Predator States

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Recently by Simon Black: What Really Happened at theWorkshop

     

A couple of nights ago, several friends within our Atlas 400 group were invited to dinner aboard another member’s yacht who happened to be docked in Panama. At 165 feet, it was one of the largest I had ever seen, and our friend had clearly spent a great deal of time customizing every last inch of it.

A physician by trade, he has spent the last several years working his butt off to build a successful chain of clinics across the southwestern United States; we’ve had the occasion to spend a lot of time together over the last year or so, and I have come to know him as an intense, detail-oriented individual.

I was really impressed at how much he knew about his ship– from the way the navigation systems work to how the toilet pumps and reverse osmosis systems fit together. Most yacht-owners that I know take a very hands-off approach… they only want to bake in the sun while the crew handles everything else.

Yachts are filled with complex systems. In fact, my friend has essentially created a floating model of sustainability. He has an independent source of energy (generator), an independent source of fresh water (reverse-osmosis desalinization), and an independent source of food (fish).

In short, he’s the type of person who enjoys being in control of his destiny… and he designed his ship with this in mind. Ironically, despite his having such a strong personality, my friend has very little control over many other important aspects of his life.

We’ve discussed before the nature of sovereign risk– if you live, work, invest, bank, hold assets, structure a company, buy property, etc. in the same country of your citizenship, you have all of your eggs in one very frail basket. Your entire life is vulnerable to the whims of legions of bureaucrats and corrupt policymakers.

He brought up the topic of second passports and foreign structures during dinner and remarked, “well… I’m not sure if I really need this sort of thing. You know, nobody has ever really come after me, and nobody has ever really come after friends of mine either. Why go through the trouble?”

It was a strange comment coming from someone who exercises so much control over other elements of his life and business, someone who takes steps to reduce his risk while on the high seas, or in his business.

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