Monday, October 20, 2014

Argentine Stock Market and Ammo after the Economic Collapse

MERVAL Index is the most important index of the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange.

Hi Ferfal,
I have been following you blog and videos for a couple of years now. Also, I am reading your new book and enjoying it immensely. I would like to add that I loved your first book too.

I have a couple of nagging questions and I am hoping you might be able to answer them. First, I notice that you never mention the financial markets in Argentina. When Argentina had its' financial collapse over a decade ago, were there ANY areas that thrived? Or was it too risky to be in the markets? I hear people recommend this stock, bond etc. as being a good form of protection against financial collapse, however, I tend to be very skeptical. I have purchased some gold/ silver, but is there anything else you recommend (especially in the financial markets). Please understand, I am not looking for a "hot stock pick", or a way to get rich, just added ways to protect myself.

Also, I have a question about ammunition. If a large economic event were to occur in the US, what is likely to happen to self defense ammunition (JHP's). Were they scarce in Argentina? Were they too expensive to buy? Did the government limit their use? The reason I ask is that I tend to favor the 9mm and the .45ACP and if hollow points are hard to find, I will eventually run out of my 9mm hollow points. Are the 9mm fmj's as bad as many people say? I figure that if it happens that they are hard to find, I can use .45 fmj's. What do you recommend?
Thank you for all of your no nonsense advice. It is truly appreciated.
-Matt

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Hi Matt,
Regarding your first question, the Argentine market did get hit because of the economic collapse of December 2001, but it wasn’t as serious as you would expect. In fact, if you look at the chart, it seems to have been doing rather well ever since. Here, he have to keep a couple things in mind.

First, the argentine stock market wasn’t that big to begin with. There was no bubble to burst, so the drop due to the crisis wasn’t as significant as you might expect. Second, you have to keep in mind that as you consider the rising graphic, you must take into account that after 2001 the Argentine peso is no longer pegged to the US dollar and in fact inflation is likely bringing that chart down much more than it would initially seem, especially these last few years. I’m not stock exchange savvy but for the most part its understood that the stock exchange in Argentina is small, messy and you’re more likely to end up losing money. My advice would be to go for land, brick and mortar. Real estate has always been considered a safe, stable investment when buying smart and not falling for some developer’s scam.

Regarding ammunition, you already know that when things get tough, ammo gets pretty scarce. This is especially true for the more common calibers such as 22LR, 9mm ad 45 ACP. In the case of Argentina ammo was hard to find at times and it sure was expensive. The problem was that premium JHP ammo for defense was expensive to import after the devaluation, so there wasn’t that much floating around. Still, with some patience and a bit of money you did find it, especially in the more common calibers.

My advice here is to have plenty of ammunition. Start buying as funds allow but try going for 1000 rounds of pistol ammo. 5000 rounds would be even better, but 1000 should do as your first goal to go for. I know ammo is expensive but there’s just no way around it: Without ammo a gun is just a fancy paperweight or a poor club. If you buy a box here and there it will eventually pile up. Make sure to keep your emergency supply and not use it. I would go for quality JHP, in the case of 9mm I like 124gr +P. FMJ is not as bad as it sounds though. Granted, stopping power is pretty bad compared to JHP, but ball ammo kills people every day. Indeed, hardball FMJ .45 is superior to FMJ 9mm, but 9mm hollow point premium ammo will perform better than FMJ 45. Just make sure to buy ammo now for a rainy day. Even with ten boxes of ammo, not many people go through 500 rounds of ammo in defensive shootings during their entire life. Heck, most people will go their entire lives without firing a single round in self-defense, few will go through 50 rounds, let alone 500 or 1000.

FerFAL

Sunday, October 19, 2014

*NEW* Kershaw Lifter: Bargain EDC Knife at $18.99




Knives have always been our quintessential survival tools and little has changed in that regard since man first picked up a sharp piece of rock. Everything from repairs and rescue operations to self-defense, a knife allows you to perform an endless amount of tasks. No one argues the usefulness of a blade. While a fixed blade knife is always preferable, the reality is that its impractical to carry one in your pocket. The key to having a knife with you when you need it is to carry one every day and here is where folding knives enter the equation.

The Kershaw Lifter



In a market saturated with great choices, the Kershaw Lifter has some interesting attributes. The first thing to catch your attention is its price. Currently its 18.99 on Amazon, although that’s likely to change soon. You don’t find many good folding knives for that money. The second thing you notice once you hold it is how solid and well put together it feels. The design is very appealing, esthetically pleasing. The blackwash finish looks rugged and functional, in harmony with the 3.5” recurred tanto blade


In spite of the small size, the Lifter fits the hand well.
Pros:
Price. Not many good knives for under $20
Design. The recurved edge is one of the most effective shapes for slicing and the tanto style tip should be robust enough for most utility and defensive uses.
Ergonomics. The handle feels comfortable, the flipper works as an effective finger guard. The handle provides plenty of real estate for medium/large hands in spite of the small size.
Esthetics. It’s an interesting, fine looking knife that looks more expensive than it actually is.
Speed. The Speedsafe system deploys fast and smoothly after a short break-in period.
Locking system. The framelock is well executed, and it includes an overtravell stop which is more often seen in much more expensive knives.
Cons:
Mystery steel. I’m not expecting high end steels for $20 but I’d still like to know what steel I’m getting even if when heat treated correctly, an ordinary steel should perform well enough.
Clip. The clip is intended for right handed pocket carry only.
If you’re looking for a sub $20 folder, give this one some though and consider some of the other, more traditional offerings by Kershaw in the Blackwash line. Should make some very nice Christmas presents too if you’re doing some early shopping.

FerFAL

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Brace yourselves for another financial crash


Ebola, combined with dropping oil prices, have caused stock markets to drop around the world. With questions about the European economy and an uncertain American growth many are wondering if another economic crisis is just around the corner.
Opinion: Brace yourselves for another financial crash
(CNN) -- The stock market's recent jitters have made many investors wonder whether there's a new financial crisis just around the corner. Well, of course there isn't -- because we've never really left the last one.
Financial crises of the scale of the 2007 crash only really end when their causes are unwound by debt repayment, bankruptcies, debt write-offs, and inflation.
In the 1930s, there was plenty of all four. The end result was that US private debt fell by almost 100% of GDP from its deflation-spiked peak of 130% in 1933, to a low of 35% at the end of WWII.
By comparison, the debt cutting we've been through so far in this crisis is trivial -- a fall of under 20% from a far higher peak of 175% in 2010.
We're attempting an economic revival from a debt level that exceeds the worst level reached during the 1930s....
Ebola: Could virus's spread cause financial market turmoil?
The spread of Ebola beyond West Africa could lead to turmoil on international financial markets on a greater scale than the SARS outbreak a decade ago, economists have warned.
Analysts at Barclays warned that the continued spread of the deadly virus would hit global growth and "have a significant impact on global financial markets"....
Fears of global slowdown spark fall on European and US stockmarkets
Fears of a worldwide economic slowdown and anxiety about the spread of Ebola reverberated around stock markets Wednesday, driving shares around the world sharply down and pushing the price of oil to a four-year low.
After falls in London and New York on Wednesday, Asia extended the selloff in global equities on Thursday as heightened concerns about world economic growth sent Japanese stocks tumbling and U.S. Treasury yields down...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

U.S. Hospitals Prepared for Ebola?



Hi Ferfal,
I was just looking through your site. Looks like there has not been much on ebola. You may recall I am a licensed healthcare person, although not a nurse. I have a personal intellectual interest in infectious diseases, so I get this email digest from the International Society for Infectious Disease.
http://www.promedmail.org/ They had a period when it seemed like no messages were going out, but they seem back in the game now.
As a result, I guess I have been following the ebola outbreak since pretty close to when it started. I also just have kept an eye out for other articles about it. I distinctly remembered in the summer reading that the people who purport to study this kind of thing were heavily implying that it could be transmitted by droplets. The CDC et al. always go out of their way to insist ebola is not airborne. That is technically true, but to the layperson I think they don’t make a distinction between droplet transmission and airborne. Already at the beginning of August, the health authorities were giving guidance that was clearly intended to avoid droplet transmission.
Anyway, you know the CDC now has been going on and on about we have such a great healthcare system in the US, etc etc. I think anyone who actually works in the industry would be quick to tell you differently- including me. Last winter we were constantly running short of simple masks during flu season. So it was not hard to figure that they would not have a good supply of space suits for ebola care.
Just because I have been keeping an eye out, I have seen a few memos go past in the work email since the start of the outbreak, but they all have been beyond superficial. There has been no education, no drills, no stocking up that I can see, no designating areas to care for suspected cases, nothing like that. The vague, ebola related emails were just mixed right in with employee parking spot winners and foolishness like that.
Just yesterday morning we got an email ‘[Our hospital] remains prepared to deal with Ebola’. It was almost like a pep talk for people who already worked there. The only substantive bit was to tell people to look at the FAQs on the CDC website. There was nothing like ‘personal protective equipment can be obtained from so-and-so’ or ‘please put any suspected ebola cases in room 2′ or anything that would be immediately useful.
So last night the emergency department had someone come in who fit the profile for a potential ebola case. Guess what? No one knew what do to. They were calling around to see if anyone knew what to do, looking on google to find out what kind of PPE they should be wearing and how to isolate the patient.
I was surprised to learn that the people working didn’t even know about the potential for infectious droplets, because I had thought that was already established back in the summer. So basically, it sounds like it was a big clusterf*k. This is at a community hospital, so maybe they didn’t think it would be a problem for them.
I am on the email list from another hospital I used to work at- i.e. a ‘big city hospital’, and they were doing a training session today on PPE apparently. It says ‘ebola overview, resources, donning and doffing of PPE’. I only got the email first thing this morning which leads me to believe it was probably put together at the last minute.
I personally have not heard of anyone, anywhere, saying anything like, ‘Wow, we have done so much training for ebola,’ or ‘wow, my hospital is really on top of this.’ Everyone is like, ‘What’s going on?’
Just thought you might be interested.
– JM


Hi JM,
As you know I have a very practical, no-nonsense approach to modern survivalism. I especially try to keep a level headed attitude and avoid fear mongering. Having said that, I just cannot believe how irresponsibly ebola is being handled.
“NOT EASY TO CONTRACT” this is literally what cnn has to say about ebola. Of course then it goes on to say in the same video presentation that it is carried in bodily fluids, blood, saliva, tears, mucus, feces, urine, sweat, semen and vomit. How can we say on one hand that direct contact is needed to get infected, but on the same video clip they say that saliva and mucus carries ebola and it can get into your body through your nose, mouth and even your eyes. Cant anyone makes the elemental connection between saliva and the thousands of droplets flying after a patient sneezes or coughs? Just yesterday I saw CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta argue with ebola expert David Sanders. Sanders was explaining the possibility of ebola being spread through aerosol transmission (sneeze, cough, vomit) but Gupta cut him short claiming the chances of such a transmission were so small, it was not worth talking about while other things were more important…??? You’re talking about ebola, and you don’t think its important to learn how you can actually catch it? I can’t believe relatively smart grown persons are either a) so stupid b) so irresponsible. The only option left I see is that these claims we see on the press are very misguided attempted to keep people calm. In any case, it is very concerning to still see talking heads in the media claiming ebola can’t be transmitted in such a way.
Thanks for sharing your experience JM!

FerFAL

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Example of Hyperinflation and "Shrinkflation" at Work


I recently found this bus ticket in one of my jackets. This is a minimum fee bus ticket from Buenos Aires back in 2011. Notice that is says "Subsidised by the National Estate". Today, that same minimum fee, one ride ticket paid in cash costs 6 pesos, an inflation of nearly 600% in 3 years.
Also notice how small the bus ticket is. As the economy got worse in Argentina, everything suffered "shrinkflation" so as to cut cost and expenses wherever possible or even hide inflation by making food and other consumable goods in smaller "new" packages and bottles. As months went by, bus tickets kept getting smaller and smaller, up to the point where it was hard to read them for some people.

FerFAL