Why Most of the World’s Banks Are Headed for Collapse


Posted on 19th July 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Guest Post by Doug Casey

You’re likely thinking that a discussion of “sound banking” will be a bit boring. Well, banking should be boring. And we’re sure officials at central banks all over the world today—many of whom have trouble sleeping—wish it were.

This brief article will explain why the world’s banking system is unsound, and what differentiates a sound from an unsound bank. I suspect not one person in 1,000 actually understands the difference. As a result, the world’s economy is now based upon unsound banks dealing in unsound currencies. Both have degenerated considerably from their origins.

Modern banking emerged from the goldsmithing trade of the Middle Ages. Being a goldsmith required a working inventory of precious metal, and managing that inventory profitably required expertise in buying and selling metal and storing it securely. Those capacities segued easily into the business of lending and borrowing gold, which is to say the business of lending and borrowing money.

Most people today are only dimly aware that until the early 1930s, gold coins were used in everyday commerce by the general public. In addition, gold backed most national currencies at a fixed rate of convertibility. Banks were just another business—nothing special. They were distinguished from other enterprises only by the fact they stored, lent, and borrowed gold coins, not as a sideline but as a primary business. Bankers had become goldsmiths without the hammers.

Bank deposits, until quite recently, fell strictly into two classes, depending on the preference of the depositor and the terms offered by banks: time deposits, and demand deposits. Although the distinction between them has been lost in recent years, respecting the difference is a critical element of sound banking practice.


Unsound Banking: Why Most of the World’s Banks Are Headed for Collapse


Posted on 21st April 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues


Unsound Banking: Why Most of the World’s Banks Are Headed for Collapse

By Doug Casey

You’re likely thinking that a discussion of “sound banking” will be a bit boring. Well, banking should be boring. And we’re sure officials at central banks all over the world today—many of whom have trouble sleeping—wish it were.

This brief article will explain why the world’s banking system is unsound, and what differentiates a sound from an unsound bank. I suspect not one person in 1,000 actually understands the difference. As a result, the world’s economy is now based upon unsound banks dealing in unsound currencies. Both have degenerated considerably from their origins.

Modern banking emerged from the goldsmithing trade of the Middle Ages. Being a goldsmith required a working inventory of precious metal, and managing that inventory profitably required expertise in buying and selling metal and storing it securely. Those capacities segued easily into the business of lending and borrowing gold, which is to say the business of lending and borrowing money.

Most people today are only dimly aware that until the early 1930s, gold coins were used in everyday commerce by the general public. In addition, gold backed most national currencies at a fixed rate of convertibility. Banks were just another business—nothing special. They were distinguished from other enterprises only by the fact they stored, lent, and borrowed gold coins, not as a sideline but as a primary business. Bankers had become goldsmiths without the hammers.

Bank deposits, until quite recently, fell strictly into two classes, depending on the preference of the depositor and the terms offered by banks: time deposits, and demand deposits. Although the distinction between them has been lost in recent years, respecting the difference is a critical element of sound banking practice.


Doug Casey: Signs of a Resource Sector Bottom


Posted on 2nd April 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Doug Casey: Signs of a Resource Sector Bottom

By Doug Casey

Interviewed by Louis James, Editor, International Speculator

L: Well, Doug, we’ve seen another quarter of high volatility and significant world events. What strikes you as most important at present?

Doug: Everything is still held together with chewing gum and baling wire, for which I’m grateful, considering what’s coming. It’s very clear to me that the global economy is in very much the same space as it was in 2007—in other words, on the edge of a precipice.


L: On the global economy, my question is this: If Obama and Yellen have saved the US and Merkel and Draghi are saving the EU, why are commodities selling off so dramatically? Iron, copper, oil—just about everything is selling off. How can an economy be recovering if it’s not using raw materials?

Doug: That’s another reason why I believe that the Greater Depression started in late 2007. During a depression, people are forced to consume less, and you see that reflected in the price of commodities—at least in real terms. This can be obscured in current price terms, depending on the debasement of the currency in question.

But it’s important to remember that commodities are only a good bet when they’re cycling upward, and that only lasts for a time. The longest trend of all is the downward trend of real commodities prices, as the march of technology makes them and the cost of life itself cheaper over time. Real commodity prices have been going down for at least 2,000 years, but probably 4,000 or 5,000 years—at least since the invention of agriculture. And I think they will continue falling, despite the fact that most large, high-grade, close-to-surface mineral deposits have been discovered.

L: Hubbert was right about “peak oil” in terms of West Texas Intermediate, but oil is still getting cheaper because of the fracking revolution.

Doug: Exactly. Because we’ve made so much money on commodities and because we believe in gold and silver as money, people think of us as commodity bulls. But actually, in the big picture, I’m a commodity bear, and always have been. Nanotech will transform city dumps into high-grade ore bodies. The asteroids will be mined at low cost. Ocean water will be processed economically. It’s simply a matter of technology and energy. The future could be—should be—better than we can even imagine.

L: I understand that—but I have to step in here and remind readers that gold is not a commodity—or at least not a regular commodity, since it’s also the most successful and enduring form of money ever devised.

Doug: Yes. No matter how many times we tell readers that no one can time the market, they still want to know what I think of the timing of the gold market.

So let me tell you that even I have been feeling a bit abused and unloved by the market over the last couple years. If I’m feeling that way, I’m sure the average person in the sector is feeling it in spades—and that’s actually a strong sign of a bottom.

It’s not as if we’re buying at $35 in 1971 or $250 in 2001—both times when gold was clearly a one-way street. But at $1,200, it’s very reasonable considering how explosive the world situation is.


Doug Casey on ISIS, Gold, Oil, and What to Expect in 2015

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Posted on 17th February 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Doug Casey on ISIS, Gold, Oil, and What to Expect in 2015

By Louis James, Chief Metals & Mining Investment Strategist

Today’s feature is a special treat: a peek into the brain of one of the most successful speculators of all time. In what follows, Doug Casey talks to Louis James about what to expect in 2015. Doug weighs in on today’s most important issues, including ISIS, oil, Putin, and the stock market. He even sticks his nose out to make a bold call on gold.

This (usually subscriber-only) content originally appeared in The Casey Report.


Louis James: It’s been a long, eventful quarter since we last spoke, Doug. What’s most on your mind as 2014 draws to a close and we look ahead to 2015?

Doug Casey: Let’s start with gold, since that’s the main focus we’ve had for so long. The Swiss gold reserve referendum just went down in flames, of course, and that was a big disappointment to many.

L: Really? I don’t know anyone who was surprised.

Doug: Well, surprise and disappointment aren’t the same thing. I’m constantly disappointed by how stupid people are, but I’m never surprised by it. There were early signs of support for the measure, but the powers that be mounted an immense propaganda campaign against it, and they succeeded. I hear that the balance sheet of the Swiss central bank has expanded faster than that of any other central bank in the world—

L: Whoa—that would explain a lot.

Doug: Yes. Relying on the Swiss franc to preserve your capital today is like relying on Swiss banks to preserve your privacy. Only fools would trust in either at this point. Despite that, Switzerland may still be sounder than any other country in Europe—which is really saying something about how bad things have gotten in Europe.


2015 Outlook: What You Really Need to Know


Posted on 2nd February 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues


2015 Outlook: What You Really Need to Know

By Jeff Clark, Senior Precious Metals Analyst

In the January issue of BIG GOLD, I interviewed 17 analysts, economists, and authors on what they expect for gold in 2015. Some of those included what we affectionately call our Casey Brain Trust—Doug Casey, Olivier Garret, Bud Conrad, David Galland, Marin Katusa, Louis James, and Terry Coxon. The issue was so popular that we decided to reprint this portion.

I think you’ll find some very insightful and useful reading here (click on a link to read his bio)…

Doug Casey, Chairman

Jeff: The Fed and other central banks have kept the economy and markets propped up longer than you thought they could. Has the Fed succeeded in staving off crisis?

Doug: I’m genuinely surprised things have held together over the last year. The trillions of currency units created since 2007 have mostly inflated financial assets, creating bubbles everywhere. There’s an excellent chance that the bubble will burst this year. I don’t know whether it will result in a catastrophic deflation, extreme inflation, or both in sequence. I’m only sure it will result in chaos and extreme unpleasantness.

Jeff: Are we still going to get rich from gold stocks? Or should we face reality and start exiting?

Doug: The fact so many people are discouraged with gold and mining stocks is just another indicator that we’re at the bottom. Gold and silver are now, once more, superb speculations. And I think we’ll see some 10-to-1 shots in gold stocks—if not this year, then 2016. I can afford to wait with those kinds of returns in prospect.




Posted on 9th January 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

“The way you get wealthy is by producing more than you consume and saving the difference – not by consuming more than you produce, and borrowing the difference.”

Doug Casey

Doug Casey on Russia and Russian Stocks


Posted on 10th December 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Doug Casey on Russia and Russian Stocks

By Nick Giambruno, Senior Editor, InternationalMan.com

Nick: Okay Doug, so looking around, what markets look cheap to you today?

Doug: I saw recently that many stocks in Greece are selling at around four times earnings. But I don’t know what the quality of their earnings are. Of course, the dividend yield on Greek stocks isn’t very high, and dividends are, I think, the best real indicator of how much free cash flow there actually is in a company.

Nick: One market that has struck me as cheap—with a decent dividend yield—and that’s accessible is Russia. What are your thoughts on Russia?

Doug: I think that things might get better there. That they’re doing this big natural gas deal with China is a plus. The fact that the Russians have apparently been continuing to buy a lot of gold is a plus.

As far as Ukraine is concerned—with the proviso that I don’t believe in the sanctity of any nation-state, and so I don’t cheer for any of them—you’ve got to be on Putin’s side of that situation from an ethical and a practical point of view. So I’m not terribly afraid of Russia. I don’t think there’s going to be a war of any type with Russia, and because the market there is now so cheap, it could be very interesting.

In any event, the colors of the world map have been running since the first map was drawn. And Ukraine isn’t even a coherent country to start with—it’s an ethnic intertidal zone. It’s certainly no place where the US government should stick its nose, which is only making things worse.

One thing I’ve learned in years of wandering around the world, trying to figure out how things actually work, is that few things are either as good or as bad as you might have been led to believe, whether it’s an idyllic paradise or a war zone.

Nick: What’s interesting about Putin’s Russia is that it’s one of the few countries in the entire world that’s actually capable of resisting bullying by the US. We’ve seen this with Russia’s granting of asylum to Edward Snowden, among other things. Russia is also one of the very few countries that the US would hesitate to bomb. And I think that makes it an exceptional place. My first visit to Russia was in 2006.

Doug: Mine was in 1977. By the next time, in 1996, the country had changed radically. In 1977, the only places open to foreigners were Moscow and Leningrad, which were, I assure you, as grim as anything Orwell ever imagined. By 1996—just five years after the collapse of the USSR—those cities had been transformed. They were almost indistinguishable from any Western European metropolis. Even the old factories along the river have been converted into fashionable lofts.

But outside of Moscow and Saint Petersburg, which attracted all the money and talent, Russia in 1996 was still a depressing Third World country. But today it’s well past the stage when the main imports were stolen cars and the main exports were prostitutes. I really should have gone there to live in the early ‘90s. That’s when the streets were paved with opportunity, but I believe recent events have again set the table for making serious money in Russia.

Nick: That brings to mind the Russian oligarchs, who built their mountains of money through crisis investing. By buying when Russia was in chaos, they were able to pick up some of the crown jewels of the Russian economy for just a few pennies on the dollar.

Doug: It’s an instructive example. The post-Soviet government gave everyone vouchers that could be traded for shares in the state-owned businesses that were being privatized at the time. The average person had no idea what his vouchers meant or what they were worth. The few who did—today’s oligarchs—profited enormously from that confusion and from the fear that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. They bought up the vouchers and paid just a tiny percentage of their value. The good thing about Russia being as screwed up and volatile as it appears is that there will be opportunities to do nearly the same thing with publicly traded shares.

Nick: As it is now, no matter what happens in the West, Russia has some big positives working in its favor—like the gas deal with China you mentioned earlier, and also Putin’s Eurasian Union. So despite the overwhelmingly negative sentiment about Russia in the mainstream media and the cheap valuations, it doesn’t seem like Russia is going out of business. Does that make it a good crisis investment market, in your opinion?

Doug: The examples of extreme opportunity I like to bring up are from the mid-1980s, when stock markets in Belgium, Hong Kong, and Spain were all selling at two to three times earnings, half of book value, and with dividend yields on the order of 12-15%. That shows how cheap things can actually get. Today, markets around the world are overpriced because interest rates are so low. At this point, I think Russia is a place you ought to be watching from the long side a lot more than, say, the US.

Nick: Another market that might have seemed interesting from a crisis perspective is Thailand, with its recent military coup. However, coups aren’t exactly rare. This is Thailand’s twelfth since 1932; the previous one came in 2006. Thai stocks essentially shrugged off this year’s rotation of power.

Doug: You’re right. During the Asian crisis of 1997, Thai stocks collapsed, and dividend yields jumped above 10%, in some cases close to 20%. So I guess there’s a lot of money out there that runs scared, but this year’s coup didn’t seem to unsettle anybody.

Nick: In your view, are dividend yields a better gauge of value than other measures?

Doug: I think you’ve got to look at dividends, because reported earnings can be fictional, and book values can be subject to accounting tricks. But dividends are actual cash in your pocket. They are real. So I’d have to say that if there were one really quick indicator of value, dividends are at the top of the list. It’s incredible what you can get in dividends alone when a market is at a bottom—something a lot of people have forgotten.

Nick: I totally agree. Thanks for sharing your informed perspective.

Doug: My pleasure.

You’ve just read an excerpt from Crisis Speculator, International Man’s new publication dedicating to identifying crisis-born investment opportunities.

The article Doug Casey on Russia and Russian Stocks was originally published at caseyresearch.com.

Doug Casey: “There Is a Rogue Elephant in Your House”


Posted on 8th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Doug Casey: “There Is a Rogue Elephant in Your House”

By Doug Casey, Chairman

One time when I was in Burma (now Myanmar), I spent a couple of days riding around the forest by elephant back. Elephants are a fine thing to have in the forest but, believe it or not, you have one living in your house with you. And you should do something about it now, before your house is wrecked and you and your family get stomped in the process.

Any amount of financial success won’t mean much if you get stepped on by the elephant in the room. The damage you routinely suffer from the elephant—not to mention the lingering threat that he’ll go completely berserk someday—dwarfs the importance of the best investment decision you’ll ever make. So, I’m going to invite your attention to a problem of overriding importance: How can you protect yourself and your wealth from the elephant?

The elephant in the room is, of course, the government.

The elephant is your permanent roommate, and it has a permanently big appetite. In the name of “income tax,” it regularly eats 40% or so of everything you earn. You may not like it, but by now you’ve probably learned to live with it.

After you’ve lived out your income-tax paying years, the elephant will attend your funeral—not to console the mourners or to recount your good deeds, but to collect estate tax. In the name of the “estate tax,” the government will take up to 40% of what you leave for the next generation and perhaps more of what you leave for your grandchildren.

It’s not the kind of roommate you’d advertise for. In fact, if you add things up, government probably is the most expensive disaster you’ll ever suffer. Almost every year, you lose more to it in taxes than you lose on your worst investments. And unless you’re a champion crime victim, you’ll lose less to a lifetime’s worth of burglars, bandits, muggers, and con men than your estate will lose to the tax collector… if you don’t do something about it.

Most successful people respond to the elephant by trying harder—working harder, working smarter, and earning enough to live well on what the elephant doesn’t eat. They’re like the farmer who plants enough to have a good harvest even after the bugs have taken their share. This is a workable solution, up to a point. But it won’t work at all if the elephant decides to take everything.

The idea of losing everything is literally unthinkable for many people. It is so far outside the range of their experience that all they can do with the idea is to reject it as not worth considering. Unfortunately, this also means rejecting all the opportunities for protection—just as many Titanic passengers shunned the early invitations to a lifeboat.

But the danger of a total wealth wipeout doesn’t go away. Some people do in fact lose everything to the elephant. In a few cases, it happens through seizures. A government agency points to an individual, calls him a bad name (drug trafficker, money launderer, polluter, racketeer, or tax evader), and takes everything the target owns. The target may not even have enough money left to hire a lawyer to help recover a portion of what he’s lost.

More commonly, it’s a lawsuit that takes everything a person has. The judge hears a story. The judge likes the story. The judge orders the defendant to give the plaintiff everything the defendant owns. Then the plaintiff wonders why a seat in the lifeboat seemed so uncongenial.

Perfect Protection

The best protection you can have from the elephant is not to own anything. What you don’t own can’t be taken from you by a tax collector, by a government agency, by a results-oriented judge, or by anyone else. You don’t want to be poor, obviously. But there’s a strategy that lets you have it both ways—the safety of not owning anything and the benefits of being wealthy. You can have it both ways by transferring your assets into an institution in another country that will return them to you (or family members) only when you want them back.

That’s the essence of an international trust. It puts just enough distance between you and your assets that the assets can’t be taken from you. But it makes those assets available to you when you want them. An international trust needs to be designed in just the right way. It mustn’t leave you with any rights that a local court or government agency might try to take away from you; and it mustn’t leave you with any powers you could be forced to use against your wishes. On the other hand, the trust must give you emphatic assurance that the trustee will never lose sight of your real objectives—otherwise you’re not going to use it.

Here’s an outline of how an international trust protects you from the elephant:

  1. You are the grantor of the trust—the person who transfers legal title to selected assets to the trustee.
  1. The trustee is a bank or trust company in a country with no income or estate taxes and a legal system that won’t tolerate a US-style litigation explosion. The trustee takes legal responsibility for the safekeeping of trust property and applying it for your purposes.
  1. You and everyone else you care to include are the beneficiaries—the persons who are eligible to receive cash distributions or other benefits from the trust. You can include family members (including descendants who haven’t been born yet), or anyone else.
  1. You are the protector of the trust. As protector, you have the legal power to monitor the trustee’s performance and the power to replace it with another institution if needed. You also have the power to name your successor as protector—so that the trust will continue to have a protector even after your lifetime.

The relationship among the participants is spelled out in a written trust agreement. Two provisions are essential to getting maximum protection. First, the trust should be irrevocable. If it isn’t, then anyone can undo your trust simply by forcing you to revoke it.

Second, the trust should be discretionary. “Discretionary” means that no one beneficiary owns a particular share of the trust. Instead, each beneficiary receives what the trustee, in its discretion, decides to give the beneficiary. With a discretionary trust, no beneficiary owns anything he can be forced to assign to a judgment creditor or tax collector. And a discretionary trust makes it impossible for any tax collector to attribute the trust’s income to a beneficiary.

These two key features—irrevocable and discretionary—are both powerful and cautionary. They are powerful in that they put up a wall around your assets that the elephant can’t knock down. The elephant can’t reach trust assets directly, because they’re held by an institution offshore, where US courts and government agencies have no jurisdiction or power to enforce a judgment. And it can’t reach them through you because you don’t have the power to get them back without the consent of the trustee. You can do or sign whatever you’re ordered to and still be confident that your wealth is protected.

But that same power is a source of caution. How can you be confident that the trustee will use the discretionary authority you’ve given it in the right way? How can you be confident that the trustee will send you a check when you need it? You get that confidence by being the protector.

The trust agreement should give you, the protector, the power to replace the trustee with another institution of your liking—in other words, you should have the power to fire the trustee.

Two other features should be included to ensure that the trustee uses its discretionary authority correctly. First, the trustee should be obligated to consider all the advice it gets from the protector. Second, the trustee should be absolved of liability for decisions it makes based on the protector’s advice. Together with the power to fire the trustee, these provisions give the protector all the influence he needs.

Using an international trust for lawsuit protection and tax savings doesn’t interfere with your freedom to make investment decisions. If you want, the trustee can open a brokerage account for your trust anywhere in the world and appoint you as the trading advisor. You continue to give the buy and sell orders. Or you can ask the trustee to hire a particular investment manager for your trust. Or you can keep complete management control by using a limited partnership. You transfer the real estate, business, or investments you want to protect to a limited partnership and then transfer the limited partnership interest to the trust. As general partner, you would still make the day-to-day investment and management decisions, but the value of the assets is protected by the trust.

The biggest, simplest benefit of an international trust is lawsuit protection. You can’t be forced to hand your assets over to the winner of a lawsuit (or to any other creditor), because you no longer own them. The trustee is the legal owner. Anyone who hopes to reach those assets must bear the expense and bad odds of legal action in another country. Provided you’ve selected the right country for your trust and assuming that you were solvent when you funded it, his prospects are extremely dim.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers know how difficult it is to break into a properly established international trust. As a result, having your assets protected by an international trust means that litigation against you never gets started or gets settled on terms that are extremely favorable for you.

Income tax savings for yourself aren’t automatic. They depend on how your trust investments are structured. This is a complex topic, but the summary is short: Merely transferring assets to an international trust won’t achieve any income tax savings in your lifetime.

For future generations, the income tax consequences of an international trust are far more dramatic. The trust will have no ties to the US tax system. It can be used to accumulate and compound investment returns free of current income tax. Future generations will face no tax on the profits until they spend them. Even then much of what they take from the trust can come to them free of income tax. An international trust allows you to pursue any type of estate plan you want (or none at all). You can do all the conventional things you’re likely to hear about if you visit an estate planner, and also do some other things that wouldn’t be possible without going international. For example, with an international trust, you can get property out of your estate and still be eligible to receive the money back for your own support if you later find that you need it. This frees you to act aggressively to reduce your taxable estate without the fear of planning yourself into the poorhouse.

The biggest estate-planning advantage is finality. The wealth you leave in an international trust disconnects from the US tax system. It will never be included in the taxable estate of any future generation. For your family, estate tax comes to an end. The elephant will have to dine elsewhere.

Previously, getting the protection of an international trust demanded so much effort and expense that almost no one did it. But now an international trust is cheap and easy to use.

What has opened up the world of international trusts is Terry Coxon’s International Trust Guidebook. This guidebook takes all the mystery out of the topic. The material is laid out in such a clear and direct fashion it will quickly make you feel like a minor expert.

It’s thoroughly footnoted with tax law and court case references, the kind of supporting details that your lawyer or accountant would insist upon. Plus professional commentary is provided by noted tax and asset protection attorney Robert B. Martin, Jr.

Mr. Martin writes from the real-world perspective of 43 years of legal experience. He’s the author of dozens of published articles on tax and other legal topics and has been the point man in hundreds of legal battles.

It’s like having your own asset protection lawyer right by your side and can save you thousands in legal fees in setting up an international trust.

Several members of my family are taking action using international trust. If you’re inclined, I urge you to do so now, not later. The US government could one day arbitrarily make it impossible to form an international trust.

If you’re interested in using an international trust to protect your wealth from the elephant in the room, you can find out more about the International Trust Guidebook by clicking here.

How is Doug Casey Preparing for a Crisis Worse than 2008?


Posted on 3rd September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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How is Doug Casey Preparing for a Crisis Worse than 2008?

By Doug Casey, Chairman

He and His Fellow Millionaires Are Getting Back to Basics

Trillions of dollars of debt, a bond bubble on the verge of bursting and economic distortions that make it difficult for investors to know what is going on behind the curtain have created what author Doug Casey calls a crisis economy. But he is not one to be beaten down. He is planning to make the most of this coming financial disaster by buying equities with real value—silver, gold, uranium, even coal. And, in this interview with The Mining Report, he shares his formula for determining which of the 1,500 “so-called mining stocks” on the TSX actually have value.

The Mining Report: This year’s Casey Research Summit is titled “Thriving in a Crisis Economy.” What is the most pressing crisis for investors today?

Doug Casey: We are exiting the eye of the giant financial hurricane that we entered in 2007, and we’re going into its trailing edge. It’s going to be much more severe, different and longer lasting than what we saw in 2008 and 2009. Investors should be preparing for some really stormy weather by the end of this year, certainly in 2015.

TMR: The 2008 stock market embodied a great deal of volatility. Now, the indexes seem to be rising steadily. Why do you think we are headed for something worse again?

DC: The U.S. created trillions of dollars to fight the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. Most of those dollars are still sitting in the banking system and aren’t in the economy. Some have found their way into the stock markets and the bond markets, creating a stock bubble and a bond superbubble. The higher stocks and bonds go, the harder they’re going to fall.

TMR: When Streetwise President Karen Roche interviewed you last year, you predicted a devastating crash. Are we getting closer to that crash? What are the signs that a bond bubble is about to burst?


Missing the 2014 Casey Research Summit (Thriving in a Crisis Economy) could be hazardous to your portfolio.
Sept. 19-21 in San Antonio, Texas.


DC: One indicator is that so-called junk bonds are yielding on average less than 5% today. That’s a big difference from the bottom of the bond market in the early 1980s, when even government paper was yielding 15%.

TMR: Isn’t that a function of low interest rates?

DC: Yes, it is. Central banks all around the world have attempted to revive their economies by lowering interest rates to all-time lows. It’s discouraging people from saving and encouraging people to borrow and consume more. The distortions that is causing in the economy are huge, and they’re all going to have to be liquidated at some point, probably in the next six months to a year. The timing of these things is really quite impossible to predict. But it feels like 2007 except much worse, and it’s likely to be inflationary in nature this time. The certainty is financial chaos, but the exact character of the chaos is, by its very nature, unpredictable.

TMR: Casey Research precious metals expert Jeff Clark recently wrote in Metals and Mining that he’s investing in silver to protect himself from an advance of what he calls “government financial heroin addicts having to go cold turkey and shifting to precious metals.” Do you agree or are you more of a buy-gold-for-financial-protection kind of guy?

DC: I certainly agree with him. Gold and silver are two totally different elements. Silver has more industrial uses. It is also quite cheap in real terms; the problem is storing a considerable quantity—the stuff is bulky. It’s a poor man’s gold. We mine about 800 million ounces (800 Moz)/year of silver as opposed to about 80 Moz/year of gold. Unlike gold, most of silver is consumed rather than stored. That is positive.

On the other hand, the fact that silver is mainly an industrial metal, rather than a monetary metal, is a big negative in this environment. Still, as a speculation, silver has more upside just because it’s a much smaller market. If a billion dollars panics into silver and a billion dollars panics into gold, silver is going to move much more rapidly and much higher.

TMR: Are you are saying that because silver is more volatile generally, that is good news when the trend is to the upside?

DC: That’s exactly correct. All the volatility from this point is going to be on the upside. It’s not the giveaway it was back in 2001. In real terms, silver is trading at about the same levels that it was in the mid-1960s. So it’s an excellent value again.

TMR: In another recent interview, you called shorting Japanese bonds a sure thing for speculators and said most of the mining companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) weren’t worth the paper their stocks were written on, but that some have been priced so low, they could increase 100 times. What are some examples of some sure things in the mining sector?

DC: Of the roughly 1,500 so-called mining stocks traded in Vancouver, most of them don’t have any economic mineral deposits. Many that do don’t have any money in the bank with which to extract them. The companies that I think are worth buying now are well-funded, underpriced—some selling for just the cash they have in the bank—and sitting on economic deposits with proven management teams. There aren’t many of them; I would guess perhaps 50 worth buying. In the next year, many of them are likely to move radically.

TMR: Are there some specific geographic areas that you like to focus on?

DC: The problem is that the whole world has become harder to do business in. Governments around the world are bankrupt so they are looking for a bigger carried interest, bigger royalties and more taxes. At the same time, they have more regulations and more requirements. So the costs of mining have risen hugely. Political risks have risen hugely. There really is no ideal location to mine in the world today. It’s not like 100 years ago when almost every place was quick, easy and profitable. Now, every project is a decade-long maneuver. Mining has never been an easy business, but now it’s a horrible business, worse than it’s ever been. It’s all a question of risk/reward and what you pay for the stocks. That said, right now, they’re very cheap.

TMR: Let’s talk about the U.S. Are we in better or worse shape as a country politically and economically than we were last year? At the Casey Research Summit last year, I interviewed you the morning after former Congressman Ron Paul’s keynote, and you said that you hoped that the IRS would be shut down instead of the national parks. There’s no such shutdown going on today, so does that mean the country is more functional than it was a year ago?

DC: It’s in worse shape now. The direction the country is going in is more decisively negative. Perhaps what’s happening in Ferguson, Missouri, with the militarized police is a shade of things to come. So, no, things are not better. They’ve actually deteriorated. We’re that much closer to a really millennial crisis.

TMR: Your conferences are always thought provoking. I always enjoy meeting the other attendees—it’s always great to talk to people from all over the world who are interested in these topics. But you also bring in interesting speakers. In addition to your Casey Research team, the speakers at the conference this year include radio personality Alex Jones and author and self-described conservative paleo-libertarian Justin Raimondo. What do you hope attendees will take away from the conference?

DC: This is a chance for me and the attendees to sit down and have a drink with people like Justin Raimondo and author Paul Rosenberg. I’m looking forward to it because it is always an education.

Another highlight is that instead of staging hundreds of booths of desperate companies that ought to be put out of their misery, we limit the presenting mining companies in the map room to the best in the business with the most upside potential. That makes this a rare opportunity to talk to these selected companies about their projects.

TMR: We recently interviewed Marin Katusa, who was also excited about the companies that are going to be at the conference. He was bullish on European oil and gas and U.S. uranium. What’s your favorite way to play energy right now?

DC: Uranium is about as cheap now in real terms as it was back in 2000, when a huge boom started in uranium and billions of speculative dollars were made. So, once again, cyclically, the clock on the wall says buy uranium with both hands. I think you can make the same argument for coal at this point.

TMR: You recently released a series of videos called the “Upturn Millionaires.” It featured you, Rick Rule, Frank Giustra and others talking about how you’re playing the turning tides of a precious metals market. What are some common moves you are all making right now?

DC: All of us are moving into precious metals stocks and precious metals themselves because in the years to come, gold and silver are money in its most basic form and the only financial assets that aren’t simultaneously somebody else’s liability.

TMR: Thanks for your time and insights.

You can see Doug LIVE September 19-21 in San Antonio, TX during the Casey Research Summit, Thriving in a Crisis Economy. He’ll be joined on stage by Jim Rickards, Grant Williams, Charles Biderman, Stephen Moore, Mark Yusko, Justin Raimondo, and many, many more of the world’s brightest minds and smartest investors. To RSVP and get all the details, click here.

Peter Schiff and Doug Casey on the REAL State of the Economy


Posted on 30th July 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues


Via Doug Casey’s International Man

One of my favorite podcasts to listen to is The Peter Schiff Show (www.SchiffRadio.com).

Peter always does an excellent job of dissecting the latest economic news and cutting through the smoke and mirrors of government statistics.

Recently he had Doug Casey on his radio show to discuss what’s really happening with the economy. And it’s nothing close to what the talking heads in the financial media would have you believe.

I’m happy to bring this fascinating discussion to International Man readers. I think you’ll not only enjoy it, but you’ll also learn something too.

Until next time,

Nick Giambruno, Senior Editor

Peter Schiff: Joining our program now is Doug Casey, and if you don’t know Doug, he is a libertarian economist. He is a bestselling financial author. He’s an international investor, entrepreneur, and founder/chairman of Casey Research. They publish a monthly newsletter, Casey International Speculator, and most recently Doug has produced a 30-minute documentary called Meltdown America, which I watched just yesterday on the Internet for free. I would encourage everybody to watch it. It’s a very entertaining half hour.

Doug, welcome to The Peter Schiff Show.

Doug Casey: Thanks, Peter. It’s my pleasure.

Peter: So in particular about your movie, which I thought was well done, the story that was most compelling to me was the interview with the gentlemen from Zimbabwe who had lived there most of his life. He was prosperous, had a business, and then had the foresight to read the writing on the wall, leave everything behind, and flee to Australia. He warned his friends—who made fun of him—and they then ended up having their property seized.

Doug: Yes, it’s an absolutely true story, of course. I’ve spent a lot of time in Zimbabwe and before that in Rhodesia over the years. I think the first time I went there was in 1976. His story is quite accurate about what happened in Zimbabwe, but it’s happened in a number of places in the world, and it’s going to happen in other places in the future. This is because most people don’t realize that as big as their investment risks are today with many markets being overinflated and so forth, their biggest risks are actually political risks. The biggest danger to you is your own government. In his case it was the Zimbabwe government. I guess most of the people listening now are Americans, and actually the US government is like a predator stalking us on the African plains.

Peter: What really is compelling about the story and what people should really take to heart is the attitude that pervades is that, well, it’s not going to happen here. It can’t happen here. People don’t want to think about that worst-case scenario. They want to assume that things are going to be okay, and if somebody is warning about this potential doomsday, that is the person whom they ridicule, who they say, oh, you’re crazy, that’s never going to happen, and, it happens in places like Zimbabwe. But expand on it, because it’s happening in America.

Doug: Well look, I hate to sound like a Cassandra, a gloomy Gus. I hate to say the sky is falling, and I know you do too. But you’ve got to be realistic. I don’t call it America anymore. I call it the US because although America is a fantastic idea, a wonderful idea, America as a concept is rapidly disappearing from the land area called the United States. So yeah, I hate to sound gloomy, because there are lots of reasons for optimism that we can recount. We have more scientists and engineers alive today now than we’ve had in all previous history put together. So that’s cause for optimism. But there is a lot of cause for real pessimism certainly in the short term, in the next decade or so in the US, and it could get worse from there. So you and I are pretty much on the same page economically, and it makes me a little uncomfortable having to be gloomy, but I have to be. I have to assess the facts.

Peter: Yeah, you can’t ignore the facts. So you don’t like to say that the sky is falling, but then if you see it falling, you don’t want to just pretend that you don’t see what you see because that’s worse. I mean, it’s better to warn about the catastrophes. Maybe your warnings could help put into effect policies that might avert the catastrophe, or if you can’t do that, at least help as many people as possible prepare for it in advance so that they don’t get hit by surprise.

Doug: Yes, although I greatly discount the odds of things changing because policies and governments have a momentum of their own. Imagine a village at the bottom of a valley, and that 100 years ago collectivism and statism started out as a small snowball, and now that snowball has turned into a giant avalanche. Now once it gets to the giant avalanche stage, you can’t stop it. So I’m afraid that the village at the bottom of the valley is going to be smashed, so you’ve got to run for high ground. I don’t think we can stop it at this point. The trend is too entrenched, too far in motion, and the fact that 50% of Americans are reliant upon the government for their income alone is a guarantee of bad things to come.

Peter: Yeah, and Doug, you have been an observer, a critic of this trend that has been ongoing in America for a long time. I mean, it’s not like we suddenly find ourselves on the precipice of disaster. We’ve been on that precipice for a long time. It’s kind of amazing that we haven’t fallen over just yet, but it’s been a long time building. Even my dad was in this camp back in the ‘70s, issuing warnings. But what do you see today that might make you think that this is the endgame? I mean there can’t be another couple of decades where you’re going to be sounding the alarm.

Doug: Yeah, that’s a very interesting point, Peter. When do we reach the actual endgame as opposed to just an accelerating downturn? I would say that it started in 2007. I think that’s the endgame because the Fed’s balance sheet—which is the best indicator of how much actual new money they’re creating—has gone from $500 billion to $4.5 trillion just in the last five years, and they’re still creating more. So they’ve shot all their arrows and when the economy turns down again—and I think it is in process of doing that now—there’s nothing they can do. They have already reduced interest rates to near zero, the Chinese and the Japanese aren’t buying any more government debt, and the official number is $500 billion a year of deficit now, so the Federal Reserve is going to be printing up money wholesale. This is a very scary thing, so yeah, I think we actually have reached the actual edge of the precipice.

Peter: And the amazing thing, too, and you point this out is they’re telling us we’ve been in a recovery for five years. This means statistically we’re also getting close to the next recession. Just by the probability, how long the expansion has been, yet we’ve never begun a recession where rates are still at zero. We’ve never begun a recession while they are still stimulating us from the previous recession. And nobody seems to worry about the outcome of entering a recession from the position that we are in right now.

Doug: And the numbers that they crank out to make everybody feel good are almost as phony as the numbers that the Argentine government cranks out. I live in Argentina most of the year and there, the Cristina Fernández government says well, we only have 10% inflation. But everybody knows that it’s 30 to 40%. And here they say we have 1-2% inflation. I would say that inflation is realistically in the 8-10% range here in the US—and it’s going much higher.

Peter: And that makes a lot more sense to me, given what I’m observing in the actual economy. The critics who argue that that’s impossible, that the people who think that inflation is more than 2-3% percent, they say they must be wrong, because that would mean that the economy has not experienced any legitimate economic growth. And to that I would say, absolutely, it hasn’t. The growth is all a fantasy. It’s all a result of the assumption that there is no inflation, when there really is because what we have is inflation masquerading as economic growth. But the bottom line is the economy is really contracting, that’s why the labor force is shrinking, that’s why we’re using less energy, that’s why the people’s standard of living is going down, and real incomes are falling and job opportunities are disappearing. It’s because we’re in a recession and no one wants to admit it.

Doug: You are absolutely right, and from this point it is going to get much more obvious and get much worse. I just wonder what the social consequences are going to be when the economy goes into a free-fall again, maybe by the end of this year. I think certainly next year. I mean it’s an open question whether people will riot.

Peter: You can already see the frustration. I often joke, if this is the Obama recovery, imagine how bad the recession is going to be. And you know, we’re running these deficits. The president is bragging now that the deficit is finally below $1 trillion, that it might be $600-700 billion, but that’s the deficit in the recovery. If we slip into a legitimate or acknowledged recession, where are the deficits going to go, $1.5 trillion, $2 trillion? And how can we possibly finance that when the world is already saturated with the debt that we’ve issued to stimulate us out of prior recessions?

Also, I’ve got to get to gold and silver, something that I know you’ve been advocating for a while. When it comes to gold and silver, I’ve never seen an environment where you have so many central banks embracing inflation as a goal, that they want more inflation, and they somehow think that it’s going to help the economy; and at the same time you have complete complacency on the part of investors to any of the risks associated with inflation that all these central bankers are promising to create.

Doug: As you are well aware, Peter, it was Lenin who said the best way to destroy a country is to debauch its currency. It’s perverse and idiotic what all the central banks around the world are doing at this point. But some are worse than others. The Europeans are out of control. The Japanese are out of control. The Chinese Central Bank and of course the Fed here in the US are out of control. So that’s one reason why I continue accumulating gold. It’s the only financial asset that’s not simultaneously somebody else’s liability.

Peter: Yeah, and you’ve been a buyer for a long time, a regular buyer and holder of metals. What do you think it’s going to take, though, to convince the skeptics who are so in love with paper and who make fun of the gold bugs for their irrational obsession with this obscure obsolete yellow metal? What do you think it is going to take for the mainstream to start buying into gold and silver, and of course the mining stocks?

Doug: I think it’s going to take a financial and economic collapse. I hate to say it, but I think we are on the edge of something that is much worse than what we had in 2008 and 2009. I look around the world at places where you can put your capital, real estate is overpriced, the stock market is greatly overpriced, the bond market is in a historic bubble, that’s about the best short sale I can think of in the world. So what are you left with? Gold is not a giveaway the way it was in 2001 at $250 an ounce, but it is reasonably priced, so I’m going to continue to buy it. I think there’s going to be a panic into gold, quite frankly.

Peter: You know, Doug, I think it could be just as big a giveaway now. If you look at the cost of production of gold today versus what it was 12 years ago, it costs a lot more to produce gold, and if you look at the amount of money that the central banks have created over the past 12 years and the amount of money that they are threatening to create, I think you could make a case that gold is cheaper now at $1,200 than it was at $300.

Doug: Well, when you look at the cost of mining new gold, there are about 80 million ounces produced every year, and there are perhaps six billion in total existence. Most of the mining companies in the world, the big ones like Barrick and Newmont, it’s not profitable for them to produce gold even at $1,300 an ounce when you consider all the costs of mining. So yes, I wouldn’t argue with you.

Peter: You talk about a bubble in assets like stocks and real estate. The irony of it is, the professional investors who are happily paying ridiculous valuations for stocks, the only bubble that they can identify is the one that doesn’t exist—except in their minds—and that is the bubble that they see in gold.

Doug: Yes, that’s right. The real bubble is in the bond market, and the bond market is much bigger than the stock market, so when the bubble in bonds bursts, it’s going to be very ugly. I’ve got to make a distinction, and I think you will agree with this. I’ve bought gold my whole life. I’ve never sold one ounce because I buy it for safety, for savings, prudence, and insurance. But I’ve also been very involved in gold stocks for many years, and gold stocks are a different animal than gold itself, and I treat them as a speculative vehicle because gold stocks are perhaps the most volatile class of securities in the world. The Vancouver Stock Exchange, which trades about 1,500 supposed gold companies, regularly goes up ten for one and then collapses 95%. As we speak at this time, it’s at a cyclical bottom. So I think it’s an extremely high-potential speculation to get into gold stocks at this time.

(Editor’s note: You may want to check out our Casey International Speculator publication which specializes in finding high-potential speculative opportunities in junior mining companies.)

Peter: Yeah, I agree with you. Of the nations that you travel to, which would you consider to be the most stable, maybe the ones that offer the best not only investment opportunity, but opportunity to live if you want to leave the United States?

Doug: Well, the fact of the matter is that all over the world these governments collude with each other in these clubs they belong to like the United Nations, the IMF, and the OECD, and they are all going in the wrong direction, which is to say more state power, more taxes, and more control. I’ve been to most of the countries in the world, and where I spend most of my time is in Argentina. The people there are used to stupidity from their government and despise their government.

Peter: Well, that’s for sure, Doug. They are prepared for stupidity, unlike Americans who are going to be surprised by it.

Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out www.SchiffRadio.com for more on Peter’s superb radio show. Also, don’t forget to catch our new free documentary Meltdown America, which discusses how to survive an economic collapse with examples from Zimbabwe, Argentina, and Yugoslavia. You won’t want to miss it.



Posted on 27th June 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Real Estate in Nicaragua—A Low-Cost Bolt-Hole, Part I


Posted on 11th June 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues


Nicaragua is probably the most interesting country in Central America right now.

I believe owning property there represents an attractive, relatively low-cost solution for those looking to obtain the enormous diversification benefits foreign real estate offers.

This is why I am thrilled to bring International Man readers the perspective of Sean Dennis. Sean is a true expert on Nicaraguan real estate; he’s lived and worked there for over eight years and is perfectly suited to give us the exciting story of what’s happening on the ground.

Before we dive into this interview, be sure to check out this article if you haven’t already, for an overview of the attractive opportunities that Nicaragua offers.

Nick Giambruno: Tell us why somebody should consider Nicaragua instead of Panama, Costa Rica, or other Central American countries.

Sean Dennis: The quality of life and cost of living are amazing. You can live a very good lifestyle on like $1,000 a month—in fact you could probably spend less. In places like Panama or Costa Rica, it’s much more Americanized. A lot of that is now reflected in their American prices because they’ve been able to charge higher prices for a longer time. Here in Nicaragua, they haven’t quite caught on to that yet.

Nicaragua is probably one of the last places where you can mix with the locals a lot. You’ll never meet a nicer person than a Nicaraguan. They’re such a friendly people and no matter whether they have everything or nothing, they’ve still got time to help you. And I haven’t felt that in many other places that I go to.

It makes a big difference. For example, if your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, these guys will all stop and help you fix it. It’s a real camaraderie—there’s no animosity between foreigners and locals here. They embrace people coming in.

But at the same time, there’s a really nice expat community that lives here, and there’s a well-educated Nicaraguan community that’s here as well, so it’s a really nice mix of people.

Also, a lot of the products that you eat when you come down here are tremendous fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish. You can eat everything that’s been caught or grown within a mile or two of where you’re eating it. There aren’t many places like that in the world anymore.

Nick: Why don’t you briefly go over the main areas that would be of interest for expatriates?

Sean: San Juan del Sur is the main area of interest for expats. The city has its roots in a small fishing village on the Pacific coast. That’s, I think, what a lot of people like about it. It’s not a town which has come from nothing, or it’s not just foreigners who have come in and built it up. Without foreigners, it’s a functioning small fishing village, and it has grown around that. There are beautiful cliffs, hills, and beaches.

San Juan del Sur

San Juan del Sur is around an hour and 45 minutes by car from the international airport based in Managua, which is the capital of Nicaragua. There’s full paved or tarmac roads all the way down. It’s a nice, easy, smooth ride. When I first moved here seven or eight years ago, it was a four- or five-hour drive, so it’s drastically improved, and the government is spending so much money on infrastructure, which is really nice to see.

You usually get countries like this developing slowly behind the private developers coming in, whereas Nicaragua seems to be the opposite way around. They’ve actually got too much infrastructure for the level of tourist coming.

It’s definitely where most of my clients tend to focus. There’s lots of different bars and restaurants—you can mix with lots of the locals, so it definitely has the local culture side to it; it’s not just foreigners there.

There’s also another main beach area that a lot of people focus on which is called Tola, which is about an hour north of San Juan del Sur.

Near Tola there are a couple of American-owned property developments—Iguana and Rancho Santana.

Iguana is one of the older, original ones. It has its own nine-hole golf course and probably one of the best—if not the best—waves in the country right in front. So it has always been very popular with surfers. There’s a nice little bar/restaurant situated there as well.

Rancho Santana doesn’t have a golf course, but they’ve got plenty of land. There’s horse riding, a tennis court, some great beaches, and beautiful oceanfront lots there. I’d say around $250,000, maybe a little bit cheaper for those, and then you can get ocean-view lots from around $75,000 up to $150,000.

The other development is Guacalito de la Isla, but that one is Nicaraguan owned. It is also the most expensive. Lots in there vary from a couple of hundred thousand up to a million—just for the land. You can buy three-bedroom townhouses from $750,000 and upwards. So that is a very high-end residential developmental complex with a golf course. They’ve also got their own boutique hotel, called Mukul. It’s beautiful and very expensive. But they’re aiming for that high-end clientele. Morgan Freeman came out for a visit once.

So these developments are for a different kind of person—someone looking for something easy… a nice place in the sun on a beautiful beach. One who doesn’t necessarily want to or need to come to Nicaragua for the culture.

Nick: What about infrastructure like roads, electricity, water, Internet, and so forth?

Sean: Guacalito de la Isla is the one with the big-money backing, so they’re paving the road all the way out from the highway to their development.

With Rancho Santana and Iguana, you’ve still got a 20- to 30-minute drive on unpaved road, but they do pack the dirt track quite well. But I find a lot of people who come down here don’t necessarily mind that, or they quite like the fact that it doesn’t feel like the US.

As for electricity, water, and Internet, that’s all everywhere.

There seems to have been a trend in New York-based or California-based buyers or people in the tech industry coming to Nicaragua. Quite a large portion of my clientele has been tech-industry guys. So then they’re coming down and they’re looking at spending a couple of months here whilst they work on a project, so they need good Internet. There seems to be quite a young, trendy crowd with money coming down—not just the retirees, which is nice because it provides a good mix.

Nick: Back to San Juan del Sur: what kind of price ranges are we talking here? What do you think provides the best value right now?

Sean: There’s a number of developments which cater to any need and budget. You can come down here with $50,000 and you can find a great lot. You can get a nice two- to three-bedroom place for around $200,000, and that obviously goes up in price. This is for properties or lots in neighborhoods or developments on the hills with beautiful views overlooking the horseshoe-shaped bay.

Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for part II of this interview, in which Sean and Nick discuss the finer details of purchasing real estate in Nicaragua, as well as the colonial city of Granada, the other popular expat/retirement destination. Be sure you get the free IM Communiqué, so you’ll get part II right when it comes out.