Remember that Croatian commando-turned-entrepreneur from dinner last night?
Well it turns out he’s an aerobatic stunt pilot too… he’s got an old Soviet-made aircraft that is only designed to do one thing– be as unstable as possible. It does the trick.
This morning around 11am Central European Time, we met at a private airfield outside of Zagreb. He strapped me in to the cockpit, took me up to about 2,500 feet, and proceeded to test my manhood.
Let’s just say I’m glad I skipped breakfast.
I have never had to withstand five times the force of gravity before, nor had I much of a clue what that even meant. And yet, over 12-hours later, I am getting queasy all over again just telling you about it.
Fortunately we had the video cameras rolling, and I will be posting footage to the site in a few days for your enjoyment… but first, a little taste of where I happen to be right now in the lovely Italian Alps-
Now… since this is Friday, I wanted to take a moment to review a few topics from this week:
I am deeply appreciative of the intensely personal anecdotes that were provided on the health insurance piece, particularly those accounts with specific prices and treatments.
Several stand out in my mind, including Mike’s “Chile saved her life,” and Jai’s “About a decade’s-worth of care in Asia spent in one morning.” These are powerful testimonials to overseas healthcare solutions that do not rely on insurance companies or government bureaucrats.
A few readers took umbrage with my characterization of national health plans. Fair enough. For every negative example highlighting the failures of the system (VA, Cannuck, NHS), there are certainly a plethora of examples of patients who have been healed due to the quality of care received.
My intention is not to take anything away from the medical professionals who serve under these systems, but rather to demonstrate that bureaucrats fail miserably at everything, especially healthcare.
I simply don’t think the same government that took the better part of a week to deliver water to New Orleans should be running a national healthcare program. Not to mention the idea of nationalized healthcare makes a mockery of the Constitution.
To reiterate, my solution is to build my own network of doctors in places where care is inexpensive– Panama, India, Brazil, Thailand, etc. And if you find it crazy to jump on a plane to seek quality, cost effective, potentially life saving medical care in a foreign country, then you are probably reading the wrong missive.
As always, very bright comments from everyone… and Gernot, I am on the way to Germany this weekend to verify what you said. I agree that the euro may likely show signs of stability and even strength in the short-term on the backs of the Germans and BENELUX.
My assessment of a eurozone collapse, however, is a long-term view. And betting in favor of the dollar to take a short position in the euro does not make sense to me in the long-term.
Currency markets are all about capital flows; when risk tolerance is high, institutional wealth pours into emerging market currencies and away from the dollar. When risk tolerance is low, the dollar strengthens and bond yields fall.
When investors begin to lose confidence in the euro, capital will flow away from the eurozone and have to find a home somewhere. At that point, it probably won’t be the dollar. But where?
There are only a handful of instruments in the world that can absorb hundreds of billions of euro in capital flows– and the Japanese Yen is one of them, and my sense is that the Renminbi may be one as well someday.
Long-term contracts for the future values of the Euro/Yen and Euro/Renminbi cross rate are tradable in Chicago, and a variety of overseas exchanges as well.
Furthermore, many online FOREX brokers provide the capability to short the euro against gold and silver (buy XAUEUR and XAGEUR), both of which I expect to perform even better against the euro than the dollar in the longer term.
In the meantime, selling the euro in favor of the dollar in the short-run is too risky for my taste, and I wouldn’t advise it.