by Doug Casey, International Man:
Some years ago I came to the conclusion that it would be wise to have a permanent footprint outside the U.S. It was a wise decision from many points of view. Living in more than one country allows you to vastly broaden your range of experiences, connections, and possibilities.
Frankly, living in just one country is not just limiting. It’s potentially dangerous. The question is, which of the world’s countries is “best”?
There are a lot of possible answers to that question, and they change over time. When my grandparents left the Old World, there was no question that the U.S. was the best choice. I’m extremely happy they chose to move there and not act like potted plants, rooted to the soil where they were born.
But things change. For decades, America has been changing…in the wrong direction. There’s too much fear. Too much force. Too many taxes. Too much regulation. Too much debt. It’s become as homogenized as an endless field of genetically engineered Monsanto corn, and is becoming just as unpalatable. The system itself has become unstable. I’ve been to over 145 countries, many of them numerous times, and lived in ten of them. I see the world as my oyster. All that travel has given me the opportunity to make some interesting comparisons.
That’s led me to Argentina. I came here for the lifestyle. But now I expect to make a bundle. Here’s why.
Why It Was Good in the Past
I’ve spent about half of each year in Argentina since about 2006. I admit that a major draw for me was polo; I was an avid player for over 20 years. That sport reflects the culture of the country. The whole place could easily be featured in a Ralph Lauren ad.
I love the sophistication of Buenos Aires (it’s a lot like Paris, but at a fraction of the price). But I like the wide-open spaces even more. Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world but with only 40 million people, and most of them are in and around BA. That means most of the country is empty. The huge expanses of land mean there have never been movements for “agrarian reform” which have plagued the rest of the continent. Title to property is actually more secure than in the U.S., with none of the eminent domain, frivolous lawsuits, and confiscations that now plague the U.S.
The Argentines like to make jokes about their origins, and they’re funny because they’re true. One goes, “The Mexicans came from the Aztecs, the Guatemalans from the Mayans, the Peruvians from the Incans, and the Brazilians from the jungles. We came from the boats.” Of course that’s true. Argentina is, by far, the most European country in Latin America, both ethnically and psychologically. It’s an outward-looking country; all of the others are insular and inward-looking. The other Latin countries tend to resent the Argentines, who are perceived as elitists.
Another popular joke is, “What is an Argentine? He’s an Italian, who speaks Spanish, lives in a French house, and thinks he’s British.” That’s true too, although it doesn’t give enough credit to all the Irish, German, and Jewish immigrants. In other words, Argentines are more like Americans or Canadians than, say, Ecuadorians or Venezuelans.
At many dinners and parties English, Spanish, French, German, and Italian are spoken interchangeably by everyone at the table. That doesn’t happen in too many places in the world. The place is more like Europe than Europe itself, but lacks the destructive EU and millions of highly problematical migrants.
Why You Should Be There Now
So I came to Argentina for the lifestyle. But value made it a great place to combine business with pleasure. And I’m not just talking about the low cost of living and high standard of living. For years, my friends thought I’d gone off the deep end, putting millions of dollars into the “country where money goes to die.” But they forgot that the time to buy is when you’re afraid to, when things look grim.
Everybody understands – intellectually – that you should “buy cheap and sell dear,” but they act according to their emotions. They talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk. The same people who have been afraid of Argentina, because they hear terrible things about its government’s finances, are currently unafraid to buy a $700,000 500-square-foot “crap shack” in LA’s Compton ghetto.
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