Monday, January 14, 2013

Is There a Better Place Than the United States to Live?

By Doug Casey


From at least the 1600s, Europe could claim to be the center of world civilization on all fronts. The colonies of the Portuguese, Spanish, English, French, and Russian empires (with the Dutch, Germans, Italians, and Americans as bit players) covered almost the entire planet. In its early days, an empire is both fun and profitable. You get to loot and pillage at will, and an empire provides lots of room to relocate the disenchanted, the overly adventurous, and the criminals. But the natives pick up the imported technology and customs, and they start to resent the intrusion of foreigners on their turf. At that point, an empire becomes a liability and a gigantic cost, since it needs to be defended. The Romans discovered that, and their descendants are rediscovering it. Once an empire starts falling apart, trying to stop it is like trying to stop a tree from falling once its roots have rotted. It can't be done, and it's best not to be around when it happens.

The way I see it, Western Europe is living off its accumulated capital, and it can take a while to burn through assets accumulated over hundreds of years. But they're doing that quickly, as enamored as the continent has been with socialism. The other thing that's kept its head above water is "black money." The convenience of having lots of other countries nearby has helped make Europeans skilled and successful tax evaders; this has given them a lot more capital than they would have otherwise had, to use productively. But the rise of the EU, the U.S./EU drive for "tax harmonization" and against money laundering, and the lust to regulate coming out of Brussels will quash most of the continent's remaining productivity. The place is on a very slippery economic slope.

Will the EU last, and will the euro continue to exist? I would bet against it. A simple free-trade pact (no restrictions on the movement of goods, capital, and labor) in Europe would have been a huge boon to everyone. But, no. That would have been way too simple. They had to try to make it into a one-size-fits-all burnoose that fits no one. Here's what will happen. The EU will fall apart, with bad feelings all around, recriminations for subsidies and loans, and a rebirth of nationalism. The euro will cease to exist, with more bad feelings and a lot of money lost, by what's left of the middle class. And then it will be back to business as usual, which for Europe tends to mean war.

There are two big complicating factors here: Demography and Islam.

Every country in Europe is in serious demographic decline; this is to be expected as any society becomes more educated and more urban. It's aggravated, I think, by the continent's pervasive socialism. When the state acts as your parent, you tend to never grow up, leave home, and have a family. The state wants to take care of your kids, and your kids don't need to take care of you. So the decline of Europe's native population is likely to continue, if not accelerate.

This relates to Islam. It's well known that, due to heavy immigration from their old colonies (North Africa for France, Pakistan and India for Britain, Indonesia for Holland) and other reasons in the case of Germany and Switzerland (mostly Turkish immigration), the population of Europe has changed radically over the last 30 years. Furthermore, the trend is accelerating, because the Muslims, for whatever reasons, tend to have large families. So, it's said, in another 30 years most of the countries in Europe will have Muslim majorities or significant pluralities.

Frankly, I don't care where people come from, what color they are, or what superstitions they may hold (as long as they don't try to impose them on me). But it seems predictable that this demographic revolution, especially coming at a time of rising nationalism, is going to lead to some serious conflict. Could Europe turn into a large-scale Bosnia? I'm not predicting it will, but it's not out of the question.

Bottom line: Europe is fine for vacations (even though it's way too constipated and way too expensive to suit my taste). But for an expat looking for a permanent base, you would be asking for trouble.


We've been talking about Muslims in Europe. Does it make any sense to look to reverse the flow? I have to say, regrettably, no. One reason is that Muslims tend to take their religion much more seriously than Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, or any other group I can think of. Islam is more than a religion, it's an all-encompassing world view, with serious economic, political, and social implications. It's one thing being a tourist or a visiting businessman in one of the 40-something Islamic countries, but I think it's something else entirely to focus your life there.

All these countries were ex-European colonies, which has left lingering resentment in some quarters. And practically all of these countries were created – Iraq, Jordan, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, Fuhgedabouditstan – by fiat in a European boardroom, with zero regard to existing ethnic, linguistic, and cultural distinctions. That means they're all intrinsically unstable, and most of these "countries" will fall apart sooner rather than later.

The situation is aggravated by the ongoing and growing War on Islam – called by the more politically correct, but ridiculous and dishonest moniker, the War on Terror. This is really just a continuation of what's been going on, sporadically, since the Crusades. I think it's going to get much more serious before it goes into remission again.

If you want to see the pyramids, rent a villa in Marrakesh, or speculate on property in Dubai (or Cairo, as a friend of mine is currently doing), that's one thing. As a focus, I think it's a mistake.


The whole continent is a nearly unmitigated disaster and tragedy. There are some who say that Africa would have been forever grateful to Europe, if Da Gama had just thrown a wheel ashore as he was rounding the Cape. But he would have also had to throw out an instruction book. And nobody on the continent knew how to read.

My own view is that European colonization was the worst thing that could have happened to Africa. It's true that the Africans were living in primitive conditions; but that would have changed organically, through trade, if Europeans had arrived as merchants instead of conquerors. What happened is that every country on the continent (with the exceptions of Egypt and Ethiopia) is a totally artificial figment of some European bureaucrat's imagination.

Every government on the continent is a kleptocracy. If you're an ambitious African who wants to make money, you try to take control of the state and then cement your position by filling every important position with friends and tribal relations. The state can then serve as your personal piggy bank. Pre-conquest Africa was no model of libertarian equity, but the thousands of tribes at least had societies and economies that had worked over many generations.

Military conquest allowed the overnight infusion of advanced technologies, and a political structure that submerged the natives and their cultures. Worse, the ones that got a Western education were indoctrinated with the totally alien philosophy of Marxism and the alien religion of Christianity. This guaranteed long-term conflict with the equally alien religion of Islam. The poor African, who previously lived in about the most traditional of all societies, was uprooted and set adrift in every way possible.

As far as I'm concerned, Africa (with a few exceptions – Ghana, Namibia, perhaps Mozambique – and I would have picked Ivory Coast, as well, before the place blew up ten years ago) is going nowhere, until the present nation-states are restructured or disappear.

Before 1960, Africa was a safe and mellow place. Since then, it's been turbulent and dangerous, but with opportunities mainly for the daring Uhuru jumper. At this point, the average black in business has some sophistication, some money, and a good measure of residual resentment against the whites. I think South Africa will continue on its downward trajectory. Zimbabwe, I believe, has turned the corner and is going to recover, until it gets another Mugabe look-alike. Which it will. That's the way post-colonial Africa is structured. I don't see Africa as anything but a prospect for the occasional speculation.

I don't see long-term investment as an even remotely realistic possibility. Except for perhaps the Chinese, who might recolonize the place in an even less mellow way than the Europeans.


This is where the future lies. I'm a long-time fan of the Orient, including as a place to live. True, the whole area was colonized by the Europeans (with the prominent exceptions of Thailand and Japan), but the culture of the region is so old and deep, and the population so large, that it's retained its character.

Read the rest here.


  1. Pretty good article, but isn't Doug selling property in Argentina? So I could have guessed the grand finale was going to be Argentina. Nevertheless, seems on point for most of the world.

  2. Money.

    Anyway, I wonder why certain People haven't left the country yet, or do they all have B.O.L.'s in nicer places? Why haven't I?

    The theme song of this subject, from The Clash, a fitting name too:

    Darling you gotta let me know
    Should I stay or should I go?
    If you say that you are mine
    I'll be here til the end of time
    So you got to let know
    Should I stay or should I go?

    Always tease tease tease
    Siempre - coqetiando y enganyando
    You're happy when I'm on my knees
    Me arrodilla y estas feliz
    One day is fine, next is black
    Un dias bien el otro negro
    So if you want me off your back
    Al rededar en tu espalda
    Well come on and let me know
    Me tienes que desir
    Should I stay or should I go?
    Me debo ir o que darme

    Should I stay or should I go now?
    Should I stay or should I go now?
    If I go there will be trouble
    An if I stay it will be double
    So come on and let me know

    This indecisions bugging me
    Esta undecision me molesta
    If you don't want me, set me free
    Si no me quieres, librame
    Exactly whom I'm supposed to be
    Diga me que tengo ser
    Don't you know which clothes even fit me?
    Saves que robas me querda?
    Come on and let me know
    Me tienes que desir
    Should I cool it or should I blow?
    Me debo ir o quedarme?

    Should I stay or should I go now?
    Yo me frio o lo sophlo?
    If I go there will be trouble
    Si me voi - va ver peligro
    And if I stay it will be double
    Si me quedo es doble
    So you gotta let me know
    Me tienes que decir
    Should I stay or should I go?
    Yo me frio o lo sophlo?

    - IndividualAudienceMember

  3. Why would he buy property in a country he didn't believe in as much?

    Maybe he should have given us a disclaimer, perhaps that would have given his article more legitimacy?

  4. I wonder why he doesn't talk separately about Scanadanavia are they the same as Europe?