the dollar vigilante blog
The Weekend Vigilante May 25, 2013
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Hello from sunny and almost uncomfortably hot, Acapulco Bay,
I say "almost" because after sleeping on the cold floor for two nights with barely any sheets and pillows in Santiago last week I am more than happy to sweat a bit this week during the two hottest months in Acapulco - April and May! I've just arrived back from nearly two weeks in Santiago and unfortunately I'm only here for less than 48 hours and then I am flying up this weekend to rainy and cold, Vancouver, Canada for the World Resource Investment Conference to present my keynote speech, "Bitcoin, Bullion and Bullets - Your Toolkit to Survive The End Of The Monetary System As We Know It".
I had an enjoyable and informative week in Chile and here are some of my thoughts.
GLOBAL CHANGES... IN SHOPPING MALLS
Whenever in Santiago I spend a lot of time in and around the mall/business area called Costanera Center. The Costanera tower is almost complete now and is the largest building in South America emblematic of Chile's growth. Here is a beautiful video produced during its construction that shows off the beauty of the city and, like I have stated before, how it is beginning to feel like Hong Kong in terms of its growth.
Costanera Center mall is one of the nicest and most luxurious I have been to in the world. The only one I can think of off the top of my head that is more opulent is Siam Paragon in Bangkok.
And this is coming from someone who grew up in a place called Edmonton, Canada where we were constantly told in the 1980s that we should be so proud we had the largest mall in the world, West Edmonton Mall (WEM - now it is the twelth largest). It was very popular with Edmontonians, but that was mainly because it was the only warm, social place to go for the eight months of the year when it was regularly -40C/F. In fact, it really wasn't much of anything. It had three Gaps, three Banana Republics, six Cinnabons. And over the years it actually became its own mini city/slum even with various gangs who dominated certain parts of the mall!
In the 1980s (WEM was built in 1981) it and other malls like Mall of America in Minnesota seemed to show the world that the future was in North America (specifically the US and Canada) and that's where the growth was. In some ways it was. But things change, baby.
Today, thanks to the oppressive Western governments and the much less opressive governments in other places most of the "future" lies in Asia and Latin America. In the top 10 list of the world's largest malls (not that that is the only measuring stick that you can gauge growth by, but it is one data point) eight of the top 10 largest malls are in Asia. China has the top two, Philippines has two, Malaysia has two, Thailand has one and the others are two in Iran and one in Turkey.
Now, of course, the population levels in those places easily give a big advantage... especially China. And, not to mention, some of China's largest malls are complete ghost malls with no tenants and built to add to GDP! But my general point is that much of the development and growth going on today is outside of Europe, the US and Canada. And this will just continue to accelerate as TEOTMSAWKI plods along.
THE LANGUAGE OF ESCALATORS
As stated above, whenever in Santiago I practically live in Costanera Center. It is full of amazing restaurants, bars and, of course shopping. A lot of it incredibly high end technology stores which I am drawn to like any woman to a high end shoe store. I even bought a new cutting-edge Samsung laptop that I had been searching for on my last three trips to the US, but no one there had it or had even heard of it. Every electronics store had it at Costanera.
I was ascending the escalators at Costenara (pictured to the right) and realized you can tell a lot about a place by the escalators.
At first I felt a bit frustrated because no one walks up the escalators at Costanera Center. Very similar to luxurious malls in Acapulco. And I realized it is for the same reason... no one is in a rush to get anywhere. They are just enjoying the moment.
As I looked around I noticed half the people were families with the father or mother lovingly engaged with their children, pointing at things of interest. The other half were lovers... of any age. Holding hands, kissing, talking and looking deeply into each others eyes.
In both cases I felt bad because neither my family nor my lover -- my wife -- was with me, but I tried to enjoy the energy for what it was.
It's something I've noticed in Mexico a million times. In most places, people are just sitting, holding hands, kissing and enjoying themselves. It's a very different feel from most places in the US, as example.
In the US, also, many people don't walk up escalators but for different reasons. Most people in the West are in a rush... but in the US most are too fat or lazy to even try to accelerate up the escalator.
This image really says it all.
It's still not as bad as the video below but I wouldn't be surprised to see this happen in the US.
The funny part of that particular video is it is actually an advertisement for margarine... which is one of the hundreds of reasons Americans are so fat and lazy... eating unnatural chemical concoctions instead of real food.
MORE ON SANTIAGO
Chile is almost an anarchist paradise. Here is just one example.
I was walking along with Ken Carpenter, a Freedom Consultant at Galt's Gulch Chile and the concierge of Santiago's TDV Group. I saw some firefighters (bomberos) soliciting for money on the street. I looked at Ken, confused.
"Why are they asking for money?" I asked him.
"Oh, you didn't know? All the firefighters in Chile are volunteers," he said.
And, that is the case!
He went on, "Haven't you ever noticed some taxi drivers have their volunteer firefighter ID on their dash?" he asked.
I hadn't notice but will certainly take notice in the future!
He went on to tell me that often a taxi driver will be driving around when a fire call comes in and he will go there immediately if it is in his vicinity and help put out the fire.
Now that is true anarchy in action!
Earlier this week, Gary Gibson had a stellar article ("How Private Policing Trumps Government Law Enforcement") on how some of the policing in Detroit has become privatized and how much better it is now. Of course, in Detroit it has become necessity due to TEOTMSAWKI whereas in Chile it is likely much more of a feeling of community and caring for it.
But, in either case, we are working towards a world where people are realizing that private solutions are always preferable to collective, theft/violence based solutions. I mean, c'mon, it's not 1384 anymore... get with the program people.
The biggest arguments people who still believe in the old violent/theft-based way of doing things always have are...
1. Police - look at Detroit and see Gary's article
2. Firefighters - look to Chile
3. The roads
Oh, the roads. Just hearing that word now grates my ears like the phrase, "donut shop closed" hurts the ears of Snooki.
If we've now got the police and firefighters part figured out, is "the roads" the only reason left that statists believe in 50% taxation and living in a police state?
Then, as I was writing this, a bridge collapsed in Washington State. It was like a illustrative gift from the gods! Now, of course, for whoever plunged into the icy waters, it must have been terrible... but I hear everyone is okay.
But, for those of us who constantly try to point out the fallacy of the state it was just another one of those shoulder-the-guy-next-to-you-in-the-ribs-and-give-a-little-wink moments.
It turns out that an oversized truck had caused the collapse... but nevertheless, a Federal Highway Administration study shows 11% of all bridges in the US are structurally deficient! And, how do you think they got that way? Well, when things are collectivized there is neither profit motive to upkeep things and a definite bureaucratic motive to siphon off as much money as possible to the bureaucrats with little to no chance of anyone, ever getting fired.
In Chile, most highways are all privatized toll roads and they are glorious. This is the road between Santiago and Vina del Mar in which Galt's Gulch is almost right in the center just off this road.
It's one of the most perfectly upkept roads I've ever been on. They even have on-call medical/ambulance staff along the route in case of emergencies... all part of their private-enterprise service.
Isn't it time we stopped saying that we need government for "roads"?
ADAM: 1 THE MAN: 0
At the time of this writing, good friend Adam Kokesh, who was a political prisoner kidnapped for no reason, has been released by his captors (which I covered here - "And Then They Came For Me: The Back Bagging of Adam Kokesh"). Still with microphone in hand, I might add. That's my kind of freedom fighter!
We will never win against the state through violence... we can only win through knowledge and information. For this, Adam's microphone always being in hand is key!
OFF I GO
And, with that, I'll leave you until next weekend. As you read this I will likely be on a direct flight from Acapulco through Bush Crime Family International Airport in Houston and on to Vancouver... unless I also get black bagged just for pointing out the evils of the state.
Until next week, seek to find non-violent, market-based solutions to all your problems! You are going to have to do it anyway, either as the Western nations collapse or as you leave to freer places where they have yet to become indoctrinated in the "need" for violent/theft based solutions to things like security, firefighting and the ever impossible scourge of how we could possibly have roads without involuntarily taxation!
Anarcho-Capitalist. Libertarian. Freedom fighter against mankind’s two biggest enemies, the State and the Central Banks. Jeff Berwick is the founder of The Dollar Vigilante, CEO of TDV Media & Services and host of the popular video podcast, Anarchast. Jeff is a prominent speaker at many of the world’s freedom, investment and gold conferences including his own, Anarchapulco, as well as regularly in the media including CNBC, CNN and Fox Business.
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