We live in an economic dictatorship

Date: October 20, 2011
Reporting From: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

[Editor’s note: Tim Staermose is filling in for Simon Black today.]

You can hardly go a day without hearing about a new protest… hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of people marching in the streets railing against various policies. They want answers. They demand change.

Let’s be honest, the anger is understandable. But it’s infuriating to so many of these protesters railing on YouTube against the free market, moaning how capitalism has pillaged the poor for the benefit of the rich.

Nothing could be further from the truth. There hasn’t been a free market in money and banking for a century. The central bank / fractional reserve system is the biggest cartel in the history of economics. It’s nothing but big government price-rigging.

How can anyone argue we have free markets when the price of money is set by decree? An unelected board of governors at the Federal Reserve simply decides the price of money, and that’s that.

Nearly EVERYTHING in our credit economy is driven from this number– mortgages, business purchases, trade finance, government spending… and it affects almost everyone on the planet. This is not a free market, it’s an economic dictatorship.

Secondly, more than seventy percent of all mortgages in the US are either owned or guaranteed by the government! Today, between 90% and 95% of all new mortgages are guaranteed by the government. Not exactly a free market in housing.

Meanwhile, an endless array of government rules and regulations in the economy creates formidable barriers and distorts the playing field to such an extent that it’s a wonder anyone is able to get a business off the ground in the developed world anymore.

THESE are the problems that are largely responsible for the mess and have given rise to brewing class warfare. The Occupy Wall Street movement is rooted in appropriate anger… but blaming the “free market” is comically ignorant.

What’s more, the “solutions” many of them are demanding– more government regulation, higher taxes, more handouts (to them, of course)– will only make things worse.

Look, it’s understandable for people to be seething right now. Since 2000, median US household income has shrunk by over 10% when adjusted for inflation. Official (and highly underreported) unemployment numbers show that nearly 1 in 10 Americans is currently out of work. In the 18-30 year age bracket, 1 in 4 is jobless.

So many people feel betrayed… that the government isn’t keeping up its end of the Social Contract. Unfortunately, they’ve been brainwashed by government-run education, so the knee jerk reaction is to rail against capitalism.

This isn’t the answer.

Yes, the system is flawed. The playing field isn’t level. And there will always be someone with privilege who has it much easier than everyone else. That’s just the way the world works.

But if the deck is stacked against you back home, I can guarantee the world is full of incredible opportunity. Somewhere out there is a place where you can truly kick ass with your skill set… no matter what your experience.

Here’s a great example– in Singapore, Simon recently met with a close friend who is a nightclub owner; this gentleman is bringing in American waitresses on immigration visas and paying them lavish salaries. Why? Because they understand service culture much better than locals do… and this adds to his bottom line.

These are young people with limited experience and no formal education… but they’ve found a great way to succeed overseas.

There’s really no excuse, no reason for anyone to think that he doesn’t have any options overseas, or that he just can’t do it. The world is a big place, and there are opportunities everywhere for a creative mind willing to think unconventionally.

Anger is a natural human emotion, but it doesn’t get us anywhere. “Real change” can only happen from within, and internationalization is a great way to make it happen.

Until next time,

Tim Staermose
Editor, Sovereign Man

About the author

Tim Staermose is Sovereign Man’s Chief Investment officer, based in the Asia-Pacific region. Born to a Danish father and British mother in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, Tim has led an international life since the day he was born. He has lived and worked throughout Asia, primarily focusing on equity research and emerging market opportunities.

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