Today a friend sent a news­let­ter - and I couldn't resist to show some alter­na­ti­ves to the author's con­clu­si­ons. Most Ame­ri­cans ask questi­ons and state the obvious. But the 'brain­wash' in the basic school system keeps them from questio­n­ing "Ame­ri­can Excep­tio­na­lism" and mili­tary / secret ser­vices inter­ven­tion and covert actions around the world. And it has got­ten worse through the years since after WWII .... no end in sight.

[source: Simon Black;]

“What is it about this place that makes it so poor?”
It was a simple question posed to me by a friend as we wal­ked the streets of Mana­gua, Nica­ra­gua ear­lier this week.
Nica­ra­gua is a lovely place. But it’s poor. Very poor. It’s the least deve­lo­ped eco­nomy in Cen­tral Ame­rica... and that’s say­ing some­thing.
But it’s worth con­side­ring: what makes an eco­nomy like Nica­ra­gua so poor? And what makes others so wealthy?
Having tra­ve­led to nearly 120 coun­tries, I’ve seen the full range of rich and poor nati­ons. And I’ll tell you, it has not­hing to do with natu­ral resour­ces or any­thing like that.
I often have mee­tings with senior mini­sters and govern­ment offi­ci­als around the world who tell me all about the ama­zing resour­ces they have in their coun­try.
“We have so much fore­stry land,” or, “Our bau­xite reser­ves are among the hig­hest in the world…”
Irrele­vant. Vene­zuela has incredi­ble oil reser­ves. Yet they’ve been living in poverty for years.
(Now that oil pri­ces are down the Vene­zue­lan govern­ment has had to declare every sin­gle Fri­day a holi­day because they can’t afford to keep the lights on.)
Ukraine has some of the most excep­tio­nal farm­land on the pla­net. But the coun­try is totally broke.
150 years ago, Hong Kong was a tiny vil­lage of illi­te­rate fis­her­man.
50 years ago in Sin­g­a­pore they used to defe­cate in the streets, and visi­tors would have to step over rivers of feces in the down­town area.
25 years ago Esto­nia was still part of the crum­bling Soviet Union.
None of those pla­ces has any resour­ces to speak of. But they’ve become among the wealt­hiest in the world.
What’s the dif­fe­rence bet­ween Hong Kong and Ukraine? Sin­g­a­pore and Vene­zuela? Esto­nia and Nica­ra­gua?

One of the things I’ve lear­ned in my tra­vels over the years is that wealthy nati­ons do have some com­mon cha­rac­te­ri­stics.

Left: Ori­gi­nal;            Right: Alter­na­tive



The first set is cul­tu­ral. Wealthy nati­ons have a cul­ture that values hard work. Know­ledge. Pro­duc­tivity. Inno­va­tion. Risk-taking. Saving. Self-reli­ance.

I’m not try­ing to say that people in poor coun­tries don’t work hard. Far from it.

The point is that if working hard and saving money are strong CULTURAL values (which tends to be the case in Asia), a coun­try is going to do bet­ter.


Wealthy nati­ons have a cul­ture to blame unem­ploy­ment on the indi­vi­dual, not on mis­ta­kes made by cor­po­rate lea­ders. Know­ledge that's free (Secon­dary Edu­ca­tion) is und­er­fun­ded; Hig­her edu­ca­tion is so expen­sive that the majo­rity of gra­dua­tes carry this debt for deca­des.
Inno­va­tion, if suc­cess­ful, will be bought up to curb com­pe­ti­tion, flan­ked by laws and regu­la­ti­ons.
Coun­tries do bet­ter by exploit­ing cheap labor in those coun­tries they pre­viously desta­bi­li­zed in order to install pup­pet regimes. 


Second, wealthy nati­ons have much bet­ter insti­tu­ti­ons. The rule of law is strong. Pri­vate pro­perty rights are strong. Cor­rup­tion is limi­ted. Regu­la­tion is sen­si­ble. Taxa­tion is rea­sonable and effi­ci­ent.

It’s simple; no one wants to do busi­ness in a cor­rupt dic­ta­tor­ship.

Bad insti­tu­ti­ons drive away for­eign inve­stors. And as capi­tal is one of the cri­ti­cal com­po­n­ents of eco­no­mic growth, cho­king off exter­nal invest­ment suf­foca­tes an eco­nomy.


Second, wealthy nati­ons have more 'fine tuned' insti­tu­ti­ons with a lay­out favo­r­ing those who can afford it. Thus the rule of law is depen­dent on the amount of money inve­sted. Pri­vate pro­perty rights are good only if there isn't an eco­no­mic advan­tage for the rich if they grab it. 

Cor­rup­tion is cal­led "net­wor­king". Regu­la­tion is in favor of those who belong to the esta­blish­ment. Taxa­tion is for those who derive income from work - those earning through 'invest­ment' don't pay.

Invest­ment into the U.S.A. drop­ped since Trump took office - but he's just outs­po­ken, whe­reas the for­mer admi­ni­stra­ti­ons dealt their bia­sed actions for the rich in secrecy.


Last (and most import­antly), wealthy nati­ons have an “inclu­sive” eco­nomy.

This means that people aren’t medi­eval serfs toi­ling away for the esta­blish­ment. If someone deve­lops skills, works hard, and takes risks, they’ve got a good chance of moving up the socio­eco­no­mic food chain.

Eco­no­mists call this “income mobi­lity”. In the United Sta­tes it’s known as the “Ame­ri­can Dream”. 


People are no lon­ger slaves belonging to a per­son - nowa­days they belong to cor­po­ra­ti­ons. The data show that only in rare cases people reach ano­ther level on the social lad­der. The few who make it are adver­ti­sed, those who don't are not reco­gni­zed. They are the majo­rity.

Soli­da­rity with the weak is dead, com­pas­sion is prac­ticed by word, the con­sci­ence is num­bed by a cha­rity check on Christ­mas.

Any 'sur­p­lus' on income has to be saved for reti­re­ment, as the systems in place (Social Secu­rity) have been plun­de­red to pay for exces­sive mili­tary spen­ding.


Yet all three of these fac­tors are star­ting to disap­pear in the US… and in the West in gene­ral.

America’s self-reli­ant, risk-taking, hard working, pionee­ring cul­ture hel­ped pro­pel it to become the wealt­hiest nation on the pla­net.

But these traits are rapidly vanis­hing, dis­pla­ced by a cul­ture that values instant gra­ti­fi­ca­tion, con­su­mer debt, and govern­ment han­douts.

The insti­tu­ti­ons are fal­te­ring as well. Rule of Law is less pre­dic­ta­ble, with the govern­ment chan­ging the rules in its sole dis­cre­tion whe­ne­ver it likes. 


The exploi­ta­tion all around the world lea­ves almost no more resour­ces to rob. The decline is also due to the fact that for­mer pro­du­cers of raw mate­rial lear­ned that it pays to install and boost pro­duc­tion of goods & sale of those without the middle-man.

The US-System its­elf fostert con­su­mer debt because the banks had no limit to bar them from rip­ping off the aver­age Joe. To blame the so cal­led "gou­vern­ment han­douts" is absurd, when mil­tary spen­ding is thou­sand­fold that of help for the poor and needy.

The rule of law has chan­ged only in one direc­tion: To the advan­tage of those who can afford an expen­sive law firm that doesn't ask what's right or wrong but only how much money can be squee­zed out of any sin­gle cli­ent.

They pass new rules every day governing ever­y­thing from what you can/cannot put in your own body, to how you are allo­wed to raise your own child, with much of it enforced at gun­point.
And through an offi­cial form of theft known as Civil Asset For­fei­ture, govern­ment agen­cies now steal more pri­vate pro­perty from people than all the thie­ves and bur­glars in the coun­try com­bi­ned.
This is banana repu­blic stuff.
Most of all, though, it’s the eco­no­mic struc­ture that’s ero­ding.
The inclu­sive eco­nomy of Ame­rica is vanis­hing. It’s beco­m­ing ‘extrac­tive,’ mea­ning that the system is desi­gned for the bene­fit of the esta­blish­ment and rig­ged against the indi­vi­dual.
You can see this most nota­bly in finance; cen­tral ban­kers have held inte­rest rates down to prac­tically zero for eight years in order to bail out large banks and the federal govern­ment.
Yet in doing so, they have deci­ma­ted the pro­s­pects for reti­rees, res­pon­si­ble savers, and most of all, young people.
It’s no won­der that the Middle Class no lon­ger com­pri­ses the lar­gest seg­ment of the US popu­la­tion, accord­ing to Pew Rese­arch.
Larry Fink, CEO of Black­rock (the lar­gest asset manage­ment firm in the world) said that a typi­cal 35-year old will now need to set aside 3x as much money for reti­re­ment as his/her par­ents did, sim­ply because inte­rest rates are so low.
And Wil­liam Dud­ley, Pre­si­dent of the Federal Reserve Bank of NY (and one of the most important Fed offi­ci­als) recently remar­ked how the US is falling behind in terms of income mobi­lity.

The chance of achie­ving the Ame­ri­can Dream,” he told his audi­ence, “is not the hig­hest for child­ren born in Ame­rica.”

That’s a pretty ama­zing state­ment, and it high­lights how obvious (and important) these trends are.
Again, we’re not tal­king about ‘What If’. We’re tal­king about ‘What Is.’ And it has pro­found imp­li­ca­ti­ons for your long-term pro­spe­rity.