The Daily Bell Interviews Addison Wiggin
Daily Bell: Thanks for sitting down with us. Tell us a bit about your background. Were you economically oriented as a child?
Addison Wiggin: Economically oriented? Well, my parents bought, renovated and sold old colonials in New England while I was growing up. I lived in nine different houses in the same town before leaving for college. I can remember one winter moving into a farmhouse that didn’t have running water. We had to use an outhouse in the middle of February.
For a time, too, they tried to live off the land in one of the old farms we’d purchased. We grew all our own food, raised chickens and rented some land to a local dairy farmer. My dad had a building supply company, but was forced to shut it down during the oil shock of 1973. He was an early believer in sustainable living… to say the least.
During one episode of my misspent youth, I followed the rock band, The Grateful Dead, around the country, earning my way in the black market economy that had grown up around this curious collection of derelict hippies. All of these early life experiences helped me gain respect for “economics” in the real human sense – saving, investing and speculating. At the same time, I became suspicious of the data-crunching econometric theory that passes for intelligent analysis and forecasting on TV and in government today.
Daily Bell: What did you do in college?
Addison Wiggin: In college, I studied the classics – languages, history, philosophy and religion. I never believed any of it would give me the skills I needed to get a job one day, but those were the subjects that interested me. Ironically, today, I don’t believe I could do the writing or publishing of ideas that we do at Agora without the language skills or the increasingly unique perspective a classical education brings.
Daily Bell: Where did you go after college? Tell us how you got to Agora.
Addison Wiggin: I got to Agora, purely by chance. I was studying for a Masters degree at St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD. As most graduate students are, we were dead broke. I responded to a 3X5 card on the “jobs bulletin board” in the student union. Some guy named Bill Bonner in Baltimore was looking for new writers to train for his publishing company. I knew then I was interested in a career in publishing, but had no idea what a fortuitous occasion finding that card would turn out to be. That was about 17 years ago. I’ve worked odd jobs on golf courses, as a carpenter and a painter, in liquor stores, drove a supply snow cat one winter in Telluride Colorado, even worked in the private kitchen of Prince Bendar of Saudi Arabia, but the only “real” job I’ve ever had is with Agora.
Daily Bell: What are your responsibilities now?
Addison Wiggin: Today, I’m the executive publisher of Agora Financial, one of the subsidiaries of Agora Inc. We publish, among other letters, The Daily Reckoning, and some of the leading financial newsletters in the business, including Outstanding Investments, which has earned a #1 ranking by Hulbert’s Financial Digest for its coverage of natural resources, energy and precious metals markets; and Capital & Crisis, one of my favorites, covering deep value and long-term investments from a top-down macro perspective. We’ve also just founded the Richebacher Society in an effort to continue the work of the late Dr. Kurt Richebacher, a classical European economist. And this fall we’re assembling a new service with partners in Mumbai covering the BRIC – Brazil, Russia, India and China – economies from the ground up, offering opportunities to investors who are increasingly worried about the deficit spending and recklessness of government policy here in the West.
To read the rest of Addison’s interview, click here.