Peter Schiff: Joining our program now is Doug Casey, and if you don’t know Doug, he is a libertarian economist. He is a bestselling financial author. He’s an international investor, entrepreneur, and founder/chairman of Casey Research. They publish a monthly newsletter, Casey International Speculator, and most recently Doug has produced a 30-minute documentary called Meltdown America, which I watched just yesterday on the Internet for free. I would encourage everybody to watch it. It’s a very entertaining half hour.
Doug, welcome to The Peter Schiff Show.
Doug Casey: Thanks, Peter. It’s my pleasure.
Peter: So in particular about your movie, which I thought was well done, the story that was most compelling to me was the interview with the gentlemen from Zimbabwe who had lived there most of his life. He was prosperous, had a business, and then had the foresight to read the writing on the wall, leave everything behind, and flee to Australia. He warned his friends—who made fun of him—and they then ended up having their property seized.
Doug: Yes, it’s an absolutely true story, of course. I’ve spent a lot of time in Zimbabwe and before that in Rhodesia over the years. I think the first time I went there was in 1976. His story is quite accurate about what happened in Zimbabwe, but it’s happened in a number of places in the world, and it’s going to happen in other places in the future. This is because most people don’t realize that as big as their investment risks are today with many markets being overinflated and so forth, their biggest risks are actually political risks. The biggest danger to you is your own government. In his case it was the Zimbabwe government. I guess most of the people listening now are Americans, and actually the US government is like a predator stalking us on the African plains.
Peter: What really is compelling about the story and what people should really take to heart is the attitude that pervades is that, well, it’s not going to happen here. It can’t happen here. People don’t want to think about that worst-case scenario. They want to assume that things are going to be okay, and if somebody is warning about this potential doomsday, that is the person whom they ridicule, who they say, oh, you’re crazy, that’s never going to happen, and, it happens in places like Zimbabwe. But expand on it, because it’s happening in America.
Doug: Well look, I hate to sound like a Cassandra, a gloomy Gus. I hate to say the sky is falling, and I know you do too. But you’ve got to be realistic. I don’t call it America anymore. I call it the US because although America is a fantastic idea, a wonderful idea, America as a concept is rapidly disappearing from the land area called the United States. So yeah, I hate to sound gloomy, because there are lots of reasons for optimism that we can recount. We have more scientists and engineers alive today now than we’ve had in all previous history put together. So that’s cause for optimism. But there is a lot of cause for real pessimism certainly in the short term, in the next decade or so in the US, and it could get worse from there. So you and I are pretty much on the same page economically, and it makes me a little uncomfortable having to be gloomy, but I have to be. I have to assess the facts.
Peter: Yeah, you can’t ignore the facts. So you don’t like to say that the sky is falling, but then if you see it falling, you don’t want to just pretend that you don’t see what you see because that’s worse. I mean, it’s better to warn about the catastrophes. Maybe your warnings could help put into effect policies that might avert the catastrophe, or if you can’t do that, at least help as many people as possible prepare for it in advance so that they don’t get hit by surprise.
Doug: Yes, although I greatly discount the odds of things changing because policies and governments have a momentum of their own. Imagine a village at the bottom of a valley, and that 100 years ago collectivism and
statism started out as a small snowball, and now that snowball has turned into a giant avalanche. Now once it gets to the giant avalanche stage, you can’t stop it. So I’m afraid that the village at the bottom of the valley is going to be smashed, so you’ve got to run for high ground. I don’t think we can stop it at this point. The trend is too entrenched, too far in motion, and the fact that 50% of Americans are reliant upon the government for their income alone is a guarantee of bad things to come.