Peter Zeihan (ILTB)
3:28AM Mar 21, 2019
Sure, this is a totally unorthodox conversation for me give it a look normally talking about business and investing. But we're going to talk about sort of history, politics, geography, demographics, all sorts of interesting topics, my world and your world. And I think a great place to start would be sort of the way the lenses through which you view history and think about the future. So I mentioned some of these ideas, demographics in geography. But if you can sort of create for us your model of the world, and then we'll take that model and apply it both the history and what might be happening now. And in the future,
you can really break the entire global structure all of human history. And for nice chunk. chunk one is the Imperial age when you basically had a few countries based in some really good geographies with good capital generation, internal trade capabilities, large populations, that sort of thing, that we're able to not so much dominate their neighbors, but to then reach out and dominate large chunks of the planet. And the Imperial age brought us most of the technological advancement that we're familiar with. But it also led to a series of catastrophic wars that ultimately ended in World War Two Face to the Americans pick up the pieces, Americans are the last one standing after the war. And they said, let's try something a little bit different. So instead of these Imperial cores, dominating large chunks, we told everybody whether they were an imperial core or colony that everyone's independent, now everyone can trade with everyone else. And we'll use our Navy to protect everyone all you have to do a site with us against the Soviets. And in this global order, we fought and won the Cold War, and it worked. And then what so phase three was the Americans just kind of letting the system run on autopilot where there's no fo. And this brought us the biggest boom in capital generation in world history, which led to a series of economic outperforming countries and a lot of technological development. And this is the time of the brick boom, for example, we're ending the Third Age now, because the Americans have realized that this global order structure is no longer appropriate for their needs of the day. They're not quite sure what their needs of the day are. But they're pretty sure that it doesn't require the rest of the world they're probably right. Which means that every country that has reworked its political system, its economic system is financial network in order to take full advantage of all the geopolitical goodies that out there right now, all of a sudden, have to figure out how to do without, and we are entering the fourth age of human history, we are entering the disorder, and whether you're the Chinese Communist Party of the European Union, everything that has made your system work for the last two generations is about
to end, let's set the stage at the maybe very early in history with the types of qualities that make for a competitive or strategically advantaged country. I've heard you mentioned that maybe there's like 10 to 12 different countries and sort of have this natural collection of strategic advantage points, or resources that make them in a better position, I guess, then the rest of the world to compete in a world maybe that is more disorderly if you highlight what those things are, as down to the very simple like arable land, you know, sure,
honestly, you think about it, like a good candy want to be crunchy on the outside and gooey in the middle. And mountains make great borders, oceans make better borders, you want to make sure that people can't park their tanks on your lawn. That's, you know, kind of factor, number one. Number two, you don't want that crankiness in the middle That's gross. You want flat, arable, temperate land, you want to be temperate with winter, so that you don't have to worry about the tropics and bugs and disease, you want to be arable, so you can grow your food. And if you can pull it off, you want a navigable river, moving things from A to B is one of the most expensive and difficult things that humans do. And if you can float it, it costs about one 12th as much. So if you look at the really powerful countries through World History, they have this kind of mix of factors, whether it's Russia, or France, or Germany, or the United Kingdom, or Japan to certainly China. And of course, United States has more of it in a better setup, or better alignment
of this than anybody else. Obviously, we live in a world that is way more integrated now, in terms of supply chains, and trade routes and specialization and all these things, maybe talk a little bit about the history of the Bretton Woods agreement, post World War Two, and the sort of order the order we stated that created from that stage to really where we sit today, I think some history and understanding of that environment will help us understand what's going to happen next. And obviously, the specialization that's been possible under fairly stable and piece like times might be changing your view. So maybe lay out what what happened in that agreement? Sure.
Well, it's probably good to tell it in the story from the point of view, manufacturing, how that goes to have interacted. So in the time before, Bretton Woods in the time before the order and the period age, if you were going to build a widget, you basically built it all in one place, you bring in your capital, you bringing your technology, and you'd have local labor and local infrastructure, do every step that manufacturing chain possible in the same location. So we got these big conglomerate industrial cities, if you hadn't have a river, that's great, you could spread out the supply chain system along that river. But ultimately, you keep it in house. And then when you hit your finished product, that is what was distributed, the order comes along the changes that the whole idea of Bretton Woods was that we're all on the same side. And then international commerce is no longer a viable target, the US Navy will prevent that from happening. Now, this was a strategic bribe was very effective, and bringing everybody into the American network. During the Cold War, we basically paid everybody to be on our side worked, that changed how we built things. Because if the ocean is now safe, and if international transport is cheap, then there's no need to have your entire manufacturing base in one place. And so we started to see diversification, we started to see supply chains, and whatever company or country could have a condition of advantage of whatever step of the production process, that is where that facility would go. So we went from having facilities in one location to two to 10 to 100 to 1000, the iPhone touches 1200 different facilities and 50 different countries today. And that's allowed us to have a huge advancement in the human condition, and to spread wealth and democracy far and wide. This is all an inadvertent outcome of the strategic order the American setup. But this was never the goal. This is a side effect. Well, without the Americans without the order, this whole now happens in reverse. And all these economies of scale that we have gotten from this new continuity goes away. And if you are a place that can build this part of this, or that part of a widget cheaper or more effectively, that doesn't really matter if you don't have the local consumption or the local resource base with a local security that's needed to guarantee it. So we're going to see a collapse of global manufacturing from these far flung dangly multi continent supply chain systems into much more constrained networks were inputs, production consumption aren't simply physically secure, where the CO located right now the only place on the planet that happens is North America.
Can you talk more specifically about the security apparatus that has made this possible. So you mentioned ocean. So I go to Navy's immediately some detail on what this actually looks like how dominant is let's say, the US Navy relative to the second most competitive maybe how myriad are the various trade routes, like some details around what the system looks like now would be, it would be really interesting most
people don't realize is that world war two was kind of a blow out from the naval point of view, the major powers that entered the war with the exception of the British, the Americans, everybody lost membership they had. And so we got to the end of the war, they really only was one day because the Brits were basically saying, as an adjunct to the American system at that point. And then, because the American said, Hey, everybody, we're on the same side will use our Navy to protect you, nobody really felt the need to float a Navy, there was no point as a result, the United States one in the direction of the super carriers, and everybody else went in the direction of downsizing. So by the time we got to the end of the Cold War, the US Navy was bout seven or eight times as powerful as the combined me these are the rest of the planet. And then, of course, with the post Soviet collapse, the Russian Navy went away. And so that number today is probably a factor of 10. And the United States is the only country that fields super carriers and we are in the process of unleashing a new class of them upon the world, the the 40 class which are more powerful than the ones that came before. So at least for the next decade or two, you're looking at that gap between the United States in the combined Navy's of the rest of world actually increasing rather than decreasing now at rates of global naval build up and the Chinese are floating lot more ships, you're probably looking at the global Navy roughly equating to the strength of the American Navy near 20 to 40. This is not a sort of thing I lose sleep over. Now, this doesn't mean that the US Navy can sail anywhere at any time. And a lot of the strategic nx we've seen among the military community United States is Oh, no, we can't take an aircraft carrier within sight of the Chinese short racket it might get hit. It's like, Okay, well, why would you do that? I always find it amusing. When people are thinking that there's a privacy means omnipotence, and No, that's not it. It's not that United States can't get hurt, it is good, the United States can choose the time of the place of whatever conflict at once for trade, we have seen global trade expand roughly by a factor of 1000. Since the 1930s, about 95% of that is on the water. Now, the United States continental system, our trade is the least integrated in the world, we only pray for 10 to 15% of GDP based on whose numbers were using for the Chinese, the numbers double, for the Germans, it's triple and unlike everybody else's commerce, most of ours is held it internally within the NAFTA system. So of that 15%, about half of it is within North America and doesn't use the ocean really all so the United States is the deterministic power of the global system. And it doesn't use that system. And so if you were Germany, or China or Japan or anybody else who actually depends upon the ocean blue, you are utterly dependent on American commitment. And if that commitment phase or God forbid, reverses, then you are truly out of luck.
So let's talk about how that might happen. So in your second book are still the absence superpower. You talk about some of the precipitates for the US having less interesting when you just mentioned the major one of we're just don't we are versus is way lower our exports as a percentage of GDP are quite low relative to other major powers in the world. The Navy is obviously one key component or control of global trade routes. But you just mentioned that we're building more you know, our we're strengthening weakening our military. So should we expect that the US is going to police those routes less is that is that part of what makes us the absentee superpower Talk, talk to me about kind of what is actually happening today, that makes you think we may care less and less in the future,
I wouldn't say it's a less issue, I would say it's a not at all issue two sides of that one. Politically, the United States has been moving away from interest in the global system for four presidents. Now, under herbert walker bush, there was talk of a new world order you remember the thousand points of light that was his attempt to get Americans talking about this so we could figure out what we want from the world generation from now. And of course, us being Americans, we voted out of office for it and he was the last guy who really David him. Then we had Clinton who songs office domestic president, we had w who ran a one issue foreign policy for eight years. And we had brock obama who really didn't have a foreign policy at all. So we've been moving in the direction of something like Donald Trump for 20, five years. And now we're here. So this is the this is the presidency under which it all ends. It's not because it's Trump, just because it's what's next, what would have happened with Hillary Clinton to it just would have been little bit better organized. So politically, we've been moving this direction for some time, 25 years. And this is the presidency under which it all falls apart strategically, militarily, I'd argue we've been moving this direction almost as long, patrolling the global oceans means that you must maintain a sufficiently large Navy to deter intervention on the seas everywhere. At the same time, that was half of the reason we used to have a 600 ship, maybe one hour, maybe fewer than 300 ships, and it's heavily, heavily clustered around those 11 aircraft carriers, which means United States has mobile basis, they can sail anywhere in the world, one at a time, three at a time, whatever it takes, and really smash the crap out of anything that it perceived as a threat. But those aren't the type of naval deployments that you use to actually control the ceilings. Regardless of whether or not the nicest wants to patrol mobile commerce anymore, I'd argue that it no longer has an ad that is appropriate for that task, which means that the is it going to be a bit by bit collapse of the global order when it happens. And it becomes apparent that either the Americans can't or won't guarantee global commerce, the whole thing more or less, falls apart once and you want to talk about something the markets are not ready for, its that the
other important angle and all this is energy. So this is a topic that's near and dear to my heart. My family has a long history in the oil business here in the US. And I'm just fascinated by what's happened in US production, specifically shale in the last 15 years or whatever. So talk to us about what has happened and why it's so significant for this absenteeism. And for sort of American disinterest abroad.
Well, the United States has had three oil shocks in recent memory, 1979, 1983,
and then 2006, 2007
in each one. The United States oil patch took advantage of high oil prices, increased production to develop new technologies. Now they can all work at once and 11 and work at all. But by the time we got to 2007, we were in a fundamentally different structure. Not only had some of the technologies that we had started to tinker with 30 years ago really started to come of age. But the availability of capital in that environment was immense. Now everyone here New York thinks of 2007 is the financial crash and it was but it happened in the environment of the most oversupplied capital markets in human history. We've got the baby boomers preparing for retirement, they've got a lot of spare capital that they're investing, trying to get that mythical extra 1% of return that drove interest rates and borrowing costs, the lowest ever part of that eventually manifested as the subprime crisis, which is no good. But it meant that capital was available for absolutely anything. And it didn't have to have a rate of return at that time. And so the idea of drilling down a mile, and then maybe, and then turning your drill bit and going horizontally 600 feet, you know, you gotta admit, that doesn't sound very cost effective. And it's not. But in an environment where zero percent return is not seen as a negative, and where the capital is always going to be available, you can start doing that, and you'll get a little crude, you'll get a little natural gas, but the more you do it, the better you get. So 600 feet turn into 1000 feet turn into 2000 feet turned into 6000 feet. Today, you can have laterals going three, four miles. And that's assuming you're only really one lateral in some these wells, you're getting 30. So the technology has now advanced from the point where it's not profitable at $100 barrel to have been marginally profitable at $35 a barrel, which means that by the end of next year, the US shale industry is going to be cost competitive with Saudi Arabia. And that will make the United States shell industry the lowest cost producer on the planet. That is something that we are only now starting to kind of get our mind around. It wasn't that long ago that we were going exactly Big Oil is less than 10 years ago. And now we're looking at the United States being already the largest producer of natural gas, the largest producer of crude and the largest exporter of refined product on the planet. And the trend lines there are going vertical.
What about the difference between light and heavy periods? My understanding is that the US is already I guess, an exporter of light crude, you know, heavy is obviously the input used in a whole bunch of functions. And that we're we are lighter on heavier current production. So true independence would require like a complete stack. So talking about the industry light and heavy.
So light crude is about the consistency of water to nail polish it, it's super, super thin, it's not dark. It's not exactly clear. But there's not a lot of color to it. And you can use it to make things like gasoline and a lot of high end products. It's not that it's bad crushes different crude, heavy, thick crude. And that's the direction that the global crude stream has been going for decades, the light stuff is easier to refine. And so it's usually what folks have been after. And the technology to tap, much less exploit. The heavy crew didn't even start to exist until the 1970s. So all of the light stuff was about first we moved in the direction of heavy, heavy stuff is thick, with things like mercury and sulfur, it's think it's gooey, some of the really heavy stuff is actually a solid at room temperature. I mean, this stuff is just difficult to move, difficult to produce, difficult to process. Now, the United States being that most heavily capitalist system in the world looks at this. And by the United States, I mean American refiners like okay, well, if the light crew is selling at a premium, we've got the technology and the capital to develop refineries that can deal with stuff that's not ideal. So we started in the mid 1970s sort of retooling our entire refining base to run on the thick crappy stuff, because we knew that that was the direction that the oil was going under shale. The reason that heavy crude is heavy, is because it percolates to the rock formation and picks up contaminants as it goes, eventually, it gets to a place where it pools behind the camera rockin that's where you kind of get your gutters shell crew doesn't work that way. It's trapped at almost a microscopic level within the rock formation. And you have to drill horizontally and frack the rock just different to get out. So when it comes out, it's never been contaminated. Basically infant oil if you want to think of it that way. So all of a sudden the United States has this refining base that is designed for the crappiest crude in the world which advisor at a discount yet we're producing some of the best quality crude in the world. And you got that split. So the United States tends to export the light stuff, import heavy stuff and make gobs of money on the arbitrage between the two. So in an ideal system, this would continue buy low, sell high, I mean, that's kind of the whole point, right, as order gives way to disorder and global transport breaks down, that's going to be less possible. And I will still be able to take heavy crude from places like Canada and assuming they don't completely implode Venezuela. But most of the world's other hand be crude is going to be in a different hemisphere and the access is going to be lost. So we are going to have to dumb down a refining complex now every refinery in America over the course of the last five years has worked steadily and diligently to change their preferred mix, or to add different facilities to their existing refinery. So they can process a greater proportion of sweet stuff that process is not complete, will not be complete for at least a few more years, unless things dramatically change. And they have to accelerate that. But even in the worst case scenario, I mean, let's assume that the disorder starts tomorrow. And the importance of extra hemispheric heavy crude stop, you could make that switch and 18 months if you wanted to, if you really needed to. So we are looking at a transition period here in the United States that may have some few bumps in it. But imagine what happens everywhere else we're looking at the United States be the net exporter recruit and about a year and has the capacity to not even need to tap the broader global system in a year and a half. So we might have some tightness here. But it's not going to be that bad,
everyone else has to figure out how to do without, what are the things reading your work that I thought about early and often was, so we studied market history as much as we can, you know, obviously think history is a good guide, obviously, not a perfect guide, the good guy to the future, in terms of what to expect. And one of the things I realized is that the vast majority of data we have on specific country or regional equity markets falls in this period that you would call the global order. And so I always worry, looking at historical data, about data lulling you into this false sense of security. And so I'd love to really spend a lot of time on what this disorder looks like. So for moving towards that stage, let's assume that it happens and that you're right, and we'll talk about reasons maybe you might be wrong, but assuming it happens, and it's right, what does that look like? What are the pieces that us as Americans should be aware of as business people as investors, etc. Walk us through the disorder?
Well, you get a complete breakdown and this association of everything that makes the global system possible. And so I mean, you want to talk about the dangers of survivorship bias. I mean, here we are. We're in a system right now, where global norm is stability, that's not normal. That's just normal in our lifetimes. If you go back to the world before 1946, the world was not a single financial space. Direct arbitrage among the various markets was thin and nonexistent. And markets, not to mention countries went to zero, often all the time. Yes, we're not used to that we have no way to process that. Just think about something simple in air quotes here, the end of the European Union, the European Union is an institution that is 100% dependent upon the global order without American strategic largest and I'm access to the global market. The Europeans cannot hold together as a single entity because they can't defend themselves they start competing and that is the end of for example, the eurozone What does that do? Look at Southern Europe everybody knows their indebted everybody knows their indebted in euros, do you really think they're going to keep in Northern European dominated currency when the system ends? So then the question becomes what are all these loans denominated in so if you're in Italy Do you want keep paying in euros when your own currency is devaluing, which means that you will default which means that the Northern European Bank constructors will go to zero, or Japan lira, which case the Northern European benkenstein go to zero. I mean, there's no way out of this. And integration, which is dependent upon America can involve continues and the more integrated you have become, the more you haven't danced under these global structures, the greater but distance you have to fall now that the areas that are likely going to experience the greatest disruption are in those zones, ones that have experienced the greatest growth, that's kind of the frontier between the European Union and the Russian system, that's the person golf and that's the Northeast Asian core, those are the areas until the global order had always been laggards in terms of economic building financial problems, knows the areas which result had the biggest basis effect in terms of expanding under the water system don't know online,
is it fair to classify these countries I was like the biggest, a couple of major variables. One would be like the percent of GDP, that's that sports or something like this, it's a good measure, maybe back to the original, the original thing about do that check the boxes of energy dependence, agricultural dependent, etc. Kind of how you think how you started country,
you're going to get a technical was definitely worth it, probably normally draw the net a little bit broader, cuz I don't usually speak to it exclusively financial, and I look forward countries that have the propensity and preferably the experience maintaining their own continuity without outside assistance. So for example, France is on the extreme western end of Europe, it has never integrated to the degree with the rest of the European structures that say the Germans have, they've got an independent military capacity and independent food supply system and independent energy supply system. So I don't mean to suggest that the French aren't going to suffer significantly when the earth system cracks. But it's going to be nothing compared what happens in Germany, or Poland,
let's say Germany as a great case, obviously, because, first of all, just fascinating history and country like the highs, the lows talk about hyperinflation, and things like this, but but right now, you think of Germany as maybe the powerhouse of Europe from a production standpoint, just to kind of the Renaissance that they've undergone, I guess, really, since World War Two. That is pretty remarkable. So talk about what what this might look like from say, the German perspective, which I think if you pulled a random sample of the audience, they might say Germany is probably in a pretty good position. But I think you think the opposite So talk about Germany,
Germany is the quintessential example of the country that can thrive under the global order because the global order remove the need for the Germans to be well to be blunt, German, it's like all of a sudden didn't have to fight for anything everything that they fought for and World War Two market access and resort are just remember just walking said, Yeah, you can have that you have to be on our side against Soviets. And so for the first time, the German didn't have to worry about strategy or military time metrics at all. The Americans are terrible of that. And they could just focus all of their attention on manufacturing, lo and behold, they kick some serious ass what happens the day that ends the supply chain system is spread throughout a dozen countries in Europe were military system is a joke, it's it's arguable that they don't even have a Navy and Air Force right now.
And their energy comes from Russia from the Middle East, very little of it from within Europe itself. So the Germans in a day have to go from being basically Scandinavian socialists to be in German again and you want to talk about something that's going to rewrite the face of Europe I'm curious how this all manifest in terms of physical conflicts so if you read welder and or something, you know that the norm for history is just constant war. And, you know, you mentioned Germans interest in maybe going to are partially to access resources and strategically planned positions, what's going to happen in the world and your view in this coming era of us? I guess, absenteeism with less of a global order. Well, that manifest as more physical conflict and if so, of what variety because obviously, the technology of war has changed so much, whether it's nuclear weapons, or just crazier and crazier technology for fighting maybe less infantry. I'm curious how you think about the coming world, the stage and physical conflict? It's I mean, that's a really complex questions.
Yeah, let me start with United States. So if the United States is not a significant trading nation, it is one of the few places that has the financial wherewithal and the technological wherewithal to really move to the next generation of warfare. Now, because of the bad taste in our mouths, and the strategic hangover of the Middle Eastern conflicts, I do not expect the United States to be involved in any significant large scale infantry driven wars for the next 1520 years, we're just we're just done. That doesn't mean United States won't play favorites. That doesn't mean the United States won't get involved. But it does mean you're not going to see a lot of boots on the ground. So a lot more special forces, a lot more drone warfare, the odd naval fight, but not what we have come to think of as the Wars of the last 20 years. So that's United States, everywhere else. Wow, it's not exactly a struggle of all against all. But there literally is not enough to go around and without supplies for this or that material or with markets beyond the horizon being available. What is close by is simply not in the right proportions and quantities, whether that happens to be lithium or steel or oil, or natural gas or really anything. And so you'll get conflict over that now that will manifest is dozens of brushfire wars, most of which are petty and small and highly localized, you also have the Wars of national disintegration like we've seen in Syria, there's gonna be a lot more of that sort of stuff. And you watch Greece very closely. If you want to see what happens in a first world country, when that goes down. The real globe spanning wars, the ones with real impact is probably going to be three. The first is probably going to be between the Russians and the Europeans. The Russians are literally dying out as a people, and they see an expansion to something more or less similar to the old Soviet era, boundaries being a far more defensible position that they're in right now. And the correct that kind of moving west, moving west up to at least the frontier Poland, maybe all the way to Warsaw, doing that means the absorption of 11 different countries, half of which happened to be in NATO. And it was made to still mattered, that'd be a problem for the Russians. But it really doesn't. So you know, there's that opportunity that knocks a lot of oil offline, because Siberian crude can, it's finicky stuff not so much in terms of quality. But in terms of production, most of it comes out of the permafrost. And if you get ready forces moving west, you can count on all the pipelines send the crew to world marketing shut down whether out of military striker just transport destruction, despite the Siberian well as well freeze in the winter, you can only drill in the winter. So the last time this happened with the Soviet breakdown, it took about 7 million barrels accrued offline. And that was without any shooting. So expect at least that magnitude of disruption or number two is probably going to be in the Persian Gulf, Iran vs. Saudi Arabia, you remove the American These are two countries that are quite willing to throw everyone else in the meat grinder. in their quest for regional supremacy. We're in this very strange position right now where Iran has become the country of order in the Middle East, they basically one and now they're kind of like the dog that caught the car, they just don't know what to do. The Saudi strategy is basically to burn the whole place down because if the entire Middle East is on fire there on the other side of the desert, so we now are at least the Trump administration for now is allied against the country that is trying to hold up some sort of civilization and allied with the country that wants to burn civilization down you know, this is not unsustainable position for the Middle East. This is not a sustainable solution if the United States but this is currently happening right now, no matter how that conflict goes, energy is going to go offline, whether it's Iranian Kuwait, Iraq, you saw it all of the above, and that just leaves Northeast Asia. Now the Northeast Asians import almost all of the recruitment Persian Gulf, there's just nowhere near enough production locally. If you take all of the agent production put together, it's only about a quarter of what they actually need. So you get the Japanese the creams, the Taiwanese, the Chinese, sailing their ships to the Persian Gulf picking sides and a centuries old blood feud that has turned into a knife fight, loading the crude themselves and then shipping at home and probably rating each other along the way those three conflicts or nothing less than the end of the world that we know that's the end of global financing, global energy and global agriculture and global shipping,
one of the set of work that I've just been fascinated by his two guys as Rosling and I got a max Rosa who's operating today. And the rest of their work, is this, like inexorable march towards higher quality of life in the world driven by technology, driven by, you know, all sorts of different things. But if you look at any of the infant mortality rate, or poverty levels, or literacy rates, like everything just looks in this amazing sort of
exponential more absolutely correct. The order has done that because by creating the global continuity and global economies of scale, we have allowed the unleashing of creativity of the human race on a scale we couldn't even have imagined 678 years ago. And
you think that this will unwind that inevitable
March? Yeah, I mean, they're absolutely right about everything that they have said. But it's based upon a geopolitical compact that is now broken. Now, everything that I've said, it doesn't end. But instead of having a single unified global structure, you get a series of regional structures, some like in the Western Hemisphere will probably broadly continue along this path, because you're not going to see that kind of disruption. That's not trade dependence on export dependent, it's financially self sufficient. In fact, what global capital flight and trends were already seen today, the money come to the United States is just emits, almost obscene. So the underpinnings of these advances should continue in the Western Hemisphere. In the eastern hemisphere, where you know, there's nothing holding up the roof, not so much the amount of backsliding there is going to be catastrophic.
Some things you've talked about, even very scary center, things like famine, for example, make me wonder, like, so I understand, certainly the reasons why the US has less of an interest in global security and the global order because of There's our our self sufficiency, but at some stage is there a precipitate that makes the US just reengage, because this is just an awful outcome,
it is definitely not a humanitarian perspective, from a you know, like everything is so transparent. Now, I think the ability to to even narrative around what we should do politically or economically or with our military, it's easier than ever, right? Trump kind of demonstrated this through Twitter and elsewhere. So what might reverse this very grim global outlook, they'll give you two scenarios, one that's shorter term one, that's a longer term because I think we're going to be having them both. First, in the shorter term, the tolerance in the US political system for disruption globally, is very high, we are entering a period that's relatively narcissistic, we've been here before, it doesn't last forever, but it will last for at least a decade, probably two, maybe three. And during that time, you should not expect to see any significant American intervention in the wider world for humanitarian purposes. And honestly, not even for strategic purposes. American strategic policy is about preventing the rise of any sort single one ultra bad guy, whether that's the British Empire, Nazi Germany, or Soviet Union, there's nothing like that on the horizon for the next generation. So you will see the United States participating in these little speedy surgical tactical interventions, but not much. And on the humanitarian scale, and less, it leads to some sort of impact upon some American community, whether that is geographic in terms of a town or a sliver of the political system, I really don't see it happening for at least 20 years. Now, during that time, you have accurately pointed out that we're going to still be aware. And so you will get slivers of American communities who will see something that they don't like, and they just take off and see if they can do something about it. Now, we've done this before the late 1800s, early 1900s, we call the dollar diplomacy because you had Americans whether they were in business or religious groups would go out and basically be the face of America without any American government leadership at all. Now, as soon as you put Americans abroad, should they get into trouble us maybe, right? So the rescue and that can lead to an intervention. But that is a very different sort of intervention and say, intervening to help with food distribution of preventive famine. So this this sort of dollar diplomacy, it will be a dominant theme in American policy, but don't expect it to do a lot of good if that's what you're after. Now, longer term, you know, that sort of won't last forever, eventually, there will be winners in these conflicts, and eventually new regional powers will arise. If I had to be a betting man, I'd say that the four countries that look to come out of this looking the best are Japan, France, Turkey, and Argentina. And eventually they are likely to reach a point in consolidation and influence that the United States is going to take notice. And at that point, a generation from now the United States will probably reengage the question will be does this happen on a gradual slow enough time period, that the Americans can assimilate the changes and so engage in a constructive way or, well, the terms of the French or somebody else do something that the Americans perceived as a threat, in which case we get more of a knee jerk American reaction that is much more disruptive, the power imbalance between United States and whoever these new powers are is going to be a meant so it's not like you're going see a catastrophic civilization anymore, or anything like that. But it's not World War Two. This is not World War One. This is probably not even something like Korea, but it really matters whether or not the Americans engage out of opportunity throughout a fear it was probably hear you say Japan, it's a good excuse to talk about demographics specifically, which we really haven't touched all that much. so far. It's like someone like Turkey, if
memory serves as like, Great demographics, like a fairly young population. Japan is the poster child for more adult diapers and baby diapers and, and also just from a natural resource standpoint of questioning on that. So. So what about Japan Do you believe is well positioned? First
of all, you're absolutely right about Japan. From a demographic and resource point of view, your internal consumption has stalled and it's shifting towards collapse. They have to basically import every raw material ever use. However, it's an island nation. And like all island nations, it's gotten pretty good at a Navy, I would argue that today in Japan still has the second most powerful long reach maybe as in the world. Now, if you were to sail the Japanese Navy against the Chinese navy, in the East Asian theatre, the Japanese would get wrecked, the Chinese have a better Air Force, better cruise missiles, but only 30 Chinese ships can operate 1000 miles from shore. Whereas pretty much all the Japanese ships can. So in any conflict. The Japanese basically don't even say on the general direction China will go to like, I don't know Singapore and sink anything with the Chinese have on the ocean. And then that's the end of China's Import Export system along with all of your energy supplies. So in a fight the Japanese unless they're utterly incompetent, when easily well, that may be allows a lot of options. It means that they can secure their own supply chains, whether it's to Southeast Asia, or even better yet the Western Hemisphere so the tools that they have had to develop in order to maintain any sort of local system just happened to double as the tools that are perfect in order to survive in an era without the Americans providing strategic Overwatch. So that just leaves the demographic question. This isn't a new problem, the Japanese have seen their population aging and shrinking since the 1960s, arguably since they started to industrialize around 1900, which means that the Japanese have always worked on consolidating the footprint they've had to build up rather than out just because of the geography. It's all about the value added there are the world leader in robotics, for good reason. And so we have seen Japan to spend fight ever fewer working age individuals, I've seen their production continually to rise. And when they had the crash back in 1989, and other economy really hasn't grown very much since then, like single digit percentages that hit their export income that hit their export system overall, that did not hit the domestic market. So they are actually instead of one of the world's most exposed countries, one of the least exposed I mean, the in terms of major countries that are less involved in the world in terms of economics, United States at the top of the list. And number three, what's number two, Brazil. Interesting.
I'll come back to Brazil. I want to touch on China, because this is a fascinating topic and amazing country with an incredible history. And it's gone through a Renaissance. And I'm curious to take your lens of sort of demographics and global dependence and waterways and arable land all these things and apply that lens to China. So So what should be there?
Well, let's start with the arable land. You know, the US Midwest is perfect, perfect, absolutely perfect. The northern Chinese breadbasket is about 15%, besides the Midwest, their population four times as large. And you can imagine that that's working very well between riotous urbanization, climate change, the managing of the desert, Northern China, and water shortages. The Chinese breadbasket is basically the period of not so slow motion collapse, they only have one river that's navigable, that's in the center of the country, which is an area's sharply politically distinct from the northern hands on the Dominic's the political system. And then the South is separated by a series of mountains and tropical zones from everybody else. So it's really hard to keep this thing together, they've achieved it by basically following the three part strategy number one is beat the crap out of anyone who ever stepped out of line it's a national security state for internal reasons, not external reasons. Number two, they follow a nationwide financial strategy that's kind of like Enron and subprime where it's all about the throughput it doesn't really matter if productivity is involved, that generates a lot of bad debt. Now here in the United States, just keeping a scope here so subprime hit about 3% of the American mortgage market which came out to dead financial assets that were less than 1% of GDP
based on who you are asking within the Chinese system they're already north of 70% and the economic sectors that are most overexposed finance obviously an agriculture so when they finally have their adjustment they don't just face a meltdown subprime style and every economic sector at once they also have a family problem which will among other things lead to a political split within the system so that's piece to piece three is the global system Nixon went to China for good reason he basically inducted Mao's China into the global order in order by them as an ally against the Soviets that only really started in 1980 and it only really got going in 1990 so the entirety of the Chinese success story the entirety of the panda boom happened during the most internationally abnormal period of human history and in that time the Chinese grew up the world's second largest economy but also the most over capitalized over financed overexposed over leveraged economy in world history of course this is going to end the question on the backside is not will try to start befall it won't. The question is what becomes of the Asian power balances after China's fall, a
that the three countries you mentioned are quite distinct, and the one that really popped that was Argentina. So maybe that's another one I didn't expect. Talk to that store. I'm imagining there's a lot to do with agriculture, there
are agriculture other one of the best in the world. So the Rio de plata region is one of the world's handful of zones, it actually has an admirable waterways, it directly overlay arable land, it's kind of like a mini Midwest, just about a third of the size, the rivers basically go up to Argentina's borders with Brazil, and that's where the magic ability stops. So all of the good stuff is on the Argentine side. Argentina is not tropical, like Brazil. So they've got a lot lower input costs for all the agriculture it makes it a lot easier to raise the capital locally in order to generate manufacturing base and they've done all this stuff in the past. Now, Argentina is also a good warning case, from the prone error on the Argentine's basically woke up every morning and we're like, Okay, we got this perfect setup, how can we break it right? After 90 years, you end up with something less like the United States, more like Argentina, but if you look forward to the world, we're going to where rule of law breaks down where international commerce grinds to a halt or finance is hard to come by, you know, the Argentine's for them, that's just an average Tuesday. So either they've got the perfect geography and we'll have a domestic reset, like we have another current government and they will thrive for decades to come, or the rest of the world breaks down and they just are more familiar working in that sort of environment. Either way, the future of Argentina looks really bright and the first stage of that will basically be the Argentine's dominating the border states of Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia second stage is starting to peel off large sections of Southern Brazil itself. And this is, in essence, for those of you who know your Latin American history a repeat of what the Argentine's and the Brazilians did in the early years of independence, she's at this time, the Argentine's are
going to be in we've actually talked more about the rest of the world and less about say, like the US, Canada and Mexico, which is I think of that sort of an interesting collection of countries, obviously, physically talking about that the relationships there and whether or not in this this coming era, in your view of absenteeism. Canada and Mexico are effectively like a certain part of the US
that's exactly what it's going to be. One of the big concerns that I had about the Trump diminish in the early months was what was going to happen in after because unlike our trade arrangements with everyone else in the world, which were largely driven by strategy, and so we were willing to sacrifice economics in order to get the country's on board. The NAFTA accord is really the only major trade of the United States has, it's actually based on the numbers. And so if NAFTA was to go away, the United States would actually suffer recession, you mean the rest of the global structure could go to hell, and United States might not even notice but Canada and Mexico or countries that really matter now things are getting really interesting with those talks. So when the Trump administration was originally interfacing with the Mexicans the Mexicans didn't want to give anything and then pennies party lost the election Lopez over there came in and logos Obrador well I would not consider very good at math i mean he's basically the Mexican Bernie Sanders in many ways basically realized that he was a populist kind of in the same brand is Donald Trump and the last thing that he wanted his term he's I'm self as a domestic renewal guy come on Clinton last thing that he wanted was being a pissing contest with Trump first first few years so he reached out to Kenya during the lame duck period and he reached out to Trump and said you know you guys can figure out what's next what NAFTA to Looks like I'll get it ratified so far he's a man of his word and so we have a deal with Mexico up in Canada things are just hilarious. So everything about Canadian foreign policy is rooted in the cold war if you look at a polar projection of the earth you'll notice that Canada is on all the flight paths from for ICBM from the Soviet Union to the United States. Because of that the Canadians during the Cold War could have been free riders insecurity terms, to their credit, they were not, but they would use that leverage to get concessions out of the United States on economic deals. So Canada during the Cold War would always get just a little bit more. And a lot of times, those deals had to do with something that was happening internally in Canada. So there's always a lot of fingers in that pot of gold was over Trump's the first American president to look at the world in a different light, probably more accurate, like considering the day
but it takes a while for the bureaucracy and policy to catch up. So Canada was always thinking, you know, we don't have to give anything because we're in the special position. So they on every negotiating point, they took a hard line, if anything, they were looking for more concessions out of this renegotiation, which of course, just cheese Trump off and then all of a sudden team Trump has a deal with Mexico and they just go up and say, Look, we've got to deal with a country that matters we got a deal with the country that has demographic growth that is complimentary to our manufacturing system rather than competitive there, the country the future, you are not, you know our terms, take it or leave it that refocused minds. And it only took a few days then for the Canadians to finally cave they are very, very lucky to Team Trump didn't ask for more, because they would have had to give more. But that leaves us with a more or less than tech North American market. That's already 40% of the American trade portfolio. You throw in a couple of other countries that are undoubtedly going to work out and break the United States as way Korea, Japan, the United Kingdom, your the vast majority of American trade portfolio that that's that's enough.
It's I mean, obviously, from everything you said, it's clear that you think the US has enormous leverage and basically every relationship, right, and so just love to spend a minute or two that the quote unquote trade wars that are ongoing and things like terrorists and get your view on kind of where these things are headed? Are these long term stories are these quick going to be quick to resolve? How should we think about these ideas?
Well, let's see, we got to deal with Korea last year, it's been implemented. Now the new NAFTA deal will be ratified this year, it will go through all the normal pain and agony in Congress. But ultimately, I think it's going to go through without a major problem in this country. And in Mexico, Canada is a separate issue. But we can do with that later, if you'd like Japan, talks are underway, they will be completed this year, because the Japanese don't have a lot of room to go, the Japanese realize that now that the Americans have a deal with Canada and Mexico and Korea, that's four of their five biggest trade partners are already integrating into a new post order system. It's either get on board or don't. And they're getting on board. Britain has nowhere to turn post Brexit, they're going to have a depression. Regardless, this was always going to be a hard crash out. And the United States is the only country that can help push in that. And that's assuming the global order holds Gordon breaks, there's really nothing else. So those deals are easy, those deals will be wrapped up this year, those deals will be ratified probably clearly next year. And that's enough for the United States. Which means that any other trade talk isn't about the money. And so instead of the United States sacrificing economic access, in order to achieve a security bowl, the United States now doesn't have to sacrifice anything, because the other side is the side that actually needs something out of this. And we've seen the beginning of this with Korea, and Japan and with Canada. And it hasn't really sunk in everywhere else, except for maybe China, that this is the new rules of the game. And this is this is not Trump, Trump is just the earliest least sophisticated iteration of what is going to be the new norm in American foreign policy. And for Trump specifically, you will notice that in the deals that have Pen Pen so far, that automotive steel and aluminum terrorists are not included. Those are now hammers that the United States can use in any bilateral negotiation on any topic that it wants. So it's not so much the terrorists are the new normal, it's just the terrorists are the new tool that the US will use whenever it feels like
talking about the US political system. So you've mentioned, I think a lot of what appeals to me about your work is many things are sort of laid in into the picture already and become almost inevitability. And so you mentioned that maybe under Hillary Clinton, a lot of the same stuff would be happening, maybe in very different order, or style or time period, but that the, the seeds were in place for a lot of what we're seeing, regardless of who the leader is. So taking that same sort of view, and looking forward, whether it's the, you know, Trump's second term or or some other president that's going to beat him, what are the important major features of the US political system right now, obviously, it seems I'm not, I actively tried to avoid this topic, but I can't help myself with you. So from the cheap seats, and obviously, it looks like quite the cauldron right now of opposing ideas of shifting basis. So what's your what's your take on the US political system,
I would argue that all of the angst and anger and fire and fury that we're seeing in Washington right now is actually really good sign every generation or to the American political system convinces dissolves, and then reforms. And we are in that process of transition right now. We're just doing it with social media, big events that have happened in the past, post war, we construction, the war of 1812, the Great Depression, all of these trigger to break down in the bipartisan networks and the parties that we know as Democrats and Republicans have not always existed. And they certainly not existed with this alignment of factions. So if you want to go back to the last big upheaval, that was the Great Depression, that was World War Two, back then the Democratic Party was a party of big business, and the Republican Party is the party of African Americans. So exchange start with that start with the understanding that the parties that we know are not permanent, we have had the collapse of the Cold War system, big change, we've had the post Cold War, boom, big change. Now we're having the collapse of the global order. big change, of course, we were going to have another political reorganization, we're going through that right now. It's just that our 24 hour 24 seven news cycle, it makes it a lot louder and more aggravated than it has been in times past. But this is not new. So what we're seeing is a complete disintegration of the old party structures on the left and the right and the factions that make up those parties are casting around looking for issues that might allow them to be the most key. Listen, whatever comes next. So for example, on the Republican side, Donald Trump broadly considers the business community, the national security community and the fiscal conservatives to be his ideological photos. And he has systematically ejected all of them from his administration. And the midterm elections were not notable for how well the democrats in my opinion, but for how badly the fiscal conservatives, national security conservatives, and business conservative state, they were basically ejected wholesale from Congress and Trump's version of Republicans rose up to take their spots. Now, on the Democratic side, the unions are gone, they're not democrats anymore, they are a fully fledged members of the Trump coalition. So Trump is actually fairly advanced in setting up the post Republican Party, whether it's still called Republicans, when this is all said and done, I don't know whether or not it sticks. Who knows whether it up last Trump, who knows, these transitions usually take about a decade, we're not only in year three, there's a lot of room for this to shake out. But what that means for us as a country is we don't even have the political structure that's necessary to have a conversation about the big issues right now, we can scream at each other social media is great for that. But it's not good for a structured discussion about what we actually want. And so we will get people like Cortez talking about the green New Deal. And we get people like Ted Cruz talking about whatever crazy ass idea he's got next. But we're not going to have much constructive to say to one another until we get the framework of whatever these new parties happened to
be. What do you think those most important policy issues are? So let's say that there is this emergence, what are the most pressing issues where, if handled well, would be best for the country.
If you're looking internationally, the breakup of the order and the start of this disorder is a wildly rare opportunity. The United States has the opportunity to figure out what the international agenda is, and what the international structure is. And whatever decisions we make in the next five years will stick for the remainder of the century. Just that just doesn't happen very often, and were utterly incapable of even having the conversation much less coming up with a decision so wasted opportunity domestically, the baby boomers are the biggest retirement this country's ever seen as a percentage of the population that the largest population we've ever had. And the transition of them from taxpayers to tax takers is I don't use the word catastrophic. But it's certainly transformative. how we manage that will determine the tenor of the American economy for the next 30 years. The kicker is, is that while our baby boomers are big group relative to their peers, internationally, they're actually fairly small. And that's because our baby boomers have kids, you know them as the millennials. And while we can talk till we're blue in the face, about how they're always skin, they exist, and they don't,
there's a lot of them, and which means that they are consuming now that's good for the economy. And they'll be investing later. And that's good for the economy. But there are no German Millennials are Italian millennials, or Japanese or Chinese millennials, everybody else basically stopped having kids in 1980. So we are the world's largest financial consumption powered now. And in just a decade or two, we're going to be the world's only consumption and financial power. So how we manage this transition, and we get through this tight spot, the snake swallowing the watermelon, all that that's important. But we're the only country with an opportunity to get through it one piece so we can make evolutionary changes without having to have a complete break can our system that gives us an opportunity if we manage that process, right, to repair a capital structure to get ahead of the debt, do all kinds of things that other countries can't even dream of? I'm curious, your take on us infrastructure. So this is something that I think naturally when you talk about in your books, the Mississippi waterway is maybe the most advantage set of water in the world because you can do things so much cheaper through the various Mississippi waterways. We at one point had an amazing infrastructure system, I think of like Eisenhower and interstate system, what's your view on American and maybe even global infrastructure and and that the role that that plays in the future? Well, let me start by saying that they're relatively decrepit nature, American infrastructure is a real problem. But it's also a massive opportunity building roads, not hard, which means that all you have to do is apply the money. And as soon as you do that economic growth comes from it, both from the construction what happens in the backside. So I don't see this as a problem. I see this as an opportunity. Second waterway structure. So the greater Mississippi is about 13,000 miles of navigable waterway that is more than the combined systems of the rest of the planet. Now, most of the locks on our system that allow it to be navigable are in excess of 60 years old, and a scary proportion of them over a century, replacing all of them wholesale, every little bit would cost only about $200 billion. So in terms of cost benefit, that's cheap. Now, if we're going to do that I recommend that we do first thing we've got to do is appeal or at least heavily Amanda Jones Act of 1920, which basically says that any cargo that a ship between any two ports must be on a vessel that is American owned Captain crude and built. We don't require that for any other transport method we have in this country only for the one that gives us a massive geopolitical advantage, which is stupid. So you change that and the cost of transport internally, the United States plummets. It also takes a lot of trucks off the road, which will like make the rest of the infrastructure system last longer. So it's like there's no downside there unless you happen to be in organized labor. You see, the handful of jobs that remain in American shipping is sacrosanct. But again this is the only transport sector that we do this in its outlived its usefulness. A century ago,
as you look at the world what today are the most interesting new technologies that you're tracking this no technological innovation has been a part a lot of the stories that we jail is one great example. What are the most important, you know, whether its military, agriculture, energy, any anything that you're watching carefully. Now,
I would say that most of it comes down to how the technological revolution, the digital revolution is, have applied to industries that we don't think of very much. So does it improve things like supply chain and manufacturing processes, certainly, and I don't mean to denigrate that, but let me give you two that most people just never think of. Number one is shipping. It's like, you know, until very recently, we were still using paper. So the digitization of customs clearance by itself is enough to reduce overall shipping costs by like, 15%, and in a world where shipping costs are about to skyrocket, that's monumental just fully digitizing the that system of information transfer for goods is great. Even more transformative is what is about to happen with agriculture. So we all worry about things like facial recognition and what that means for privacy. Well, the computers don't care if it's a face computers can do it for plants now. So what we're seeing with the new combines are the ability of a farmer to load up a combine with herbicides, fungicides, pesticides, fertilizer, all at once, run it automated through a field and the cameras on the machinery will take photos of each individual plant and identify whether it's a weed a crop that supposed to be there, and if it isn't it supposed to be there, whether it's healthy, or what it needs, and then it gives it a little jolt of whatever is appropriate herbicide, if it happens to be a weave pesticide, or fertilizer, if it happens to be a plant that maybe needs a little help, which means that with one pass, you can do the equivalent of five passes. But with one 10th the chemical use. So we are on the verge of not only agriculture production increasing by a factor of two or three within the next decade, but of conventional farming turning into conventional gardening. And that means that conventional farming will have a lower pollution rating and a far lower carbon footprint than anything that's happening in the organic world
about this damn town. Yeah, the last kind of series of questions is around just things that you are watching most closely. So sort of like technology. Before we started, I asked like, how do you how do you do your research, right? Like, you got to you're trying to make sense of this global system, you've arrived at, obviously, major levers that drive history and therefore probably likely drive the future as well. Talk a little bit about that research system. Like what what what are the information sources that matter most to you? What's most enduring people that are interested in this stuff? How do you begin to tackle the wealth of information, you mentioned media as one example, I'd love your take there. Because it sounds kind of interesting.
Unfortunately, we've had quite a breakdown of what is useful. So it started at the end of the Cold War, when we started to get into digital revolution. In very early stages. It used to be that every major media outlet and most even regional newspapers, we've maintained foreign offices. And so you'd have Americans living abroad, writing about the things that were happening abroad and sending the stories home, usually by fax, email comes along. Also, you don't need as many people abroad text messages come along. And also, you don't need anybody abroad. You just send them at people abroad when you need them. And they can send back the messages that turning stories well, as this got better and better and more and more efficient. Eventually every media outlet pretty much close to all of the foreign offices and they might have some headline reporter like almond for who goes out and get globe trotting, she pretty much troubles by yourself, there's certainly no supporting infrastructure out there, which meant that the volume and quality of international reporting basically collapsed. And pretty soon, that turned into the quality and reporting of domestic stuff collapsed. And so the proportion of actual news versus opinion shifted. And now we're in an opinion, 24 seven news cycle. That's definitely hit my world because I have gone from being able to tap dozens, if not hundreds, or thousands of sources at any given point to really their only being a half dozen, if you're looking for something that covers international news in a meaningful way. There is nothing left in the United States. with the possible exception of Bloomberg, about five years ago, they decided they wanted to break into the general news space. But then they had an editorial change about two years ago, and they kind of backed away from that are still by far the best in the United States. But they're not what they used to be. But the same thing has happened with john from press and with dw and everybody else. So the only real international coverage that is any good anymore is I'll just euro and you can't rely analogy or if anything's in the Middle East. So it's ironically, you have to go to the Middle East to get news about the rest of the world is not the least trying to Gen Y is okay, so long as it doesn't deal with China or the United States. And if you speak French France one is pretty good. But that's about it. So basically, you have to hunt and peck for local sourcing. Luckily, the digital revolution helps that quite a bit. You can build your own feed based on what you're interested in, but they're just not much any longer.
Any anything else that we've missed? In terms of major topics. I know you're writing another book, we talked about some of the countries that are going to be writing about Japan, Turkey, Argentina, France, anything else major in that book that that you're really honed in on right now,
the whole point of this United Nations that's the title is looking at the preconceived notions we have about which countries or countries that the future and why they're not and then which ones should be. So we take apart Germany and China and Brazil and show why these are not countries that would be taken seriously a decade from now. And instead looking at the countries that are
well, I think this conversation has been truck full of food for thought for investors, right. We didn't talk about capital markets all that much. But I think the the notion that it's possible, you know, in your view, very likely that the future looks quite a bit different than the past for which we have the majority of our data that we based our conclusions off of, is just great food for thought. So I appreciate everything. That closing question that I asked everybody is, for the kindest thing that anyone's ever done for them.
I've been very fortunate. So I don't know if I can narrow it down to just one. But you know, I'm a kid from small town Iowa, who leads an international life. Now, that could not have happened without my parents who are teachers without my high school guidance counselor who got me out of some very sticky situations without some of the college professors that made it all possible without rotary. He gave me my first scholarship to travel internationally without my former colleagues at Stratford, who beat the crap out of every idea I've ever had, and made them stronger. I know it's a little cliche to say it takes a village but it really does take a village to raise this idiot was wonderful. I
actually have to ask one more question which is given the amount of travel that you've done and just the investigation of the places around the world that you've done you mentioned he lived in New Zealand you kind of like this really interesting international life What are some of your favorite places that you've been that you would recommend people spend some time
I hate to push any more tourists in the direction of New Zealand but oh my god everything is preconceived notion you have about New Zealand is wrong. It is so much better than what you're thinking the best months to go are February because most of the tourists have left home and most of the Kiwis have gone back to work or school. So you kind of have to control yourself to a degree
Yeah, it's an unbelievable place. I definitely second that. How about one more
sure, Alberta, Canada it is as different from the rest of Canada as Texas is from the rest of the United States that when I say that in a good way, although I will warn you now only go in the winter if you are a skier, because it's cold. Yeah, but it's a beautiful place beautiful people wonderfully bizarre economy by any modern standards.
Well, thanks so much for for everything again, this has been a fascinating conversation.
Hey everyone. Patrick here again. To find more episodes of invest like the best go to investor Field Guide. com forward slash podcast if you're a book lover. You can also sign up for my book club at investor Field Guide. com forward slash book club after you sign up to receive a full investor curriculum right away.