Latest Articles

What is the consequence of printing money that nobody wants?

Money Printing
April 30, 2012
London, England

[Editor's note: Tim Price, a frequent Sovereign Man contributor and Director of Investment at PFP Wealth Management in London, is filling in for Simon today.]

In a week that saw Britain slide into its first double-dip recession since 1975, we quite fittingly also saw evidence of the sort of insular bigotry and protectionist narrow-mindedness that one associates with that same ugly, painful decade, when Barry Sheerman, Member of Parliament, said:

"I'm getting increasingly[...] Click here to continue reading

Eight places where Americans can still bank offshore

Offshore banking in the Cook Islands

"Should we crawl into bed with the IRS?"

Thanks to the steady barrage of US government regulation ranging from the obtusely insipid Dodd-Frank financial reform to the impossible-to-implement Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), banks everywhere have to make this decision.

In short, Congress has arrogantly passed legislation to control foreign banks on foreign soil. FATCA, for example, requires that every single bank on the planet enter into an information-sharing agreement with the IRS.

Banks that don't comply[...] Click here to continue reading

Man tries to relinquish US citizenship. Application Denied.

April 25, 2012
Santiago, Chile

I was approached recently by a member of our Sovereign Man community who filed the paperwork to relinquish US citizenship some time ago. Long story short, after an incomprehensibly long wait, the US government finally sent him a reply: Application DENIED.

Absolutely shocking. That you even have to 'apply' to relinquish what you never signed up for is intellectually insulting. That you cannot do so freely, and immediately, is nothing short of totalitarian.
[...] Click here to continue reading

Got grandparents? Four places where you can become a citizen

I awoke this morning to an excited email from a longtime friend who wrote,

"Guess who is going to be officially confirmed as a Polish citizen next month? Yours truly! Now, it's just matter of waiting to be assigned the Polish version of a social security number and pick up the physical passport. "

No doubt, if you're part of the lucky bloodline club because your grandparents happen to have been a certain nationality at birth, it's possible that[...] Click here to continue reading

Project “End up like Japan” continues to advance well in the West

April 23, 2012
London, England

Roy Ward Baker's 1958 classic film A Night To Remember, recounts the final night of the RMS Titanic based on survivor interviews from Walter Lord's 1955 book of the same name.

One scene from the movie depicts a lounge in one of the upper class quarters of the ship as it slowly sinks beneath the waves. Notwithstanding the vessel listing alarmingly, a motley band of toff revelers are determined to go out in[...] Click here to continue reading

Presenting the US government’s infographic of its own insolvency

April 20, 2012
[Undisclosed location]

Here's a fun way to cap off your week.

The Congressional Budget Office has just released three very telling infographics which, unintentionally, spell out a pretty dreary picture of US government finances.

The first graphic shows US federal revenue, both in raw numbers ($2.3 trillion in 2011) and expressed as a percentage of GDP (15.4%).

There are a lot of interesting things about this graphic. Check out[...]

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Two sets of rules: one for the elite, one for everyone else

April 19, 2012
Hong Kong

One of the defining characteristics of EVERY boom is the presence of a small elite seeking to enrich itself through graft, corruption, and unethical behavior.

When the music stops and the boom busts, these same people are frequently put to the sword of public opinion.  Think Bernie Madoff, Ken Lay, and Silvio Berlusconi.

The Chinese economic "miracle" of the past three decades will prove to be NO EXCEPTION.

I'm convinced that[...] Click here to continue reading

Something is wrong with this picture

April 18, 2012
Madrid, Spain

The US Passport Act of 1926 is an obscure piece of legislation that was enacted decades ago when the idea of passports starting catching fire around the world.

Subsequently absorbed into US Code Title 22, the law was originally intended to authorize and issue passports for US citizens to travel abroad.

Several years ago, the law was modified to provide the Secretary of State with the authority[...] Click here to continue reading

All transactions to be conducted in the presence of a tax collector

April 17, 2012
Vilnius, Lithuania

In the terminal collapse of the Roman Empire, there was perhaps no greater burden to the average citizen than the extreme taxes they were forced to pay.

The tax 'reforms' of Emperor Diocletian in the 3rd century were so rigid and unwavering that many people were driven to starvation and bankruptcy. The state went so far as to chase around widows and children to collect taxes owed.

By[...] Click here to continue reading

$7 Gasoline. Thanks Ben.

April 16, 2012
Vilnius, Lithuania

The consistent theme from my travels so far in Europe-- the UK, Scandinavia, Lithuania-- has been noticeably higher prices. Shockingly so, in some instances.

London, where I spent a rather pleasant and rare sunny weekend with friends and colleagues, has gone from being 'stupid' pricey, to just plain absurd. Tube prices, taxi fares, food prices, restaurant bills, train fares... it all keeps going up.

And to cap[...] Click here to continue reading

“Money is no object. I just can’t find the right person”

April 13, 2012
London, England

Jim Rogers has famously commented that, if you were smart in the 18th century, you moved to France. If you were smart in the 19th century, you moved to England. If you were smart in the 20th century, you moved to the US. And if you're smart in the 21st century, you move to Asia.

It's an absolutely true statement. Each time I'm in Asia, I'm overwhelmed at not only the massive[...]

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They’ll actually pay you to store your gold

April 11, 2012
Hoi An, Vietnam

Here's something you don't see every day: Banks in Vietnam will actually pay YOU to store your gold in one of their safe deposit boxes. I was pretty surprised to find this out for myself; neither Simon nor I have seen it anywhere else in the world except here.

This is actually how banking used to be. The original bankers were goldsmiths-- big burly guys who worked with gold on[...] Click here to continue reading

Safety vs. Insanity

April 10, 2012

The flight from Bangkok to Singapore is a quick 2-hours south down the Malay peninsula... though it might as well be 2-years given their differences; Singapore and Thailand are about as distinct as Switzerland and India-- it's yin & yang. Order vs. Chaos. Safety vs. Insanity.

I spend a fair amount of time in both places and tend to get this question a lot-- which is better[...] Click here to continue reading

Seven reasons to seek medical care overseas (including one surprise)

April 9, 2012
Bangkok, Thailand

One of the things that sets Thailand apart from nearly every other place on the planet is how absurdly cheap things are given the high quality of service.

This becomes crystal clear to even the most casual observer who wanders in to one of the country's thousands of massage studios, where, for a whopping $5, a local will put his/her heart and soul into rubbing your feet for[...] Click here to continue reading

Guess where the most internationally diverse city on the planet is…

April 6, 2012
Pattaya, Thailand

After an exhausting series of meetings in Bangkok, my partners and I are going to spend a long weekend relaxing on the beach in Pattaya before heading out to Laos, Malaysia, and Singapore next week.

I've always liked this place; it's easily the most internationally diverse city in the world on a per-capita basis. Even though the population is only about 300,000, people from all over the world live here-- Brits,[...]

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You’d never expect this place would be so great

April 5, 2012
Hanoi, Vietnam

For the past eight days I've been spending time with friends in Vietnam; I'll be leaving in a few days to link up with Simon in Thailand, but for now, I'm really impressed by Vietnam. The country has a great deal going for it.

In the ancient town of Hoi An and the capital city Hanoi, the lifestyle is generally very laid back and relaxed.  Excellent cafes and restaurants, offering both local fair[...] Click here to continue reading

Occupy movement missing the point

April 4, 2012
Hong Kong

Strolling around the streets of Hong Kong last night trying to (unsuccessfully)  ward off the jet lag, I was a bit surprised to stumble upon the local 'Occupy' movement.

A small group, maybe a few dozen at most, has pitched a mini tent village in the open-air atrium of HSBC's headquarters on Queen's Road in central Hong Kong.

When I stopped by for a little chat, the group was delighted[...] Click here to continue reading

Four obvious signs of Asia’s rise over the West

April 3, 2012
Hong Kong

Six centuries ago, when London and Paris were irrelevant, plague-infested backwaters, and New York City wasn't even on the map, the greatest city in the world was Nanjing-- the capital of the Great Ming.

At the time, Nanjing was not only the most populous city on the planet, it was also the pinnacle of civilization. Art, science, technology, and commerce flourished in the Ming Dynasty's liberalized economy, which constituted a full 31% of global[...] Click here to continue reading

Democracy looks great on paper, until…

April 2, 2012
Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada

After a long trip up from Santiago and making stops in both Miami and Dallas, I arrived to Vancouver last night a bit tired... but excited for the the trip ahead. I'm leaving in just a few hours for a 2 1/2 week, 11-country tour that includes Hong Kong, Singapore, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, and much more.

[By the way, I highly recommend the new Fairmont Pacific[...] Click here to continue reading