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A Note on the 2017 Chilean Primary Elections

Chile does not usually hold presidential primary elections. For that reason, we typically arrive at election day in November with seven or eight (or more) candidates on the ballot and thus no one ends up getting at least 50.1% of the vote. Therefore, the top two vote-getters do a run-off election in December, called la segunda vuelta.

However, this year (2017) the “Right” is having a primary election for its three top contenders on Sunday, July 2nd. Besides former president Sebastián Piñera (independent, populist, center-right), the other two candidates from the Right are Senator Miguel José Ossandón (an independent, ignorant-but-popular, centrist, pragmatic populist) and Representative (diputado) left-leaning Felipe Kast (political evolution party). The most libertarian and pro-life candidate is Representative (diputado) José Antonio Kast (independent, ex-UDI). He did not get enough signatures to be on the primary ballot but will be on the November ballot.

The hard Left is participating in the primary, too, with key contenders being radio reporter Beatriz Sánchez (supported by the Humanist Party and also many left-leaning libertarians, including the Liberal Party) and sociologist Alberto Mayol (from the “wide front” coalition). The Right and hard-left primaries will narrow the candidate field a bit in November.

Since the “moderate” Left could not come to any agreement within their coalition to have a primary, their two prominent candidates: senators Carolina Goic (Christian Democrat) and Alejandro Guillier (Radical Party, also backed by the Socialist party) will both run in November. The centrist Christian Democrats are even talking about supporting the Right instead this year in the second round (if Goic does not make the cut) should favored centrist Sebastián Piñera win the Right’s primary. Morevoer, if things look bad for Goic in November, these voters might turn to Piñera in the first round instead, which might push him over the top and preclude the necessity of having a December run-off.

If you can read Spanish, see the write-up at this link where you can learn more about each of the candidates. Remember that both citizens and permanent residents (of at least five years) can vote in Chile. Permanent residents and citizens living abroad can also vote; they should contact their local Chilean consulates to find out how to do so.

At first glance, libertarians that vote should do so for José Antonio Kast. Like Ron Paul, he will likely not win. In the end, we will probably be stuck with Piñera again. He will face Guillier, Goic, José Antonio Kast and whatever other socialist, green-leaning or communist candidates that appear. If José Antonio Kast were not running, Piñera would clearly be better, in spite of his populist support for the “morning after pill” and silly labor laws used to “buy” votes.

Since the primary ballots allow voters to select either leftist or rightist candidates, some have suggested that the hard left will go to the polls in July to vote for Felipe Kast or Ossandón in order to derail Piñera and keep the Christian Democrats in the leftist fold. The center-left candidates would have a shot at beating Felipe Kast or Ossandón but would be unlikely to beat Piñera. So, the strategy makes sense.

At the moment, the Right is far ahead. Chile has endured four long years of detrimental leftist-rule and the populace is tired of it. Whichever rightist candidate wins will undoubtedly receive the support of the backers of the other rightist pretenders–just as with the Republican Party in the USA. Once again, if Goic supporters fall in with Piñera over Guillier, then it is even possible that the Right could win in the first round (la primera vuelta) of elections in November.

Achieving that would mark an historic victory for the Right and put it firmly in the political driver’s seat. For that reason, some libertarians I know will be voting for Piñera instead of Ossandón in July. They like José Antonio Kaast better, of course, but are choosing what they consider to be the best option in the primaries. Ossandón is considered to be like Ronald Reagan by some Chilean libertarians. They also see José Antonio Kast as just warming up now so that he can take the bid in 2021. Could be the case. I am no fan of Piñera. I am a libertarian. But I am a fan of Chile and I must confess that Chile will probably fare far better under Piñera than Guillier or Goic.

The bigger races to watch are, perhaps, the congressional seats in hotly contested parts of Chile, especially Viña del Mar, Concepción, Punta Arenas and some areas of south central Chile (Temuco to Puerto Montt). Iquique and Arica might also turn right if the politics are well-played and the rightest candidate is only opposed by a hard-left one.

As always, the northeastern part of Santiago will go to the Right. However, adjacent parts like La Reina, Santiago, Puente Also, Ñuñoa and Huecheraba will be, as always, in a tug-of-war between Left and Right. The same is true for Estación Central, Maipú and La Florida. The Right needs to do well in these districts if it wants to be able to shift Chile back on the right track. The Right typically forms a tight coalition in the houses of Congress, meaning that individual ideas are less important. The balance of power needs to be shifted back and recover the ground lost in 2013.

If the Right wins big like it did in last year’s mayoral races, Chile could become even more solidly libertarian and an even better place to do business. Keep a close eye on things. 2018 could be a very good year!

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 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, 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 $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewat outdated) found in the larger book. 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 Census – 2017

In Chile, the national census is taken every five years. Wednesday, April 19, 2017 was census day, and people were forced to take a confined (paid) holiday in order for census workers to get around to them and conduct a ten-minute household interview. The idea was that other than emergency personnel and the census takers themselves, everyone should have been in his home. (That fact might explain why there was a large, Summer-style traffic jam coming into Reñaca the evening before.) At any rate, every resident, tourist, newborn (but excluding unborn children) that was located in the home as of 00:00 on April 17th was counted as living there. Even people that died later that day were included (even if the death was prior to the arrival of the census taker).

Source

All stores were closed, at least until 8 p.m. Bus and Metro lines only ran for a couple of hours in the morning and evening in order to bring census workers to their locales. Census workers started quizzing people at 9:00 (except for homeless people, which were counted earlier before they got a chance to get up and move away). In spite of the wide publicity about the coming census, many people were still surprised when the knock on the door came. Our census taker, a young man doing military service apparently, did not arrive until after 1 p.m., and we were only the second household of the eighteen he was required to do. He was obviously behind schedule.

President Bachelet herself went to Renca (a lower middle-class comuna in north central Santiago) and personally did the census for eighteen households. She saved taxpayers 15,000 pesos, or about US$23 (supervisors got US$15 more), that would have been paid to someone else. The young man that came to our home said that he received nothing for the effort, since it was apparently part of his public service requirement.

Census questionnaires were available in Mapudungun (local Indian/Mapuche language), English, Portuguese, Creole (reflecting the growing Haitian population), French and German. The census committee wanted to make sure to correctly count tourists, new arrivals and tribal elements within the overall population. Hotel guests and passengers on trains, planes and buses were given questionnaires to complete, too, albeit with different questions than households received.

Overall, for most people, Census Day was boring and largely unproductive. Some people with small shops still opened, like my vehicle mechanic, and people with Internet-based businesses could still work. But there was little economic activity resulting from people moving around or shopping.

Many people feared (and newspapers reported) that some of the twenty-one census questions had been turned in a politically correct direction, like allowing people to declare their gender, even if different than their sex at birth. I am not sure how much traction this particular rule got, but it was annoying to read about it. Nevertheless, the census worker did not ask us our gender, but rather decided for himself that I was a man and my wife was a woman. Hence, the transgender questions were probably put “out there” for public image purposes while in reality Chileans just ignored the provision. I inquired about the matter with the young man doing the census and he just shrugged and gave me a puzzled look. Apparently, he was not gender-confused. I bet the vast majority of Chileans are not.

The “head of household” had to be declared in each home, and could be anyone age fifteen or older, regardless of gender or income. Again, in the case of our census-taker, we were never asked who headed the home, as it was evident that I did. Once again, political correctness was trumped in Chile. The gender and head of household gestures were published as a concession to leftists that ended up meaning nothing in reality.

Contestants were, apparently, allowed to remain anonymous, by only giving nicknames to census personnel. We just gave him our names when asked, since we did not find the census to be intrusive. No question was asked about household religion, as people on WhatsApp had been discussing during the week before. The only questions asked of a personal nature were one’s age, how many children he has (living or dead), one’s employment status, if he had a job last week, one’s city of birth, where one was located during the last census (in 2012), where one’s mother lived when he was born, and how many years of education one had completed.

In sum, the census was simple and hardly as contentious as some people were making it out to be. Just in case you are here in 2022, you can expect to go through the same process.

The bigger contention came late in the evening on Census Day, and the next day, when it was revealed that many people living in large buildings and certain provinces did not get counted. Scores of people wrote comments under online news stories that people were neither interviewed nor counted in places in Santiago like Maipú, Ñuñoa, Conchalí, Estación Central, Quilicura, plus provincial cities and towns like Colina, La Serena, Puerto Varas, Peñaflor, Quilpué and Ercilla. In Maipú alone, 1,358 census workers did not show up to do their job. Elsewhere in Santiago, 390 census takers did not show up in Cerro Navia (and 1,500 homes were missed) and 350 failed to do so in Pedro Aguirre Cerda (leaving 7% of homes missed). The Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas reported similar problems with absenteeism (on a lesser scale) in San Ramón, Conchalí, Cerillos, San Miguel, San Joaquín, Macul, Ñuñoa, Las Condes, La Pintana, La Granja, La Florida (where 3,000 homes were missed), La Cisterna and Huechuraba.

Like most public policies, the 2017 Census was an example of government failure. Replacements (usually bureaucrats from the municipalities) were running around the next day, and even for a couple weeks afterwards, trying to collect the missing data. Just how accurate Chilean censuses end up being is a matter for considerable debate. Academics are also upset that more questions were not asked during the push. To go to such an effort and yet only collect a paltry amount of data seemed quite wasteful to them. It is good to have it over and done with.

Fuente: Emol.com – http://www.emol.com/noticias/Nacional/2017/04/20/854989/Censo-2017-En-Maipu-1358-voluntarios-inscritos-no-llegaron-a-sus-locales-para-el-proceso.html

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)

Notary and Recorder Monopolies in Chile

Notaries (notarías) and notarial services are vastly different in Chile than they are in places like the United States.

A notary designation is not easy to get in Chile, and a notary does far more than just verify the veracity of the signer. In many cases, notaries offer legal advice, too, the liability associated with doing so being a topic of academic discussion. The relative pay scales are a bit different in Chile compared to places like the United States as well.

According to El Mercurio, a Chilean notary business can rake in well over 10 million pesos (USD $155,500) per month, although a great number must languish with only USD $100,000 per month. Even in small towns like Puerto Varas, the local notary can knock down USD $15,000 per month.

That income level is due to the fact that notary positions are lifetime monopoly grants from the government (the Ministry of Justice, related to the Appellate Court, in particular). There appears to be political favoritism and even nepotism involved in the designation of notaries, which are almost impossible to remove once installed. Indeed, prior to 1995, they could not be removed at all.

One can find siblings heading different notaries, and their children. For instance, notary Tavolari has his shop in Viña del Mar while his sister runs another notary in Valparaíso, both going under the same last name: Notaría Tavolari. One would think they are related branch office, but they are not. In some cases, the designations have been effectively hereditary, passing down to children. Furthermore, the “industry” basically is unregulated. Thus, it is an ideal business to be in!

Not surprisingly, notary designation recipients _notarios_ make a big business out of their privilege. For instance, the Fischer Notary in Viña del Mar has sixty employees and rents the entire third floor (complete with private client parking area outside) of one of the most modern office buildings in the city. It is one of the largest notaries in the country. A number of Santiago notaries are even larger.

The number of notaries in any given area is limited by decree, and this fact can cause significant problems. In Concón and Lo Barnechea, for instance, both growing, largely affluent urban areas, there is only one notary, respectively. Both are congested with slow service, just as one would expect under monopolization.

Since people can use any notary in Chile, the folks from those areas often use other notaries instead (perhaps in Viña del Mar or Las Condes) in order to get better service. People might have to do that anyway since not all notaries are competent on legal matters or able to handle all document requests. Notaries willing to sign documents in English are even scarcer.

Chilean notaries are, in large measure, a product of living in a society of great distrust and mistrust. Contracts are basically unenforceable if they are not notarized. The same is true with all incorporations, transfers of vehicles or real estate, wills, affidavits, powers of attorney, insurance payouts, as well as documents needed to work with subcontractors. With the exception of some employment contracts, a non-notarized document is essentially worthless. Photocopies of legal documents, certificates, diplomas, records, etc. are likewise unacceptable, generally, unless they are photocopied by the notary himself and stamped as being a legitimate copy.

Lately, some politicians and public figures have called the notarial system “anachronistic, bureaucratic and hardly transparent.” Rates should be standardized throughout Chile for certain services. Yet prices can vary greatly: three or four times as much in one (usually affluent) place compared to another.

A parallel monopoly institution that is beleaguered by similar problems is the county recorder equivalent in Chile (called the conservador de bienes raíces that handles the recording of real estate transactions, as well as other legal rights and company formation documents. This institution, too, is very lucrative and is spawned by political privilege or favoritism. In fact, they make much more than notaries do. Getting this position is to hit a true goldmine.

Like notaries, they have an obligation to the “public trust” to ensure the safekeeping of public records for display when necessary. Consequently, they are both custodians of public documents, making them quasi-state institutions. They both subscribe to at least one powerful lobby to protect their benefits, too.

As an expatriate in Chile, it will be impossible to avoid having to use notary services, and unlikely to miss utilizing a recorder for legal transactions. Therefore, be prepared for inefficiencies, high costs and stressful hassles when you do. Nevertheless, being mentally prepared will help you cope better.

The system actually works, despite its monopolization and inefficiency. One must simply pay the price to get the desired result.

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 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)

Trump Administration May Pave the Way to Relinquish US Citizenship for as Low as $15.55

As many current and aspiring expatriates of the United States are aware, the number of Americans renouncing citizenship has been on the rise over the past decade or so.

Once the blue passport was sought by people worldwide, and flashed with pride by its bearers. The nations of the world recognized its holders as those who perhaps enjoyed more freedom and prosperity. Many nations opened their arms, banks readied their vaults and various business opportunities unfolded before them.

However, as the citizenry began to wake up to the fact that the state perceives them as property, the brilliant blue cover of a US passport lost much of its luster. The ominous taxes that continued to be imposed along with reams of draconian regulations took their tolls. Being only one of two countries in the world (Eritrea is the other) that requires its subjects to report and potentially pay taxes on all international income has certainly helped to build the resentment from both citizens and the international community alike.

FATCA implementation agreements

Internationally, warmongering and imperialistic pursuits didn’t help. This, along with the narcissistic attitudes of many Americans and the eventual impositions of the IRS and other alphabet soup agencies that form the long arm of US injustice and arrogation wore down once strong, vibrant and mutually beneficial relationships.

Blessing or Curse

Today, many banks shun the little blue book. If you are from just about any other country, they open their arms to new business. But the penalty exacted by the strength of US banks, the IRS, the caving of various governments to the political pressure of the US and the asinine FATCA invasion have resulted in banks closing their doors to US citizens.

As a result, more of them are leaving the US each year. Some just leave and work elsewhere for vocational reasons. Others want to live somewhere specifically, so go for it. But an ever growing number find ways to leave the confines of the US Inc in order to escape the insanity of the state imposing on their every move. They’re tired of the over-regulation and seemingly endless taxes on every move they make, unless it’s illegal, of course. A growing number of these are renouncing their citizenship.

As recently as seven years ago (2008), there were only 235 who renounced. That more than tripled the following year, then doubled again in 2010 to 1485, the year FATCA was implemented. Interestingly, it was that year that the US decided it should be charging to permit people to escape its clutches. The fee that year was $450. This resulted in an increase of only about 300, to 1,781 in 2011.

Something odd happened in 2012. Numbers are supposed to be reported quarterly, but two quarters were missed, so the total came out to 932. However, those lost numbers were apparently reported the following year, resulting in 2,999 reunciations. That year also saw the fee increase to $990.

So, how did a 220% increase in the price for freedom from the US affect renunciations? The following year, 2014, saw an increase to 3.415 citizens willing to pay for the keys to their US tax shackles. Incidentally, when getting grilled by the consulate over why you’re renouncing, stating that it’s for tax purposes is inadvisable. They may deny you. Of course, they may deny you because they have indigestion too, but most who’ve I’ve read about found the process fairly straightforward, other than the onerous fees. But it gets better.

Last year the fees were raised to an astounding $2,350, ostensibly because that’s what it costs to do the paperwork. Yet that year saw the most dramatic increase in renunciations so far, at around 6,000.

When is Being Owned NOT Slavery?

Make no mistake – this is the blatant pricing of freedom. When a person who is forced to be a tax slave, regardless of where they live and the source of their income, then it is clear that the extorting agent is claiming ownership. Just how much is your freedom worth? According to US Inc, $2,350 will remove your shackles. Of course, if you’re worth more than about $2,000,000 or have had a decent income over the past few years, you will be rewarded with paying an expatriation tax on top of any taxes you have already paid. If you haven’t kept current with your filing, it could get much worse.

If you expatriated on or after June 17, 2008, the new IRC 877A expatriation rules apply to you if any of the following statements apply.

  • Your average annual net income tax for the 5 years ending before the date of expatriation or termination of residency is more than a specified amount that is adjusted for inflation ($151,000 for 2012, $155,000 for 2013, $157,000 for 2014, and $160,000 for 2015).
  • Your net worth is $2 million or more on the date of your expatriation or termination of residency.
  • You fail to certify on Form 8854 that you have complied with all U.S. federal tax obligations for the 5 years preceding the date of your expatriation or termination of residency.
    Source: IRS

A Threat to Freedom of Speech = A Veiled Offer of Freedom?

There was recently a string of tweets and articles from the PEOTUS regarding the burning of flags. Such a right is guaranteed by the Constitution, but we all are well aware that regulations haven’t bowed before constitutional law for decades. Even though the Supreme Court has ruled that it is someone’s protected First Amendment right, many continue to strive to meet out punishment for any who would be so traitorous as to burn the emblem of those who would claim to own them. One of these would-be oppressors is Hillary, who introduced legislation in 2005 that would require a $100,000 fine and one year in prison for anyone burning an American flag.

Apparently the president elect has similar ideas, but with a very interesting twist. He was quoted as stating:

Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!

You mean, that’s all it will take? Then you get a choice?

This, of course, prompted an interesting string of comments around the interwebs. Peter Schiff was all over it.

 

If all that is required to lose U.S. citizenship is burning a flag, there are Americans all over the world who would gladly burn one if it gets them out of paying the $2,350 filing fee, or for wealthier Americans paying the far more onerous exit tax!

Posted by Peter Schiff on Tuesday, November 29, 2016

 


So, I did some looking around. You can buy a 3’x5′ American flag for just $15.55 on Amazon.

Of course, you can buy one for about any price you want to pay. But this seemed like a pretty reasonable price and substantial enough to actually catch flame visibly enough to make sure the evidence is irrefutable.

But Seriously?

#Satire aside (kinda), I really have no desire to burn the flag. To me, it’s just senseless noise. But neither do I desire to continue to be considered a tool of the state. Renunciation is a distinct possibility for my future.

Depending on your goals, you may require another passport before renouncing. In most cases, that means at least five years as a half-time resident in the country you choose. In other words, you’d need to spend at least 185 days of each year there in order to satisfy the local requirements. This varies from country to country, but it seems somewhat standard with many South American countries.

There are services that will sell you instructions and respond to email questions regarding permanent residency (not including a passport) in their country for about $500-$1,000. If you know the language, or have someone that can help, and are pretty confident in your ability to navigate, this might be a great option. This is particularly true if you don’t have much in the way of expendable cash.

For those who would rather have someone either walk them through it or take care of most of the legwork for them, the sky is really the limit. However, if you’re paying more than about $5,000 for really good service, depending on additional options, then you’re probably paying too much. Perhaps there are countries where higher fees are merited, but in most countries the work required isn’t really worth more than a few thousand bucks. The process usually takes a little over two years, depending upon bureaucratic hurdles.

Once you have permanent residency, you’re on the road to getting your passport, if you care to. Again, this will take about five years.

You don’t have to get a new residency or citizenship though. There is provision for renunciation as a stateless person as well. Of course, you are warned by the US government that doing so is inadvisable because you would no longer enjoy the protection of any government.

A final note on this: I’m no law expert, but it appears that the charging for renunciation may in fact be illegal. For those who want to dig further, you might start at the U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs and with Cornell’s Legal Information Institute.

Remember, it’s on you to do your own research. Due your own due diligence and caveat emptor apply, especially when dealing with international laws. These are the apparent options before you, but often we find hidden gems to help us along our way. And, whether you seek to renounce or pursue another path, may you enjoy freedom of both mind and body.

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.


GIPHY

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.


GIPHY

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.


GIPHY

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.


GIPHY

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.


GIPHY

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,

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)

Chilean Justice System

The Chilean criminal justice system favors criminals more than victims, period, except in cases of egregious violent crime or massive scams. Even those crimes go unpunished if perpetrated by disgruntled Mapuche Indians in the south or a Leftist activist with bombs or gun violence against the Right. Remember that Chile is by far the world leader in theft crimes and the great majority of them go unnoticed and are not prosecuted. There are simply not enough district attorneys (fiscales) and insufficient prison space.

If the amount of your loss from a scam or theft is lower than USD10,000 or perhaps more, and there was no violence involved, you can forget about getting any justice. I have not only heard this from lawyers, two fiscales have told me straight up in their offices. Apparently a fiscal is a very good lawyer but his hands are tied by very few resources and a leftist set of justices and laws that let criminals get of Scot free. He has so many cases that he can hardly handle them.

criminal

For one thing, there is not enough jail space for the amount of delinquents in Chile. Criminals, especially first time offenders, are usually not going to get a five-year or longer prison sentence which is required to be sent to jail. Instead they will get 41 or 61 days with an ankle bracelet and confined to home at night. They get to go out for work during the day. That is obviously not much of a disincentive to commit crimes. They steal and get caught every now and then. Those ‘getting caught times’ just provide needed family time in the evenings for a couple months before the criminal goes back to practicing his trade.

I spoke to the criminal that washes my car. He does not worry about being a delinquent. He burglarized a house and was arrested in 2015. The cops do a fair job but their work is often left in vain. This man, somewhat retarded and the bastard son of an influential judge in Valparaíso, disappeared for several weeks. I asked his associates where he had gone and they told me that he would be locked up for years for participating in a big-time burglary. Then the guy suddenly appeared. His father got him off by threatening to claim abuse by authorities in dealing with a person with a mental deficiency. A letter that would make a scene. My car washer told me lots of details proudly and boldly, and he said that he is un-convictable in Chile. He might be right.

Speaking of cars, my crew boss had his car stolen in downtown Viña del Mar in early 2016. The cops did little more than take a report and then, a couple weeks later, found the shell of the car stripped of all it wheels, motor and parts–all obviously resold and untraceable. It was dumped in a remote area of the hills above Viña del Mar. My foreman has no hope of getting justice for his loss and just takes it in stride, concluding that the law favors criminal more than victims. In Chile, it pays to buy car insurance because there is no other way to have a shot of getting your money back again for your car, if stolen.

The same is true you hire someone. It they complain or sue you for something you will likely have to pay them, sometimes thousands of dollars, since courts will likely side with “poor” workers against “rich” employers. The leftist bias is disgusting. Maids will sue you. Be careful. Maestros and other day laborers will, too. They have a special government agency (CIT) that hires a lawyer for them and takes their case up against you. You have to hire a lawyer. The wicked employee knows that if the amount is low enough it will make more sense for you to pay instead of paying more for a lawyer and also risking losing in court, too. It is terrible.

You might not even get to tell your full story beyond the summary you give to the police. The fiscal assigned to your case might hear the criminal’s response and just close the case, even if the criminal uses falsified documents or lies to clear their name. You will come to the hearing only to find that the case is being closed and the criminal can never again be charged for the crime. You will be screwed. The judge will tell you that you can go hire an attorney for a couple thousand dollars to file a querrella (civil and criminal complaint) and keep things going, but if you did not lose over a couple thousand it hardly seems worth it. You will come away with the feeling that the libertarian anarchists are right: justice by the state hardly exists and thus why should we have it? Better to rely on market forces. Although imperfect they will probably do better than the state does and lots of taxes will be saved. Whoever said that prisons a good thing anyway? Some penitent Quakers? Why not just enslave these criminals and make them work off their debts?

Thus, in Chile you have no legal backstop. You have to rely on more scrupulous judgment in deal-making and in protecting your assets. You will not likely be raped or murdered in Chile, although both things happen, but you will very likely be a victim of robbery, burglary, labor complaint or a scam. So be careful, and be prepared. Businesses build-in legal losses to their budgets. They have to do so. It may be sickening but it is true, so get over it and learn to cope.

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)

Offshore Banking Under Fire

One of the worst parts of holding an American passport, besides FATCA rules that impede financial privacy and freedom overseas in general, and the obligation to pay income taxes on worldwide income, is traveling among hostiles. I am not just talking about travel within Arab countries or places like Central America, Venezuela, Cuba, Russia and China where Americans are targets for kidnapping or being brutally killed. I am specifically talking about offshore tax havens like Singapore, Mauritius, Guernsey, Bermuda, Cook Islands and Andorra.

Earlier this year, the United States government literally flexed its muscled against the last country in this list and smashed Banca Privada d’Andorra by asserting that the bank had ties to money laundering. To avoid international exposure, local regulators took over the bank and has spent four or five months sorting out the “dirty” from “clean” accounts, the latter to be transferred by year end to a new bank called Vall Banc. In the meantime, all account holder assets have been frozen, excepting only small withdrawals under strict monthly limits.

I recently interviewed a Banca Privada d’Andorra bank official (in person) that told me how every offshore bank in Andorra and presumably the world is under high alert, worried that the same thing might happen to them. According to my source, so far no one has lost their money but the hassle, intrusion and loss of sovereignty for the tiny country of Andorra are significant.

Most of Andorra’s economy is financial tourism, with skiing a distant second. The Andorran case showed that the United States government can literally bring a bank or country to its knees at will, regardless of local politics. If the bank does not play by American rules it will be punished. We saw the same thing happen in Chile when FATCA was rammed down the throat of the Chilean banking system this year, violating Chilean privacy laws and making Americans second class citizens in terms of financial and banking rights.

Andorran banks see the hypocrisy in all of this rhetoric and action. The official mentioned to me that America has its Delaware and Nevada corporate havens and yet has demonstrated that it simply will not leave fiscal paradises elsewhere in the world alone. Who made the USA the banking watchdog of the world anyway? Does might make right?

Now, American passport holders have to face more than just extra scrutiny in normally friendly places around the world. They will also have to work to avoid local and commercial scorn by going on record to distance themselves from the evil feudal policies of the United States government.

Americans looking to place assets overseas need not worry about problems with Banca Privada d’Andorra, however, since, according to this article, one of the sanctions sought by and granted to the United States is that this bank will not be allowed to open accounts for American companies. Moreover, those that already have accounts will be placed under heightened vigilance and scrutiny. How pleasant! Still want to hang on to that American passport? Still happy that “Big Brother” is there watching out for your “best” interests?

For years I have suggested that expats coming to Chile not use Chile as a place to leave the bulk of their cash and assets, other than for gold storage and for its fantastic tax-advantaged life insurance products. For most financial holdings, offshore jurisdictions should be sought out instead. Places like Andorra were particularly interesting because all bank representatives speak Spanish and Andorran banks will open accounts using legal and company documents set up in Chile. Now all of that has come into question. Maybe it will be best to bring more assets to Chile and store physical gold in safe deposit boxes rather than risk using an offshore bank that will possibly be the next victim of United States government foreign policy,

One other bit of food for thought. As I left the interview and drove back over to Spain (there are videos on You Tube showing the border stations), I found that its customs agents are standing with the USA by becoming particularly ruthless toward anyone that looks like they might have visited a bank in Andorra, doing car and personal strip searches, scouting for cash and trying to make trumped up cases that people with Andorran bank accounts are really money laundering. In fact, I can think of few other countries with more pernicious, mean-spirited and nasty border police than Spain has, close behind the United States in characteristic thuggery and power-trip mentality–so common in the “land of the free” ever since the Waco, Texas massacre in early 1993.

Bottom line: if you are an American citizen that thinks your assets are “safe” in an offshore jurisdiction, think again. Not only do you need a Plan B country, you need a Plan B offshore bank. Diversification is important. If Andorra is not safe, then neither are Singapore, Panama, Jersey or Mauritius.

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:

Plight of Construction Workers in Chile

Governments usually foul things up worse than they already are, especially when its intervention is propelled by Marxist and socialist doctrines. Such has been the case in Chile, although public outrage has stymied the worst of leftist policies from being implemented in 2014.

Moreover, the future is bright in Chile. It seems less likely that the left will be able to maintain itself in power after President Michelle Bachelet’s term ends in three years.

Nevertheless, enough leftist venom reached certain sectors of the Chilean economy to cause lasting damage. One of the more important casualties of leftist public policies has been in new construction, where media reports put national unemployment for the industry at 12%.

In Viña del Mar, a construction firm posted four internet ads in order to recruit a total of three day laborers, offering to pay 350,000 pesos (US $577) per month. The sites selected were www.yapo.cl, www.vivastreet.cl, www.elrastro.cl and www.locanto.cl. A print ad was also ordered for the local daily El Mercurio de Valparaíso, but the ad was canceled before it ever ran since the internet sites alone yielded over 25 calls from prospective workers.

Hiring good construction workers is easy these days in the Valparaíso metropolitan area. The cost of construction is also quite low on account of lower labor costs. Bad business conditions led big box store Construmart (a chain like Home Depot) to close its Concón branch, adjacent to Viña del Mar.

The situation is worse in Iquique, where government policy has stifled the opening of a new copper mine and a planned salt mine by a German firm. Some genius in the leftist government decided that these minerals will have to be mined by state-owned companies, or at least not by foreigners.

What is the result of such folly? Fewer jobs and layoffs. One mining support firm recently laid off 600 people in town.

None of this activity has helped the construction industry, which has slowed considerably. Iquique was booming but now there are only 6 or 7 apartment tower projects left going, and government policy has made little land available for anything but tower projects, stifling single family home and town-home construction. Workers in Iquique used to be making as much as three times the salaries of their counterparts in Viña del Mar, but now their futures are bleak. They face a state-imposed slowdown and little help from tourism (nothing like what is available in Viña del Mar) to impel progress.

The story of leftist failure is repeated time and again. It is “obvious” to libertarian-minded people that the state fails. And Chile in 2014 has added yet more evidence against interventionism.

Chile also provides a good present opportunity to buy real estate on account of the huge and growing immigration numbers, up 21% since March, 50% over the las 5 years and over 80% during the last decade. Most immigration stems from Perú but there are plenty of professionals coming from Brazil, Argentina and Spain, as well as Germany and the United States.

Despite the bad local news, foreigners are coming to Chile in order to escape the failed interventionist paradises where they reside. These people demand homes, just as tourists from Brazil and Argentina continue to demand summer beach homes near Viña del Mar.

Those are some of the reasons why housing demand is not just a function of a bubble bolstered by artificially low interest rates (which is also the case in Chile 2014). It is a sheer function of demand and good value relative to other countries.

Even with the rise in selling prices over the last few years, compare home prices in Santiago and Viña del Mar (or Iquique) with prices with Auckland (50% to 80% more than comparable Viña del Mar) most European or “developed” Asian cities. Chile remains a bargain.

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 and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.
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.
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