the dollar vigilante blog
Feedback Friday - December 7, 2012
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Another week, and here we are again. Feedback Friday, where you get to ask TDV's writers about anything you wish in the TDV universe and beyond. This week, everything from Paraguay to advice for the young and in debt to...Romans 13?
Thanks as always for your feedback, on to this week's...
QUESTIONS ON PARAGUAY FROM TDV’S FORUMS
I'd like to know more about investing in farm land in Paraguay and specifically in the Chaco region. Based on the limited reading I've done it sounds like opportunity abounds.
I would also like more information on this topic. Maybe a good website...in English would be nice, with Paraguayan real estate listings. If even such a thing exists...? (i.e. in English)
Hi Crocket and JM,
Taking Crocket's question first, opportunity ABSOLUTELY abounds down in Paraguay and Chile. I absolutely love both these regions for that reason. TDV Passports managing director, Ken Johnson, and I drove around Asuncion with an enterprising young lawyer/entrepreneur and our jaws dropped at all the opportunity. And, it's the same in Chile.
Secondly, I have commented quite a bit, especially in our newsletter about how I see foreign farmland in places such as these as being excellent bets on the future. Land costs are still unbelievably cheap in Paraguay... and for all the economic activity in Chile (which Paraguay is still far behind) the cost of land has nowhere near kept up with what its value should be, in my opinion. Not to mention, no matter how bad the dollar collapse and The End Of The Monetary System As We Know It (TEOTMSAWKI) gets, people will still want and need food. And, even if transportation and financial systems break down for a period, you'll still be able to eat a nice steak every night.
That's what we are doing at Galt's Gulch Chile (galtsgulchchile.com), building a totally self-sufficient community in an incredibly fertile valley less than an hour from Santiago and less than an hour from Vina del Mar, one of the world's nicest oceanside resort cities.
In response to JM, and his request for more info on finding real estate in Paraguay on the Internet, the best and often only way to find real estate in these kind of developing markets such as Paraguay is to get on the ground with trusted people. Hardly any businesses in Paraguay even have websites (hint to website developers who speak decent Spanish) and if there is anything on the Internet, it almost certainly will be offered at "gringo" prices (5-10 times more than if you are on the ground). We have people in Paraguay who have lived there for decades and who speak English and can easily show you the way. Just email us at TDV@dollarvigilante.com and we'll get you connected. Plus, remember, by subscribing to TDV you have access to Dollar Vigilante expats worldwide who can also point you in the right direction. We're connecting dozens or hundreds of people per day to offshore employment and investment opportunities and as we grow it will become the most important network for freedom-lovers to be a part of. For $15/month, it's the bargain of the century.
EXPAT ADVICE FOR THE YOUNG AND IN DEBT
I couldn’t agree with you more, but for us young, college-debt-drowning (I paid mine off), and jobless (or $10/hr employed) it's close to impossible just paying the extortion fees of visas, let alone the inflation of the dollar has led to outrageous prices in everything (except the deflation in housing). So in other words with regulations off the chart killing entrepreneurialism, acquiring capital is increasingly difficult. So the only option I have found has been to teach English, but again takes several g's of capital to get started....TEFOL, paid by the month, travel exp, etc. I happen to be an RN by profession and I'm able to actually save an ounce of Au per month so what’s one to do? Leave now?....I might add there are few options country wise...due to visa restrictions... Cambodia is all that I know of with there e-visa that’s affordable for me. Thailand is now getting expensive and authoritative. What about a house near the border?(I can’t afford much, but it could move you away from the herd) or hope my Au stores will give me more options like a move to Jeff's expat community in Chile for instance. Any advice????
It is not easy for the hopelessly indebted young person earning almost nothing, either to live here or to prepare a soft landing in another country. You don't have it so bad if you can put away an ounce of gold each month (though I'd recommend some diversification into silver). But I'll start by talking about those in real dire straits: the indebted, jobless or underemployed college grads. I'm going to give them the advice that Jeff gave me: Just leave anyway.
After all, what are you sticking around for? The odds are very strong that your prospects here are only going to get worse. You had the misfortune to be born when the buck that's been passed for a hundred years (founding of the Federal Reserve and the start of the income tax) cannot be passed anymore. The Ponzi schemes in government entitlements, inflation and wars is collapsing on the heads of your generation. Your grandparents made out great. Your parents almost as well. You? You're screwed. Your quality of life has been the collateral that paid for your forebears to be coddled into complacency by their political masters and that paid for the world dominating schemes of those same masters.
Jeff would tell you to lose your apprehensions and throw the usual caution to the wind. Just take off for another country, resolve never to set foot in the collapsing USSA again. Good luck for those “past due” student letters to make it to you in Southeast Asia! Essentially disappear into the wide, wide world and take your chances. Because it's a better deal than you'd get here.
And now I'll give you my own heartfelt advice in case you aren't made of quite the same adventurous stuff as our dear editor-in-chief.
I like the “little house near the border idea.” A lot. Just so happens that it's something I was looking into myself just a week ago when I reading that some of the very cheapest places to live are in Texas on or near the border, like Harlingen and McAllen. I wanted to be able to skedaddle along the TDV Underground Railroad at least as far as Jim Karger's stronghold in San Miguel de Allende. Plus Texas has no income tax. And for more in depth research and advice about surviving and thriving if you have to stay in the USSA during the collapse, please join us at the very affordable TDV Homegrown. In fact, I'll run your specific situation by Dear Slavey – who now is a regular contributor to Homegrown – and see what other advice he can come up with.
Jeff would point out that you could live on the good side of the border in Mexico, too. Tijuana, for example, may be a much better choice than San Diego or Chula Vista, especially in terms of cost of living and being able to buy stuff after 9 pm. You could take little jaunts back for what you miss most about the US experience without subjecting yourself to all the bad things. And you're astronomically less likely to get trapped there on the next 9/11 false flat event and find yourself in a FEMA camp.
I'd been thinking of hunkering down with my metal money in an adorable bungalow somewhere (like the cute one in whose attic loft I'm currently typing as the snow drifts down). But as much as I'd like to stay, it's becoming too much of a police state for my liking. Plus I don't want to pay any income tax and help fund murder in other countries.
NO LOVE FOR THE POLICE AND ROMANS 13
You might enjoy my recent article: I hate cops.
And, of course, as an atheist I think you are misinterpreting Romans 13 just the way the puppeticians hope you will. Nothing is Caesar's except what he actually owns, so you owe him nothing other than not robbing him. Your property doesn't belong to him. Plus, I have seen Christians point out that in America, the Constitution is the authority, not those people who violate it.
If you live in a Roman dictatorship and you are a "tax slave" as Jeff Berwick puts it, regardless of ethics (it's a dictatorship), you owe Caesar taxes.
If you use Federal Reserve notes, well, then give to the Federal Reserve what is the Federal Reserves. If you don't use them (i.e. gold and silver), well, how does the Fed know how much metal you got buried in a field?
If Jesus meant for political revolution, then why when Pilate told him to defend himself with the angels did he refuse? Because his kingdom is a spiritual one, not of this world, and the point of his coming is to save us from spiritual damnation and not political damnation.
There have always been dictatorships and there always will be until the end of time, do you think that we can change that? The historical record testifies otherwise. We should fight for freedom, but we can't expect it to be any different from the past cycle of Dictatorship>Revolution>Freedom>Apathy>Dictatorship...
One thing non-believers might overlook is that this life is short and just a breeze in the wind, so ultimately politics is of little import compared to eternity. The whole point of Jesus is coming was that we are sinners before a holy God with nothing to offer in recompense. I remember as a teen working at a grocery store helping unload a customer's heavy load of groceries into his shining Mercedes, which was part of the job description. The guy gave me a quarter and I was offended at his handing me such a pittance, I would rather have taken nothing, I was helping him for free.
This is the same thing when man tries to offer some "good works" to God, we are corrupt and have nothing to offer so God is offended. Christ completed the legal transaction, payment for our sins, so those accepting him could make it across the "River Styx" into heaven and not Hades.: http://www.gty.org/resources/bible-qna/BQ072512/christians-and-submittin...
It's not wholly a simple answer. Yes, I am saying that legally the US Constitution is the authority and not those who violate it. Yes, citizens should, where they can, stand up for justice, freedom and liberty. However, for believers, this is not a primary objective.
For somebody who is not a Christian, then this earth is all there is and of course they will be focused on making a "heaven" on earth. For those who believe in an eternal heaven, they are then making preparation for that and "storing up treasures in heaven".
P.S. Gospel in a nutshell, are you a good person?
I don't care one whit about being a good person according to someone else's holy text. Being a good person comes down to whether one is ever willing to initiate force or use fraud against another (note: self-defense is fine against the initiation of force; anarchism is the only peaceful political ideology, but it does not mean pacifism).
A good man does not submit to a dictator. A good man resists unjust laws, even at his own peril. At least he does if he is morally consistent and has a backbone. Believers are free to submit to this government and hope for the best in the next life. Those who do not believe the comforting myths about reconstitution in paradise after death...we'll just keep pushing for the complete abolition of slavery, not just the chattel variety that the brave abolitionsists before us resisted...but the slavery to the state that men still so willingly accept.
We do expect the cycle to be different. And that won't happen if we just accept Caesar's whip on our backs and hope for better things after brain death. Remember, there's a reason that the state has always employed high priests. Faith in an unseen reward in return for earthly submission: it's hard to come up with a better program to tame the human livestock than that.
I'm also saying that the Constitution gets its "authority" from the same inglorious violence that ultimately (and intimately) backs all politics. My liberty doesn't exist because those with a monopoly on violence write down a few allowances on paper and keep their guns trained on me. My liberty comes from my nature as a thinking human being, from reason and from ethics. And definitely not from any religious sentiment. As I implied above, religious sentiment is wrapped up in the same thoughtless submission to "authority" as statist sentiment. They really are two sides of the same coin, with the secular ruler on one side and his religious enabler on the other. You want me to "render unto Caesar" because some guy in an old book full of violence, rape and irrationality said to? Caesar can go render himself.
Occasionally a Dollar Vigilante or another freedom-oriented newsletter (e.g. Laissez Faire Today) compares the safety of a non-USSA location with major cities of the world, including USSA cities. They are almost certainly using statistics provided by respective governments.
But are the government statistics accurate?
As an example, when comparing "homicide" rates provided by governments, do those statistics include the number of murders committed by government "security" forces and "law enforcement"?
When reporting violent crimes, do governments include assaults, home invasions and thefts (even ignoring taxes) committed by government "security" forces and "law enforcement"?
I suggest the answer is "no" in both cases.
Using government-supplied crime statistics should include caveats and taken with a few kilograms of salt.
As a rule, always take everything the government tells you with a grain of salt. In other words, don't trust them at all and assume that they are always trying to paint a picture to distort reality in a way that enhances their control over you. They are usually trying to increase your tendency to comply and give them more power by playing on your fears. So certain US cities are "dangerous" and therefore "need more government to tax one set of people to make the criminals nicer and to pay for more uniformed thugs." Meanwhile certain countries are "safe" (other Western kleptocratic tax farms) even as their economies collapse and slaves riot when the goodie train stops...and other countries are "dangerous" (like in Latin America) even though you'd be able to live well there and be less likely to be held up either by a low level thug or a higher level uniformed thug.
We may cite statistics because everyone likes numbers. But we also encourage people to go see for themselves. I have been in over 100 countries (and at least 10 more in the next month that I've never been to in Eastern Europe and Africa) and encourage my editors to go live in a place before actually writing about it. I frequently find myself asking people with opinions on other countries, "Have you even ever been there? So how do you know?"
But aside from that, let's talk about "safety". I have grown to hate that word. Most westerners obsess on "safety" when their own governments are armed-robbing them every single day of the year for what usually amounts to over half their income. Here's the truth. You are never "safe". We are on a space rock apparently speeding through space at 18.55 miles per second. And, that's just this rock. The Sun travels around the center of the Milky Way galaxy at 487,383 mph or 135 miles per second. It's complete chaos!
Despite that, the resident chimpanzees on this rock furrow their brows and worry about every little bit of minutia... like how bad for you smoking is... or seatbelts. Like they had some sort of completely ludicrous plan to live forever. Meanwhile, while they admonish smokers or non-seat belt wearing people they are living in places being chemtrailed, eating food almost completely devoid of nutrients, living in a place where they are robbed every day, and don't seem to notice they are complete slaves to the statist system and live completely unfree.
So, when people ask me, "Is Mexico safe?" I just normally look at them with a blank stare. What is safe? To me, where they usually live (the US or the West), it is imminently unsafe in terms of freedom. They actually have no freedom, almost at all. And, I find it incredibly naive and arrogant of Americans or other Westerners who think they are so in demand to be kidnapped or killed wherever they go. Most people in foreign countries are actually quite nice to them, unnecessarily. And, beyond that, they are ignored or, worse, looked at as lesser people with no culture, no class and definitely no balls. I've seen countless Americans and Canadians come to Mexico in a fetal ball as though they are going to be beheaded and/or kidnapped as soon as they leave their all-inclusive artificial environment hotels.
As a person who has travelled the world, let me tell you, you are far "safer", if that is what you most care about, outside the Western world than almost anywhere in it. You definitely won't have half your income stolen at gunpoint every day. If you are raped, it will be totally voluntarily in almost every case! And, what you may find is that you've been brainwashed almost since birth to fear the rest of the world.
I'm here to tell those that are so worried in the US to snap out of it and stop being so fearful. It's sad and pathetic. The home of the brave and the land of the free? That's brainwashing from the child prison camps you were submitted to for 12 of your most formative years and later added to by main-dream media programming in the nights. It's now the home of the slave and land of the weak, worrying, "safety- conscious.
Step outside of your safety bubble and experience real life. It's beautiful.