by Simon Black: The
Critical Importance of InternationalDiversification
begin to describe how excited I am to be visiting Tokyo while the
Japanese yen is at its all-time, historic high. My timing couldn’t
possibly be worse.
that are completely incomprehensible, the yen is still viewed as
a stable ‘safe haven’ currency despite four completely
hopeless black marks:
public debt puts other bankrupt nations to shame. As a percentage
of GDP (225%), Japan’s debt is more than twice as bad as the
2) The political
situation in Japan is anything BUT stable. Japan has blown through
6 prime ministers and 9 finance ministers since 2006. And every
one of them was a failure.
3) Social demographics
are a ticking time bomb. Both life expectancy AND average age in
Japan are higher than just about anywhere else on the planet…
and the country has neither the work force nor the financial resources
to support the massive waves of retirees that are coming.
4) Oh yeah,
Japan’s economy hasn’t actually grown in two decades.
obvious headwinds, though, the market is telling us that Japan is
the safe place to be right now. And as a result, prices here are
just plain stupid.
more to report on this next week, plus a boots on the ground perspective
of what’s going on in Fukishima. Hopefully I won’t grow
a sixth finger.
further ado, let’s move on to this week’s questions.
asks, “Simon, I am a female senior in high school and am trying
to figure out what to do next year. Since the future of America
is unstable, what would you do if you were in my shoes?”
in bankrupt western nations do not have a particularly bright future.
To put it bluntly, society is going to force-feed you a shit sandwich.
Higher taxes, more debt, fewer prospects, and a much lower standard
of living await you. That’s if you stick around.
won’t be surprised to hear me say this, but I think that young
people ought to consider getting out of dodge. The world is a big
place and it’s full of opportunities. Following the old way
of ‘study hard, go to a good school, get a great job, and work
your way up the ladder’ is completely dead.
whether it’s in a job or owning a business, is all about creating
value – what can you do that’s so valuable to someone
else that they’re actually willing to pay you for it?
in a developed country surrounded by hundreds of millions of people
who share similar skills, it can be a bit competitive to do this.
But if you take off for a developing country, you might be the only
person in town who can do a number of things that might seem like
second nature to you.
The great thing
about being young is that you have nothing to lose and everything
to gain. It’s the only time in your life that you won’t
be saddled with other responsibilities.
As for WHERE
to go? Part of it is a lifestyle choice… where do you want
to be? But most of all, look where the growth is. Asia, Africa,
Latin America. You’ll find a happy medium that strikes a balance
between growth opportunities and your personal desires.