating Australia’s $100 and $50 bills would be “good for the economy and good for the banks.”

(How convenient that a bank would propose something that’s good for banks!)

This isn’t the first time that the financial establishment[...] Click here to continue reading

Overheard in the Land of the Free

ice-skating
When I was in Texas over the weekend taking a quick break from a whirlwind trip around the world, I went to one of the biggest shopping malls in Dallas to buy a birthday present for the CFO of our agriculture business.

The mall is called the Galleria, and it’s particularly interesting for shoppers because it has an ice-skating rink on the ground floor.

An ice rink might not sound like a big[...] Click here to continue reading

No, protestors, you are not entitled to free education

shutterstock_155347391
Bleary-eyed from the 16+ hour flight from Asia, I checked my phone last night once the plane landed to find that riots have broken out across the Land of the Free.

It was enough to wake me from my jet lag.

All the televisions in the airport terminal were showing footage of the chaos along with occasional interviews with some of the protestors.

Naturally there was outcry against racism, sexism, violence, and[...] Click here to continue reading

Most people in the US missed out on this

stocks-fail
Several months ago, the voters of the United Kingdom chose to walk away from the European Union.

They called it “Brexit”. And it rocked the world.

The entire establishment-- banks, businesses, media, politicians, celebrities-- had been pushing the British people to remain in the European Union.

And all the so-called experts scared the bejeezus out of voters with predictions of doom and gloom consequences should Britain leave the EU.

All-out panic[...] Click here to continue reading

Meanwhile… as the world watched the election… this happened

crowd-waiting
One of the most consistent aspects of travel is that, no matter where I go, the Clinton News Network (CNN) follows me around like the albatross in Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner.

I walk into an airport lounge, there it is. I hit a hotel lobby, there it is. I go for breakfast, there it is.

So when I woke up this morning here in Thailand and flipped on the TV, the first[...] Click here to continue reading