At Freedomfest 2018

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At Freedomfest 2018

-By Caleb Jones

I’m writing this while at the Freedomfest conference in Las Vegas. It’s the largest gathering of libertarian (or libertarian-leaning) folks in the world. Most of the sessions here focus on investing, business, and politics. As you might imagine, the political stuff doesn’t really interest me; I’m here for the investing and business materials, as well as to meet some of the guys I’ve been following for quite some time.
I was going to speak at this conference but I missed the speaker deadline because I was stupid. I will instead speak at Freedomfest next year, as well as have an entire booth at the trade show, right alongside guys like Peter Schiff. Pink Firefly will run the booth with the help of a few of my other friends. That will be fun, but that’s next year. This year it’s just me and my son attending and checking everything out, with my Alpha 2.0 Business Seminar afterwards.
One of my goals for this conference was to meet certain people. I made a list of everyone I wanted to talk to and I’m happy to report that I was able to spend some one-on-one time with everyone on that list. These men were various men I’ve mentioned on this blog before:
Jim Rogers – One of my all-time mentors, Guinness Book of World Records holder (he drive round the entire planet on a motorcycle) and one of the most successful self-made investors of all time. He flew all the way here from his home in Singapore (he wisely left the Collapsing West several years ago) and was very jetlagged when we talked the first time. Kinda funny.
Doug Casey – Another super successful business owner and investor who has helped me make a lot of money. He’s a total anarchist and very abrasive in his books and speeches (in a good way; I love guys like this), but was extremely pleasant and relaxed when I talked to him about his daily and weekly work habits.
Peter Schiff – The contrarian investor who called the crash of 2008 when most everyone else said everything was fine. I was only able to talk to him for a few minutes; a very hyper and high-energy guy. Fun.
Jeff Berwick – Big time anarchist who’s all over the internet and hosts another large annual freedom conference called Anarchapulco. I don’t agree with 100% of his views but I really like him and will probably be doing business with him soon.
There were some other guys here I liked and saw speak but didn’t necessarily need to meet, such as Robert Kyosaki, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Steve Forbes (yes, there are some Republicans here unfortunately, but Steve Forbes isn’t too bad), Nick Gillespie, Gary Johnson, Andrew Puzder (holy shit, this guy is amazing), John Mackey, Adam Kokesh and a few others. John Stossel was going to be here but had to cancel his appearance because he broke his jaw while playing volleyball(!).
Here are a few quotes and snippets from my conference notes that I thought were of interest:
  • If all cars became electric tomorrow, total worldwide oil consumption would only go down by 20 percent.
  • Vault services (like international gold vaults) are not considered financial institutions, so there are no reporting requirements on their end, and FATCA doesn’t apply to them(!).
  • They asked people around the world why they don’t do business with more Americans. The answer is “You Americans show up with 5000 pages of employee manuals, 5000 pages of environmental impact rules, 5000 pages of trade rules, and so on, and the Chinese show up with a suitcase full of hundreds of millions of dollars and say, ‘We’re ready to start on Monday.’” China wins. Why the hell would we want to do business with you Americans?
  • Jim Rogers: “If you were only able to invest in 20 things in your entire life, how would you go about it? You would do massive amounts of research before investing, and you’d only invest in sure things.”
  • Robert Kiyosaki: “Your FICO score doesn’t mean shit.”
  • Instead of the European Union, there should be 1000 Lichtensteins.
  • Government should be like the post office. You don’t care who’s in charge of the post office, you just want your letter to get there.
  • A common left-wing argument is that real wages in the US have been stagnant while employee productivity has increased; thus businesses are ripping off employees. This has been true, but only since 2004. Overall productivity in the US has dropped since 2004, and continues to drop. So now wages are stagnant and productivity is down.
  • Robert Kiyosaki: “Student loans are now the number one asset of the US federal government, at $1.2 trillion. The government is ripping off our students with these useless college degrees.”
  • The average employer spends $10,000 per year per employee to comply with all governmental regulations. If you’re a manufacturer, it’s $20K. If you’re a small manufacturer, it’s $30K. China didn’t kill our manufacturing jobs; our own government did.
  • US home ownership is now at a 60 year low.
  • Whenever investing, ask yourself, “What if I’m wrong?” Then evaluate your portfolio from that perspective. The more confident you are that you’re right, the more likely you are to be wrong. Always, always diversify like crazy.

Anyway, Freedomfest has been fantastic, and attendance grows every year. Starting next year (the next Freedomfest is in Las Vegas next year, July 17-20th), I will now be a part of this conference every year as a speaker and exhibitor. America is still fucked and libertarianism will never catch on, but the economic and investing data I’ve received, as well as the contacts I’ve made here is more than worth my time to attend and support this conference.
Can’t wait for next year!

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This article was originally published on July 18, 2018


  • Hank Specter 2018-07-18 07:53:08

    Can I PLEASE help run your booth?!?! I can be your living, breathing testimonial! Thank you Sensei. -DC

  • TheLibtrans 2018-07-18 08:27:08

    ...but I missed the speaker deadline...
    ??? ?? ? What are you doing, Caleb?

  • Caleb Jones 2018-07-18 09:48:24

    Can I PLEASE help run your booth?!?! I can be your living, breathing testimonial! Thank you Sensei.
    I've had a number of people volunteer already. I need to come up with some kind of system to vet the applicants to make sure they're actually going to work the booth for 8 hours a day, three and a half days long, which is not an easy job, particularly when you're not getting paid and when you're at somewhere exciting like Freedomfest. I'll come up with something soon and let you know.
    What are you doing, Caleb?
    Working on three companies, having sex with multiple women, traveling the world. You know, the usual.

  • Leon 2018-07-18 10:31:41

    Very good post, I love the ''event summary with memorial/valuable quotes'' kind of post, thank you! I understand the importance of diversification, but ''The more confident you are that you’re right, the more likely you are to be wrong.'' doesn't sound right. Could someone please explain it? Btw, what's your view on Robert Kyosaki? Some says he's a bit shady and untrustworthy.

  • Caleb Jones 2018-07-18 10:44:23

    ”The more confident you are that you’re right, the more likely you are to be wrong.” doesn’t sound right. Could someone please explain it?
    Sure. If you're 100% sure that "OMG the USA is going to collapse NEXT YEAR!!!" and arrange all of your investments around that, if it doesn't happen, you're screwed. Or if you say, "Trump is awesome and now America will BOOM!" and base all of your investments around that, if that doesn't happen, you're also screwed. Instead, you need to have investments that will do well (or at least hold their value) no matter what happens.
    Btw, what’s your view on Robert Kyosaki?
    I like him and agree with most of his advice, except that he pushes debt way too much and needs to back down on the "Debt is awesome!" rhetoric.
    Some says he’s a bit shady and untrustworthy.
    That is said of all wealthy financial figures who teach get rich advice. (Some people even say that about me.) Always focus on facts, not rumors.

  • johnnybegood 2018-07-18 12:13:49

    You Americans show up with 5000 pages of employee manuals
      This is a bit of an exaggeration, honestly. Also, never go to Germany. They have 50x more regulations than America in terms of data protection, privacy, anti-profit laws, anti common sense laws. The prevailing sentiment there is "go above and beyond what is legally required." Why? We're afraid of letting our own managers known when an employee takes a 'freakin day off --- meanwhile competitors are dumping toxic sewage into lakes with reckless abandon. I wonder who will win?

  • joelsuf 2018-07-18 13:30:15

    I just started listening to Kiyosaki's podcasts and god damn does he know his stuff. Doug Casey is also really good. I'm in the process of reading/listening to them and taking notes on the stuff they say. It's about time I learn how to quit being some worker slave and start joining the big boys. Sucks that Stossel wasn't there. That guy is the man. Was friends with my economics professor when I went to Florida State. Stossel did an appearance there. During his Q&A, my question was "I don't really see news as informational. Do you see news as nothing but entertainment as well?" His response: "Absolutely. Of all the news sources you come across, you should only take about 10% of it seriously, and I'm being generous." Its good to know that there are fellow libertarians in your corner. I just wish there was more of us. Even AnCaps like Kokesh and Casey are good people to learn from.

  • Viking 2018-07-19 01:55:39

    I'm a bit torn on Peter Schiff. He's the Gold Money guy right, so seems like he's always predicting crashes in stocks and bonds, and thus is bound to be right every now and then (like 2008). He does make a lot of sense though, and is a very smart guy when it comes to financial markets. So my question is; Do you take his crash-predictions seriously? (when he obviously has self-interest in promoting them) Thanks, great stuff as always!

  • PK 2018-07-19 07:59:50

    Vault services (like international gold vaults) are not considered financial institutions, so there are no reporting requirements on their end, and FATCA doesn’t apply to them(!).
    Does this also mean that escheatment (aka, abandoned property) laws do not apply to vault services?  And would it matter if the vault is based in the USA or not?  Thanks.      

  • Caleb Jones 2018-07-19 09:30:42

    Do you take his crash-predictions seriously?
    It's as I've said with everyone who makes crash predictions. I look at the data and facts they point to and evaluate their predictions on those, but I completely ignore when they say the crash will occur, since no one can predict when a crash occurs. Only if it occurs, why it occurs, and how bad it will be. So on those three items, I think Schiff is more or less correct. But in terms of timing, I ignore those predictions.
    Does this also mean that escheatment (aka, abandoned property) laws do not apply to vault services?
    Not sure.
    And would it matter if the vault is based in the USA or not?
    Probably, yes. I can only imagine the sheer amount of regulations a USA-based vault service must adhere to.

  • BigTime 2018-07-19 13:29:21

    Instead of the European Union, there should be 1000 Lichtensteins.
    That's what they had in all the previous centuries.  All the little kings fought each other.  Finally there was WWI and II and they had to try something new. I've thought about all the alternatives and come to the conclusion that humans are ungovernable.  It's rare to find people even in small groups that cooperate very well.  Most families don't even get along. A good book is "The Sociopath Next Door".  It doesn't matter what system of gov't you form, these are the people who seek power.  Regular people generally aren't interested in all the work involved. I wonder who's quote that was.

  • Kevin 2018-07-19 17:40:44

    I started reading about two years ago, and this blog about a year ago. I remember coming to your sites and getting so angry that I'd slam my laptop shut, for no reason that I could articulate. Cognitive dissonance at it's finest. Nowadays, I agree with everything on both of your blogs (with the exception of the no employees rule, I'm willing to sacrifice some freedom to make more money.) I'm still not on board with complete anarchy or the tin-foil hat that Jeff has on, but I'm closer to that end of the spectrum than I was last year. Thanks for all the free content Caleb, you've put a complete 180º on my worldview.    

  • Concerned: 2018-07-20 09:28:44

    Wow: I looked up Jeff Berwick and his passport fraud accusations. Ouch.

  • Caleb Jones 2018-07-20 09:39:30

    Yeah he's been involved in some super controversial shit.

  • Eric C Smith 2018-07-20 17:40:05

    sounds like a great place to learn, and meet people who are good to model in many ways!