May 30, 2023
In every country where a revolution has taken place (whether it be a “soft” revolution, or a violent overthrow), those who are part of the winning team make a point of glorifying the revolution and all the “good” that it has brought. For this reason, the inhabitants of most countries where a revolution has taken place at some point in their history, will believe that the revolution was positive. In countries where that revolution was opposed, the people will most likely regard the revolution as negative. As an example, Frenchmen tend to praise their revolution of 1789, in which the aristocracy were overthrown. Since then, the emphasis has been on “the little man.” The little man would not only be treated equally to the aristocrat, he would receive preferential treatment. Not surprisingly, this devolved into the socialism that dominates France today. In spite of the dysfunctionality of the French system, most Frenchmen fondly praise the revolution and the “freedom” that it ostensibly created for them. And then we have the Cuban revolution of 1959. Its stated purpose was to overthrow the aristocratic Batista Regime and a replace it with one that favoured the campesinos. The aristocracy was removed and ownership of most everything moved to the state. There is most certainly greater equality in Cuba today (albeit at a very low level), and yet we’re taught to regard the Cuban revolution as having been destructive, as it devolved into socialism. Although the current system is largely dysfunctional, the Cuban people, even today, speak of the freedom that the revolution created for them. These two examples are similar, and yet Westerners are taught to regard the French Government as an enlightened body of men and women who spend their waking hours legislating for ever-increased goodness for the French people, yet we’re equally taught to regard the Cuban government as tyrannical rulers over an oppressed people.
May 17, 2023
International Man: During the Covid-19 hysteria and global shutdown, the drawbacks of living in a big city became more apparent. Sure, cities can offer more career opportunities. Still, they are also more expensive, dirtier, have higher levels of crime, crowded, have fragile supply lines, and infrastructure that can get easily overwhelmed. How do you view the value proposition of living in a big city today, given what is transpiring? Jeff Thomas: Well, in my college years, I found cities to be very attractive. Lots of social opportunities, lots of shops, a greater variety of goods, etc. But, during that time, I was very fortunate to have experienced two city crises from which I learned valuable lessons.
Apr 26, 2023
In 1929, Ford sold 1,507,132 cars. Chevrolet sold 1,328,605. Then came the stock market crash. Sales dropped dramatically each year until 1932, when sales bottomed at 210,824 for Ford and 313,404 for Chevrolet. But, during that time, a small new market came on stream for the two foremost budget brands—the rich. Although literally millions of people were hit very hard by the crash, those who had invested wisely retained their wealth. Those who steered clear of the stock market bubble and/or invested in assets that would survive the crash, such as precious metals, were able to continue to live well. However, they did find that when they drove down the street in their luxury cars, they stood out and became the objects of anger and scorn.
Apr 12, 2023
Years ago, Doug Casey stated that, “When empires die, they do so with surprising speed.” At the time, that comment raised eyebrows, yet he was quite correct in his observation. Ernest Hemingway made a similar comment when a character in his novel The Sun Also Rises was asked how he went bankrupt. The answer was, “Gradually, then suddenly.” Again, this sounds cryptic, yet it’s accurate. Any empire, at its peak, is all-powerful, but the fragility of an empire that’s in decline is hard to grasp, as the visuals tend not to reveal what’s soon to come.
Mar 29, 2023
There’s a change taking place in supermarkets – one that’s going largely unnoticed, in spite of the fact that it’s becoming a new norm. Packaging for products, particularly foodstuffs, is getting downsized. Folger’s coffee, Chobani Yoghurt, Fritos, etc. – all are being offered in smaller packages than before. The resizing is not dramatic; in fact it’s so small – sometimes less than 10% - that it’s hard to imagine why they’re bothering to do it.
Mar 15, 2023
Well, of course you can. What an absurd question. Most of us in the Western world have never in our lifetimes had a problem getting enough to eat or, for that matter, paying for it. Words like “famine” do exist on the periphery of our vocabularies, but they apply only to news reports on Somalia or Ethiopia, not us. But the First World is in for a change and both the availability, and the cost of food will be changing with it. A question as absurd as the one above may within a year become a reality for many people. In a previous article in International Man, we dealt with the likelihood of food shortages in North America and Europe and how that situation was likely to manifest itself. These are likely to occur as a by-product of existing unmanageable industry debt, plus hyperinflation. To make matters worse, the First World will soon face other factors that may diminish availability and increase the cost of food generally, both at the same time.
Mar 9, 2023
In 1776, Thomas Jefferson was asked to create a draft for a founding document for what was to become the United States. In his second paragraph, he said. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” So firm was the vision of America’s founding fathers that this statement represented their collective belief, that the twenty-eight signatories accepted it without any change in wording. Could the same be said today? Do Americans possess a collective belief today? Do Americans perceive the word “rights” collectively? How about “liberty?” Would a random sampling of Americans generate the same definition of such words? Or, considering that most Americans who are unable to answer such simple questions as, “What state is New Your City in,” how many Americans would respond to a request to define these words with no more than a blank stare? But why should this be?
Feb 28, 2023
The baby-boomer generation were perhaps the most privileged generation that the US has ever spawned. Their fathers returned from World War II, eager to get married, buy a house and start a family. The economy was booming, as, during the early years of the war, the US wisely stayed out, but provided tanks, helmets and even toothbrushes to those who were directly involved in the fray. What’s more, they didn’t accept pound notes or francs; they accepted only gold. So, at the end of the war, when the manufacturing cities of Europe had been destroyed by bombs, the male populations decimated and the governments broke, the US was on a roll. They had most of the world’s gold and had first-rate manufacturing facilities that only had to switch from making jeeps and rifles to making cars and televisions. That wave of wealth allowed the young married couples to spoil their children with whatever they wanted.
Jan 25, 2023
Theft is defined as “the taking of another person's property or services without that person's permission or consent.” Almost invariably, governments pass tax laws and set tax rates without any consultation with the citizenry. Further, no final approval is sought by the citizenry that they consent to the tax or the rates. It is simply imposed. Most of us tend not to regard taxation as theft, yet, by definition, that’s exactly what it is.
Jan 10, 2023
“The times, they are a-changin,” as Bob Dylan said in song in 1964, but the changes that he saw back then were nothing in comparison to what we’re witnessing today. Governments, particularly in the First World countries, are headed in a decidedly totalitarian direction and the frequency and magnitude of the changes being implemented are on the increase. This development is exacerbated, as the same countries that are leading the charge toward totalitarianism are also the countries that are experiencing the heaviest debt load ever created in history. Technically, they’re all broke, but not yet collapsed, as a collapse only occurs when the populace discovers that the currency is worthless. But is there hope? Is it possible that governments will turn this around?