Louis: Doug, a lot of readers have been asking for guidance on how to know when it’s time to exit center stage and hunker down in some safe place. Few people want to hide from the world in a cabin in the woods while life goes on in the mainstream, but nobody wants to get caught once the gates clang shut on the police state the US is becoming. How do you know when it’s time to go?
Doug: Well, the first thing to keep in mind is that it’s better to be a year too early than a minute too late. David Galland recently read They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45, by Milton Mayer. He quoted a passage in his column of last Friday. It goes a long way in explaining why Americans appear to be such whipped dogs today. They’re no different from the Germans of recent memory. For those who missed it, let me quote it:
“You see,” my colleague went on, “one doesn’t see exactly where or how to move. Believe me, this is true. Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don’t want to act, or even talk, alone; you don’t want to ‘go out of your way to make trouble.’ … In the university community, in your own community, you speak privately to your colleagues, some of whom certainly feel as you do; but what do they say? They say, ‘It’s not so bad’ or ‘You’re seeing things’ or ‘You’re an alarmist.’
“These are the beginnings, yes; but how do you know for sure when you don’t know the end, and how do you know, or even surmise, the end? On the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime, the Party, intimidate you. On the other, your colleagues pooh-pooh you as pessimistic or even neurotic… the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That’s the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked… But of course this isn’t the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C?”
The fact is that the US has been on a slippery slope for decades, and it’s about to go over a cliff. However, our standard of living, while declining, is still very high, both relatively and absolutely. But an American can enjoy a much higher standard of living abroad.
On the other hand, if I were some poor guy in a poverty-wracked country with few opportunities, I’d want to go where the action is, where the money is, now. Today, that means trying to get into the United States. The US is headed the wrong direction, but it’s still a land of opportunity and a whole lot better than some flea-bitten village in Niger.
L: By the time things get worse than some Third-World dictatorship in the US, such a person could have remitted a whole lot of cash back home.
Doug: And you’d have a whole lot of experiences that would give you a competitive edge back where you came from, or in the next place you go to. The one-eyed man is king in the valley of the blind. People have to lose that backward, peasant mentality that ties them to the land of their birth. Sad to say, although the average American has somewhat more knowledge of the world — mainly due to television — his psychology is just as constrained as that of some serf from central Asia or some primitive villager in Africa. It’s all a matter of psychology.
But if you’re not poor, you want to go someplace that is safe, nice — whatever that means to you — and with a lower cost of living. As most readers know, for me that’s Cafayate, Argentina, but one size does not fit all. It needs to be a place you actually enjoy spending some time, with people whose company you enjoy.
L: Fair enough. But our readers want to know if your guru-sense is tingling yet, or how close you think we are to it being too late to leave — or at least too late to leave with any meaningful assets.
Doug: I’m a trend observer. This is one of the advantages of studying history, because it shows you that things like this rarely happen overnight. They are usually the result of trends that build over years and years, sometimes over generations. In the case of the US, I think the trend has been downhill, in many ways, for many years. Pick a time. You could make an argument, from a moral point of view, that things started heading downhill at the time of the Spanish-American War. That was when a previously peaceful and open country first started conquering overseas lands and staking colonies. America was still in the ascent towards its peak economically, but the seeds of its own demise were already sewn, and a libertarian watching the scene might have concluded that it was time to get out of Dodge —
L: [Laughs] That would have been a bit early…
Doug: [Chuckles] Yes, that would have been way too soon…So, when did the slide — politically, economically, and socially — really start for the US? When were there no more trends going up?
L: FDR? The New Deal was really a moral, economic, and political turning point.
Doug: You could make that argument, but the US still grew economically, despite the roadblocks FDR threw in its path. US military power and global prestige continued growing from that point, although, paradoxically, the accelerating growth of the US military was directly responsible for the decline of the US economically and in terms of personal freedom. One reason for the ascendancy of the US after World War II was that we were the only major country in the world not physically devastated by the war.
L: Ah. Right.
Doug: So it seems to me that the peak of American civilization was in the 1960s. As for evidence, well, I like to put my finger on the 1959 Cadillac. Those twin bullet taillights, the opulence of it… In terms of then-current technology, things couldn’t get much better. That was the peak, in my mind. Though things continued getting better for a while, the US started to live out of capital.
L: Had to pay for guns and butter.
Doug: That’s right. The Johnson administration’s so-called Great Society created vast new federal bureaucracies that promised Americans free food, shelter, medical care, education, and what-have-you. Americans became true wards of the state. But the real, final nail in the coffin for America was in 1971 —
L: Nixon taking the US off the gold standard.
Doug: Nixon taking the US off the gold standard — open devaluation of the dollar, combined with wage and price controls for some months. And that was not long after the so-called Bank Secrecy Act, which abolished bank secrecy, and required the reporting of all foreign financial accounts…Since 1971, some things have improved largely due to technological advances, but the America That Was has been fading into the past. It was a decisive turning point. You can see that in the accelerated proliferation of undeclared wars we’ve had since then. I don’t just mean the penny-ante invasions of Granada and Panama — the US has always lorded it over Caribbean and Central American banana republics; those are just sport wars. But Iraq and Afghanistan are alien cultures on the other side of the world — apart from never posing any threat to the US. Now it looks like Iran and Pakistan are on the dance card, and they’re big game. The War Against Islam has started in earnest, and it’s going to end badly for the US. I explained all this at great length in the white paper, Learn to Make Terror Your Friend, that I wrote for The Casey Report last month.Doug Casey and Louis Jamesfor The Daily Reckoning
Doug Casey of Casey Research is the author of the best sellers Strategic Investing, Crisis Investing, Crisis Investing for the Rest of the 90's, and most recently, Totally Incorrect. He has lived in seven countries and visited over 100 more. He has appeared on scores of major radio and TV shows and remains an active speculator in the stock, bond, commodity, and real estate markets around the world. In his spare time, Doug engages in competitive shooting and plays polo.
Sooo. Nobody knows or will know. Some want to run but aren’t sure of where to go and might be stepping from the frying pan into the fire, and some want to stick around and enjoy the show.
“But an American can enjoy a much higher standard of living abroad.”
so when the economy falls apart like wet toilet paper, you advise being the new gringo with all the money. oh yeah. good advice.
when they’re burning down your hacienda, you can tell them, “but I’m an american!” and they’ll say, “you WERE.”
a big yes to gman. When things fall apart in the country they choose to hide out and the millions that spread out from the cities looking for food and someone to blame guess who that will be.
…George Soros. That’s my guess.
yes the best place to retire it is …
OVER SEAS where we get the most bang from our bucks , cost of living is cheaper and nicer beaches to go to while having a roof under your head, money in the bank after you spend and plenty of free time and places to go… we are looking to retire in Philippines !!!!
As an alternate peak how about when JFK was killed? He was going to remove the monopoly of the Fed. The history I read had LBJ cancelling the issuance of currency by the treasury on day one of his presidency.
This was by my reckoning, a message to be heard by insiders loud and clear.
Most things American since that time have been a little bit tainted.
Most people from the US that move to other countries either congregate in little bunches or try to turn the adopted country into where they came from.
“As an alternate peak how about when JFK was killed? He was going to remove the monopoly of the Fed. The history I read had LBJ cancelling the issuance of currency by the treasury on day one of his presidency.”
do you have a cite for that? sounds like something that should be known.
I have to agree with your first statement regarding the expat option.
It is true Kennedy started issuing currency outside the Federal Reserve notes. I had one, a five dollar bill if I recall correctly. They were all withdrawn from circulation after his death.
Sorry gman can’t remember but there’s a googleplex of references on the web
We´ve had our glorious opportunity to stock up on chinese-made doohickies. Go America!!
South and North!! We have food, we have oil.
We´ll even invite Europe.
Right on! Casey,1971. Its a drag that it would have 2b falling apart in this life-time! 40+yrs later. We the youth have no idea watts in store 4 US! *S* PS were’s the 1 eyed Jack 2 help c us thru all this? He must b “side-tracked” by the Joker!
Doug Casey is a clown. Gold has worked, but any semi literate investor should own this as part of a diversified portfolio. Listening to idiots like this have kept people from doubling their money off the Mar ’09 lows (had they not sold). Eventually he’ll be correct as all of us will die, but in the meantime stop worrying about the sky is falling nonsense.
I have often wondered were the actual decline of the US began. Reading many books on this subject I am not so sure you can pinpoint any exact time period.
I my opinion the decline is now accelerating at a very rapid pace. The two unfunded wars at the beginning of this century has hurt us tremendously but the 2007/08 bailouts has pushed us beyond the point of no return.
The “Perfect Economic Storm” has now arrived and the sad part was it was avoidable. In the end, it wasn’t just horrible political, monetary and fiscal policy that will take this once great nation down to its knees but a complete lack of morals and ethics.
True communism does not export women, Soviet, Hairy chairman, uncle Deng did not do that and kept the country clean. The turning point around 1995 onwards you really see chicks leaping in the streets. Tell me, who was on the throne? From the connection of getting lots of paper trade, I suspect he is merely a prodigy. Isn’t it?
And, the power grabing in 1989 deserves close scrutiny. It places billions in jeopardy.
The Great Depression caught most people by surprise. The Germans who invaded Paris in WWII caught everyone by surprise. The collapse of the Argentine economy in 2001 caught everyone by surprise.
Expect the worst possibility and hope for the best.
We won’t know if there is a chance to turn around the U.S. until after the GOP candidate is chosen. If it is Paul, we have a chance. Otherwise, …By By Baby Red/White/Blue.
Again, great for Doug Casey. Run, run, run you coward. Thank God people like George Washington and patrick Henry did not run! Not to mention that you advise is under the delusion that most people can not afford to pick up with the skills they have and move to some third world despot country. Argentina? Really? As you point to America becoming a police state (which it already is) you jumped right into one.
Doug’s whole premise is ridulous! I am stay to fight for my liberty instead of handing them over by leaving. Again, COWARD!!!
Just like the rest of the bobbleheads who are on line…a whole lot of nothing in response to the question…The answer is TRIGGERS…if you feel that a bank holiday is the day you go, then prepare you and your family for that day, if martital law being declared in any state or any city and that is a trigger for you then go on that day. If an annoucement of a dollar devaluation is your trigger…THEN LEAVE for the 120 days of HELL that will follow. OH and by the way LEAVING for 120 days to get out of the way of one hell of alot of unknowns is not cowardice or even dereliction of duty, it is just a way to not have to shoot neighbors who cannot get the drugs they need to function normally. IT IS GETTING TO HIGH GROUND WHEN YOUR NOT UP TO YOUR A$$ IN ALIGATORS.
buy a raffle ticket at costa rica raffle.com
Kudos! Most erudite ( interview ) article written on “getting our of Dodge” -versus -shelering in place.
There is no safe haven. The whole world will be effected, in Biblical proportions if you catch my drift. Despite this, I would still be interested in moving out of the giant FEMA camp of misinformation. I don’t know what’s worse. China’s censoring of information, or our misinformation meant to zombify Americans into walking into the meat grinder.
I was just thinking about his last week. We are in 1984 and most have no clue. They must be spraying sedatives on us. Aerosol crimes – clifford caricom has found sedatives in the collection of fallout from chemtrails. Yes you heard me right; and only a wise man would research this before making a decision!
Pingback: Getting out of Dodge | The Partisan Ranger Blog
Cayafate is in the desert in a 3rd world country, out in the boonies. It’s not on the fertile pampas, it’s a craphole surrounded by a bunch of people that are poor and desperately trying to keep body and soul together. You’d better hope to hell that the distribution system out there in the back of beyond doesn’t hiccup, or your “retreat” will look like Fort Apache. But your dollars will go farther – right up until you can use them for toilet paper like everyone else!
Pingback: Getting out of Dodge
Blame it on the bomb … perfect cover to transfer wealth — its nearly complete “they” got it all — all sowed up — game over, music stopped.
There’s an easy recipe you can use to root out the strongest stocks on the market right now.
America’s Strategic Energy Weapon, Part II
The quack policy that was good for stock owners in North America turned out even better for those in Japan.
From under which fetid igneous formation did these IRS slugs slither?
How the “Maker Movement” Will Launch the Best of Times in a Tale of Two Americas
Why following market skeptics can protect you in the long run.
From “Bits” to “Atoms”… Digital Innovation Finally Comes to the World of Real Stuff