Honestly, you have to love the Argentina people.

Argentina has plenty wrong with it, but lack of respect for the elderly that you might see elsewhere is rare in Argentina.  It isn’t unusual to see a young man, patiently strolling down the sidewalk with an elderly mother—or perhaps grandmother or grandfather—on his arm.

On the subway, as long-time readers know, I avoid eye contact with any person seated when I am standing because they will hop right up and offer me their seat. Since I am as able to stand as they are, I don’t like to take their seat. But when my daughter visited and saw that, she said, “Mom, don’t refuse, just graciously thank them and accept the seat.”

There are other pitfalls here. I like to practice Spanish with people I don’t know. Perhaps I’m behind them in line or sitting next to them on the bus. I don’t like to practice with my bilingual Argentina friends because with them I want to understand how they are, what they have been doing, what’s on their mind, how their family is–without struggling with the language. Therefore, strangers become the “victims” of my bad Spanish. But it is possible to try to make conversation and not realize what you are saying to them.

For example. This week I went to pay my Internet bill. If you come to South America, be prepared to wait for everything. There will almost always be a long line of people waiting to pay.  This was no “take a number and be seated” affair like it usually is. This was stand in a long, slow-moving queue waiting your turn with only one person, who was in no particular hurry, behind a glassed-in cage, serving everyone in that line.

I was standing in line when the young girl two persons ahead of me met my eyes and smiled and I said, in Spanish, “Ooooo, I am tired of waiting!” I was hoping to start a conversation with her. Well she went right to the front of the line and talked to the next person behind the one at the window. They all listened to her, then turned to me and told me to “pasar” (go ahead). I felt terrible. Those poor sweet young girls, standing in line all that time, urging me to go ahead of them—and all I was doing was practicing my Spanish.

This time I was not gracious—I couldn’t do it—except for graciously refusing. I insisted that it was not necessary.


On a side that is a little less light, living in Argentina has been a political and financial education. We notice that almost always, before something happens here that we don’t like, our favorite Argentina economist, Adrian Salbuchi (www.asalbuchi.com.ar), reports that the president is being visited by dignitaries from the far north.  Can we draw definite conclusions from that? No, but it does make one wonder.

It was right after one of those visits that a bill similar to the U. S. National Defense Authorization Act was passed here. And right after another visit from the north, I was shocked to find myself being searched at the bus station, of all places, when I was departing for Uruguay. I was so taken by surprise, in fact, and so well-trained in the country of my birth that I didn’t even protest. But that was the only time and never has happened since. If it ever does, I will be prepared to demonstrate a bit of senior citizen outrage and see how these people so respectful of gray hair will handle THAT!

I think that America is on the exact same path down which Argentina has traveled many times. We have reported here that at one time not so many years ago, Argentina was a free, progressive country second only in per capita income to the U.S.  In fact, it is reported that one of Argentina’s founders, Jose Artigas, carried a copy of the U. S. Constitution in his pocket and so admired the United States that he wanted to set up this government after that model. Argentina was incredibly successful, just as were the United States.

Argentina is now relegated to third-world status although some rate it a bit higher. .

People here are given about ten years to work and accumulate wealth, and then the system is brought down and those who are in the know pick up the bargains. We think the same thing is going on in the U.S. People were enticed into debt there and so willingly went to the financial slaughter, trusting a corrupted, controlled media. They were told “your house is your biggest asset” and “houses always go up,” when anyone who has taken a serious financial management course knows your house is a liability, as many have learned in recent years.  People are told if you rent, you pay all that money out and get nothing back. I wonder if anyone ever looks at an amortization schedule for a mortgage to see how much they pay to the bank that they will never get back, beyond the price of the house—and it cost the bank nothing.  What the buyer borrowed and worked many hours and paid hard-earned dollars for was never risk or investment on the part of the bank, but mere figures typed onto a ledger. Yet Americans have to do real work to pay all that principal, plus interest, plus points, and if they get behind, penalties and interest, to the bankers that have nothing invested. And if there is a financial downturn, no matter what caused it, and a family loses their home, guess who gets to pick up the real estate. What a deal!  Now what would entice people to buy into a deal like that? Marketing, that’s what!

Fifty years ago people worked to pay off their home as soon as possible. They would not have considered a mortgage that ran more than 15 years—20 at the most! But in the U.S. now they are encouraged to never pay it off but just get another loan and buy a boat or a motorcycle. The Bible even says the debtor is a slave to the lender and so it seems. We know U. S. citizens who are crowding 80 years of age who are still paying on a mortgage and have been all their lives. We see that as a form of voluntary slavery.

However, here is one family we recommend you check in with www.americascheapestfamily.com. With true,  early-Twentieth-Century conviction and determination, they paid their mortgage off in—not 30—but 9 years.  You aren’t catching those people spending their lives working for the bankers.

Argentines, on the other hand, take it even further. They don’t trust the media and they don’t trust the government. They don’t trust banks. Most financially successful Argentines have no debt whatsoever. They pay cash for their homes. They may save half the purchase price and then have a loan from relatives in order to do it, but they seldom owe the bankers.

A large number of Argentines who really understand the economics have learned how to cope with the engineered financial downturns—and here’s the good news! So can we.

Every change and every crisis brings with it opportunity–if we are willing to manage our own finances well—to learn what is going on so that we are prepared for the opportunities. It’s a whole different mental outlook to observe the trends and look for opportunity.  It is a matter of looking at reality and adjusting in a way that is advantageous for us instead of for those who hope to benefit from our assets.

We have our future ahead of us and we can learn from experience and from that of the smart Argentine. Yes we have rough waters ahead, but the world is not going away and, with any luck, neither are we! At least not for a while.

Argentina is incredibly wealthy in resources. In addition, the land is fertile, their grass-fed beef is world famous, their people intelligent (albeit almost completely ignorant of economics, probably by design). But politicians have learned how to appeal to the nonproductive who will vote for them because politicians offer them free stuff.  The same as in the United States. I have heard people ridicule “third world countries” having no idea that they, themselves, as they vote for the politicians who favor their pet cause,  promise them free medical care and other stuff–are on the same path as the Argentine.

Countries don’t just decide to be third world. They arrive at that state because of bad policies, just as Argentina has.

However, in some ways Argentina is very different. First, the intelligent, productive people in the country are under no illusions. They don’t trust the news commentators and they know that politicians will steal. Not many U.S. citizens seem to have figured that out yet. Savvy Argentines don’t look to government to fix anything. They’ve been down this path many times whereas U. S. citizens have not been down it since the 30s when money was withdrawn, throwing the country into depression. The money changers were able to pick up assets back then as well. Up until the Great Depression, the U.S. had been through many depressions, none of which lasted more than two years. President Franklin Roosevelt was credited with bringing the U.S. out of the Great Depression, when the fact is that when he started fiddling with it, it lasted not two—but fourteen years.

Savvy Argentines are well diversified. Several have told me that they don’t maintain a bank account at all. If they do it’s in a different country. They diversify so that all their risk is not in a single country. They “bank” in bricks and mortar and in their own business. Their savings are not in soon-to-be worthless government notes but in solid, income producing assets where possible. In fact, we are told that in some nearby countries it is the Argentines who are helping to push up prices. But it isn’t just countries nearby. Some Argentines that we know have established outposts in the United States, Canada and Europe. They have given themselves lots of choices and while many of them love Argentina (as do we) they are ready to leave if it serves their purpose. It seems to us that, in every country, the secret to financial success is largely in knowledge–understanding what is going on–and in diversification. Many Argentines who would like to leave right now find themselves  unable to do so because of currency controls. They can go, but their money can’t. Savvy people with knowledge don’t wait until the crisis arrives and it is too late to prepare for it. They are ready!
05-24-13 Macro Analytics – Mr. Global & GOLD w/ Catherine Austin Fitts & Ty Andros

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Although we don’t normally cover Colombia, we will be sending you information soon on a coffee farm that is for sale there. It is not a paid advertisement and we have not investigated it so if it interests you, you will need to do due diligence. Some of our subscribers are already interested and planning to visit and so we have decided to send you the information just in case. Any time that we post information or offer anything for sale, it will always be on the chance that it is of value to you. We are getting good reports on Colombia from real estate investors who are now investing in the country and so we, too, are looking at it with a bit of interest.

Thanks for joining us today. It’s been fun, as always. See you next week  . . .

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