Guest Post: So Where In The World Is Safe?

Tyler Durden's picture

From Simon Black of Sovereign Man

So Where In The World Is Safe?

Yesterday’s letter about social upheaval received a lot of comments, and I want to address the major themes today.

First, ‘Simon the White’ wrote: “You imply that it’s not just the USA, but that all Western countries are screwed. Where will the contagion end? You appear to be arguing ‘expatriate at all costs,’ but if things are bad enough that there is rioting in the USA, where on earth will be safe?”

To summarize yesterday’s letter, I view social upheaval as a foregone conclusion– it’s already happening around the world, and is a direct consequence of deteriorating economic conditions. In the developed world, social upheaval is a gigantic pyre desperately seeking a spark.

I recommend having a place outside of your home country as an escape pad, but I recognize that many people either cannot or do not want to leave– at least, not yet. Even those who are aware of the problems are still comfortable at home.

I think this is fine… as long as you HAVE A PLAN.

The funny thing about the boiling frog is that every day, the pot gets a little bit warmer. First they start by fondling 5-year old girls at the airports, then it’s train stations. Train stations become bus stations, bus stations become shopping malls, etc.

This erosion of civil liberty and economic opportunity is a slippery slope, and only YOU know your breaking point. Having a plan ensures that, when you reach your breaking point and/or social upheaval hits, you’ll at least know exactly where to go and what to do when you get there.

This is not a decision you’ll want to make while packing your suitcase.

To Simon the White’s point, where will it be safe if there’s rioting in the streets of the United States? To be perfectly frank, it’s not the rioting that I’m concerned about. It’s the government response to the rioting.

Certain countries (and the US is near the top of the list) will have a Mubarak-style response to social upheaval. When you see wide-scale riots in the streets of Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, you’d better believe that all available police forces will show up in full combat gear to squash the protestors.

Politicians will denounce participants as a ‘fringe minority of criminals’ and laud the police for their courage and professionalism. That’s when the real fun will begin… ‘cuz if you think you’re living in a police state now, just wait until they tighten the screws in response to mass riots. It’ll be an all-out war.

I acknowledge that some countries which are ‘stable’ today will probably experience their own problems in the future. There are four key differences to bear in mind, though-

First, what is the level of dependence that the country (or specific location) has on the outside world? Is it like the tiny nation of Palau that has to import everything, or is it like Chile, which is largely self-sufficient? The more dependent, the more potential for nasty upheaval. The US is OK here.

Second, are there existing tensions within society, particularly among race or class? Countries with an expansive gap between rich and poor are going to be the first to break. With the erosion of the middle class in North America and Western Europe, this is becoming a great concern.

Third, what is the level of violence and criminality in the culture? Is it a society that deals with turmoil in a calm, stoic way (Japan), or do people go postal? In the US, there is certainly historical evidence (Hurricane Katrina, LA riots) which suggests that pockets of the country could become unglued.

Fourth, what is the expected government response? Does the government have a massive military or paramilitary force that will violently crush protestors or impose some state of martial law? Again, this is what I view as the greatest threat in the US.

Bottom line– I’m not suggesting that everyone simply pick up and go, damn the consequences; thinking people need to weigh the options carefully against their own situation and craft a very deliberate action plan, including a clear idea of where to go in case you reach your breaking point.

Chile is one place that I recommend, and I’ll address the ridiculous coverage of the protests there next week. Andorra is another great example.

Next, Hamsterdreams writes, “A lot of us reading your articles are already too poor to have a second home in another country! What can we do?”

Here’s the deal. The traditional recipe for success is pretty much dead. ‘Working your way up the ladder’ just isn’t an option anymore. The best way to improve your cash position is to learn a skill that’s valuable to other people– so valuable, in fact, that they’re willing to pay you for it.

This could be anything, ranging from learning a foreign language to certifying rare coins to growing organic vegetables in people’s backyards. Think about how you see the future and then consider what services will be in demand based on that vision. Learn how to provide those services.

Also, if you don’t have much money, you’ll find that the opportunities to provide valuable services and create wealth are often greater overseas where the economy is growing and the market is not already saturated with competitors.

To give you an example, in July’s Sovereign Man: Confidential I wrote about some great opportunities in Kosovo. I even offered to co-finance them if a highly qualified person demonstrated interest. No one has taken me up on the offer.

Last thing to bear in mind: if you’re low on cash, remember that your living costs can be reduced dramatically overseas. If you’re barely surviving on $2,000 per month, you can live quite well in places like Ecuador on $1,000 per month.

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scatterbrains's picture

I'm thinking about putting on the long DRV long FAS trade, both trading at about 13ish.  I figure next week one goes from 13 to 6 and the other goes from 13 to 50... can someone talk me out of this one?

maxmad's picture

ahhh... "stradling" the tight rope... Normally doesn't end well... But what do I know...

alien-IQ's picture

I think if you want to play it that way, options might be the better way to play it since you can put less money in and have greater upside potential and limited downside.

just my .02

as an example: following yesterdays ZH prediction that the HPQ "good news" release ahead of their earnings was an indication of truly shitty earnings and guidance to come (which was a spot on call by the way) taking a small out of the money put position in HPQ say in the $25 range, would have netted you anywhere from a 3500-5000% gain today. that does not suck.

Just keep an eye out for such opportunities. They are out there. And sometimes, ZH can give you the heads up on it. Like in the case of HPQ.

SuperRay's picture

Derivatives need to be outlawed.  Trading needs to be limited.  All financial planners need to be recycled into plant managers in solar energy plants.  90% of service workers need to be transferred plants that make products (renewable energy products).  All investment banks need to be beheaded, and their heads put on a stick.

   Sock traders are a blight on mankind (speaking as one myself).  Give it up, dude, and become an electrician...

Flakmeister's picture

According to a CNBC poll this morning, 47% of people are voting for their mattress...

maxmad's picture

National Bank of Serta, Bitchez!

maxmad's picture

The Bernank hates that bank!

Chief KnocAHoma's picture

Chief sorry he no be here for long moon. Chief been busy with young sqaw.

Chief say buy land:

And avoid dangerous derivative exposure.

I am The Chief

GubbermintWorker's picture

National Bank of Mother Earth!!

Badabing's picture

Don't worry, Bank of america will help us out!

Lazane's picture

living through chaos described above in the us is a better scenario than the chaos already rearing its ugly head elsewhere, if you leave your location, there is a good chance that you will never return. no place like home.

Sudden Debt's picture

Believe me! If it would ever get hot arround here => PLANE => OUTA HERE!

I've got enough liquid assets to make the move and all Visa's for the family are valid for another 4.5 years.

Next year, I'll already renew them back to 5 years.

I had this in mind already 2 years ago to move out if needed.


mick_richfield's picture

but where would you go, you little green eraser?

if you were smart . . . you would already be there.

PaperBugsBurn's picture

Hey, what happened to this story:


and it's gone from the twitter feed as well?????

cossack55's picture

Lunch time for The Bernank.

Dingleberry Jones's picture

That's the cached version. His point is, why has that story been removed? WTF?

PaperBugsBurn's picture

WTF is going on???  ZH selling out?


but it's not cached and all the other ZH stories are??????????????????????????/


Head Of Citi Global Equity Markets: The Market Wipeout Cometh Share  Share

From: Zero Hedge

9:43am - August 19, 2011

And so another bank steps up calls for a market crash (and push for the logical Fed response which would be, well, you know the story). Market commentary from Citi's head of equity trading who just said that "in absence of any earth shattering news flow we trade to the lows for a proper test of sentiment." Yes, you read that right: US banks are now openly demanding a market crash simply to force the Chairsatan's hand. To: Undisclosed recipientsSubject: [Citi]: EQUITY MARKETS - "SOME COLOUR FROM GLOBAL HEAD OF EQUITY TRADING" => MARKET COMMENTARY - The price action in banks is horrendous again today - the sector feels broken and I am blaming politicians .  I am sure you have seen a number of plausible explanations ahead of options expiry to explain the technical factors and all sorts of stories about funding, which are more sector specific, and of course the need to liquidate bec...

Use of Weapons's picture

It is far more likely to be a server burp:

This thread on Apple was having the same issues, and was providing Access Denied when trying to open it (this was mid-way through reading it).

I suspect there's a code issue at fault.

JW n FL's picture

Citi Bank SUCKS!!!

Great Info Grab!! Thanks!!

JW n FL's picture

Cit Banks Legal does NOT agree with the 1st amendment..

and Tyler.. unlike Citi Bank.. does NOT have an un-limited amount of Tax Dollars to WASTE on bullshit Esquires!

.25% FED Window.. + Bail-Outs.. Plus a Billion Dollar Legal Team..

Equals the 1st amendment is to expensive to protect for those of us that are not on the Lobby Gravey Train!

Bay Area Guy's picture

Unfortunately for the US, I agree with you.  We have free speech so long as someone in authority says we do, then we don't.

edotabin's picture

I would slightly adjust that. We have freedom of speech as long as there isn't a significant audience. It works better this way because the idiots can continue to believe they can speak freely yet never have an impact.

Now that the internet has raised the level of human consciouness astoundingly within the past ten years, all of a sudden it (free speech/internet) is the reason for the revolts and violence etc. Some governments are considering shutting down services like twitter, facebook etc. during times of violence.  CNN did a whole segment on it.

Funny how they all badmouth China for the internet restrictions but when push comes to shove the "WEST" seeks to do exactly the same thing.

doomandbloom's picture

Underground, bitchez...

Hollow Earth.

alien-IQ's picture

A lot of the choice of where to go depends on what ones desired living condition is. If you seek a large metropolitan city, you'll be much more limited in terms of finding a place that is truly a safe haven from the madness.

If you like sparsely populated remote places where you can largely fen for yourself if you so chose to and won't be bothered much, the options multiply rapidly.

It's a lifestyle choice.

DCFusor's picture

You're dead on.  It's a lifestyle choice.  I made it long ago (maybe I hit my breaking point easier?), and moved to very rural southwest Virginia of all places.  It might as well be a different country from the more populous parts of the USA.  We have just about zero crime -- everyone knows everyone, and most of us are proficient with firearms, and that takes care of that.  Being so sparse, we don't have much in the way of government either -- we can go beat up all 5-6 of them if they get out of line.  The state and feds ignore us -- too tiny to bother stealing from, regulating and doing government types of infrastructure for.  We had a neighborhood watch before that term existed, we call it the LOL gossip network (Little Old Lady in this case).  Everyone has security as a priority, as so far out in the sticks, no one will see someone opening up your house with a chainsaw, so we pay attention to who is where and are they a stranger...not in a bad way, just to be aware.

I make my own electricity, all solar PV and backup generator.  I could have been on the grid, but then I'd have to comply with and get building permits -- this way the tax savings on the hom^H^H^H^ barns I've built pays for the system every year all by itself.  I have a lot of acres (about 50 at last count) springs, hills, trees, meadows, grow a bunch of my own food, maintain a herd of deer for hunters to collect and feed me, and run my businesses from here -- almost, but not quite self-sufficient.

I didn't do this because I thought the mad max world was on the way, or anything like.  I just got disgusted with being a defence contractor/intelligence analyst up in DC, had some friends here in this area, and simply pulled the plug on the dog-eat-dog lifestyle in favor of friends and neighbors who like helping each other.  It's so different than what the normal person lives in or through that it's pretty hard to get across.

Thus, I'd say the premise of the article is flawed.  Why wait?  It's a better life now!  We'll never have riots here in Floyd -- not enough people or roads to bring them in quick enough!  We do get our musical instruments and beer together once in awhile....We won't sit still for fondling, and the cops know it and we outnumber them and they know that too, and live here with us.  Why fly someplace when you already live in what's practically an incarnation of the garden of Eden as is?

Sure, it's a PITA to have to drive 50 miles (the first 25 might be real twisty and not all paved) to the nearest decent city to buy certain things we can't get locally.  So, do it once a year, or once a month if you're a bad planner.

I takes awhile to get set up like I am.  Waiting till the last moment is a fools move, maybe like waiting till today to buy gold.  You'd have to make some friends, learn how to live in the country (it's real different and takes different skills) and so on.  But the payoff is NOW.  Sure, instead of making 100k in the '70s in DC, I now make barely that here -- but since the cost of living is 1/10th there,,,,I'm rich!  Hard for a city dweller to understand, in the right places, land is sill 2-4k/acre in large lots.  Building a house can be done for 30k or so if you swing the hammer some yourself.  Food is, well, sometimes you have to pretend not to be home to avoid getting a free pickup truck full of vegetables...I get deer meat free for letting hunters hunt my spread.  Electricity, water, sewage, all free.  Heat is from my woodlot.

I should probably STFU as it's nice now, and if everybody tries to do this, it would ruin it.  I think I can count on human ignorance and inertia to protect me though.  Most people simply lack the balls to pull up stakes and try something really new after all.  It's as if they had something to lose by so doing.  You can count on a lot of denial there usually.

So, I trade and write software all day, party all night, cut wood and garden in between, and play music in the woods to entertain the wildlife.  How's your day by comparison?  Why wait?  Just surviving bad times is one goal sure, but what if effectively you're already surviving times much worse than I experience just because you're where you are now?  Why not start having a good life regardless of what's happening in some big city full of losers?

Rbh110's picture

Great post.  Just what I want to do in Wyoming and leave the People's Socialist Repurblic of Massachusetts.

AugmentedFourth's picture

Great post man! You obviously know what's up!

I grew up in Northern Virginia. I understand EXACTLY why you got out. My folks still live there (begrudgingly & hopefully not much longer) and every time I visit it seems to have grown exponentially more crowded. I left in 2003...never moving back.

I live in Golden, CO now, which is a far cry from the applachians. However, it is one of the few "towns" left this close to Denver; Great community, neighbors-helping-neighbors, etc...

Anyway...code (and design electronics) here too. Trade a little bit with my retirement accounts and do allright. Just curious: How did you end up pulling the consultant in a remote location gig? That's basically where I want to head in the future. But I've got a sweet job for a small company right not into taking the plunge yet.

iDealMeat's picture

+1, You Sir, are Awesome.. Your protected simply because many/most people don't enjoy making things or taking care of themselves.

Shirley Wilfahrt's picture



Dude. The first rule is....

dolly madison's picture

Sounds like heaven.  I live in the stix too, and this is the 2nd place in the stix I've lived, but in both places the govt. was still all over us for permits, so I'm jealous.  We also have too much police here for our population.  We have city, county, highway patrol & a drug task force.  Fema is also snooping around here lately.

I feel pretty safe that I can bug out if I need to though.  There is a large amount of national forest near me that I can disappear into if I need to.

I agree about the good life here in the stix though.  I work a lot growing and preparing food and educating the kids, but it is satisfying to be doing it all here.  Working in front of a computer under flourescent lights all day was killing me.  I need to move.

Common_Cents22's picture

You must also consider culture, if you are a newly arrived American in a foreign culture, you could be an easy target.

andybev01's picture

Or bitterly disappointed when America slides downward to 3rd world conditions and you wonder to yourself WTF; why did I move here?!

cossack55's picture

Iceland, unless you don't like volcanos.

tip e. canoe's picture

...and living in utter darkness for 3 months out of the year...

don't get me wrong, Iceland is mad cool and the elves are fun.   i would highly recommend any person here who has some DI and time off to take a vacation there.   just don't be an asshole and the Icelandic people will share their warmth.

JoeSexPack's picture

In Iceland now for a week.


This weekend is a huge End of Summer festival. Weather was mostly sunny today & about 70F, caught 4 whiting on a half-day boat. Friendly & honest people (left camera on tour bus & it was returned), very pretty girls, 1st World in all aspects, wide georaphic diversity & outdoor recreation options. English is a nearly universally spoken 2nd language.


That said, the weather changes fast, often windy & rainy, with 4 hour days in January. Many items like clothes & other imports can be wildly expensive ($500 for nylon Levi's jacket!). No crime to speak of, and mostly energy independent, but no oil would kill their fishing fleet.


On balance, I could get used to it, but I've never lived thru a dark northern winter. There are worse places.

dwdollar's picture

"Last thing to bear in mind: if you’re low on cash, remember that your living costs can be reduced dramatically overseas. If you’re barely surviving on $2,000 per month, you can live quite well in places like Ecuador on $1,000 per month."

Very misleading... Unless you're exporting back to the motherland, your income will be substantially reduced.

Long-John-Silver's picture

I plan on riding my Silver to the Moon. I should be safe there.

IBelieveInMagic's picture

Have you considered Tora Bora -- I hear they have some nice caves there...

bigkahuna's picture

LOL!!! AND YOU WOULD NEVER BE FOUND---at least not by the US government-HAHAHAHA!!!!


All that aside, I like the Iceland idea.

Monedas's picture

Bed wetting liberals ! Avoid Socialist countries ! Shut up and live quietly amongst solid, conservative people ! Do not trust your future to living amongst people like yourself ! Holcomb, Kansas ? Free natural gas to warm your blood ! Monedas 2011 Liberals will be ridiculed by my wicked (if not funny) humour......IN COLD BLOOD !

alien-IQ's picture

Spare us the Rambo routine. You guys are the first to hop on board and tow the party line when it's time to turn on your neighbors.

Monedas's picture

97% of whiny, control freak complaints to moderators are made by intolerant, wienie libs ! Thanks for seeing me first ! Monedas 2011 Liberal tolerance has a direct positive correlation to their control of the media ! I know liberals like every graceful curve of my penis glans and every little wrinkle of my scrotum !

weinerdog43's picture

Seek help.  Seriously.  Or get back on your meds.  I certainly don't need some cretin on the internet telling me what to do.

alien-IQ's picture

It is impossible to have any sort of rational discussion with anyone who refers to himself in third person. It's a very bad sign.

andybev01's picture

andybev01 would agree with that statement.

Lord Koos's picture

I think I recognize you from Turd's forum! the uncontrollable exclamation points are kind of a dead giveaway!  And spare us the homo routine!!!

Doyle Hargraves's picture

Take my chances on an 1861 moment here in the US and plan to that tune. When the SHTF it is not realistic that the US will remain a contiguous 50 states. It is doubtful the feds would have the resources or the will power to crush a secession again. The only downside is whether the regime will call on foreign troops to do their bidding for them.

BrosMacManus's picture

ooooh, an invsion of the fighting THAT back would be worth getting behind. Puts some perspective on our current kinetic actions.