first_img – So, word got out here in Argentina that I was turning 70. And that meant a fiesta was in order. I hate celebrating my birthday, but it would be churlish to wave off people who like that sort of thing. I was invited to a party put on by some of my neighbors. Vintners, horse breeders, ranchers, farmers, and the like. An interesting group. Rich, sophisticated; the local upper crust. I’d only met perhaps a third of them before that evening. It turns out that most of them get together weekly, at one estancia or another, and have an exotic asado cum drinking party. I served as this week’s center of attention and entertainment. It was different from similar parties I’ve been to in Buenos Aires in that everyone here was speaking Spanish, with a smattering of English. In BA, the conversation at a dinner table is typically multilingual—Spanish, English, French, German, and Italian can all be used. People were patient with me, understanding that Americans, among their other faults, generally lack linguistic sophistication. My French (now rusty and affreux) is still better than my Spanish, mainly because I went to school for a year in Switzerland. My German is even worse, even though the 500 basic English words are all German cognates. I’ve always envied Sir Richard Burton, who, it was said, could speak 10 languages fluently and 15 more reasonably well. But that is now, I suppose, a quaint 19th century skill. Soon, your smartphone will give you simultaneous translations in a hundred tongues. Anyway, back to the party. Argentina, of all the countries in the world, most resembles ancient Rome. The whole country revolves around BA, the way the early Roman Empire revolved around Rome. Successful people all have a place in the capital, one in the country, and another on the ocean for when it’s hot in the summer. And they socialize like the Romans, with dinner parties that last well into the wee hours, as a matter of course. First, you’re served hors d’oeuvres and champagne. Then various sausages and warm meats. Then the main course and vegetables. Then pasta. Then fruit and a desert. You’re now halfway through. Next come the after-dinner drinks and cigars. Finally, coca leaves, which most everyone chews for the rest of the evening; they’re a delightful digestif. And conversation for the whole six hours. What did we talk about? Many things, of course, including the economy, the world situation, politics, and the recent Argentine and upcoming U.S. elections. And, for exotica, my recent (a couple weeks before) visit to Zimbabwe. Everyone had heard it said that Hillary was going to be the next president. Nobody liked the idea, if only because Argentina has had uniformly disastrous experiences with populist female politicians. Perón’s first wife, the famous Evita, acted as a shadow president and set the tone for the country’s long decline. Then came Perón’s second wife, Isabel, an Evita look-alike/act-alike, who was first his vice president and then succeeded him as president after he died. Then came Cristina Kirchner, the wife of another president who died in office. Who supported Evita, Isabel, and Cristina? Exactly the same type of people who support Hillary in the U.S.—the 50% receiving state benefits, the envy-driven, the stupid, the naïve, the ignorant, and, of course, those members of the moneyed classes who use their political connections to steal massive quantities. Everyone (including myself) was shocked, but extremely thankful, that Cristina’s surrogate was beaten by Mauricio Macri. Macri is hardly John Galt, but my guess is that the country will experience a boom in the next few years. Why? Agricultural products are at rock bottom after a long, deep bear market; tens of billions of additional money will flow into Argentina with higher ag prices. The new government has discarded agricultural export taxes ranging to 40% (before income and other taxes); as a result, production will likely go up 50%, bringing in many more billions. Some of the estimated $200 billion that Argentines have abroad is now likely to come back. And with the settlement for the holdouts from the government’s $100 billion default 15 years ago, lots more money will flow into the country. A general deregulation of the economy, now in progress, will further increase prosperity. Rickards: “Warning, I’ve Changed My Thesis On Gold” I firmly believe we’re at the beginning of the BIGGEST move the world has ever seen in gold. “Simple math” says $10,000 gold is all but certain. But, you’re not going to believe what I have to say next… BEFORE you buy a single ounce of gold, read this important message. Editor’s note: Today, in place of our daily market commentary, we’re sharing a recent essay that’s been extremely popular with our Casey Report and International Man readers. In it, Casey Research founder Doug Casey tells us about his recent trip to Zimbabwe. As you may know, Zimbabwe is in a genuine economic crisis…which means there’s an opportunity for big investment gains, if you know where to look. (If crisis investing interests you, make sure to check out the bottom of today’s essay, where we describe a fantastic deal you can still get in on.) Recommended Linkslast_img

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