Sovereign Man's 2010 Look Back And 2011 Predictions

Tyler Durden's picture

Simon Black currently in Santiago, Chile, presents a quick introspective on the key events of 2010, before moving on to a few broad forecasts for 2011. We hope his predictive ability is better than that of one Byron Wien. The key among Simon's predictions is that very soon we may see the same kind of power vacuum that brought about the Thermidorian Reaction in that last major systemic overhaul. Of course, the fact that we still have to experience a an actual storming of the Bastille is a little perturbing. But everything in due course...

From Sovereign Man Simon Black

A look back, and some 2011 predictions

After a wonderful, relaxing weekend here in beautiful Santiago that involved meeting up with a couple of subscribers, I'm buckling down to the business at hand that will include finalizing preparations for our upcoming workshop, as well as exploring initial plans for the community.

To be honest, I'm not much for New Year's; it's just an arbitrary day that has no more or less significance than any other day of the year, but I suppose all the time off over the holidays does give one plenty of time to pause, reflect on the previous year's events, and ponder the upcoming ones.

I spent a lot of time over the last weeks reviewing our conversations from the past year, and I was actually a bit surprised at how much had unfolded. If you recall the analogy of the boiling frog, each of these events represents yet another degree in the march towards 100 centigrade.

Think about it-- in 2010 we saw:

- The TSA 'tip of the spear' enforcing subordination to government authority
- Canada's government authorizing its agents to search homes without a warrant
- Gold hitting all-time nominal highs due to unprecedented monetary inflation
- Governments around the world raising taxes with immediate effect
- Homeland Security began seizing domains without due process
- The beginning of the end of the Eurozone
- World governments engaging in mutually assured destruction currency wars
- FBI raiding the homes of war protestors
- Passage of the HIRE Act in the United States, a precursor to capital controls
- Political heavyweights openly calling for the assassination of Julian Assange
- Switzerland settling with the US government
- Panama caving to pressure and signing a Tax Information Exchange Agreement
- Homeland Security encouraging US citizens to spy on each other at Wal Mart
- North Korea engaging in acts of war against the south

et cetera, et cetera....

When you spend a lot of time around a child, it's difficult to really notice his/her day-to-day growth. It takes an outsider who hasn't seen the kid in 3-years to point out "Look at how big you've grown!"

Similarly, it takes a brief pause to look back over recent events and realize how rapidly things are changing. Seemingly the one constant has been an almost uninterrupted rise in global equity markets.

It's truly amazing how markets have remained unfazed by so much change; this is evidenced not only by rising equities, but also by the lackluster level of the VIX 'fear index', which was recently as low as 15.45 before the holiday trading sessions.

As the ball dropped and the champagne flowed, I started thinking about what might shake markets from their apathy this year... and perhaps more importantly, what further events will unfold in the war on liberty.

A few ideas crossed my mind:

1) Many of the old monarchs and dictators still clinging to power will finally croak, creating massive opportunity and instability.

Just look at how many octogenarians are still in positions of tremendous power and influence, either de facto or de jure:

King Abdullah- Saudi Arabia (86)
Crown Prince Sultan- Saudi Arabia (82)
King Bhumipol- Thailand (83)
Robert Mugabe- Zimbabwe (86)
Fidel Castro- Cuba (84)
Raul Castro- Cuba (79)
Emir Jaber- Kuwait (81)
Pope Benedict XVI (83)
Hosni Mubarak- Egypt (82)
Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah- Malaysia (83)
Manmohan Singh- India (78)
Than Shwe- Burma (77)
Mahmoud Abbas- Palestine (75)

2) Massive property bubble bursts in Thailand.

Because of the relative size of its economy, low prices, significant population, agricultural wealth, and manufacturing base, a lot of western funny money that's been printed has ended up looking for a home in Thailand.

In its efforts to thwart rapid currency appreciation, the Thai central bank has matched its western counterparts in polluting the money supply. It's no wonder that Thailand's stock exchange rang up a 40.6% return in 2010, the 4th best performing index in the world after Peru, Argentina, and Indonesia.

The other place where the money ended up is in the Thai housing market, which is just bursting at the seams with new supply and rising prices fueled by speculators as opposed to demographic fundamentals.
3) Chinese street inflation exceeds real GDP growth

How can you tell when a politician's lying? Watch for his lips moving. This goes doubly in China where inflation and growth statistics in China are massaged vigorously.

The government's efforts to maintain a currency peg have created troubling inflation in the country, and 2011 may be the year when the economic engine runs out of steam.
4) Several major American cities go bankrupt. This has been a long time coming, but it may prove to be the powder keg that sparks the financial mushroom cloud.
5) Julian Assange has an 'accident'. I sincerely hope it won't happen, but I won't be surprised.
6) It becomes illegal to record the police in several US states, Canada, or the UK. You know, we used to be able to rely on the mainstream media to keep governments in check... but these days they're just petty hacks and cheerleaders.

Fortunately, the Internet is a great equalizer, and videos abound of Officer Bubbles and the like which show the absurd lengths that police forces and government agents will go to intimidate and subordinate the masses.

There have already been arrests, charges filed, and lawsuits pending against citizens who have recorded the police and posted it online... and I fear that governments will pass laws which legally prohibit such action.

Look, I could really go on here, there's no end to the insanity we may see in 2011, and the pace at which it could happen. Politicians can literally make these changes overnight, and you won't want your money around when they decide to impose capital controls.

These aren't things to panic about, but merely to prepare for. When you take action that diversifies your sovereign risk, you sleep a lot better knowing that your assets, interests, and livelihood are not all inextricably linked to an empire in decline.


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samsara's picture

Thermidorian Reaction


The mental image was PERFECT Tyler

Cleanclog's picture

Tomorrow I will post my REAL worry for 2011 Black Swan events.  Could trigger a bunch of inflection points.  Just don't have time tonight.  But first won't be for another week anyway.

westboundnup's picture

Will it appear as a separate comment or a reply to this article?

Cleanclog's picture

I'll do both.  Thanks for your interest.  It is upsetting, but I think a real possibility in this year of 2011.  A clue in and of itself.

Cleanclog's picture

My real worry, that I alluded to yesterday, is what Al Qaeda/Bin Laden may be planning in this '11 year.  Something on the 9th of every month?  Something on every day of September 9/11?  Sure hope not.

A little more at

westboundnup's picture

I remember several years ago an administration official boldly proclaiming w/ head held high and chin out that intelligence sources had pinpointed OBL.  It must have been more than 5 years since then.

Aristarchan's picture

Property is without doubt getting heated in Thailand...guess they did not learn their lesson back in the '90's. Luckily, I have a 99 year lease from several years ago that is locked in (legally, anyway). Actually, I do hope the things burst and values go down..less chance of my owner trying to worm his way out of the lease:)

Spitzer's picture

did this clown ever think that Thailand is a creditor nation with trade surpluses ? The exact opposite of 1997

Aristarchan's picture

Different circumstances...but still very heated housing market. I was there in the late nineties as well...and almost everything was a bubble then. Right now there is a lot of speculation in housing.

kato's picture

that guy is a total barf bag contents joke. tell him to fuck off stay away and you have zero cred in addition to zero hedge if you keep publishing that fraud.

Terminus C's picture

What, specifically, is fraudulent about his claims?  While he is making predictions on future events, which may or may not come true, he didn't seem to go over the top to me.

Randomly calling someone out without any specific details as to why you think what you do is called an ad hominem attack and is a logical fallacy.

kato's picture

randomly spewing random possible bullshit mixed with the obvious 'ad hominem is a logical fallacy'. there are those that lap up the bullshit/obvious though and think they are getting a good smell from that barf bag.

Terminus C's picture

so... you have no specifics... no data... just random insults.

you sir, are a troll...

jeff montanye's picture

and, imo, an authoritarian one (the worst kind).

jeff montanye's picture

and, imo, an authoritarian one (the worst kind).

PalmiticGlycerin's picture

5) Julian Assange has an 'accident'. I sincerely hope it won't happen, but I won't be surprised.

Julian Assange has sex with an agent with "bio-weaponized pussy", without a condom.  Death rapidly ensues.

wisefool's picture

I honestly do not understand the claim that law enforcement does not want to be recorded.

Maybe I am just old. But Police dramas are a large chunk of TV line ups. Lots of reality shows and docudramas use actual footage. Almost every police vehicle has multiple cameras and they give that footage to the news stations all the time. A good old fashion police chase takes over every MSM network for hours at a time. And every retired cop within 3 states is called in giving the commentary. Sure, you got your rodney king and "don't touch my junk" and your planned (by both sides G8 type incidents), but thats gotta be 1/10000 cases. Maybe the cops in my area are just a lot more professional than the ones that don't want to be recorded.

samsara's picture

 Almost every police vehicle has multiple cameras and they give that footage to the news stations all the time.

Only if it supports their side.   Those aren't the ones they don't like. 

It's not about the film itself per se,  THEY want to be the editors of the films.


wisefool's picture

Sure. I can see arguments on both sides of the issue. 

goldmiddelfinger's picture

LAPD has had long loved censorship.

wisefool's picture

Right. I acknowledge the Rodney King, Watts, Kent state, and other abuses.

But moving forward, admitting nativity, what are people going risk confrontations with police over? Thats the only upside to this over-capacity we got ourselves into. Even the poorest in america now have flat screen televisions, SUVs, food stamps, and unlike Europe, student loans that are probably going to be forgiven.

I am not trying to be adversarial. Just genuinely trying to figure out what Americans are going to be impassioned enough about to risk confrontation with the police over (that they would need to edit the footage of). 


wisefool's picture

Why would they do that? If the conspiracy theorists are right, TPTB want population control. I would think porn helps wastes seeds and all that would become "worthless eaters"

Aristarchan's picture my view, you kinda answered your own question there.

wisefool's picture

Sure. I got that from a couple of deifferent Matt Gronegs' futurama episodes. The characters immerse themselves in very advanced VR futuristic porn and emerge saying something to the effect of "Now I am completely bored with the concept of sex"

So back on point. what are people going to get in conflicts with the police over? There will always be drug/drink/passion crimes. But honestly, what are the triggers for our current situation? 

Aristarchan's picture

Well....if things degrade slowly, probably nothing for the foreseeable future. Just like your porn reference (or the boiling frog)...we slowly grow accustomed to that which we feel powerless to change. In the short term, I see nothing. In the long term, poverty, police oppression and the usual things. But even that, to me, is a stretch.

wisefool's picture


Thats my thing too. People felt poor because they were not living in a McMansion.  With the housing bubble, pretty much anybody who wanted one, could get one.

As the shadow inventory gets put back on the market, even the people who lost their McMansions and have terrible credit scores will be able to get another one.

Police oppression:

Thats what I am trying to figure out. I am old and want to be as far away from either side of the conflict as possible. Live and Let Die.

Usual Things:

That cartoon posted earlier today. "Never mess with a mans woman, his ego, or his money" If we keep printing we destroy everybodies' money. If we go to PM backed currency we will hurt a lot of peoples egos.

Confused's picture

Google anything related to protests (G8 in Seattle 1999 is a good start). 


If the population wants to assemble, the police will be there to squash it. And I'd bet there would be more than a few people present with video cameras of a sort. Its not the cops so much, but what they are told to do. Thats my guess. 


Remember that cop that kicked the kid off the bike that made its way round youtube? 



wisefool's picture

EDIT: So now you all got me thinking. We created giant moral hazard with this housing bubble and bailout. We are going to have the same thing with the tuition bubble and student loan bailout. But for the most part, only dignified people who lived within their means are victims. Everybody else, from top (Mozillo,Frank) to bottom (liar loaners and house flippers) got everything they could have ever wanted. If they succeeded they are McMillionaires. If they failed, they got bailed out. They got their coke/whores/fancy cars and played master of the universe for a while. (memories)

Now, if we as a society declare that PMs are the new measure of "wealth" are we going to go back to the complaints of inequity and "entrepreneurship" that leads to violence and derision? Essentially starting the whole thing over again? Rattling the cages of sleeping fighting dogs who are exhausted and content with their days activity?

Nobody is going to go to the effort to into somebodies house to steal a 3 year old $400 TV. But if we elevate Gold and Silver to some status beyond its intrinsic/useful value then we will be having an issue of property theft, violence and police intervention.

I think I am channeling Rham Emmanuel here, and it makes me sick.

Aristarchan's picture

That is might want to have that seen to ASAP before you start groping people in showers.

wisefool's picture

Heh. My intended punchline was "Never let a good crisis go to waste"

Meaning, the recent bubble was a big orgy of greed. Lots of people got what they wanted without working for it, or going to jail for it. And most now realize they got away with murder of many decent peoples way of life.

Lets not give them any ostentatious reason to get fired up again.

Aristarchan's picture

I don't think many of the people who were flipping houses, or watching "Flip This House" on TV are going to do much. Yeah, they acted like asses, but they were just taking advantage of what was available (easy money), and leveraging it to make more....just like bankstas always have done, and do today. Hell....Government policy was aiding-and-abetting them! No, the people to worry about are the ones who bought in at cheap rates, with nothing down (encouraged by mortgage swindlers - who in turn were financed by the big financial institutions) and now, have lost their jobs, houses, savings and possibly their doing what the Government wanted them to do. You get a lot of people disenfranchised, and make them really understand what happened to a government, Wall Street, cable TV shysters, banks, mortgage originators, stupid regulators and all the other ilk fucked them....then, maybe they get mean someday.

wisefool's picture

I personally don't think so. The people who got screwed by this are the people with the ethics and dignity to have not participated in the first place. For them to now seek violent retribution over some people who get to live in a McMansion, a corner office in a skyscraper, or seek retribution against the regulator who failed to stop the excess, seems a like stretch of their character.

Those dignified types are only going to revolt over oil/food. And as I am postulating, the bad actors should have so much in their greedy bellies they will not be a threat for several years. Unless our culture insists they eat a tiny wafer of PMs .......


Pullmyfinger's picture

My apologies for striking off on a tangent here, but I'm pretty sure that in a truly free market, it would be impossible to evaluate gold & co. beyond its intrinsic value. Right now, the market is highly controlled, so there are tremendous distortions, given that the dollar has been dropping for a long time without benefit of a fixed point of reference. Precious metals do that, not because their value is completely arbitrary, but because they actually represent an implicit energy standard. This is what actually what "rare" signifies: that it takes a relatively high degree of energy to obtain even small amounts. If I could simply bend over and pick up a given amount of gold at any time, then of course, even though it would still be just as industrially useful and aesthetically pleasing as it is today, it's relative cost would still be very, very low. As the system continues to break down then, at some point nature will reassert itself, the controlled market will collapse of its own weight and the value of precious metals with respect to freely printed and overabundant paper will spontaneously realign to reflect reality. Ultimately, of course, the entire spectrum of economics is simply an exercise in pure physics.

wisefool's picture

prima notrure. And Newton, according to scholars, died trying to turn lead into gold. 

I got some Reardon steel we can weigh in tons (if thats the unit of measurement that Timmy's bankers let him become the head of the IRS.) Until then, I'll save the receipt for my I-pad. (Zerohedge)

AnAnonymous's picture

Just genuinely trying to figure out what Americans are going to be impassioned enough about to risk confrontation with the police over (that they would need to edit the footage of)


It is funny that you claim to want to see the issue from both sides yet laid the responsibility on "Americans" to shoot first?

Could it be the Police might go to be impassioned enough about to risk confrontation with  "Americans" over?

Not so long ago, US founders spotted a habit in people responsible for exerting the King's authority that they labelled abuse of power, abuse of authority. Reading them, it was a bad thing.

So could it be that without provocation police officers might enjoy abusing their power just for feeling they do possess this power and that could be annoying for countries authority structures that condemned previously these kind of behaviour and even destroyed previous systems because they allowed that? 

For notice, in a number of countries in the Western world, police officers can get compensated for minor accidents happening to them.

So a patrol arrest people, without real motives, start to push on them and when the tempers flare up, they are  guilty of resisting the Police. Later, the patrol can sue and receive as reparation money.

For a hierarchy, this can grow annoying, especially if their proclaimed ideology requires to suppress this type of behaviour.

I found so interesting that you laid the possible blame on one side only, while claiming to observe the issue from both sides.

The US public might have little incentive to risk provocation. But the Police, as exercizing power, have a natural one: exercize of power.

And the only way to feel you have power is to exercize it in ways that prove you have power. Hence the propensity to abuse of power.

Very learning that US citizens, with their own history, were led to ignore naturally that side of the issue. It tells so much when people who seized power on the ground they would solve certain issues come to offuscate naturally the said issues.

wisefool's picture

Sure. It was a little myopic of me to phrase the issue that way. So I will try again. You mentioned the exertion of power as a motive in itself. I can agree with that, but there still has to be some type of seed.

Like in the old days where the sheriff of Nottingham prevented peasants from hunting in the kings woods. The ostensible reason was so that when the king, his court and his police wanted to go hunting, the game was ample and they did not have to work very hard for it.

I guess in modern times, it would be the salaries and pensions, collected through taxes. Since we are on a fiat system, and the Bernanke is printing money for everyone, why would the police try to shakedown the peasants for a few more dollars when they can get thousands at a time from the printing press? Basically the same argument I am making about the civilian ne'ordowells. If we go to a gold standard all the the people that used to sell liar loans are going to start making tungsten core coins. Smart ZH'ers would not get fooled by them but 90% of the population would. And potential bad actors in law enforcement would have a reason to shake people down.


BigJim's picture

Being on a gold standard doesn't mean we all start carrying gold coins around. It means our paper money has to be backed by physical metal. And that metal will have been assayed and will be sitting in a vault, within 'the system'. I might also add that selling liar loans is a lot easier than minting tungsten-cored coins. One just involves shuffling paperwork, the other quite advanced metallurgy and milling knowledge.

As for the police not wanting to start trouble - what do you think will happen to their budgets if there is no crime or violence? For further inducement, as a previous poster pointed out, they receive generous compensation if injured.

You seem to forget that the sort of people who are drawn to police work are those who feel they have the right to violently enforce ALL a country's laws. Given the obvious amorality (or even immorality) of many of these laws, this suggests that most police officers are either amoral themselves, or stupid, or thugs.

Re: video recording - yes, modern police vehicles have multiple cameras recording everything. The police are aware of the limitations of this equipment, however, so if they wish to overstep the bounds of their authority, all they need do is block the view of the cameras or move off-screen. The police want to ban citizens recording them because they suddenly no longer know when or where they are being watched.

The police hate being surveilled for the same reason anyone hates it - it limits their actions.

AnAnonymous's picture

Sure. It was a little myopic of me to phrase the issue that way. So I will try again. You mentioned the exertion of power as a motive in itself. I can agree with that, but there still has to be some type of seed.

Like in the old days where the sheriff of Nottingham prevented peasants from hunting in the kings woods. The ostensible reason was so that when the king, his court and his police wanted to go hunting, the game was ample and they did not have to work very hard for it.


huh, no. That is not an abuse of power. The King owned the woods and could keep people out of it. The Sheriff (I think the constable though) applied the law. No abuse of power.

Abuse of power comes when people use their power simply to feel they are powerful. It happens at all levels of power and usually on personal initiative.

It might be that bureaucrat who retains that paper you need (and are entitled to get) but simply not delivers to you because the bureaucrat wants to feel powerful.

The seed is exercize of power itself. There is no other cause to seek.

cranky-old-geezer's picture

I can't think of any legitimate reason police would oppose being videoed. 

The only possible reason is they're violating the law and / or abusing people.

Aristarchan's picture

Sometimes, in following the law, their actions look really bad on TV. I am not sure if that is a reflection of TV, our laws, or both.

MarketTruth's picture

And yes MOST of the time the police are breaking the law and then their buddy-buddy system means they lie about it. Without video evidence, the lying police win. With video evidence the police must explain themselves and are held to the video proof. As such, the video gives a better chance of finding of fact in a court of law versus no video.

Temporalist's picture

The reason is because video is presented in a court against them and agencies are running out of money and can't afford costly lawsuits when they can't now even pay the pensions they promised.

Bitter Bob's picture

Having lived in Thailand for the last 7 years I completely agree about the ridiculous housing market.  Houses in Bangkok are much more expensive than a comparable abode in the USA.  A typical two-story "up-scale" place in Bangkok is about 2,000 square feet.  You get a patch of lawn about 4 feet wide surrounding the place. Construction quality is absolute crap and it will run you upwards of $250K.  By the way, the place comes with NOTHING.  I mean no kitchen, no cabinets, no closets, NOTHING.  You get the floors, doors, walls, and a roof; that's it.

A friend of mine married a local lass.  Her parents are school teachers nearing retirement age.  Actually her father just recently retired.  His pension with mom's salary probably brings in the equivalent of about $5K per month and that is being very generous.  Well they built a huge house out in the sticks for about $125K and got a loan for a new spec place in Bangkok for another $250K.  At most $5K per month coming in and they were given loans worth $375K.  Are you fucking kidding me?

Spitzer's picture

250k ? You couldn't get a burned down crack shack in any big Canadian city for that. $5000 k for Thai teachers ? Your not living in the same Thailand that I know of.  I heard they dont get paid anywhere near that.