In Ecuador, as in many Latin American countries, the custom on New Year’s Eve is to burn a human figure dummy. These dummies are about three-fifth full size, dressed in all manner of clothing, often designed to resemble political figures. You write the events or memories of this past year on a slip of paper then then place it in a pocket of the dummy. Toward midnight the dummy is carried to the street where it is burned. This year Cuenca outlawed the sell of dummies which is a significant source of income to the poor. After protests they relented but still prohibit their burning Thursday night. Good luck with that. The local police refused to enforce the anti-family gathering edict for Christmas and my guess is they won’t enforce this one either.
“Justice Gorsuch’s book reminds us that our government exists primarily to protect our freedom and that this framework is something we ought to work to preserve. Preserve not just for ourselves but for future generations of Americans so that they too may experience what it is like to live free.” ~ Ethan Yang
Though the national and state governments here have prohibited a normal Christmas, the spirit remains. We look forward to returning next year to the usual colorful and joyous festivities. From two years ago:
We’ve been retired here in Cuenca in the Andes for over seven years. I’ll be posting about expat life and expat life in South America from time to time. Here is a popular website that keeps English speaking expats up to date on events in Ecuador. You’ll see it’s a quite different life. While many things will seem very similar, a great many are very, very different.
According to The Federalist, just as Japan faltered in the 90’s when ‘everyone’ thought they were on the verge of becoming the dominant world economic power, so too is China now beginning to falter. Having overextended itself it is about to face the consequences and with that comes a measure of peril for the U.S. and the free world.
Traditional economists and financiers disparage crypto currencies and in particular Bitcoin at every opportunity. They have bet their careers on fiat currencies and trading in stock markets. It is not in their interest to acknowledge that their world is crumbling beneath their feet. The major hedge funds and investment portfolios, however, are increasingly accepting the inevitable and moving into Bitcoin in greater and greater numbers. Recently the Guggenheim Fund announced it will place up to 10%, or $530 million, in Bitcoin while MassMutual has bought $100 million. What the traditionalists refuse to admit is that national currencies, including the ‘almighty’ U.S. dollar and other fiat currencies, no longer hold any trust by the public. Inflation steadily reduces their value. In my lifetime I’ve watched the American middle class relentlessly striped of assets by this pernicious, undeclared tax on their hard-earned wealth. The dollar is no longer backed by anything but the “Full Faith and Credit” of the U.S. government. “Full faith.” Can anyone paying attention to our government see this as anything but a joke? What “full faith”? When in recent decades has Washington D.C. kept faith with the American public? And as for “Credit”, well, the Treasury just prints and prints and prints, borrows and borrows and borrows. How long can the concept of “credit” hold any genuine meaning? Since the creation of the Fed, the dollar has simply fallen relentlessly in value. And it will continue to do so, almost certainly at an accelerated rate given our recent reckless deficits.
There is a saying in crypto circles. “As the dollar has no bottom, Bitcoin has no top.” The dollar can fall to virtual zero as so many other fiat currencies have, and in our lifetime. Since the creation of the Fed its devaluation has been national policy. Bitcoin is designed to work in the exact opposite. It is structured to rise in value. Only 21 million of them will ever exist. As demand increases, which it is, the value will simply go up and up. One form of currency is designed to fall in value, the other to increase.
Traditionalists question why anyone would have confidence in a cyber currency owned by no government. Those of us invested in Bitcoin wonder why anyone today can have confidence in any government fiat currency. They are backed by nothing but lying governments, supported by economists who make their careers by advocating continued involvement in these failing instruments. No government controls Bitcoin and never can. For now most who buy it do so as a speculative investment. But in time, and likely only a few short years, the hedge funds and the like will have bought most of it, driving its price up to levels no one knows. One respected prediction is $1.2 million within five years. Just this week the CEO of BlackRock which oversees more than $7 trillion predicts Bitcoin will supplant gold as the preeminent store of value. Bitcoin is already a permanent asset, safe from inflation and government interference. Soon its noted volatility will be a phenomenon of the past and those who have been wise enough to retain a portion of it will have financial security for life. The writing is on the wall, for those willing to see.
To learn all about it read The Bitcoin Standard.
TODAY BITCOIN BROKE $20,000 FOR THE FIRST TIME Unlike Bitcoin’s previous flirt with 20K this one is based on a fundamental change in investors. Bitcoin is increasingly seen as a store of value, a protection from inflation and from government interference. Read The Bitcoin Standard and see the future.
Until this year, Christmas here has been one of the highlights of living in the Andes. The “juice” as a good friend said last week. The annual Christmas Eve parade of children draws more than 100,000 visitors from throughout the country and South America. It brings in hundreds of thousands of dollars to the local economy. It is the longest parade on the continent and a spectacle well worth devoting a day to. The people embrace it with love, colorful costumes and devotion. The city fathers, in their typically irresponsible fashion, have cancelled all such celebrations this year. Ecuadorians are by nature highly resistant to authoritarian government and I’m anticipating considerable resistance to the edict, though without government permits I can’t see us enjoying the usual parade. It forms just below our balcony. Below is a photo I took three years ago as I wandered along the river, greeted with smiles and Feliz Navidad at every turn. Let us hope for a return to normal next year.