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Chilean Architects

Some Chilean professionals have a lot of power – too much power in fact. Architects fall into that group.

You might ask, “In what sense does an architect have power?” Well, he has a lot if you hire him to build a home for you or for your construction company. He gets to make calls that affect your business and life, whether you like it or not. And it is almost impossible, or at least very time- and cost-prohibitive to do so.

Architects in Chile are more like applied artists with a tinge of desk jockey mentality. They do very little math—indeed math and engineering are hardly required in their university studies—compared to the calculistas (civil engineers) that Chilean architects hire to do certain jobs at your site. Those specialists usually do a good job, as do most architects. Chile has the most earthquake-proof buildings in the world, after all.

They also manage the proyectistas de especialidades, people that specialize in water, sewer, gas, and electrical hookups. They do end up having to manage their own in-house draftsmen, secretaries and errand runners, along with the many subcontractors they hire out for services at jobsites. They also should keep up on new materials and products.

Americans in Chile will detect a lot more general contractor in the job than architect, and that is about right. Remember, cultures are different, and so are their practices. In the United States, architects are highly-trained civil engineers with an art flair; In Chile, they are art and public administration double majors with a wannabe squirt of physics and math added for good measure.

The reason that Architects are so powerful is that they control the entire building process, including the almighty government approvals. The local municipality will not allow just anyone to submit plans and deal with bureaucratic regulation. Architects must do it. And at times architects can turn into outright extortionists.

In the beginning, meetings with your new architect will be pleasant, cordial, professional and sane. Contracts will be signed and everyone will be happy. But time might erode those good feelings as everyone goes through the ups and downs of the building process, which can often take eighteen to thirty months in Chile.

Just before you finish the project and you are ready for your architect to ask for inspection and the recepción municipal, the final bureaucratic hurdle, the architect can demand more money. If you do not pay him then you will not get your building or home approved and your beautiful new property will remain considered as a vacant lot under Chilean legislation. Of course, his actions will not look like a total shaft or shakedown. He will make up some reason why you still owe him for legitimate expenses, costs or professional fees that were not in the contract or were ambiguous.

Of course, you will be mad about these doleful circumstances, wrought because the Chilean government grants too much power to professionals in general, and architects in particular. You will scour the contract you signed two years ago, and find that you have paid your architect in full—or at least all that you are required to pay at that point. You will find that the architect might have even left some contractually promised services undone, and has no intention of doing them. Hence, you will call a lawyer and have a serious chat with him. The lawyer will review the contract and payments made and tell you that you are probably right and would even win most points in a lawsuit. But he advises you to pay up anyway, just like you would pay off a crooked bureaucrat as a matter of “just being part of the way business is done.”

Why would you succumb to the extortion? Because the architect knows that up to certain amounts, say US$5,000 or US$10,000, it is not worth fighting him in court. The architect will go to court “all day” since he has already received 90% of his pay. He will lose some reputation points by being sued, and you will never hire him again, but so what? That course is the way that the majority of Chileans act, playing what economists term a “one shot game” (like the auto mechanic does that rips off tourists he will never see again when their car breaks down).

You on the other hand, stand to lose your entire investment if you cannot sell it given that, legally, all you have is a vacant lot. It will take years in the courts to win a judgment and might cost just as much as the “bribe.” Plus, you will lose sales revenue and tie up your capital by sticking with your unsaleable property. You can still live in the place you build—even if it is not “received” by the municipality. But you cannot sell it. So, your lawyer advises you to just pay. You call it extortion. The architect calls it good business. The lawyer calls it sad, but logical and efficient given the “rules of the game” set up by the government.

Not all Chilean architects are extortionists (i.e., those that practice chantaje). However, you cannot know for certain from the outset that your architect will be honest and honorable. The best strategy you can take is (1) use a lawyer to draw up the contract with the architect (worth the cost) and (2) set aside US$10,000 (in a savings account) and plan on having to pay it out to the architect–above and beyond the US$15,000 to US$30,000 or more that you will have to pay him. That way, by planning to pay it out some day, losing it will be a lesser shock and not hurt or irritate you as much.

One strategy you can try in order to avoid being extorted is to contractually hold back 25% or 30% of his fee until after he delivers the municipal approval to you. Since doing so will cut his extortionist feet out from under him, he will not likely agree to it. I also recommend that you hire an architect that has money, even if he costs more. If you go with the cheaper professional, there will be nothing to get from him in terms of damages should you end up suing him.

Another possible strategy is to hire two architects and pay the second one to piggyback on the first one, so that he can step in if the first one fails or starts extorting you. However, the cost of the piggyback architect’s services might be as much as the payoff required, so you might gain little other than the pleasure of smashing the extortionist.

Think about it. You are “not in Kansas anymore.” Beware of local practices and how to deal with them.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country.

Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2016 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $149.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Christian Theology of Public Policy: Highlighting the American Experience (2006)

Bible and Government: Public Policy from a Christian Perspective (2003)

A Primer on Modern Themes in Free Market Economics and Policy (2009)

Chilean Realtors

One good (Chilean) friend of mine says they are just lazy.

Nonetheless, I would like to think that Chilean realtors are also incompetent, uncreative, and not very good problem solvers. They have a hard time thinking out of the box, too.

They have no multiple listing service and are reluctant to share commissions with other agents, thus dramatically limiting the supply of homes that each office has to show. This fact also makes it better for sellers to take dozens of nonexclusive contracts out with different realtors so that many people are involved with the sale. Realtors have even told me that giving them an exclusive on a property for sale will not increase the amount of time or money they put into selling my property.

They do not do showings, staging or open houses, or if they do then they are rare. Most of the time they do not drive clients to properties for sale. They will meet clients on site, usually, where the customer signs an agreement to pay their 2% commission.

Whenever I have had to deal with realtors, their services have left something to be desired. They are all smiles to sign up to sell your property or to give you information on other properties for sale. But getting them to do work for you is another issue entirely. I also have found them to be dramatically uninformed about the selling prices of comparable properties, the value added by having quality inputs or features, and their unwillingness to be proactive about finding or attracting prospects.

In reality, my friend is right: they are lazy–even when I offer them 1% or 2% extra commission, they hardly seem motivated. Real estate services in Chile are more than a little bit mysterious and are a lot more than just frustrating.

20161122_174612Most of the time, the best that Realtors will do is simply open the door to the house or apartment for you that you might want to purchase, or put up their sign if they are selling a property for you. I have seen some in Santiago deal with the banks and help with the mortgage and appraisal process, but that is about it.

Really, I am totally underwhelmed by this profession in Chile. In my latest project, I have contracted dozens of realtors over the last year and not a single client or interested party has been brought to the table, while I have had many prospective buyers call or show up to visit the property just because I put up a couple of large signs visible from the street and several internet ads–the one in English being especially effective relative to the others.

20161007_173113In other words, I obviously have an attractive property that many call about and most visit. However, Realtors are unable to break into this market. Few buyers balk at or complain about the price, Realtors complain about the price sometimes because they want to sell fast.

It seems to me that Realtors are part of the social upper class that could never graduate from college and know little about sales and marketing. They do the job, like selling medical insurance, because it is a decent and respectable position for upper class folks that have few other job skills.

If I had to say which professional group in Chile is the most impressive it would have to be physicians in Santiago. The least impressive would have to be Realtors. Lawyers, architects and physical therapists fall in the lower middle of that range, with regional physicians, engineers, dentists and accountants in the upper middle. The bottom line is that when dealing with real estate agents, be prepared for frustration and underperformance, and be prepared to supplement their efforts with your own.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country.

Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2016 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $149.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Q & A on the Election Results and Expectations with Dr. John Cobin

As the elections grew near, many considered Hillary’s coronation to basically be a formality. When they woke up to find that Trump was the new President elect, there was a sense of shock for many – some for the shock of it just being an upset, for others a shock of disappointment and yet for others one of victory. Some among the first group have even allowed themselves a sense of hope, like maybe it’ll finally get a little better. Maybe a sense of reason is still possible from Washington. If you look back over Dr. John Cobin’s blog entries and other writings fo the last several months, you will see that he predicted a Trump win–just like Doug Casey and Michael Moore did. All of them were surely in the minority but there could be no doubt in Dr. Cobin’s mind when he saw Trump’s strategy to reach and excite the masses. Hillary simply could not compete. Trump had tens of thousands of people show up at his rallies, and none of the figures were trumped-up.


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A few of these folks entered into a discussion regarding whether or not it was necessary for those seeking freedom to leave the US. When that suggestion was presented to Dr. Cobin, he responded:

Cobin
Still better pack your bags. Don’t let it lull you to sleep.
The elites will not let a rogue US president go along without reprisals. The powers to be have to have some say in what he does. I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump is assassinated in the next 90 days (and then we will know just who controls Pence) or we will find out that there was actually an upstart group of elites vying for power that got to Trump, helped put him in office, and now back him. The Rothschilds and Rockefellers also have family feuds.

Don’t you think that the US may have just headed off WWIII?

Cobin
Your chance of war and attacks in your backyard just skyrocketed.
The police state with deportations and a walled border will start to encroach on everyone up there. It will make your escape harder.


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Speaking of war, it might be a really good diversion right now, as would be a false flag, to divert the attention of the malcontents. A lot of them are young, so they could conceivably be sent overseas in military garb under a new draft to combat terrorism. Nothing better for reducing unemployment than killing off a lot of potential labor. Doing so leaves a lot more jobs for the rest. Then people that remain can be employed making bombs and other armaments. Like good mercantilists, Trumpians can capture and sell natural resources of the conquered nations, too. Sounds like a winning strategy for Trump.

The media coverage was so incredibly biased towards Hillary winning it was hard to watch the results. They are just beside themselves with horror. You have to admit, it is great seeing those media shills twist in the wind.

Cobin
Sure, it was fun watching the Left wither as you said and maybe some of them will be eliminated, too. A small gesture for rightists to “enjoy.” I bet he will even prosecute Hillary, even though for the moment he has backed away from that threat he boldly made publicly. But what he will do now is potentially very scary. It reminds me of the populism and euphoria for Hitler and Mussolini in the mid-1930s. I wrote about thos paralles in a blog entry not too long ago, remember?


Trump and America’s Fascination with Fascism


Okay, so we know you aren’t too hopeful about Trump. You have to see some positives to his victory though.

Cobin
Hopefully, there will be REAL benefits for the unborn now. Excuse me if I still have my doubts. Ditto for gun owners. I think he now “owes” Evangelicals, too, and thus will grant them temporary peace, and perhaps eliminate the gender-neutral bathrooms. So, all of that is a benefit, certainly better than Clinton would have done. Maybe he will listen to pro-life advisors for his Supreme Court picks? Maybe, but don’t hold your breath. I am more encouraged that he seems to want to back out of the climate change farse in the Paris agreement (that just took effect). He could save billions by withdrawing the Americans from that idiocy. Manmade climate change is a joke. He will use this money and other funds to give people jobs. That is his Keynesian side. Trump is a populist that will create employment (Keynesian) by building bridges, dams, airports, hospitals and naval/air vessels. Just be ready for the consequences of him having an even mightier military.

Do you see this affecting Chile at all? Will Chileans get trumped, too?

Cobin
Chile will benefit since Trump says he will install public works projects that will put Americans to work: building infrastructure that requires copper and other things Chile sells. It is a good time to invest and live in Chile. Chile is not on anyone’s war map. There is nothing to conquer. Chile only wants to trade. Chileans like Americans,and viceversa. They have every reason to be optimistic.


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Also, Chileans are even surer to follow suit in their 2017 election. They will elect a new president and congress (since they are mostly lemmings, and follow the USA to the “Right,” this time to the benefit of liberty). However, the world just became an even more dangerous place for you. But it became a much better place for Chile. Of course, the doltish Chilean Right believes that the true Right in the USA has won. They are ignorant. So are Americans–as we saw yesterday. The 306 electoral college near-landslide is impressive, as Doug Casey called at the beginning of November 2016 (along with Yours Truly).

People called me to congratulate me on my prediction. My WhatsApp note to Chilean friends on the morning after the election was as follows: ¿Cuántas veces he dicho que Trump iba a ganar? Es increíble. Es malo para el mundo en términos de inmigrantes y amenaza de guerra, aunque es un poquito mejor que el diablo Hillary. El Estado siempre ha sido nuestro enemigo. Cristianos tienen que entender esto. Todos allá subestimaron cuán astuto es Trump, y cuán tonto es el votante mediano americano. Los ganadores en EEU son los niños por nacer y los dueños de armas. Por lo menos, el En Chile, no nos va seguir a los EEUU y elegir alguien de la derecha en 2017. No va a afectar mal al comercio con Chile. Al revés: van a construir de nuevo la infraestructura en los EEUU y comparar aún más cobre. Un beneficio para nosotros.

Chile’s economy depends on exporting natural resources. It is about to do very well. Copper, iron, silver and gold will rise sharply now. Like Switzerland in WW2, Chile and other countries with similar economic profiles will have an economic boom. In Chile, we will not be able to produce fast enough to keep up with demand for all the Trumped-up projects. We are going to oust the Left next election here and make foreign investment even more favorable. (Hint: the time to invest in Chile is NOW before prices rise and other run to supply coming demand for raw materials and food). So, expect more capital to flow in to Chile, and for us to become wealthier, maybe even closing in on Nickel-producer New Caledonia in terms of GDP per capita by 2030.


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On top of that, how valuable will passports and real estate be for safe places to live in the world, like Chile? Manhattan lost some real estate value last night, and so long as violence abounds, the Location-Location-Location doctrine works against you. At some point, Santiago looks pretty attractive to head business operations compared to bigger, Northern Hemisphere cities plagued by a nasty mixture of populism, welfarism, violence, mercantilism and Keynesianism. Still, in the first decade, those “Berlins” are really pretty booming places. Just ask any German in 1936, leading the way out of the Great Depression while the rest of the world marveled. Lots of employment, too, by wiping out labor competition (6 million Jews?), largely by sending folks off to die in the next war.

Too bad for New Zealand that social leftism has cut its feet out from under it and it will not have available its best things to export due to its radical environmentalist policies. Gains will be relatively small from wools and Kiwi juice exports. But Australia, New Caledonia, Brunei and Indonesia should do well, and maybe even India, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, Kenya, Peru and Colombia. Also, basket-case countries with natural resources like Ecuador and Argentina will too, lifting them out of their natural path to demise with a great injection of foreign capital. It is easy to forgive and forget the sins of the Left when the money starts rolling in.


Of the Lesser of Two Evils, Choose Neither


It’s been interesting to see the protests. The hypocrisy is most astonishing, except when one considers the cognitive dissonance it takes to be a leftist.

Cobin
Looks like life for y’all just got a whole lot more dangerous, if Fox News is to be believed ([article here](http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/11/10/thousands-take-to-streets-in-major-cities-to-protest-trump-election.html)). Good thing for now that these guys do not know how to aim and squeeze a trigger. You might be caught in the crossfire in a town near you! Keep checking the data on guns and ammo sales, and if more people are taking classes to learn to shoot well.
Another interesting effect will be how many democrats become strong Second Amendment supporters all of the sudden. Do they really want to live in a country governed by what seems to be a populist fascist sort (much like Mussolini or Hitler wanting to make “fatherland” in Germany or Italy “great again” in the 1930s, successfully pulling them out of the Great Depression, with a pitch to the xenophobic common men in those countries), where the government has weaponry and the citizens do not?
The Second Amendment was put there to give citizens a check against the state, not to protect hunting. So, what will they do now? Will they change their point of view and arm themselves to the teeth as they should. Trouble is, I do not think most Democrats know the first thing about guns.
I will have to add that I am glad I will not be around for the street violence or even a civil war to come. Perfect time for building momentum and numbers, then the fascist fist to crash down on these rebels around February. I feel sad for my kids up there.


Looking to Leave America? You Should be More Scared than You Are


You’re an economist. Trump is outlining plans to bolster the US economy. Some of this seems pretty legit. Are you seeing the potential for some good economic changes now?

Cobin
You are about to see economic disaster build from protectionism, make-work programs, indirect debt repudiation and the next Federal Reserve fiasco to finance what is needed (no details yet on that part). On top of that, you now have violence and enough hatred that could lead to a civil war. The losers were already angry, and already willing to expend violence on cops, who were willing to return the favor or even start it themselves. Now there is rage and hatred in the face of rising police brutality. Not a pretty picture.

Note that with all protectionism coupled with Keynesianism and Mercantilism, so long as money rolls in, the economy will do well in the short run. But things will be troublesome after a few years. Then war will be needed to prop-up the economy.


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Look at all the jobs people will have available in the USA shortly (if Trump keeps his trumped-up promises): building a 2,000 mile 40-foot-high wall (at Mexico’s expense?); renovating airports, bridges, roads; building larger VA hospitals and centers; building military hardware; attacking people “over there” to reduce the stock of older hardware and make room to fill up the space with new stuff (lots of jobs in logistics and warehousing). Raw materials suppliers and trucking companies are about to have a field day. I wonder if Trump could “waste” (nuke?) a middle-eastern region and then get Europe to go rebuild and pay for it as a requirement for the USA to stay in NATO, hiring a few more American companies to help. More jobs! Higher wages! Marriage of Keynesianism and fascism. Good mix, much better than gay marriage, which only produces sin and no offspring.

Thanks for your perspective and insights. Any final words of advice?

Cobin
At least read a little bit more about the rise of fascism in Europe, please. And be careful whom you look upon to be your savior. The smart money and people got out of Berlin in the late 30s. While it is a nice place to live today, it was a different story under firebombing and later on when Stalin showed up.

P.S. No violent riots in Viña del Mar today, but I will keep you posted of any news.

Until next time,

The Right´s Landslide Victory in Chile’s 2016 Mayoral Elections

The Chilean Right (which includes libertarians), absolutely dominated the Left in the Chilean mayoral elections on October 23, 2016. This was very good news for expatriates living in Chile, or those in beleaguered Northern Hemisphere countries wanting to come to Chile, as well as for investors looking to start businesses and projects in Chile. Just as the 2012 Left-dominated mayoral elections predicted the outcome of the 2013 general elections for President and Congress, so the 2016 election would suggest that Chileans will swing back to the Right in 2017. There is an interactive electoral map of Chile by comuna so that one can see the distribution of parties. A list of results can be found here.

Source – emol

The Right won many larger population centers and independents, which tend to be Right-leaning, took many others. In effect, the Left was slaughtered and its representatives largely banished to many little towns.

The main population centers that were gained or retained by the Left  were Puerto Mont, Los Ángeles, Curicó, Quilpué and Coyhaique, along with many of its usual dens in metropolitan Santiago: Pudahuel, Cerro Navia, Independencia, Recoleta, San Ramón, San Joaquín, El Bosque, El Monte, Cerrillos and Talagante. The center-left (Christian Democrats) took Huecheraba, Quinta Normal, Renca, Lo Espejo, La Granja, La Cisterna, Peñalolén, La Pintana, Lo Prado, Peñaflor, Isla de Maipo and Calera del Tango.

The Right got back central Santiago and Providencia (former presidential candidate Evelyn Matthei won there). It also took Estación Central, Ñuñoa (with a right wing independent), La Reina, La Florida, San Bernardo, Padre Hurtado, Puente Alto, Maipú (with a right wing independent), Lampa, Melipilla, Paine, San José de Maipo and Buin. There was no doubt about the Right’s habitual lopsided wins in upscale comunas of Las Condes, Vitacura, and Lo Barnechea whose races, like usual, were not even close.

In the 5th Region, the Right got Viña del Mar and farming towns La Calera, La Cruz, Los Andes and Olmué. Its big wins in larger population centers elsewhere included Rancagua (with a right wing independent), Calama, Talcahuano, Talca, Linares, Valdivia, Castro, Punta Arenas and Temuco. It also took many smaller to moderately-sized cities like Frutillar, Río Bueno, La Unión, Fresia, Pucón, Villarrica, Puerto Octay, Futrono, Lago Ranco, Lanco, Loncoche, Gorbea, Puerto Natales, Chaitén, Arauco, Angol, Puerto Aysén and Chonchi.

Valparaíso and Concón fell to independents and, in metropolitan Santiago, so did Maipú, Quilicura, Conchalí, Pedro-Aguirre-Cerda and Macul. Elsewhere, independents scooped up Antofagasta, Iquique, Copiapó, Ovalle, Curacaví, Chañaral, Graneros, Santa Cruz, Ancud and Puerto Varas. Even where the Right did not win, in many cases either a moderate Left or independent did so. Hence, clearly, Chileans have shifted to the Right.

pueblos_indigenas1

Arica elected the Liberal Party candidate, which is like left-leaning libertarian in the United States in many respects, or one might say that it is the “best” of the Left. Northern Chile is largely leftist, so the swing toward the Liberal Party and to so many independents, plus Calama’s fall to the Right, indicated the rightward swing in general.

The hard left had a hard time getting elected anywhere, except Recoleta and Vallenar, even in the north where lots of independents and centrists won. Plus, it got smaller areas like Tierra Amarilla, Taltal, Diego de Almagro, Colchane, Nogales, Bulnes and San Fabián. La Serena still went Left though, like usual. Chilean news services said that the Left and socialists suffered a derrota (crushing defeat). President Bachelet and former President Lagos blamed it on abstention. There was only 34% voter turnout. There was 42% in 2012. Bachelet assured the country a few days later that the election did not reflect the country turning to the Right. She must be living in fantasyland!

The upshot of all of this is that Chile is becoming more desirable once again for libertarians. The country has really suffered at the hands of the Left for the last few years, and even the common man can see it. Left politicians have very low approval ratings. While the Chilean Right is hardly an exact fit for libertarians, just like the Republican Party in the United States is not for Ron Paul, but it is by far more conducive to libertarian views than the Left is.

Lesser Evil

In the United States, people are about the be Trumped or Hillaried. Either choice is really bad and should underscore the coming downfall and your sign to get out of Dodge as soon as possible. However, the recent Chilean elections should give one hope in an increasingly interventionists, statist, warring world: there is at least one place to flee to.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country.

Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2016 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $149.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Christian Theology of Public Policy: Highlighting the American Experience (2006)

Bible and Government: Public Policy from a Christian Perspective (2003)

A Primer on Modern Themes in Free Market Economics and Policy (2009)

Chile Never Has Hurricanes

Chile is famous for a lot of things. For instance, many Chileans are artful liars, cheaters and thieves. Recent reports show that a full 26% of them evade paying the fare on city buses in Santiago. No one in Chile is surprised by that fact, unless they think that the figure is too low.

Chileans are also artistic, entertaining and playfuleven clownish. At intersections in Santiago and Viña del Mar drivers will frequently see juggling, ventriloquist and gymnastic performances from young people trying to earn some coins as tips.

Chileans like to joke around, too, and they are inherently conservative socially—other than their propensity to engage in fornication and adultery. Accordingly, they were sanctioned recently by world soccer authority FIFA for the anti-homosexual chants of fans in Santiago stadium during soccer matches, and Chile was hence declared to be the most “homophobic” country in the world.

Those are a few tidbits of information that speak volumes about Chilean life and reality.

Nevertheless, hurricanes are not part of Chilean reality (or almost anywhere else in South America). While they are an annual preoccupation and presently occupy the attention of many millions of people in America (e.g., Hurricane Matthew’s assault), just as typhoons occupy the minds of people in the Far East and around the Indian Ocean, those living in Chile never give hurricanes a second thought. They are as foreign to Chile as squirrels, rattlesnakes, water moccasins, crocodiles, water mocasins, coral snakes, bald eagles, alligators, bears, tigers, skunks, elk, buffalo, moose, larger deer and armadillos, and just about as hard to conceive of as a “white Christmas.” Chileans only know about these animals and hurricanes because they have read or heard that such critters live or happen in other parts of the world, far away from Chile.

historical-hurricanes-1851-2016

world-hurricane-tracks-1851-2007

Note that in the world maps above tracking the history of hurricanes, they do not occur in Chile or the rest of South America—at least south of the Caribbean coast of Colombia and Venezuela. Chile is thus akin to the west coast of Africa, the western United States and Canada, most of Europe, Africa and Asia. Therefore, while Chile has its share of pitfalls and problems, one need never worry about being impacted by a hurricane while living here.

Given the current worries in the United States, it seemed fitting to broach the subject for people that did not know. Moreover, Americans would do well to remember that as bad as hurricane impacts are or will be, they pale by comparison to the damage inflicted by the United States government, as the present political circus has exemplified.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country.

Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2016 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $149.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Christian Theology of Public Policy: Highlighting the American Experience (2006)

Bible and Government: Public Policy from a Christian Perspective (2003)

A Primer on Modern Themes in Free Market Economics and Policy (2009)

Why Should You Live in a Very Flawed Country?

Chile is dominated by about twenty families. Some have connections to the Rothschilds in Europe and others to the Rockefellers. Most have no apparent affiliation.

Still, there is no mystery about Chile’s “feudalism” or corporatism. There is no false belief that there is a land of equal opportunity or that there is no classism or that there is less corruption among politicians and bureaucrats than in other places.

Viña del Mar 2The difference between Chile and other Latin American countries is that there are more powerful elites at the top in other countries (for instance, I have heard that Mexico has only seven ruling families–but seven times the population). Plus, the Chilean elite has permitted a very large and growing middle class in Chile. In that sense there is less classism, and from what I can tell there is less corruption than most countries of the world. Indeed, Chile falls in the top twenty-five least-corrupt countries of the world, according to the Corruption Perceptions Index.

Moreover, the lower classes are “cared for” by their rulers such that all live fairly well, with adequate food, shelter, shoes, 90%+ literacy; plus, upward mobility is allowed and sometimes encouraged. Food supply is of much higher quality, as is the energy supply. And pristine natural beauty is abundant and encouraged.

Chile’s situation is similar to other vassal states like Switzerland and so many European enclaves like Luxembourg, Andorra, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Monaco—not to mention Hong Kong and Singapore. Generally speaking, the elite like to do business in places they dominate and crush others “below them” but choose to live in countries where there are large nicer sections and a large middle class. They all appear as wealthy countries, which are marvelous to visit and see their opulence, fine shopping, wonderful landscapes and so forth.

Most people considering emigration err by jumping to the conclusion that that since there are so few families ruling Chile then it is no better than the USA. Nevertheless, on the contrary, they fail to see the special role that the USA plays on the world scene for the Soros, Gates, Rockefeller, Rothschild, et al, networks. The war machine is a crucial piece of the overall strategy. The Fed and the (still) dominant fiat currency is another. The testing ground for any “ism”, any new theory that affects the population and needs guinea pigs, GMOs, imprisonment testing, psychological manipulation, family manipulation, police, DEA or ATF brutality, and much more, are yet other items on the agenda that make the corporatism, “feudalism” and “manorialism” in the USA far more egregious than in places like Chile.

The level of involvement that Chile and many other countries (including the smaller ones mentioned earlier) is a degree of magnitude less, if it exists at all, than what is going on in the USA. You must certainly know this fact.There are Terrorists

So why do folks keep on making lame excuses or quips to justify stupid, self-destructive behavior? Do you really believe that you are “freer” than other people, especially those that live in places like Chile? Just think about taxes, regulation, political correctness and danger you face compared to other places!

I live in Viña del Mar, overlooking the sea, pine groves and upper class structures. I do not awake each day worried that I might be mugged, murdered, or that the state will take 45% of what I earn by income, sales, property, capital gains, inflation or traffic taxes – or that the state will poison me, draft me (or my kids), shoot me by “accident” or destroy my family (family court, DSS).

In the USA I did have such worries and if you do not, then you are simply living in denial. I have not heard of any improvements since I left there in 2008. Am I mistaken?

“Oh,” you say, “but I live in Europe, Canada or Australia.” So what? Are you seriously going to say that those places are better than the USA with respect to the evil inflicted on its residents by the state?

I will also add that as bad as the current Chilean President Bachelet is, her approval rating is down to 15% and her left-wing coalition is on the ropes. We look forward to a swing to the Right in a year. On the other hand, you look forward to statist Trump most likely, otherwise sinister Hillary–elitist, power-brokering scoundrels that are hardly worse than the assorted character lineup in Europe or Australia. Do not kid yourself that you are pleased with politics in your country or do not think it matters much. It does.

In the final analysis, the question of migration never depends on whether the place you are considering going to is flawless, but rather: “Is it better, or less-flawed, than the place where you currently reside?” Those that reason otherwise are simply looking for excuses not to have to make hard personal choices, perhaps based on emotional and illogical decisions. They prefer to live in denial or an unwarranted optimism about the future of the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia and even South Africa.

Can you honestly say that I am mistaken? If not, they why are you still living where you do? Or at least why do you still not have “Plan B” residence somewhere else, like Chile? Wake up and smell the coffee! While you are at it, get a copy of my new book Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers and read it. At least by informing yourself about the Chile option will be a step in the right direction.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country.

Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2016 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $149.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Christian Theology of Public Policy: Highlighting the American Experience (2006)

Bible and Government: Public Policy from a Christian Perspective (2003)

A Primer on Modern Themes in Free Market Economics and Policy (2009)

Looking to Leave America? You Should Be More Scared than You Are!

I was reflecting recently on some differences between Chile and the United States. This is an election year in the Land of the Free, and the candidates are so unpopular that the Libertarian Party is even getting considerable support. I should be overjoyed but, alas, even as a libertarian, I cannot get behind the libertarian ticket since Gary Johnson is in favor of abortion–a common American malady. There is no more egregious tyranny than killing innocent human beings on account of their underdevelopment, their inconvenience or because human reproduction requires the use of a womb. Yet, this sort of hypocrisy among American libertarians is widespread. At least one-half of American libertarians are willing to kill an unborn human being if the womb-provider objects to his existence.

This sort of irony traces back to great American libertarians like Thomas Jefferson, who enslaved people and even engendered children by some of his slaves. Then there were even greater American tyrants, albeit non-libertarians of course, like Abraham Lincoln, who feigned an anti-slavery posture to promote his own power at the expense of over 660,000 lives.

Chile’s libertarian element is not so calloused or brutal. Indeed, I find most of them to be far more consistent libertarians than their American counterparts.

Nevertheless, Chileans are also great hypocrites. Abortion is illegal in nearly all cases here and yet abortion still occurs. They say one thing and do another in this respect, so long as their unblemished image can be upheld. Chileans are so preoccupied about their public image that they go to great lengths to dress up in public, so as not to appear, for instance, as a day-laborer or maid en route. Plus, they try to get a home (even if poorly-built) in one of the best sections of town. Then they can boast of living among the upper classes. They buy image and status through acquiring a respectable address.

If you examine the construction quality of upper class apartments, you will usually find that the front door and foyer are lavish, well-built items; the landscaping and manicured lawn outside are often subpurb, too. However, true to Chilean hypocritical imagery, the quality of windows, doors, flooring, kitchen and bathrooms (among other things) inside each apartment is mediocre.

Socially speaking, most Chileans are not virtuous. The great majority secretly applaud lying, cheating and even stealing at times, often making jokes about how artful and adroit Chilean thieves are. Everyone laughs at those jokes since they know the substance to be true. Surely, the upper classes do not like being robbed, but loss by theft is sort of taken for granted in Chilean society.

Chilean “justice” is a joke for the most part, as I have commented on previously. People have to fend for themselves if they want justice and protection. Maybe laughing at the degraded level of their fellow Chileans is a way of coping with the reality of living in a dishonest society. It is a sad state of affairs.

Yet, people here get offended when I or others point out the foibles of Chilean culture. They do not want to hang out their dirty laundry for the world to see, and especially immigrants like me should never violate this sanctum of Chilean culture. They want the world to see Chile at its best as the most prosperous nation in Latin America and sophisticated enough to rescue its 33 trapped miners in 2010. For this reason, they all come together to support their soccer team when it wins international championships. They love to bask in favorable international limelight. Hence, there is an odd unity and solidarity here in terms of sports even if people do not trust each other.

The difference, then, between cultures up yonder and Chilean culture is that Chileans are desconfiados. While most Americans truly believe what others say or that the “system” works, Chileans do not. Ironically, one reason that Chile does not have an institutionalized welfare state like the United States, Canada, Australia or Europe is precisely because Chileans do not trust others; they know that their fellow countrymen will game the system. Thus, Chilean welfare benefits are not as widespread or lavish.

In Chile, no one is surprised when a politician gets his hand stuck in the cookie jar or is found to be corrupt. Such behavior is expected. On the one hand, in the “Land of the Free,” people still tend to be shocked or at least believe that such problems are confined to an elite political class of Clintons or Bushes. Some believe that a man like Trump will really be different since he is an “outsider.” When he turns out to be just as bad or worse, then these true believers will be temporarily disheartened. However, memories are short and in just four more years they will be ripe pickings for the next demagogue that comes along.

On the other hand, Chileans do not see things the way Americans do. They know that most candidates are running more for their personal gain than to serve the public interest or principles. They are used to people trying to beguile them and thus are not as easily beguiled.

Nevertheless, when it comes to successful policies of the Right, Chileans tend to be frequently tricked. In a recent interview on public television with José Piñera, the founder of the private Chilean pension system (AFP), that is now used in thirty countries, the leftist commentator and interviewer tried to paint the AFP system as a bad thing. He showed anecdotal evidence where a few pensioners interviewed claimed that they were only earning pensions of 200,000 pesos (US$300) per month. No one inquired if they had paid in to their plan for all years or if there were large gaps in payments (lagunas). Private social security only works if one saves. Like José Piñera said, the system may be a fabulous Mercedes Benz but if you do not put fuel into the tank then it will not serve you well. Moreover, one pension provider released data showing that the average pension for many thousands of men that had contributed for over 30 years is 650,000 pesos (US$1,000) per month, which is 6% more than the targeted 70% of replacement income sought by the system. Thus, the system is working, even with imperfections, but the Left will simply lie and discount this fact, which can be very frustrating for rightists and libertarians once the crafty leftists convince disgruntled voters. The Left is a constant problem. Even the best parts of Chilean economic life are being rattled, just like the Left continues to rattle countries in the Northern Hemisphere.

But let us be candid: while Chile has its problems, America has much greater problems (and so does Europe). Moreover, America does not have benefits like AFP that Chile established. It still is beleaguered by socialism. Whether Trump or Hillary wins, Americans will still pay far more taxes than Chileans do (perhaps four times more); their government will still kill innocent people at home or abroad (directly or indirectly); they will still have a raging, violent society, with brutal cops; they will still be affected by an ignorant populace, dumbed-down by the public school and media addictions; they will still face the hardships of political correctness and the undue burdens of over-regulation or property confiscations (either Kelo-style or by customs agents); they will face horrific danger from family court scoundrels and child services division thugs; they will still face a declining standard of living and egregious manipulations of the currency by the central bank; they will suffer from the fallout of pressure groups seeking privileges: homosexual activists, radical feminists, anti-religious people, radical ecologists and welfare cadets; they will have to face increasing socialism, Obamacare and welfare Ponzi schemes like Social Security.

Therefore, for all the negative things that one can says about Chile, America is far worse. All of the bad things just listed are prevalent and growing in America but have yet to take a foothold in Chile. I am not saying that Chile will never have such maladies, but for now we have mercifully fewer of them. Indeed, if you are living in America, you should be more scared than ever before! Chileans have little to fear from the civil authority, as bad as things might be here. But in America (and Europe) one faces a real and growing threat. Denying this fact will not make it go away.

Lesser Evil

Are you sick and tired of putting up with it in America or Europe? Why not consider Chile as a freer, saner alternative? It is not a perfect place, but you can more easily cope with social evils here than those common throughout most of the Northern Hemisphere. You can live in relative peace, and have a beautiful ocean view in Viña del Mar like I do, at a reasonable price.

The first step you should take is to buy the book Life in Chile (ordering instructions below) and read it in its entirety. Next step is to become a member of EscapeAmericaNow.info and participate in the monthly webinar. These two things will get you well-informed. Decide if you simply want to “get out of Dodge” or just establish a Plan B residence in Chile, “just in case.” Then make your reservations to come down and acquire the original, certified documents you will need to obtain a visa.

Do not neglect to move a substantial portion of your assets offshore. Without money, you will not be able to do anything. By delaying, you only hurt yourself and damage your own chances of survival.

Do not procrastinate. The world situation is not a board game. It is real and is coming your way quickly. If there were ever a time to be afraid or a little worried, it is now.

Also posted here on Steemit.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country.

Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2016 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $149.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Christian Theology of Public Policy: Highlighting the American Experience (2006)

Bible and Government: Public Policy from a Christian Perspective (2003)

A Primer on Modern Themes in Free Market Economics and Policy (2009)

Political Subdivisions in Chile versus the United States

Sometimes Americans can be confused by Spanish words that are similar to English ones but do not mean the same thing (false cognates). For instance, the Spanish word compromiso means “commitment” in English. Condado (the extension of the land holdings of a count or conde under feudalism) does not mean “county” in English–in fact the term is not used in Chile, although the concept is understood. Ciudad does not exactly mean “city” in the way we use it.

In strict English and in Spanish, a city (ciudad) is “a center of population, commerce, and culture; a town of significant size and importance.” But we use the word “city” more loosely at times, even to describe smaller towns (pueblos), at times modifying the word with an adjective like “huge,” “big,” “small,” or “medium-sized.” In Spanish that is not the case. In Chile, only larger population centers qualify as cities and the rest are pueblos or villorrios (i.e., a cluster of houses along the roadside or a few shops), They do not have villages (aldeas), even colloquially as, for instance, Greenwich Village.

However, they do add provincias, which are similar to counties in the United States, and comunas, which are basically cities or towns in the United States. The city hall structure of each comuna is called the municipalidad, where the municipio administers the comuna. They also use área metropolitano (metropolitan area) in the same way that Americans do, in order to describe large clusters of population that include many cities (comunas) and can encompass one or more counties (provincias) and even cross state (región) lines, as in the case of the New York metropolitan area. In Chile, there are four significant metropolitan areas: Región Metropolitana de SantiagoGran ValparaísoGran Concepción and Gran La Serena.

Political subdivisions in the United States and their equivalents in Chile are as follows.

Political Subdivision Spanish Equivalent
the state el Estado
nation nación
country país
state (50) región (15)
territory territorio
county provincia
medium-sized or larger city, or group of contiguous cities ciudad
city comuna
town pueblo
village aldea
urban cluster villorrio
metropolitan area área metropolitano

Note that ciudades, áreas metropolitanos naciones, territorios and villorrios do not have their own governing bodies, except for things like inter-city (inter-comunal) administration of mass transit. There is national governance of the Estado or país, and local governance of the regiones, provincias and comunas and some pueblos.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country.

Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2016 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $149.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Christian Theology of Public Policy: Highlighting the American Experience (2006)

Bible and Government: Public Policy from a Christian Perspective (2003)

A Primer on Modern Themes in Free Market Economics and Policy (2009)

Trump and the Next Wave to Chile

If I were still an American, I would not be a Republican (unless Ron Paul were running!) or a Democrat. I am a libertarian. I favor free trade, not concocted regulated trade manipulated by USA war mongering or special interests that is labeled as “free trade.” I am not in favor of Hillary any more than I am of Trump. They are both evil.

And, having said that, I am delighted that one of them will win, probably clever Trump. They will drive out many good people that remain in the USA and thus help me in my consulting and residency business in Chile, and drive up demand for Chilean real estate, helping my construction business.

As an added bonus, the damage might be so great as to encourage more of my children to leave and return to Chile, too. In that sense I really favor Trump, and lament for people that have stayed in the USA. But that’s not my fault.

With either Trump or Hillary winning the Presidency, Chile will benefit by receiving more highly-qualified immigrants. America will not benefit. Indeed, it is a good time to make your exit and come to Chile. With either party’s candidate winning, if I were still an American, Chile would be looking pretty good right now. Unless you are poor and thus have to suffer the consequences of the bad choices and culture of others, you might at least take a stake in Chile while you can–get a visa and a small Plan B residence.

To say that export-based Chile will be affected to the same extent by a downturn in the USA is dubious. Export-based countries that produce food and raw materials will be sought after under fascist and socialist regimes in the Northern Hemisphere that need to create jobs. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking in a vacuum while the world is a dynamic, rather than static place. Calamities produce other unforeseen changes that can actually benefit certain countries. Did neutral Switzerland benefit from World War 2? Yes. And, likewise, Chile will benefit from the next American President’s policies.

I think Trump is too clever (and rich) to lose to Hillary. He will bring new, disgruntled voters in that have not voted in years to tip things in his favor. He will use his populism to tip things even more in his favor in swing states, garnering some democratic votes. In November 2016, they will appear and Trump will squash Hillary (especially if there is continued Muslim violence as was seen in Paris, San Bernadino and Orlando). He will dominate the media with his candor, nationalism and political incorrectness. He will run a more efficient campaign. The guy has a vote-gaining strategy beyond his populist rhetoric. Trump is an unprincipled, wily, pragmatic center-leftist that will do whatever it takes to get elected. He looks very dangerous and seductive, and the situation has an eerie resemblance to 1930s Germany or Italy.

Fascist Trump?

The problem Americans face is that people like Hitler or Mussolini also were “a symbol of the widespread rejection of political-economic elitism.” This is nothing new. And Trump is scary on account his nationalism, protectionism, slippery principles and rejection of political-economic elitism. He looks very much like a fascist. Hence, there are some good reasons why Americans should be fearful of Trump.

trump fascist mussolini

Consider Trump’s list of nefarious ideas:

  • he is willing to raise taxes “on the rich,” although he is now denying his original statement;
  • he is willing to raise the minimum wage;
  • he supports abortion in “exceptional” cases, although now he claims to have become more pro-life;
  • he supports military buildup and war;
  • he plans to retaliate against terrorists by killing their wives and little children;
  • he favors use of weapons, like nuclear bombs, that necessarily kill innocent people;
  • he favors socialized medicine, albeit not Obamacare exactly;
  • he believes in social safety nets for the poor via welfare policies;
  • he changes his mind on a whim; but unpredictability is not an asset when dealing with the devil;
  • he wants to force businesses not to employ their resources in the least-cost environments, including overseas;
  • he uses populist jargon to gain votes just like other politicians;
  • he errantly believes that protectionism will help the middle class and others;
  • he is a nationalist that supports state-idolatry and American dominance over the world;
  • he is an unprincipled pragmatist that will do anything to get money and power, including donating lots of money to Hillary in 2012 or any other campaign that buys him privileges. Thus we have to ask the rhetorical question: “Is he really such an “outsider” or just an expert at playing the game?”

I do like that Trump is not politically correct, but neither were Stalin or Hitler (and I guess I can admire both of them for that fact?). Hitler also started as an “outsider” and a longshot, building his platform on nationalism and populism. Do you disagree?

I looked at Trump’s official website. Texas Senator and former presidential candidate Ted Cruz was correct to say that Trump is not a conservative. He is a fascist.

rachel_maddow_trump_fascistx750

Remember that I am a former American, with no emotional ties to the old country. I have no loyalty to it, nor do I wish it well. It is a bastion of evil, economic and moral, in the world today. I speak its language less than 10% of my day, and mainly only to communicate with family, send comments to my doctoral students, study or read the literature or news related to things that affect the world and Chile, and to write blog entries and books. My interest in America is academic or for business.

Is Trump a “blue collar billionaire?” Do not kid yourself! He is a pragmatic, ruthless, cunning, clever and unprincipled businessman who will do anything to make a buck or get more power. Trump is more of a fascist than anything else, so far as I can tell, and the change in the Republican party is not for the better but for the worse. Hitler also vastly improved the German economy (and war machine), bringing that country out of the Great Depression (1929-1934) before any other major country.

Nationalism and xenophobia are two other features that Trump and Hitler or Mussolini have in common, making their country “great again.” Some say Trump is more like chameleon fascist Mussolini than Hitler. They may be right. The question is merely academic for me. There are similarities that make Trump equal to Hitler o Mussolini, and I think those similarities are undeniable. He has been flip flopping lately, too, on things like abortion. So we see him acting pragmatically rather than on principle in order to get power. However, he is a wild card, like other fascists, and I am not sure anyone really knows what he will do as President. He could be really scary. Again, he is a cleverer vote-seeker than people give him credit for. Count him out of the race to your peril if you live in Los Estados Juntos.

Trumped economics

Trump does not understand economic theory. Anyone who thinks (1) that raising the minimum wage help the least capable, (2) that permitting abortion “in certain cases” is good for an economy, (3) that immigrants (illegal or otherwise) are bad for an economy or (4) that countries that have a favorable balance of trade with the USA (like Mexico), i.e. the USA has a trade deficit with Mexico of 58 billion dollars annually, as a result have a pile of cash lying around in government coffers with which they can pay for a border wall, is an economic ignoramus. Forcing people to pay more for goods and services to protect certain groups never helps the overall economy, any more than saving buggy whip and kerosene lamp makers jobs would have helped progress.

Moreover, it is an error to state that open borders only benefit the elite, top 0.01% of society. On the contrary, protectionism and border walls (if they worked) do that. Protectionist ideas heralded by Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan, et al are bad for most people. They only benefit relatively few businesses and their workers. Trump apparently does not “get” this fact. By holding to protectionist ideas, Trump is bad. Furthermore, (5) Trump’s rumored “solution” to eliminate the national debt by indirect default is nothing new, and hardly clever, but is certainly dangerous. Lots of wealthy people and mutual funds, along with sovereign governments, hold U.S. debt obligations. Making them mad by telling them that 90% of their principal will vanish by decree can lead to instability, bad relationships for trade and even violence. Sure, we have all known for years that the debt cannot be paid. So what? Putting default in the face of creditors as a bully or fool, will not make the proposed victims very happy, and it will not bode well for future business deals with them.

Trump’s economics knowledge is pretty abysmal, and he apparently does not have any trained economic advisors to ask, but his understanding of consequences is even worse. In the end, you might then, well, someone has to do the default eventually, why not Trump? Default may be inevitable, but there are ways to default that are subtler and wiser, at least for those that want to avoid war and maintain whatever vestiges of trade possible post-default. Public policy is always problematic. Indeed, (6) any politician, including Trump, who thinks that public policy can improve the quality of life in generally, not just for a few elites and rent seekers, is a voter-panhandling, demagogic nincompoop.

Trump says he wants to halt illegal immigration in order to reduce crime and protect American jobs. Yet, if immigration were really a problem, then it would be best to privatize the border and let competing firms find a way to optimize it. But letting the state handle it will likely only make the “problem” worse. It will do something stupid and expensive like build a big wall that desperate people will easily find a way to conquer and circumvent. A new crisis will always emerge and thus feed those never-ending needs for more state “solutions.”

Are immigrants an economic problem?

The fact is that immigration in and of itself is not a problem. It helps the economy of any territory. Immigrants commit fewer crimes percentage-wise than native-born people. Please consider this op-ed in the Wall Street Journal written by a libertarian from the Manhattan Institute. It provides data that show that immigrants, illegal or otherwise, do not commit more crimes (percentage-wise) than native-born people. That fact means that one’s wife and daughters, including my daughters Grace and Rachel, face greater danger from native-born, publicly-educated and Hollywood/porn-gazed/beer-guzzling morons that speak only English than some wild-eyed immigrant. Indeed, immigrants often help out nationals, too. This article from the Foundation for Economic Education, a famed libertarian educational institution, makes that case.

Might I also be so bold to remind you that there is nothing more dangerous to Americans and their families than the United States government and its henchmen. The abuse and financial/emotional rape that many suffer from bogus criminal investigations and wicked Family court, IRS or Child Services Division decrees are case in point. It is almost certain that you know more people assailed by the U.S. government or brutal cops than you know that were raped or robbed by Latino illegals. Thus, if you really were concerned about the safety or your wives and daughters you would have already left the “land of the free.” So let us be honest and say that you are not really all that worried about their safety, right? You are not really any more scared of illegal immigrants than I am. But you should be more scared of your government than you are.

Immigrants regularly take lower-paying jobs and at times better-paying ones when they come. Does this affect local employment? Of course! Competition does that. They lose their jobs thanks to the way markets work: employing capital and resources in their most efficient manner. Forcing businesses to pay more just to keep people inefficiently employed at higher wages only leads to higher consumer prices for products and the standard of living for everyone going down. It also harms poorer people in other countries that lose their jobs. Protectionism may sound good and welcome until one considers the overall economic impact and lower standard of living it brings to all in order to help a relative few. It is a dangerous policy, too, since like all force it engenders resentment and thus potential violence. The solution is to avoid be undercut by competing labor.

For these reasons, we all learn to specialize and have skills that make us more desirable than others, immigrants or otherwise. Specialization and expertise make us more valuable. Putting oneself in the position of not having specialized in some sort of labor makes us vulnerable to others taking away our work by underbidding us in the marketplace for labor services. Blaming immigrants because I am not specialized or have let my laziness in pursuing greater personal efficiency in my work is ridiculous. When a person no longer wants to keep improving and be ahead of the game, he will fall behind competitors and thus only have one option to keep his services values in the market: lower his labor price. What happens when he does fall to the competition, just like businesses do that fall, is to go to the state and seek a means to have force applied to protect them from competition.

But this tactic is evil and immoral. It means that the many are harmed to benefit the few. All state proactive policies and probably all policies of inefficient provision are the same. Think of what a “blessing” central banking is, or child services and family court, the DEA, ATF, IRS and EPA, not to mention departments of education, commerce, transportation and energy. Think of what a great job states do in catching criminals or making our environment safer and cleaner. Yet people still ask and trust the state to solve problems when its track record is abysmal failure. The welfare state itself distorts labor markets by increasing the booty available for illegal immigration that would otherwise not occur. If there were no welfare benefits, some illegal immigrants might keep coming but they would be far less of a “social problem” and less costly, too.

Does it hurt to have to change careers? Of course! I know what it is like to have to change careers. I spent over 26 months without a regular paycheck and had to ditch trying to continue being a college professor and to learn instead to be a general manager of a construction company. It was painful but in the long run was beneficial for me. I realize that others do not want to make such drastic changes in their employment or learn something new, but that is the way for overall prosperity personally and benefit for a country generally.

Are immigrants costly to a society?

For many people, immigrants just “seem” to be the “obvious” problem. But science does not bear this conjecture out. Often what is just “common sense” and “seems to be” the case from what we see in actuality is false. Other explanations are actually correct. How many times does an event or phenomenon appear to be one thing and even “obvious” or common sense to the common man but in reality the answer is something else. Science confounds the weak conjecture of men.

Twentieth Century economist Dr. Julian Simon, author of The Ultimate Resource 2, famously concluded by using economic reasoning that immigration is an economic blessing. Simon contends that there are nothing more important than human minds to make an economy grow. There is no natural resource more important or more innovative. Minds cannot be synthesized like natural resources can. Even if we have 10 million hapless, stupid, otherwise worthless immigrants “sucking off the teat of the state” and producing little, and we have only one Steven Jobs, et al, in that number, we have more than made up for the social loss generated by the 9.99999 million. Of course, unlike natural births, governments control immigrant quality to a large extent, meaning that a country should do far better with immigrants than natural births.

Immigrants usually come more educated and thus benefit their new society. The most expensive (young) part of their lives, “socially speaking,” has been paid for by the “old country.” This theory is not weird economics. It is widely-known to be clearly correct. Immigration helps an economy on net. It does not hurt it. Immigrants are more educated, even if they have never been to school and just have life experience, than newborns that must be trained, raised and educated for more than two decades at very high “social cost.” Even the most backwards immigrants from Poland, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Albania, etc. knew more about life than newborns did, and they caused a special flourishing in the USA. Compared to college-educated Americans and Europeans, illegal immigrants are usually ignoramuses. But in terms of life experience and adding value they are not more ignorant than common men in the new country. That fact is one reason they can earn a wage: they add value. Otherwise they would be paid the same as newborns that know nothing: zero.

Trump’s border wall idea will not work anyway. Oppressed, desperate and economically-motivated people will hardly be stopped by obstacles, even 30 foot tall ones. Like leftist pundit John Oliver correctly pointed out, a 30 or 40-foot-high border wall will only create or increase market demand for 31 to 41-foot-long ladders to climb up, and about the same amount of rope to get down the other side. Besides this fact, drug dealers are already in the habit of throwing packages across the border to waiting accomplices, or launching drug packages across with catapults. A border wall will not stop that activity. Indeed, the wall will be more effective in keeping complacent Americans in than Latinos out. I do not know about Mexicans in general, but given a few nails, a hammer, any saw and any kind of scrap wood, my Chilean maestros could knock out a 31-foot ladder in two hours or less. They build ladders all the time. I do not buy ladders for them.

Chile lets all sorts of Peruvian and Bolivian illegals come in and they do lots of work here, despite the fact that there is a literal minefield above Arica on the Peruvian border. To say that a wall makes the border less “open” than otherwise is also insane. It just raises the cost of crossing slightly to the Mexican, et al, and imposes a huge cost on US Taxpayers to build it. So what is more insane?

The issue of welfare state largesse cannot be underestimated in this discussion. As my friend and fellow Chilean resident Ken Shields pointed out, the US government subsidizes illegal immigration by allowing immediate public benefits to those who have broken immigration laws by entering illegally. There is also taxpayer largesse doled out to businesses: China, Korea and Japan have notoriously subsidized their businesses over the last decades by crushing any collective bargaining and aiding and abetting the low international prices of finished goods with direct (but semi-secret) grants along with dirty float currency manipulation. Of course, as Milton Friedman pointed out in Free to Choose, Americans should not complain if foreign governments are sending them gifts by means of subsidies. If Trump actually did deliver on his promise to send negotiators around the world to revamp managed trade agreements, replacing them with true free trade ones, then something good might happen. But why should we believe that he or his representatives would do such a thing?

Culture argument, the evil state, and self-defense against violent Muslims

Culture also matters because institutions matter. Thus, the culture of immigrants matters at the margin. Some institutions are superior to others, and therefore some cultures, like Western culture, are superior to others. Consequently, in general, immigrants from superior cultures will be better than those from inferior ones. Yet, it is not just Europeans that have good ideas and spur economic growth with innovation. Entrepreneurship spans all races and social classes. (So does crime, wealth and other things of course.) Not all great immigrants have come from Europe. Not all rich and innovative people are white, and Mexico has some very rich people. And let us not forget northeast Asia. Cultural arguments tend to be nonstarters. The real issue is the ineffectiveness of the evil state.

When states are created, so are restrictions and privileges. These actions pervert incentive structures and institutional arrangements which have spontaneously emerged. Its legislation trumps or infects law that existed prior to the state. The nation thus has to adapt in order to learn to live with the infection. Both conservatives and leftists make the mistake of thinking that states and public policies can really solve problems efficiently and cleanly. They often ignore the special interests that benefit each time at the expense of the mass of people that have to pay the price. It seems too easy: we have a big problem, let us just pay taxes so the state can fix it. The problem sometimes gets fixed, at huge and inefficient cost, but usually it just gets patched so that the next crisis can erupt from it and generate again more need for the state to get involved. State actors like problems and love crises.

The problem is the state: our great enemy, not particular policies that elites use to their benefit. I will say that certain cultures are superior to others in producing many things, for example eternal life and economic efficiency, like protestant Christianity. But xenophobic culture arguments are really weak: Immigration helps an economy, period. Changing religions and cultures requires preaching and evangelism, not public policies of evil, predatory states.

The word “nation” has been hijacked by politically ambitious men. Even when Bible refers to a “nation,” it means a people group, ethnic group with a common language or heritage; not a group of people within political boundaries. Libertarians have no problem with the idea of nations. They have a problem with the state. Protecting “national” interests in also a problem in that sense, unless one refers to a collective defense (which some libertarians, like Rothbard, say should be entirely privatized). Libertarians believe that institutions are important: law, religion and churches, collective defense and other insurance, private charity and private or market-based regulation.

I am all in favor of self-defense against violent Muslims. That is a libertarian position. On the other hand, I am not entirely sure that building mosques or even the spread of Islam indicates we are in a great danger. Maybe so, but the conjecture seems to be extrapolated from relatively few data points. (Of course in Chile there are hardly any Muslims. So we have little to worry about if this preoccupation were actually true.) But I think we face greater threats from politically correct atheists than we do from Muslims.

Culture is important and religion is the most important component of it along with language. There are superior cultures, just like there are superior surgeons or basketball stars. Do we have reason to fear bad cultures that will either use personal violence against us or state power against us? Of course! Libertarians are big promoters of self-defense, and even collective defense. But these things should not be confused with using state power to benefit the hapless or sluggardly that cannot or will not compete to make themselves more valuable in the marketplace via personal education, better use of tools and equipment, better utilization of helpers.

Trump’s fascist seduction, his faulty economics and his bad arguments against immigrants or worse solutions such as building a border wall, all underscore reasons for concern. However, there is an alternative: leave the United States now; or at least get Plan B in place. I suggest that you strongly consider Chile for your expatriation destination. While Chile may be slightly worse now than it was three years ago, it is still better than where you are from, and there are reasons to be optimistic about where Chile is going. I cannot say the same thing for the “Land of the Free.”

Also posted on Steemit.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country.

Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.

Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.

Dr. Cobin’s next sequel, Living in Chile: Key Details of History, Culture, Politics and Places for the Serious Immigrant, goes into detail that mainly those people living in Chile already or serious immigrants will be interested in. It is also of special importance to libertarians that want to know something about the political and ideological undercurrents, past highlights (like having a free port much like Hong Kong or free banking), and people that want practical information and where they can retire on their budget. The travel section compliments the other books in the series so that those that read all three books can be sure to have covered the key places of the country from top to bottom.

This book is chock full of savory details that only a true immigrant and former American with many years of experience would know. Some things are only learned over long periods of time and observation. Take advantage of tapping into Dr. Cobin’s deep knowledge of the country and insights of importance to serious immigrants.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.

Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Christian Theology of Public Policy: Highlighting the American Experience (2006)

Bible and Government: Public Policy from a Christian Perspective (2003)

A Primer on Modern Themes in Free Market Economics and Policy (2009)

Dishonesty in Chile: Once Again a Nightmare

Lying, cheating and dishonesty are par for the course in Chile. This fact has hardly been hidden from my readers. The problem is so pernicious and pervasive in Chile that it is worth mentioning again, and I have recetly been reminded of it as I myself fell victim to a clever scammer.

I was speaking to a Baptist pastor recently and he shed some light on the matter of why Chileans are generally so dishonest. One reason has to do with the leftover influence of Roman Catholic religion, he says. For Catholics, sins are divided into two categories: mortal and veneal, the later being “not so bad.” Apparently, much lying falls under that category and thus the sin gets practiced in Chile. I think the Baptist pastor might be on to something.

Consider that  Chilean liars and cheats are polished; oftentimes so nice and seemingly well-intentioned, even if they are disorderly. Eight dignified, well-spoken and nice men and women have ripped me (and others) off in Chile. To be fair, one was from Costa Rica, and my wife assures me that all Latin American countries are replete with liars and cheaters (She trusts no one, period.). They are at times just out and out con-men. Other times they are just bumblers trying to get their hands on some capital to try some doomed-to-fail-due-to-incompetence project, that end up lying and being dishonest to try to rectify the consequences of poor decisions.

In my experience, dishonest Chileans have come in several varieties: the farmer, the realtor, the university department head, the new car sales manager, the private loan officer, the property development expert, the venture capital liaison and the building subcontractor. Some just milk you for what they can and then vanish without a word. Others make up excuses for why they lost your money or why they were actually “owed” what you gave them for “work” that produced nothing. Others will assure you that a non notarized contract is all that is necessary since they are a man of their word, at least until they screw you (paying you little or nothing) and they are the first to note that the contract you signed with them is not binding. Still others will take off with your foreign credit card and spend US$4,000 over the weekend on food, clothing, gymn memberships, gold and jewelry. This is possible since in Chile no PIN numbers are required on foreign cards, just a signature, and clerks never check card names or match signatures. Some folks will run away with the crops or goods, without a trace, and make it look like they are innocent. They are all dishonesty experts. They know how to game American, Canadians, Australians and Européans. They will seek you out and they will at some point beat you. Be ready for them if you can!

Why can they do it so easily, even to those of us that have been here for 20+ years? Because we are raised to be honest and trusting people. We learn to look out for criminals, but when the Chilean scum come across so smooth and friendly, establishing a relationship for many months, we let our guard down and open up to them, trusting them. At that point they let us have it! The payoff justifies the cost of holding up the charade and waiting for months for the prey to be unaware of falling victim. Sometimes the dishonesty leads to outright theft. At other times, we lose when the Chilean fails to perform or follow through, or make good on his promise. The end result is still the same: we lose and the “scum” (as my wife calls them, scoria) wins.

I do know many fine, honest Chileans, and my son reminded me that he, too, knows many good Chileans. They are businessmen, doctors, lawyers, professors and even a few construction workers. But the truth of the matter is that more than 90% of Chileans are liars and cheaters, and most of the remaining 10% could probably be persuaded to be such if the circumstances were right. After all, dishonesty is probably just a “veneal” sin, unlike murder and adultery. (Speaking of cheating on one’s spouse, Chileans are pretty good at that craft, too, even though it is a mortal sin. I guess even the religious imeptus has limited explanatory power.)

In terms of calling the police or relying on the justice system, it is almost not worth bothering. Criminals are hardly punished for contract breach or crimes related to dishonesty. Dishonest people in Chile also seem to care less that you will never do business again with them once they burn you. They prefer to go with the bird in the hand than risk getting uncertain future gains from you. Reputation has no bearing either, since being a liar or cheat in Chile is hardly an impediment to future work. It may even make one more contacts and better pay, as one boasts about his successes in taking advantage of others.

At any rate, it is probably best to consider that being taken advantage of by a Chilean is not a matter of “if” but rather of “when” for any newcomer to the country. The land is full of dishonest people, from the President and Congressmen to businessmen to day laborers. You will not be safe from them and they will hunt for you. It is a bleak reality. The best you can do is try to minimize the impact of loss from deals and arrangements that you make as an employee, employer or consumer. Do not rush to get too close to Chileans and do not trust them with money matters for several years.

Be prepared to start thinking differently even before you get to Chile. The country is great overall, but there are some things like dishonesty, that will drive you crazy for years to come.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country.

Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they

would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.

Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.

Dr. Cobin’s next sequel, Living in Chile: Key Details of History, Culture, Politics and Places for the Serious Immigrant, goes into detail that mainly those people living in Chile already or serious immigrants will be interested in. It is also of special importance to libertarians that want to know something about the political and ideological undercurrents, past highlights (like having a free port much like Hong Kong or free banking), and people that want practical information and where they can retire on their budget. The travel section compliments the other books in the series so that those that read all three books can be sure to have covered the key places of the country from top to bottom.

This book is chock full of savory details that only a true immigrant and former American with many years of experience would know. Some things are only learned over long periods of time and observation. Take advantage of tapping into Dr. Cobin’s deep knowledge of the country and insights of importance to serious immigrants.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.

Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

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