FATCA, GATCA, and the Changing Investment Scene

FATCA, GATCA, and the Changing Investment Scene

I recently sat down with the folks over at The Daily Bell for an in-depth conversation. We covered a lot of topics, from the war on drugs to Austrian economics to international diversification.

I think you’ll find value in this discussion, which they have kindly allowed me to share with you below.

Until next time,

Nick Giambruno, Senior Editor
InternationalMan.com


Daily Bell: Hi, Nick. Tell us about yourself and your relationship to Doug Casey.

Nick Giambruno: Doug Casey has been like a mentor to me. I initially met Doug in Lebanon, in Beirut, where I was working at the time for an investment bank covering Middle Eastern banks that trade on public markets. Doug happened to be in Beirut at the time, and we had a chance to meet. From that, we eventually started working together, which culminated in me taking on the role as senior editor for the InternationalMan.com site.

Daily Bell: How would you characterize what you do and why you do it?

Nick: At International Man we cover the broad topic of international diversification. In a nutshell, it’s about making the most of your personal freedom and financial opportunities around the world. I do it because I’ve had a longtime passion for travel, international investing, geopolitics, and living as freely as possible.

Daily Bell: Do you have a background in free-market economics?

Nick: I studied finance and economics in college but naturally, those courses mainly just fill your head with Keynesian garbage and government propaganda about central banking. I credit Ron Paul with introducing me to Austrian economics many years ago, and I have since been a very close adherent to that way of thinking.

Daily Bell: You are focused on international diversification strategies. Why are they so important?

Nick: They’re so important, in short, because they allow you to be not wholly dependent on any one particular country. When you are internationally diversified, what you’re doing is diluting the amount of control your home government wields over you. When you are sufficiently diversified, one government doesn’t totally control your destiny, and you can live a much freer life.

You should think of international diversification in two ways.

1. It unlocks investment and speculative opportunities that are only available outside of your own country.

2. As an insurance policy. You have health insurance, fire insurance, and so forth. Internationalization is insurance against an out-of-control government, against the political risk that comes from your home government.

Daily Bell: What is the most important challenge facing individuals today? We believe it has to do with personal freedom. Your position?

Nick: I would wholeheartedly agree. A major challenge facing people today is preserving and increasing their personal freedom. I believe the best way to do that and to guarantee that is to diversify internationally. That doesn’t mean you necessarily have to move to Singapore or to Argentina, but what it does mean is that you have to take steps—often which can be done from your living room.

For instance, you can open up a bank account in a different country; you can move some of your digital presence into different countries; and in some cases, you can get a second passport without actually having to leave your home country.

Daily Bell: What options are available for people with limited wealth?

Nick: A common misperception is that you need to be extraordinarily wealthy to do this, but you actually don’t. Certainly, having wealth does help. But I’ll give you a couple of examples.

If you are lucky enough to have ancestry in certain countries, like Italy, Ireland, and others, you can get a second passport for pretty much below $1,000, when you consider all the costs of getting documents and translating, etc. So that’s just one way that you can diversify at a low cost.

There are also certain services that allow you to hold physical gold offshore and you don’t need to be ultra-wealthy. You can do it with $1,000 and up.

Another low-cost strategy involves teaching English abroad. A lot of people work in places like China and Taiwan and South Korea, and they live very well on what would be considered a modest salary in the West.

Finally, there are many countries where the cost of living is drastically lower than it is in developed Western countries, often without having to sacrifice on the quality of life, too. Nicaragua is an excellent example, where someone could live very comfortably on a $1,000/month budget.

So there are actually plenty of ways that people can look to diversify internationally without having to be very wealthy.

Daily Bell: What is happening to freedom today—and why?

Nick: It’s declining worldwide, no question about it, but the problem is most acute in the West and in particular the United States. I think this decline in freedom dovetails with the decline in the financial position of these governments. If you look around through history, when governments get into financial trouble, naturally freedom in those countries goes down. I think it’s going to get worse, which is why it’s better to develop these international diversification options sooner than later, because your ability to do so seems to dwindle each and every week.

Daily Bell: You write for InternationalMan.com about offshore banking, second passports, surviving an economic collapse, offshore trusts and companies, geopolitics and crisis investing, among other topics. Give us some insights on these areas individually, why they are important and what people must do to take advantage of them to reinforce freedom.

Nick: I’ll start with offshore banking. Offshore banking is all about putting your liquid assets, your cash—everybody has to use fiat currency to a degree—and if you’re going to have your liquid savings somewhere, you might as well put it in the place that it’s treated best. In the United States, you have an unsound currency, and you have an unsound banking system that’s leveraged to the hilt backed by an insolvent government, so it’s not a very safe place to keep your liquid assets. Looking at places like Singapore and Hong Kong, for example, you can find much safer places to store your liquid savings. A misperception about offshore banking is that it’s about tax evasion and illegally hiding your income, and that’s just not the case. It’s really about taking your money and putting it where it’s treated best.

Having a second passport gives you options. For instance, if you get a passport in a European Union country, that gives you the right to live and work in 28 countries, so that’s a big benefit. Obtaining a second passport can also literally open the door to a world of options for you that are off limits to citizens of certain countries. This is especially true for Americans, who are often treated as if they have the plague when they attempt to open foreign financial accounts and are increasingly being forced to close the ones they already have. Last, a second passport prevents your home government from basically placing you under house arrest by revoking or canceling your passport for any reason it sees fit.

In terms of asset protection, making sure you’re not the target of a frivolous lawsuit or problems like that, the best strategy by far is an international trust.

Finally, crisis investing is something I’ve been working on with Doug Casey. This is the part of international diversification where we’re looking for investment opportunities around the world. This really follows the old adage about buying when blood is in the streets. I believe Baron Rothschild originally coined that phrase, and while he was an unsavory fellow in most ways, he was absolutely right that the time to buy is when the blood is in the streets. And that’s what Doug and I do. We look around the world for countries that are in crisis, and we look for sound, productive, well-run businesses in these countries that we can pick up at pennies on the dollar.

Daily Bell: Where do you tell people about what crisis investing opportunities you’ve found?

Nick: The Crisis Investing Section of InternationalMan.com is a good place to check out. We’re looking at a number of places. The most recent one that we’ve published is in Cyprus. We all know what happened in Cyprus with the bank deposit confiscation and the capital controls last year. Now, that justifiably scares a lot of people away, but the fact of the matter is that there are companies listed on the Cyprus stock exchange that are selling at incredible values, that were not adversely affected by the crisis but are, however, made cheap by the crisis. This is just the type of opportunity that Doug and I look for.

Daily Bell: Let’s address some individual issues you’ve written about. You believe the US government continues to target IRAs. Explain, please.

Nick: First of all, it’s not just the US government. Really any government that gets into a desperate financial situation typically targets retirement accounts. Just in the past couple of years we’ve seen this happen in Argentina, Poland, Portugal, and Hungary, among others. What typically happens is the government will take private retirement assets and convert them into government bonds, which, naturally, nobody in the market wants to buy, so they have to dump them on somebody, and so they’ll dump them on retirement savers.

This is possibly the path that we’re going down in the United States. The first shot in this was when Obama announced the myRA program, which is ostensibly a way for people to save for retirement, but it really doesn’t offer any new advantages over existing options. What it does, though, is force you to invest in US Treasuries.

So it looks like they’ve got their focus on retirement assets, and it looks like they’re setting up the infrastructure so if they ever needed to convert private retirement assets, like has happened in many other countries—it certainly is not unprecedented even in the just the past few years—they’ll be able to do it at the flick of a switch. So they’re just getting all their ducks in a row right now.

Daily Bell: Do you believe it’s going to end in outright nationalization of retirement funds?

Nick: I don’t think they’ll necessarily take, say, your entire IRA and convert it into US Treasuries. I think they’ll do it in some proportion. I don’t know what that proportion will be. Most retirement assets in the US are held by a handful of large custodians like Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, Schwab, and so forth, so all the government would have to do would be to issue a notice to these big custodians and say we want to have 25% of retirement accounts invested in US Treasuries, and that’s all it would really take. It would happen quickly, and there’s not much you could do about it except take your IRA and move it offshore. If you have your IRA with one of these large custodians, it is certainly vulnerable to these kinds of measures.

Daily Bell: So you’re suggesting people should move those funds soon, then.

Nick: Yes, definitely. This is not to say that it would be 100% safe. Nothing is 100% safe, and you never know what kind of new law or new regulation they’re going to come out with, but that being said, if they’re going to go for retirement savings, they’re likely going to go for the low-hanging fruit, the easy targets. And that’s going to be funds at the large custodians. The hard targets will be offshore assets.

There is a way to take your IRA offshore, and you can essentially invest it in anything you want. You can invest it in gold coins that are stored in Singapore, you can invest it in real estate in any country you want to; it can be almost any kind of assets. I don’t think if they make a move on retirement savings that they’re going to go for these assets, as it’s going to be too hard for them to collect any money on them, so I think they’re going to go for the easy targets. That means there’s a premium on getting your retirement savings out of these big custodians into safer vehicles sooner than later.

Daily Bell: What is the real reason for FATCA? How does it relate to GATCA?

Nick: FATCA, in case some readers aren’t familiar, is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. It’s really one of the most egregious pieces of legislation to have come out of the US in recent years. It basically turns every financial institution, every bank in the entire world, into unpaid agents of the IRS. And of course, the cost of complying with this regulation is placed on the foreign institutions. Those that don’t comply are going to be effectively cut out of the US financial system and the US dollar.

A perhaps intended side effect is that foreign banks are showing US citizens the door, saying we don’t want your business any more. It’s simply not worth it for us to pay the compliance costs when weighed against the potential business.

So FATCA really amounts to a sort of unofficial form of capital control, because it makes it harder for Americans to move their money internationally. But it is actually worse because it lays the groundwork for something else.

If you look at FATCA, the optimistic estimate is that it will bring in about $900 million a year, which is a pittance if you look at the US budget deficit. It's nothing, around one-tenth of one percent. That would suggest the real point of FATCA is not to collect money. I believe it’s twofold: first, to make it harder for Americans to move money abroad; and second, it’s to pave the way for something else, and that something else is GATCA.

GATCA is just the global version of FATCA.

While the US has the power to bully other countries into adopting FATCA, most other countries do not. Imagine if Mexico decided to implement a FATCA-like law, requiring all foreign financial institutions to incur large compliance costs to disclose certain information about Mexican clients, regardless if such disclosures would violate local laws. Those countries that refused this dictate from the Mexican government would be cut off from the peso and the Mexican financial system. I imagine not many countries would comply in this hypothetical scenario.

GATCA solves this problem, unfortunately, by creating a new “global standard” in the exchange of financial information between governments. This essentially destroys the last vestiges of financial privacy—which, by the way, should not be viewed in a negative light as it often is in the mainstream media. The Swiss view it as a fundamental right to preserve human dignity, similar to medical privacy.

The people who are really pushing GATCA are the G20, the OECD, and collectivists of all stripes. Unfortunately, GATCA is pretty much going to happen because these large multilateral institutions have adopted it and will blackmail the nations that don’t. But they wouldn’t have been able to even dream of GATCA if it weren’t for the US paving the way with FATCA.

Once GATCA is set up and pretty much every government in the world is exchanging financial information with every other government, it really builds the infrastructure for what Thomas Piketty would like to see, and that’s a global tax with a planetary taxation authority, most likely with the OECD. It could also be levied by the UN, the IMF, or the World Bank. The point is, it won’t be a national organization; it will be a supranational organization.

So it’s really some scary stuff here when we look at FATCA and what it is leading to. It’s not just some obscure law that doesn’t apply to you. It’s really building the infrastructure for something nasty.

Daily Bell: Will offshoring one’s wealth be of little or no effect, then, when GATCA takes effect?

Nick: GATCA is going to destroy financial privacy, which was pretty much destroyed in the first place. So taking your savings offshore in the form of financial accounts is going to offer you no privacy benefits. If your plan depends on privacy, you should get a new plan. That said, there are other concrete reasons to diversify internationally. As I mentioned before, offshore banks are often much safer and better capitalized than most banks in the US. Additionally, a foreign bank account cannot be seized or frozen at the drop of a hat by the US government, which would be especially useful if official capital controls are put in place. You still obtain that diversification benefit of getting wealth out of the immediate reach of your home government. Offshore banks usually allow you to diversify out of the US dollar as well and gain access to markets in countries you otherwise might not be able to. So despite not having any financial privacy, offshore banking still gives you many important benefits. The same is of course true for non-paper assets like foreign real estate and physical gold held abroad.

Daily Bell: What’s your take on Puerto Rico and its tax breaks. Added value?

Nick: What’s going on in Puerto Rico is a pretty incredible opportunity. Puerto Rico is offering people, mainland Americans in particular, some incredible tax benefits. First, you have to understand that Americans are unfortunately really the only people in the world who are subject to a system of citizenship-based taxation. Actually, Eritrea in Africa has the same policy; it’s the only other country that does, but it’s an impoverished country and has no means of enforcing it. The US, on the other hand, does have the capability to enforce it. This means that no matter where Americans work or live in the entire world, they have to file and pay taxes to the US government.

Let’s say you have an American and a Canadian who have permanently moved to Dubai, where there is no income tax. The Canadian would have no tax bill at all, because Canada taxes citizens by residency. Since the Canadian is not a resident in Canada, he’s a resident of Dubai, he doesn’t have to pay income tax. Not so for the American. The American, even if he never set foot in the United States for the year, still has to file and pay US income tax on the income he earns in Dubai. So that’s what the citizenship-based taxation system is. It’s an inescapable tax leash for American citizens and a rather despicable practice, if you ask me.

Now, Puerto Rico offers something that is really unique. It allows Americans to break this tax leash. Puerto Rico is part of the United States. It’s not a state, but it’s not a foreign country. It’s a commonwealth—a territory. And this arrangement allows Puerto Rico to have its own independent tax system. What they’ve decided to do is to offer new residents 0% tax on capital gains, interest, and dividends, and a 4% corporate tax rate on certain companies, namely service businesses. Because of the system of citizenship-based taxation, Americans can find these benefits nowhere else in the world short of renouncing their US citizenship. However, you actually have to move to Puerto Rico and become a bona fide resident.

These tax incentives were spurred by Puerto Rico’s poor economic situation, which pushed the Puerto Rican government to find ways to boost the economy. While these particular incentives are new, they exist within a framework that has existed for nearly 100 years.

The reason we think these incentives are here to stay is that the US government realizes that Puerto Rico needs to improve its financial situation. If the US government were to do anything to harm that, such as force Puerto Rico to rescind these incentives, it would potentially put the US on the hook for an unpopular bailout. So as it is right now, we don’t think it’s very likely the US government is going to put it to an end, although they certainly could.

In fact, two of my colleagues from Casey Research have moved to Puerto Rico to take advantage of these incentives, and Peter Schiff has moved part of his company down there and plans on moving there himself at some point in the future, too. So these benefits are real. We’ve really just scratched the surface on them, but for more information I’d suggest people check out the Puerto Rico section of the International Man site.

Going back to the US citizenship-based taxation, even if you’re in a country that taxes you more than the US, which means you effectively have a zero tax bill because of tax credits, like Canada or places in Europe, you still have the obligation to file. And if you don’t file, even if you owe nothing, there are still absolutely draconian penalties that are in some cases more severe than punishments for many violent, real crimes. It’s really absurd. But it shows you how desperate the US government is to squeeze you for every penny and keep as much money in their reach as possible, which is precisely why you should take legal measures to diversify it internationally while you still can.

Daily Bell: Yes, such extreme measures include being detained at the border and even incarcerated for not having properly completed prior tax-year filings, as we’ve read about recently. This seems like the perfect example of the draconian police state America has truly become.

Nick: If it were happening in Russia—or whomever the enemy du jour happens to be—it would be considered a human rights abuse and blared on CNN, but when it happens in the US, nobody talks about it.

Daily Bell: Is holding your IRA gold offshore a good idea?

Nick: Yes, and I am all for it. I think it’s a good way to protect yourself, and there are easy, low-cost ways to do it. I discuss it here. I think owning gold offshore in your IRA is a great way to diversify, but it’s not the only way to offshore your IRA.

Daily Bell: Does it make sense to own gold in Singapore?

Nick: I think it makes sense to own gold outside of your home country. You obtain the diversification benefits when you have tangible wealth somewhere else that can’t be instantly seized, confiscated, or diluted. And Singapore is a particularly convenient and attractive place to own physical gold and can be a low-cost solution.

Daily Bell: Thoughts on the Cook Islands?

Nick: The Cook Islands is a small island nation in the South Pacific known for having the best asset-protection laws in the world. So if you want to have an offshore trust or an offshore LLC or something like that, the Cook Islands has got to be at the top of your list of countries to consider. My colleague Terry Coxon has been there eight times.

Daily Bell: What are some second passport scams and traps?

Nick: There are a lot of half-truths and false claims on the Internet about getting second passports. Your goal with a second passport is to increase your options and to increase your freedom. A way to not do that is to engage with people who deal with what are known as black-market passports and gray-market passports.

Black-market passports are simply fraudulent documents, such as if someone stole someone else’s passport, cut out the picture and put your picture in. You’re not usually going to run across these; they’re usually the realm of organized crime and intelligence agencies. An average person who is looking at a second passport is probably not going to come across a black-market passport.

Gray-market passports, on the other hand, you will have a good chance of coming across. A gray-market passport is seemingly a legitimate passport that was obtained in an illegitimate way. For example, you’ll find people on the Internet making claims like, “I have a special friend in this banana republic government who can get you a passport in one week.” Really, this is somebody who is bribing the local officials to get a passport. The problem with this is that when you try to renew your passport or travel on it, it could be flagged as an illegitimate passport, and that’s going to get you into a load of trouble. It’s really not worth the effort to do it.

The problem is that it’s sometimes hard to distinguish between a legitimate passport program and a gray-market passport program. Perhaps the biggest giveaway is this: if you cannot point to a specific law or regulation in the country in which you seek to get a passport that spells out specific requirements you are most likely dealing with a gray-market passport program. Only a handful of countries around the world offer what’s known as economic citizenship, where you just can pay the government and they’ll give you a passport. If you’re looking at the legitimate economic citizenship programs, the cheapest one is about $100,000 plus tens of thousands of dollars in fees. If it’s cheaper than that, you know it’s too good to be true.

No matter what passport program you’re looking at, you want to be sure it’s enshrined in the local law somewhere. You should be able to point to a regulation or a law and say this is clearly the path that I want to take to obtain naturalization and a second passport. If you can’t do that, it’s a huge red flag that the promoter is offering you an illegitimate passport.

Some of the most common gray-market passports pushed by promoters have come from Bulgaria, Belize, the Dominican Republic, Paraguay, and Cambodia. This doesn’t mean there aren’t legitimate ways to obtain second passports from these countries; there are. It just means if you see someone promoting these passports, be absolutely certain that you are meeting the legal naturalization requirements.

Daily Bell: What is your take on Switzerland and the global attack on tax havens generally?

Nick: You never hear countries like, say, Singapore, Hong Kong, Chile, or the United Arab Emirates or any country that is in a good financial condition pounding on the table about the need for FATCA, GATCA, a global tax, or the destruction of financial privacy. You never hear it. It’s really only the failed welfare states of Europe and North America that are screaming for these things, and that’s not a coincidence.

Daily Bell: What about the attack on Swiss banks specifically?

Nick: It’s part and parcel of destroying financial privacy around the world. And if you’re looking to destroy financial privacy, there’s no better symbolic target than Swiss banks. Unfortunately, Swiss banking privacy has been cracked with things like FATCA and GATCA. But as I mentioned before, there are plenty of reasons to bank offshore besides privacy, and Switzerland is still a very attractive place to bank. You just have to go in with the understanding that real financial privacy does not exist in the world anywhere any more. Switzerland is still and probably will be for the foreseeable future a very stable and secure place to bank—certainly a sounder option than the US banking system.

Daily Bell: You’re saying financial privacy no longer exists anywhere, then.

Nick: Financial privacy is indeed dead. If your international diversification plan depends on privacy, yesterday was the time for you to get a new plan. It’s only prudent to assume that the information on every penny you ever earn, spend, borrow, or save will be or is stored in some government database. The best course of action, of course, is to fully comply with the law. Trying to illegally hide your income is a fool’s errand. The draconian penalties make a cost-benefit analysis easy; it’s simply not worth it.

Even if you find a place that has rock-sold financial privacy laws and they don’t sign up for FATCA or GATCA or any of this nonsense, they’re still susceptible to subterfuge. This can come in the form of hacking, in the form of intelligence agencies trying to break into the bank’s computers, and stuff like this. You’re always very vulnerable to this.

There was a recent leak that came out a little less than a year ago where over a hundred thousand account holders in offshore jurisdictions were publicly identified. These jurisdictions ostensibly had financial privacy, but were hacked into somehow and then all of the details and the names and the identification were leaked. So even if a country has rock-solid financial privacy laws, you’re still susceptible to these kinds of measures. Let’s not forget that Edward Snowden, when he was working with the CIA, was posted in Switzerland; and one of the things he was to do in Switzerland was to get Swiss bankers in a compromised position so he could blackmail them to get supposedly secret financial information. This is why financial privacy does not exist.

Daily Bell: Is foreign real estate a good idea?

Nick: Yes. Foreign real estate is an excellent idea. It kills so many birds with one stone. First, it takes a big chunk of your savings and diversifies it internationally into a hard asset. It’s extremely unlikely your home government will be able to seize your foreign real estate. Ideally, it would be in a place that you’d want to spend time. It could serve as a vacation home. Foreign real estate can also serve as a sort of escape hatch or bolt-hole for you to go to in case there’s trouble in your home country. It also can provide you with a revenue stream if you decide to rent it out. This means you can potentially get a revenue stream in a foreign currency. That’s attractive, as it diversifies you out of the dollar or whatever your home currency may be. And last, owning real estate in a country usually gives you residency or the right to stay there for a certain amount of time, which can otherwise be difficult to acquire. That’s just generally speaking; every country has different regulations in that regard. So yes, I think foreign real estate is really something people should take a serious look at.

Daily Bell: Any hope that Russia and China can balance out the West’s attack on international monetary freedom?

Nick: I wouldn’t say Russia and China are beacons of freedom, but right now we have a unipolar world dominated by the US financial system. So if we could have Russia and China create sort of a competing parallel system despite the fact that they’re sort of autocratic in their own ways, that would be a good thing. Having just one dominant financial power is not good. So if Russia and China were to develop an alternative SWIFT system and an alternative international payment system, that would all be for the better.

Daily Bell: Are we really all criminals now in the eyes of our governments? Why?

Nick: Yes, I believe that is the case. If you just imagine all of the laws, all of the regulations that Americans are subjected to, everyone really is a criminal because everyone is always breaking some law or rule. There’s probably no better place to understand this than a book called Three Felonies a Day, whose author did a study that shows that the average American inadvertently commits three felonies a day just because there are so many laws and they can be interpreted so broadly that even the most mundane activities have been criminalized. The situation amounts to prosecutorial discretion, meaning they can pin anything on anybody if they really wanted to. This is because if you look at it right now, there are thousands of federal laws; when the US was founded, there were only three federal laws on the books—treason, piracy, and counterfeiting. Now there are thousands of them.

And we haven’t even mentioned the nearly 74,000 pages of the US Tax Code. Does anybody really understand it all, and is anybody ever 100% compliant with everything? That’s why we are all criminals now. Not in the real sense of the word, not in the sense of committing aggression against another person or their property, but in the sense of breaking the edicts of the bureaucrats, many if not most of which amount to so-called victimless crimes. This is another excellent reason to be internationally diversified, as it helps to insulate you from this madness by giving you options.

Daily Bell: And what about in other countries?

Nick: Unfortunately, it’s not that different in other countries. As we’re talking about, in Russia or China, too, it really amounts to the discretion of the elites in charge of those countries. So if you do something to upset those elites, they will find a way to make your life difficult. That’s just the bottom line anywhere.

Daily Bell: Stock markets are up now, but eventually the cycle will turn. We write a good deal about a Wall Street Party. We think markets are being goosed higher by central bank money printing and that the Dow might be headed toward 20,000. Your thoughts? Are we headed for a bad crash?

Nick: I think we’re probably headed for a correction, and I would have thought that correction would have come by now, so I think we’ll have to see how the market will react when the so-called taper is complete. What I think will happen is that the market will sell off and the Feds will see that the stock market is hopelessly addicted to this quantitative easing stimulus and they’ll have to redouble their efforts, and that will send stocks higher in the longer term.

Daily Bell: We've discussed a number of investment strategies, but before you go we want to touch on what we call the marijuana meme. We tend to believe that the globalists have decided to make drugs available legally around the world and that marijuana is the first beneficiary. Your thoughts on the cannabis opportunity and on the medical marijuana investment opportunity in particular?

Nick: Generally speaking, I’m not so sure that is the case, because I think the drug war provides an excellent pretext for the US to intervene in certain countries, particularly in Latin America and specifically Colombia. And they’re not going to give up that pretext easily, in my view. But that being said, I think they’re being forced to give it up piece by piece because of what’s happening in places like Colorado, in Washington, and in Uruguay.

I think when you consider the totality of the drug war—the police state that comes with it, the jailing of people for victimless crimes, the loss of civil liberties, all the money wasted and lives ruined—I think you can correctly call the war on drugs a crime against humanity. So if that is coming to an end for whatever reason, that’s a good thing.

In terms of profiting from medical marijuana, yes, I do think there’s going to be a huge market for that. I think it’s going to be an uphill battle because you have so many institutionalized interests, not the least of which is the pharmaceutical industry in the US, which is not going to be happy that there will be some cheap alternatives to their products that people can obtain by bypassing them and growing in their own back yard.

Daily Bell: Any other thoughts or resources you want to direct our readers to?

Nick: They should check out InternationalMan.com, where we talk about all of these strategies in more detail—international diversification, offshore banking, second passports, foreign real estate, storing gold abroad, crisis investment opportunities, these new opportunities in Puerto Rico, and more. We send out our free subscription email, the International Man Communiqué, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to keep people updated with the latest on all these topics.

Nick Giambruno

Nick is Doug Casey’s globetrotting companion and is the Senior Editor of Casey Research’s International Man. He writes about economics, offshore banking, second passports, value investing in crisis markets, geopolitics, and surviving a financial collapse, among other topics. He is a CFA charterholder. In short, Nick’s work helps people make the most of their personal freedom and financial opportunity around the world. To get his free video crash course, click here.

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