Is this really the 4th Turning? Probably.
But anything can happen. ANYTHING. Remember that.
If you told somebody back in 2018 what 2020-2022 was like so far, they would never believe you.
What if somebody right now was telling you what 2025 was like?
Would you believe them?
Would you listen?
I’m more active on social media these days. It’s not that I really want to be, but if all of this is what we hope it isn’t, you’re going to need a strong network of people you can draw information from and I will now be one of those people if you so choose.
As I mentioned on Twitter, I’m bringing the blog back. It will not look like the blog posts of the past. It will also not look like this blog post here, at least I hope not. This is a one-off.
The State of Things
For those of you reading this in the future, I am writing this on March 11, 2022 and the news dominating all of the headlines is the war in Ukraine.
From where we stand, we’re more interested in how to profit from the knock-on effects from the war itself.
How does that statement make you feel?
It makes no difference.
Virtue-signaling, shaming, “fairness” etc are all traits of a world that’s doing way better than it should. Just like 2018. A world that doesn’t have any bigger problems to tackle, so it’s forced to go all the way down the list.
We’re not there anymore. It’s 2022, and we have likely moved onto the early days of the survival stage. What you do in the early moments can determine your outcome during the latter moments.
I am not trying to be an alarmist. I used to make fun of alarmists, the ones who seek out reasons to run around with their hair on fire all day, and get angry when you don’t get alarmed too.
In the past two decades, in the majority of places around the world, there was very little to actually worry about on a grand scale.
Nowadays however, I am inclined to take these things more seriously. And due to the magnitude of their consequences, sometimes a lot more seriously.
We still look at probabilities here, above all. It could all be nothing. But what is the probability of World War III? How about a global food shortage/famine? Global cyber attacks? Global chemical warfare?
I don’t know. All I do know is it’s certainly a lot higher than it was before. And there are two groups that will get the worst of it. How do I know? Because they always do.
- The Poor
- The Unprepared
Not a lot of poor people read my blog. Some do. And if that’s you, you really better listen the fuck up.
Let’s get the worst parts out of the way now.
I have a good 6-7 people I rely on for my geopolitical news. I care nothing for domestic news, but staying up on geo makes me a better investor, and I just find the whole thing fascinating to be frank.
Peter Zeihan is somebody I have mentioned in the past, and even though I don’t always agree with him, he’s pretty lights-out on a lot of this stuff (he pretty much called all of it in his last book), and he is able to express it in a very digestible way that others often cannot.
As the host said “I need a stiff drink” after this. But if you’re familiar with Peter’s work, you already saw most of this coming. It’s still quite the face-punch though.
If you watch any of the videos on this blog post, watch this one.
Some quick takeaways:
— Russia and China are in full desperation mode, which very few people talk about. They’re cornered animals. Expect them to do even more drastic things going forward. Despite what the goofy-ass media is trying to make us believe, know that Putin and Xi are not madmen. They are doing what any strategic leader at this stage would need to do. Do we like it? No. Do I understand it? Absolutely. But most people think emotionally and not strategically, and the media is simply playing into that, which I understand too.
— Poland and Romania though, yikes. Does Putin even have enough resources to pull this off?
— If you are a part of any of the countries he has mentioned, you want to take this blog post even more seriously than the others. Especially the food part. That to me is a bit more of a probability.
— Moldova is an interesting one, because they knew this, and have applied to be a part of the EU. What does the EU do here? This is like a junkie with no money who’s being chased my your enemies wanting to crash at your house. But you would get to stick it to your enemies.
— Based on several of my other sources, you should probably add Finland to the list.
— Yes, Peter always dresses like it’s 1998. I do wonder if it’s intentional sometimes.
Can’t get enough excitement? Let’s stay with Real Vision for a moment, they’ve been great throughout all this so far. Raoul Pal has a finance guy’s take on the exact situation, and you do see some crossover here. If you want, you can skip to about the 15:00 mark.
— I agree, Nat Gas should rocket, but the current behavior is so weird, it’s making people cautious. Hard to chart.
— Raoul wants to buy tech? That makes one of us.
— He’s very bearish on the Euro, as I have been for years now. Get out of the Euro, or at least diversify for Chrissakes.
— He spoke about conflict investing, as have I, and we’re on the same page there.
— “You’re in a copper super-cycle whether you like it or not”. Yup. And stocks are stagnating. Just saying.
— “Don’t try and get too cute”. YES! Why are people trying to find bottoms in Russian stocks and ETFs? Low probability. Bad long-term thinking.
— When talking about commodities, “A resolution, and half of these things are down 50% instantly”. Possibly, but that doesn’t change the long-term view. I did take some profit on oil. These things have been poised to take off for awhile though, and if you think a peace talk here signifies the end, I’ll take the other side of that bet.
A peace deal would only be a temporary victory. Everyone will take one big collective exhale in the West. Those in the East however, know better.
“Do You Read Me? Do you Read Me?”
The biggest actual threat to the West right now, apart from higher prices for everything (which we’ll get to), is a full-on cyberattack.
A Russian-led cyberattack would accomplish a few things:
- It would devastate economies, just like we have devastated theirs
- It would undermine authority. People are waaayyy too reliant on the internet, and will not forgive the active leaders during this time.
- They would also panic of course, which could lead to domestic consequences we could never predict, depending on how long the outages last
- Aaannnd let’s not forget it would hamper our ability to defend ourselves and let’s just say, I dunno, see missiles coming — if that’s the play.
It’s hard to say how well we would defend something like this. I’m a bit more optimistic than most.
You always hear these stories come out in the West about Russia, China, or North Korea hacking the United States. Poor ol’ US of A. Constantly having to withstand a barrage of cyberattacks with no recourse, boo hoo.
Guys, the US hacks the fucking buhjeezus out of these countries. It just never makes the nightly news, because why would it?
But chaos it would certainly cause, and there are more than just rumors to justify this particular threat.
As stated before, we’ve more or less been at war with each other over cyberattacks and assorted war games involving our communication methods.
Dr. Pippa Malmgren, a great geo in her own right, explains this from 18:50 to 24:30. Really fascinating stuff.
No commentary here.
If you had no internet, and nobody around you had it either, what would you do? How would you buy things? What if your electrical grid was compromised too? Most of them were built 80 years ago, you and your friends could pretty much just get together and go piss on it and take it out.
If you’re in certain parts of the world, you are more used to these outages and would adapt fairly easily, but most Westerners are not.
But given everything we’ve just talked about, depending on where you are, no internet may be the least of your concerns.
It’s a lot to take in. Many of us learned how not to panic over the last few years, only to have far more looming threats take shape soon after.
Step one of course is not to panic.
But let’s take a top down approach. I’ve spoken of financial agility many times on my podcasts, but if you are in any of the countries at risk in this whole conflict, either from a safety standpoint, or a food standpoint, the solution is quite clear.
Make sure you have a way out.
Not only that, you will need to make sure you actually get out before everyone else wants to.
You may look paranoid to those around you, you may lose your job, but you will be out.
The Russian troops were quite gentlemanly to most of the Ukrainian citizens and allowed the majority of them to leave if they wanted to, as much of a shitshow as it was.
They will likely not have the time to do the same later on.
And as we have spoken before, if you think Russia and maybe China will be the only aggressors this decade, I want to bet you again.
With food shortages however, your enemy will not be another country — it will be your own neighbors.
Secure your exits, and secure them now.
If You’re Abroad
This is the first thing I do when set foot in a foreign country I plan on living in. It seems eccentric I know, but I’ve made peace with this a long time ago.
Step One: Get lots of cash.
First of all, I just automatically assume the main airport will be off limits in times of crisis, whether this would ever turn out to be true or not.
But cash talks. Especially in non-rich countries. You can seriously do anything.
I won’t get into all the things you can do, because not all of it is “legal”, but for example, I visited a doctor’s office in Mexico without an appointment. The line was about 30 deep, as is often the case in this particular city.
An employee with a clipboard was walking outside talking to people in line. She came to me and asked what insurance I had.
I told her I did not have insurance, I just had cash.
I skipped the line and went right in. I didn’t even have time to feel bad about it. Most locals rely on insurance because they can’t afford health care otherwise.
Now all doctors hate insurance companies and love cash, but lets just say this wasn’t the first time I was given priority like this. It would not have happened in the US.
And in a time of crisis, there will be people who choose to protect their own, and there will be others who sell out to the highest bidder.
May as well be you.
Now I’m not saying step over a mother and her three kids, but just like New Year’s Eve in Vegas for example, you can get a cab, but you’re paying $300 on up for it. Cash of course. Supply/Demand.
If I’m going to be in a place for an even longer time, I go as far as to find out where the small aircraft pilots and boat captains drink after work. Then I go there and make friends.
Don’t laugh, I have three contacts in my phone right now I can call if I need to bounce. Will they oblige? Who knows, but it’s better than having no contacts. Non-commercial pilots are raging alcoholics for the most part, I’ve drank with lots of them, it wasn’t all that hard to do. And they know I’ll have cash. I made sure I told them.
Remember, it’s the poor and unprepared that always get the worst of it. I worked half my life to no longer be poor. You’re goddamn sure I’m not going to ever be unprepared.
If you’re going to stay and fight, or stay and risk it, you’re free to do so.
The following information can be for an attack, a food shortage, an internet outage, or simple prices going out of control.
I am old enough to remember what it was like without internet. It was actually pretty great.
But a lot of the ways we would communicate aren’t even around anymore, or have been replaced with online-dependent upgrades.
If the electrical grid, and your online devices are compromised, the base level stuff you’re going to need are
- Food you don’t have to cook
- Batteries for radio
And if it applies:
- Always have more than half a tank of gas
- Buck up and get your car fully maintained
Depending on the weather, you could bunker in and wait for quite awhile, and the radio can tell you what’s happening or where to go for assistance.
There are plenty of other things that would help in a prolonged outage, but start with the above. Radios are really cheap right now, this part is easy.
In a food shortage, shelves are already emptier than they were before as we speak, do you want to compete with the unprepared masses?
Or do you just want to stock up on non-perishable food now? I think everyone should do this.
Just like my thoughts on money, which we will discuss further below, just do it now. If nothing happens, you just eat the food over time.
Food is almost definitely going to be a problem no matter what. Expect it in the news cycle heavily this decade.
Wheat will almost certainly be a problem now. You may say “Well I don’t eat any wheat products”. I don’t either, but places that use wheat in any capacity are going to have their costs go way up, and that will spread to the things you DO eat.
Fertilizer is the even bigger concern. This will affect everyone. It was already bad, and now it’s far worse.
Let’s draw it out.
So what the hell happened in the past 150 years to make the chart go exponential like that? Did we get exponentially hornier? How is this even possible?
Oil and fertilizer. That’s how. We normally shouldn’t be able to do what we did on that chart, but thanks to fertilizer for making food abundant, and oil for allowing us to transport it far, amongst all of the other quality-of-life enhancers it gives us.
Welcome to 2022, where we now have an oil and fertilizer problem. It’s actually been going on for years, it’s just now coming full-circle.
Peter Zeihan said it years ago. You don’t even need to worry about overpopulation ever again. We have already hit peak population. The numbers will only go down from here.
Demographics are the main reason for this, but imminent food shortages will exacerbate the situation even further. I honestly couldn’t think of a worse way to go. It’s going to be rough.
Not to mention the crime and chaos something like this can cause. This is where you start getting to things like home defense, things you can barter, etc, but that’s not my forte at all. Luckily there are plenty of sources for stuff like that.
Again, it’s better to just leave the high-risk areas altogether. But if you can’t, or choose not to, at least be prepared.
The Money Problem
Let’s just make everything worse by introducing holes in our financial security, shall we?
For most of our lives, we could rely on financial institutions to keep our money safe.
The probabilities say for most of us, this will still be the case. But we’ve seen Pandora’s Box opened recently. Things we never thought we’d see.
It started with Glorious Leader Justin Trudeau who thought it prudent to create a rule, after the fact, to freeze the accounts of those who donated to the trucker protest.
As I said on Twitter during this fiasco, the banks more or less told him to fuck off, the polling numbers reflected this same sentiment, and the order was pulled back about a week later.
But all this did was prove the conspiracy theorists right. Your own government can and will separate you from your money if they feel the need, even in rich Western nations.
Then, the US clobbered the citizens of Russia by shutting down Apple Pay, Google Pay, Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, and the ability to get cash out of their own banks.
The Visa and Mastercard part was not entirely true.
Here's the thing about @Visa and @Mastercard leaving Russia: it only affects Visa/Mastercard transactions on cards from Russian banks *outside* Russia. These cards continue to work *in* Russia. This punishes Russians who fled the country, i.e., those who oppose Putin and the war.
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) March 6, 2022
This may be even worse. You chose to exit the chaos, and still took a beating. We’ll talk about how to combat this later.
Economic Ninja sheds some further light on all this. Much shorter video.
Again, the Visa/MC part was not entirely true, but what would you do if this happened to you?
“No worries bro, I got crypto”
You have crypto, and you would do what with it exactly?
Where do you live, El Salvador? How many places near you accept crypto?
Remember, you can’t access your bank or debit/cards right now. And if there’s a power outage/cyberattack, you have nothing.
“No worries Sonny Boy, I got me some golden coins!”
You better hope whoever you’re giving them to knows how to verify if they’re real or not, or you’re not going to be able to do anything with those either.
I really do think people over-simplify this stuff.
And I really do think most people even now think there’s no chance of anything like this happening to them.
During the last 2 decades, I would have said you’re absolutely right, and there’s nothing to worry about.
But this is the 2020s.
The Money Solution
Currency-wise, what’s undefeated in a crisis for the last 140 years?
Gold and cash.
What will remain undefeated in a crisis during the 2020s?
This should be obvious, but it’s not. Most normies have found more convenient ways to pay for things, as we all have, and still put full trust in these institutions even after what we’ve seen in recent weeks.
Most crypto people have gotten brain-washed into thinking fiat currency is due for a complete wipeout any day now, and crypto will save us all.
That part could be right eventually, but it’s not happening anytime soon.
You cannot have a staggering amount of your wealth in crypto right now. It’s foolish. You need access to cash. Yes, that big evil C word.
Not only does it gain value in a crisis (at least the 8 majors do), it’s the only thing everyone recognizes and can accept as currency.
Take a healthy amount of cash out of your bank.
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve seen me retweet Mark Moss when he revealed that US banks are no longer required to hold ANY cash in their vaults, and how the FDIC in the US barely has any money themselves.
If there comes a time where you want to access cash at your bank, but everyone else does too, you’re going to have a really rough time.
Now a lot of you are weird and won’t do this because you don’t like seeing the number in your bank account go down a lot, which it will.
I’ll play Captain Obvious here and inform you that you still have the same amount of money. That never changed. You just split it up into two categories: accessible money, and money that you may one day not be able to access.
If you don’t end up needing the cash, you can always put it back. There is no downside to any of this.
Cash is trash long-term, but short and medium term cash is king. And honestly, if you travel a lot, you’ve likely seen some countries that will probably never stop using cash, regardless of what governments say.
Step Two: Have another bank in a different country
I’ve beaten this horse to death. You don’t even have to have a lot of money in it, just have it there. Almost nobody does this, and that’s why governments have so much power over their people. Very few of them can just go and use an offshore bank instead.
For non-Americans this is dead-ass easy. If you’re American it’s less easy, but I’m an American, and I’ve done it four times. I think you’d have to be a special kind of lazy or timid not to do this. Again, very little downside. If there are issues in the jurisdiction of your second bank, you should have ample time to react and move your money to your primary.
But if there was an issue in the jurisdiction of your PRIMARY bank, you’re also going to want a place you can safely send your money. 99% of your countrymen sadly will not have this option, and relent their power to the overlords.
Couldn’t be me.
Not the most superior option, but at the very least, there are your Wise and Revolut type options all over the place. Great utility, and a solid out, though drawing cash may take some agility, but it is doable.
Other advisable options are gold, land, and stocks, even though the latter two could easily get seized if things went full-on bonkers.
Just spread yourself out as much as you can. Diversity is a good thing no matter what’s happening in the world. But now you have an even bigger reason to.
Step 3: Make sure you and your family have payment rails open.
Sounds a bit obvious, but easily overlooked. My parents and I both have PayPal, but also Venmo. My sister and I both have PayPal and crypto. Get close friends on board too if you feel like it’s a good idea.
“But I’m Poor”
Then get un-poor, what do you want me to tell you? Lots of people have, it’s as possible now as it ever was in history. Sorry, there’s no room for compassion here. It’s very black and white, especially during chaos.
The people who survive, should things get crazy, are the ones with options.
Hard to have options with no money.
This site and YouTube channel does its best to make you more money, and the sooner you start the better, because trying to make it quickly almost never works.
Rich, poor, or in between, you now know what needs to be done.
Either hope it doesn’t get that bad, or have the confidence knowing even if it does, you and your family will be okay.
How is this even remotely a hard decision?