Anarchy and mayhem near the Ojo de Agua Cafe in La Condesa, today’s International Man HQ.
Joel Bowman, writing today from La Condesa, Mexico City...
Drug wars… would-be “illegals”… “rapists and murderers…”
Sheesh! Who in their right mind would want to live south of the Rio Grande, down ol’ Mexico way? You read the papers. You watch the news. All you see is violence and vengeance, corruption and chaos, poverty and pollution.
And yet…not twenty feet from where we sit…
A guitarist rests on his crate on the corner of a leafy avenue, instrument in hand. His boots are old, but polished. His attire is worn, but formal. His eyes, for the most part, remain closed.
In the case at his feet we count, 5…15…35… no more than fifty pesos – about $2.50 – in loose change. He has been playing for maybe fifteen minutes.
The soft melody intermingles with the early morning chatter in the Ojo de Agua café, where your correspondent sits quietly, contemplating the world around him. This is not the Mexico you see on the news. Not even close.
We’ll get back to life “south of the border” another time. Meanwhile, we’re making our introductions. If you tuned in Wednesday, you may have noticed some modest changes to your International Man Communiqué.
In a nutshell, we’re expanding operations…
Our goal is to discover how to live a freer, richer life by adopting an international perspective. To that end, we’ll continue to feature all your favorite contributors in these pages…plus we’ll be introducing a few fresh faces (often located in far-flung locales), to bring you even more boots-on-ground insights from around the globe…
…including from right here, in Mexico City.
But don’t worry…even with the additional commentary and resources at your fingertips, International Man remains stubbornly a free publication (and worth every darn penny!)
So while we leave the good musician a tip, on your behalf, we return to our ongoing conversation with lead International Man, Doug Casey. Please enjoy today’s installment, below…
The Aurora Borealis of Trading
The Aurora Borealis, or "Northern Lights," happens when solar particles rip through the Earth's geomagnetic field and smash into gas atoms. Something similar exists in the stock market... It's a powerful anomaly called "Quantum." It appears when 3 major forces collide. As a result, the laws of risk and reward reverse. And the gains that are generated are incredible—both in their return and the speed in which they're created.
GDX: 129% in 3 hours
SONC: 400% in 18 hours
STRA: 1,285% in 2 days
To see where this anomaly will appear next, click here to continue reading...
Doug Casey’s Pilgrim’s Progress
An Interview with Doug Casey and Joel Bowman
Joel Bowman: Last we spoke, you and I were discussing the best – and worst – places to live in Latin America. Now, your readers and followers are no doubt familiar with Doug Casey the international speculator and Doug Casey the practicing cosmopolitan, but I wonder if you could give us some insight into how this came to be. You grew up in Chicago, alongside millions of other folk who did not dedicate their life to seeking out opportunities on foreign horizons.
What set you apart? Do you recall having some moment of clarity, an epiphany of sorts? Were you inspired by a particular writer or adventurer?
Doug Casey: That’s an excellent question. First, I’m a believer in nature, as opposed to nurture. I believe that people are basically born the way they are, psychologically. It’s pretty hard to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse, as they say. So I think I’ve always been the way I am—independent, skeptical, and iconoclastic, among other things.
That said, perhaps the first big political influence in my life came when I read Barry Goldwater’s Conscience of a Conservative, in high school. I remember thinking he was a very reasonable, commonsensical, freedom-oriented conservative. And so I thought, well, I must be a conservative.
Then I read Ayn Rand’s The Virtue of Selfishness, shortly after I graduated from college. It was so clear, so radical, that I had to put it down—in shock—after I read the first page. She was able to crystallize thoughts that had been present, but inchoate in my mind. And I thought, well, I must be an Objectivist.
You’ll notice this is progressing in a given trend.
A few years later, while I was on a three month long treasure hunting/diving expedition, I read The Market for Liberty by Morris and Linda Tannehill. I realized then that I was an anarcho-capitalist, and that’s pretty much where I’ve stayed. I guess that’s what you might call my pilgrim’s progress.
Joel: Ah yes, The Market for Liberty. You know, you and I share a kind of odd distinction here in that we’ve both, at different times, written the preface for separate publications of that very same book. In fact, I think I have a photograph of the two of us down in Buenos Aires, along with Jorge Trucco, who translated the text into Spanish. I’ll see if I can dig it up for our readers…
Free market anarchists enjoying a quiet drink and a cigar. Buenos Aires, circa 2014. L-R: Doug Casey, Joel Bowman and Jorge Trucco.
But back to your pilgrim’s progress. It makes total sense that any journey in the real world must first begin with a journey in the mind. So now, having read the above books and nourished your intellect, you’ve come to realize that political borders are nothing but crime scene outlines for the governments that draw and enforce them. So, naturally, you look beyond your own back yard and plan your travels. Do you have any particular criteria when choosing a place to go? Or do you just pack your bindle and hit the road?
Doug: You know, it was a learning process, one that continues to this day. The first time I left the U.S. was when I spent my junior year in college abroad in France and Switzerland. That was very valuable for me. Travel offers a far better education than any university. From there, I just kept on going from one place to another—reading, doing, and thinking all the time. In those days, there wasn’t anything out there like this International Man newsletter that you and I are involved in together. There simply wasn’t anything like it. In fact, the first person who even thought about systematically internationalizing oneself and becoming a PT – a Perpetual Traveler or a Prior Taxpayer – was Harry Schultz. I only discovered Harry in the early1970s. So, in a very real sense, what we’re doing now was total terra incognita not so long ago. In those days, you had to learn by doing. There weren’t any guides.
Joel: I guess, in a sense, that’s probably still the best way to learn anything… by actually getting out there and doing it.
Doug: Exactly. You know, when I wrote The International Man, back in 1976, it was the first book of its type ever written, at least to my knowledge. There were a few people, like John Gunther, an American who went around the world and wrote about different countries. But he did it from a somewhat conventional academic perspective, emphasizing politics. Not from the viewpoint of, “Hey, maybe this would be a better place to live than the country I’m living in now.”
That book, The International Man, really broke ground. I immediately recognized its importance when it became the largest selling book in the history of Rhodesia. At that time 250,000 Europeans were living there, many families for several generations. Now there are only 5,000 Europeans left; most made the “chicken run,” as they say.
Joel: Right, well the geopolitical and global economic landscape can change very quickly; right under one’s feet, in fact. Do you think the impetus for people to look abroad is even more important now than it was back in ’76, when you wrote that book?
Doug: Without doubt. It’s much more critical now than it was then, because all over the world the state has become more aggressive, more grasping, and more powerful than ever. Back in the ‘70s, even up until the mid-80s, you could travel to many places in the world on a homemade passport. Literally. I traveled in a number of countries on my World Service Authority passport…and had interesting adventures in places where it wasn’t accepted. Chances were about 50/50 that it would be accepted in any given place…it worked especially well in Asia, Africa, and South America. It even worked in Europe; mine was accepted in Iceland.
Joel: Just quickly, for anyone who doesn’t know what a homemade World Service Authority passport is, could you enlighten them? Sounds like something you’d be thrown in jail for these days…
Doug: Absolutely; I could tell you some stories about that. The World Service Authority was started by Garry Davis, who was the son of Meyer Davis, a very famous band leader in the 30s and 40s. Garry was a U.S. bomber pilot in Europe during World War II and he got so fed up with all this that he renounced his U.S. citizenship in Paris in 1946 and burned his U.S. passport in a very public protest. Then he found he couldn’t leave France. So he got a hold of a U.N. passport, and he created a very serviceable document that kind of looked like a U.N. passport, and he used that to travel.
Today, of course, that would be impossible because all these gigantic governments are wired together with computers. Nevertheless, the World Service Authority is located in Washington D.C. and you can still get a passport from them, which I recommend. But it won’t get you over any borders. Instead, you can use it for other things. Say when you go to a hotel and they ask for your passport and you don’t want to give it to them, you use this one. It almost always works. Or when you’re passing a remote border station of some third world country, it might work. It serves as a useful I.D., because it looks very official. It costs about $125, I believe.
To be continued…
Joel’s Note: We’ll pick up the rest of our conversation with Doug next week. In the meantime, you might like to take a look at his latest book. It’s yours, free, when you trial a subscription to his best-selling newsletter, The Casey Report.
There’s not another analyst in the business whose track record commands more respect than Doug’s. Take a look for yourself, here.