Capitalism and Capitalists

Here at Markets and Money, we don’t particularly like capitalism or capitalists. We just don’t like anyone telling us what to do. So, doing unto others as we would have them do unto us, we make no effort to tell others what to do with their money. If they want to give it to Bernie Madoff or to Barack Obama, so be it – just count us out. If they want to invest in CDOs and MBDs…well, good luck to them; but don’t look to us to bail them out.

*** “Danny Ortega is not really the person making the decisions down here,” explained a Nicaraguan friend. “It’s his wife. And she’s a witch.”

We thought she was expressing an opinion. Instead, she was merely stating a fact.

“No, she’s a real witch. She even organized an international witch convention here in Nicaragua. Witches from all over the world came to participate. You should see her. She wears rings on all her fingers. Each one is supposed to be a talisman of some sort. You have to watch out, or she’ll put a curse on you.

“Naturally, the whole country is a mess. These people have no idea what they are doing. But they are convinced that capitalism is bad. So they try to stop it. What that means in practice is that they make it very hard to invest in Nicaragua. Just look around. Do you see any new factories? Any new roads? Any new developments of any sort?

“Well, maybe out here at the beach, where rich foreigners are building houses. But the rest of the country has come to a standstill. Of course it has, because who wants to invest in a country run by a witch?”

*** “It’s the same down here as everywhere else,” explained a developer in Nicaragua. “During the boom, people were creating new developments everywhere. Most of them got to the advanced design stage. Lots were laid out and sold. But the infrastructure was never completed. Now, a lot of those places are just closing down. It’s not a good time for us.

“But I just think it is a lull. Over the long haul, Americans will still want a nice place to retire. And Danny Ortega should be gone – I hope – in a few years. There’s no prettier or nicer place in the Northern Hemisphere. The coast is beautiful. The beaches are nearly perfect. And the prices are still very low compared to other beach areas. When the economy picks up, this place will come back to life and people will begin building again. It’s not like Detroit. That city will probably never come back to life.”

Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success and garnered camaraderie in numerous communities and industries. A man of many talents, his entrepreneurial savvy, unique writings, philanthropic undertakings, and preservationist activities have all been recognized and awarded by some of America’s most respected authorities. Along with Addison Wiggin, his friend and colleague, Bill has written two New York Times best-selling books, Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. Both works have been critically acclaimed internationally. With political journalist Lila Rajiva, he wrote his third New York Times best-selling book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, which offers concrete advice on how to avoid the public spectacle of modern finance. Since 1999, Bill has been a daily contributor and the driving force behind Markets and Money.
Bill Bonner

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Doug White
In the email of the 25th Feb. Bill Bonner writes that the biblical “thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:15) amounts to an endorsement of property ownership and therefore capitalism. Nice try but when you go to the very next two subsequent commandments you will find they repudiate a lot more of the things for which capitalism (rightly or wrongly) stands accused. Thou shalt not bear false witness (lying) and thou shalt not covet your neighbour’s belongings (greed). The commandment not to steal emphasises that (well-earned) property has to come from hard work – and capitalism won’t succeed where laziness, theft,… Read more »
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