Jim Rogers on the Next 10 Years

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Recently by Jim Rogers: Dow 1 Million? Sure, Why Not?

I’m moving
to China … possibly to live in a bunker. At least that was my
inclination after listening to a presentation by Jim Rogers yesterday.

Now don’t get me wrong — Mr. Commodities wasn’t all doom and gloom. In fact, his talk was both informative and highly entertaining. But Rogers doesn’t sugarcoat things — he’s very matter-of-fact about his concerns and projections for the future. And most of them don’t bode well for the U.S.

I’ll be posting an interview with Jim Rogers on the site in the coming week, but for now, I just wanted to offer some highlights from his speech at ETF Securities’ mini-conference and the Q&A that followed.

1. The 21st century belongs to China

According to Rogers, the 19th century was the era of the British Empire and the 20th century was the U.S.’ heyday. But the 21st century is China’s (though the rest of Asia is definitely going to get a boost too).

The reasons for this are many, but some points brought up by Rogers include the following:

  1. The Chinese want to live like we do;
  2. They are more eager to work;
  3. They are better at saving;
  4. There are 1.5 billion Chinese citizens (and 3 billion people in all of Asia), and we owe them money. They are, according to Rogers, “among the best capitalists in the world.”

There will be some setbacks, of course, Rogers says, but these are opportunities. “If you see setbacks in China, you should pick up the phone and get more involved,” he advised, before adding his favorite refrain, “The best advice of any kind that I can give you is to teach your children and grandchildren Chinese.”

China’s path to world domination started with Deng Xiaoping’s capitalist programs in 1978, and there hasn’t been any looking back since. Rogers views China’s dominance as nigh-on unstoppable except for one little thing: its water problem. There are parts of the country that are running out of water, and when the water disappears, Rogers points out, so does civilization. However, the country is acting aggressively to combat the problem, and he doesn’t view it as that much of a threat.

2a. Jim Rogers is not a Ben Bernanke fan

Yep, it’s a fact. No “Team Bernanke” shirts for Jim Rogers (who said to scattered applause during the Q&A session that if he was in charge of the U.S. economy he would “abolish the Fed and resign.”).

Rogers is appalled by the government’s actions — Bernanke’s in particular. The U.S. government’s strategy calls for the debasement of the dollar, he says, calling it a “horrible policy.” While he concedes it can work in the short term, it NEVER works in the mid- or long-term.

“He’s going to run those printing presses until we run out of trees, because that’s the only thing he knows,” Rogers said of Bernanke.

Add that on top of the country’s rapidly growing astronomical debt, and Rogers believes you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

2b. The U.S. dollar is screwed

Consider this a corollary to point 2a. Its status as a reserve currency is teetering on a precipice, in Rogers’ opinion, and he’s not alone. In fact, so many people are selling dollars right now that he’s sitting tight, waiting for a possible — and ultimately unsustainable — rally in order to exit the market. Of course, if it fails to rally and just drops again …

“I’ll just have to panic and sell like everyone else,” Rogers said.

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Jim Rogers has taught finance at Columbia University’s business school and is a media commentator worldwide. He is the author of Adventure Capitalist, Investment Biker, Hot Commodities, A Gift to My Children, and A Bull in China. See his website.

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