September 29, 2011
Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa
I want to address a question we’ve received a lot lately about Chile– why did I select Chile for the site of our resilient community, and how can I be certain that the government there won’t go crazy too?
Look, there’s no such thing as risk-free… and I would never want to convey to anyone that Chile is some libertarian utopia. However, given the needs of the resilient community that we’re developing and the available options in the world, Chile does stand head and shoulders above the rest.
I’ve covered this in much more detail in Sovereign Confidential, as well as at our Panama conference early this year, but to briefly recap:
– Debt and unemployment levels are low, and the country has maintained consistent growth due to its resource wealth and export-oriented economy.
– Chile has a limited government, especially compared with North America and Europe. Chile has neither the funding nor the cultural inclination to staff hundreds of agencies with the power to confiscate assets, micromanage people’s lives, or ‘protect’ them from every possible threat.
– Chile lacks the massive body of regulations that have turned the US (and much of Europe) into a nation of criminals. I don’t want to imply that rules and bureaucracy don’t exist… but there’s really no comparison.
– Chile is a safe, modern country with a thriving middle class. This isn’t some feudal domain where 99% of the people are peasants living in abject poverty; in Chile, people have plenty of opportunities to work hard and build wealth.
– Chile is one of the most entrepreneurial places in Latin America, and there are plenty of opportunities for foreigners to cash in.
– Chile’s immigration policy is very friendly towards foreigners, and the tax structure makes it easy to pay low or no local income tax.
– From the Internet architecture to the privatized highway system, infrastructure in Chile is excellent.
– In 2010, Chileans faced an earthquake disaster in an orderly, civilized way. These are the kinds of people you want to be around in a crisis situation.
– Chile is a very independent, freedom-oriented country where the government is afraid of the people, not the other way around. People in Chile have little tolerance for government overstepping its bounds.
– Cost of living is reasonable. Standard of living is high. Medical care is excellent.
Overall, while no place is perfect, I view the risks in Chile as quite low and the benefits as quite high– especially compared to crumbling economies up north. This is a major factor in why I selected the country for our community.
Certainly there are things I don’t like, and I’ll cover those another time.