by Nick Giambruno, International Man:
Doug Casey, Jeff Thomas, and Nick Giambruno recently discussed a topic they all think about often—pulling the trigger and leaving your home country to sit out an economic or political crisis.
Nick Giambruno: It seems like each week there’s a new attack or mass shooting. Racial tensions are on the rise. Europe is experiencing a migrant crisis that’s tearing the continent apart.
There’s no doubt the world has become a crazier place in the past couple of years. Unfortunately, I think it’s only going to get worse.
At what point do you decide that conditions at home are likely to worsen and set up an escape route with the intention of moving to another country?
Doug Casey: The pot of envy and jealousy is being stirred up big time, and the implications for anyone with any amount of wealth are potentially dire. It doesn’t take much to turn widespread resentment into a wave of violence. As I’ve previously said, it’s time to eat the rich, and these days, anyone who isn’t poor is considered rich. This is why my mantra has been to not just diversify one’s assets and financial risks, but to diversify political risk. Political risk is actually greater than financial risk today. It may not be time to get out of Dodge quite yet. But if you don’t want to be left with grabbing a backpack and heading for the hills as your only option, it is absolutely time to be setting up second residences in places you’d enjoy going for an extended vacation while the global economy works through the coming liquidation of decades of stupid government economic policies. It’s going to get really, really ugly, and if you don’t prepare now, you’re going to get hurt.
Jeff Thomas: Quite so. I recently addressed this question in an article entitled “Three Strikes—You’re Out!” The article outlined the fact that, in the US, confiscation of wealth has been permitted under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which allows banks to confiscate depositors’ funds. Confiscation of other property has been permitted under civil forfeiture law, which allows authorities to seize assets without even charging the individual with a crime.
Then, in December of 2016, the passage of the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act permitted the removal of freedom of speech if the individual’s statements disagree with “accepted truths.” To my mind, when a country has reached this stage, your days are numbered as a free person, and it’s best to plan to exit soon and probably for an extended period.
At this point, the US has reached the point at which, if I were an American, I wouldn’t trust living there any longer. But the US isn’t the only country that’s unravelling. For my own part, I’m a citizen of the European Union, yet I’m no longer prepared to live in any EU country. There are better choices.
Nick Giambruno: Most people have health insurance, life insurance, fire insurance, and car insurance. They hope they never have to use these things, but they still have them.
I call international diversification “freedom insurance.”
It’s about putting different parts of your life where they’re treated best. That way, you maximize your personal freedom and financial opportunities.
With that in mind, how would you choose where to live if your political or financial freedom at home were about to be completely snatched away?
Doug Casey: The question is, which of the world’s countries is “best”?
There are a lot of possible answers to that question, and they change over time. When my grandparents left the Old World, there was no question that the US was the best choice. I’m extremely happy they chose to move there and not act like potted plants, rooted to the soil where they were born.
But things change. For decades, America has been changing… in the wrong direction. There’s too much fear. Too much force. Too many taxes. Too much regulation. Too much debt. It’s become as homogenized as an endless field of genetically engineered Monsanto corn, and is becoming just as unpalatable. Paradoxically, it’s simultaneously subdividing into different cultural units. The system itself has become unstable.
I’ve been to 155 countries, many of them numerous times, and lived in ten of them. I see the world as my oyster. All that travel has given me the opportunity to make some interesting comparisons. Many places are actually more pleasant, safer, and more profitable for an American than the US. The same goes for Canada.
I ruled out Africa, which is where I would go if I were 30 years younger and I wanted to make a bunch of money. But as a lifestyle choice, it’s a nonstarter.
I ruled out most of Europe, though there are still some interesting places there, because it’s likely to be on the front lines of what may resemble World War 3, as well as the unfolding conflict with Islam. Plus, it’s overtaxed, overregulated, completely corrupt, and the population has an extremely socialistic mind-set. Further, all the European countries are members of organizations such as NATO, OECD, and the EU, which carry the potential to drag them into every fresh crisis that arises in that historically troubled region, the current dust-up with Russia being a good example.
I’m a big fan of Southeast Asia. The problem is that the region is full of people, which is fine if you want to live in a city, but I also like wide open spaces. And if you aren’t Thai or Chinese or whatever, they will never truly accept you into their society. They may treat you as an honored guest, but more likely as a white ghost; you’ll never truly integrate. That isn’t always a bad thing, but I like to at least have the option.
So that brings us to Latin America. I ruled out Central America because, frankly, it has no class… the land of the Frito Bandito and all that. I’ve been to every country in Latin America numerous times and I could talk about all of them at length, but by process of elimination, it basically boiled down to Argentina.
Of course, Argentina has problems, but regardless of the tremendously bad press it sometimes gets, it now has fewer problems than about any other place I can think of, and far more advantages.
Jeff Thomas: You can begin with what you think would be the order of choices based on what you know today. But you’d want to stay flexible. We can’t know how severe conditions will become, so you’d need to be ready to change the order around.
You may intend to sit the crisis out in, say, Medellín, but if a nuclear war breaks out and the air in the Northern Hemisphere becomes unlivable, the Southern Hemisphere operates on a different weather system and the two systems are independent of each other. So, you may suddenly decide to fly to Buenos Aires or some other destination in the Southern Hemisphere that you’d researched.
Ultimately, though, your last choice—your “Alamo”—would be the place that even if conditions were bad everywhere in the world, the population there has a history of pulling together in the tough times, and they don’t hate foreigners. In any locale, the standard of living may decrease, but, as long as your basic needs can be met and the people are historically self-reliant, the quality of life could remain high.
Nick Giambruno: After you settle on one or two places that would offer you and your family a freer, more promising future—and set up a way to live there—you face a second choice. When is it time to wave goodbye to your current home and actually get on the plane?
Jeff Thomas: That’s a very pertinent question and one that even many people who have prepared one or more alternative residences haven’t truly addressed. They tend to say, “I know where I’ll be going; I’m as ready as I need to be.” And they’re not. They need to have a planned trigger for exiting.
I liken this to investments. If you know that at some point in the future the value of a stock is going to drop, you place a stop on it. If and when the price drops below the stop you’ve set, your broker automatically sells it.
This does two things: First, it forces you to establish a value below which you don’t wish to own it. But it also removes the indecision and emotion that come into play as the stock declines. Placing the stop in advance assures that you sell automatically. The same is needed when deciding when to leave a place that, at one time, had been a good home. The emotion attached to the concept of “home” is going to be responsible for locking in countless people during the coming crisis. They’ll fail to pull the trigger just as so many German Jews did in 1938. When they do decide to pull the trigger, it will be too late. By that time, more controls (migration controls, capital controls, etc.) will be in place and, in addition, many target countries may have already closed their doors to exiting people, just as they did in 1939.
Doug Casey: It’s not going to go well for libertarians, classical liberals, old-line conservatives, individualists, freethinkers, non-conformists, people who subscribe to letters like this or cruise suspicious websites, or gamma rats, generally. It was a dangerous environment for these types (not to mention those of Japanese or German descent and members of various religious groups) during America’s past crises. When the chimpanzees are hooting and panting, you’d better join them, or they’ll start wondering why not. Even H.L. Mencken dared not say anything controversial during either World War.
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