Revolution, Evolution, Creative Destruction, and Fear
Not to boast, but I can pack for any trip, to anywhere, in 15 minutes or less. Really. I once packed for a 17-day Zimbabwe safari in that amount of time...
There’s only one problem: I always forget just ONE THING.
Usually, it’s something petty, like sunglasses. Other times, it’s something major. For instance, when I came to Vancouver to cover the Agora Financial Investment Symposium event in 2008, it was my passport.
That little fiasco cost me a missed flight and a speeding ticket for 82 MPH.
This time, what I forgot to bring wasn’t that serious. But here’s how it managed to make an imbecile out of me nonetheless...
Being still on Baltimore’s biorhythms, I was wide awake by 6AM Pacific time this morning. Antsy about it being opening day of the 2011 Symposium, I decided to reconnect with the one-of-a-kind Vancouver vibe by visiting my favorite spot in nearby Stanley Park.
So I dressed for a workout (shorts and a T-shirt), wolfed down some breakfast at the restaurant in the Fairmount’s lobby, and hit the already bustling Georgia Avenue for the trek down to the waterfront...
And was freezing within 10 steps. In late July!
It was in the mid-50s, I’m betting, with gray, misty skies and a biting breeze. And I hadn’t packed a jacket — nor even anything with long sleeves, except dress shirts for attending the Symposium.
Being too early to buy something to wear, I decided to tough it out. The bike rental shop at the mouth of Stanley Park opened at 8AM, and by a few minutes past, I was rolling along the scenic path around the perimeter of the 1000-acre preserve.
There’s a place along that path which, at least for me, perfectly embodies the spirit of Vancouver. In my entire life, I’ve never seen such a magnificent juxtaposition of mankind’s achievements AND the splendor and resilience of nature in one eyeful than at this particular point.
Within this one awesome panorama can be seen:
The understated grandeur of Stanley Park’s rock-strewn, weedy shore and its enormous elms, firs and cedars — which seemingly give birth to...
The mile-long feat of physics that is the Lions Gate Bridge to North Vancouver, where hundreds of buildings, apartments and homes meld organically into...
The green slopes and cloud-enshrouded peaks of the breathtaking North Shore Mountains and dramatic, wooded bluffs and promontories of Lynn Canyon...
Which spills its cool mists down onto the chartreuse mineral hillocks, steel edifices, girders, chutes, and conveyors of the North Vancouver Sulphur Works...
Which fronts the pristine Burrard Inlet, where cormorants and other water-birds, seals — even occasionally whales and orcas — can be seen.
Finally, to the right, the whole scene is framed by the incredible spectacle of the sleek high-rises and mirrored glass buildings of the Vancouver waterfront.
It’s both depressing and inspiring to be in the midst of such a shining example of harmony between man’s machines and materials — and the timeless resolve of nature to survive and thrive. If only more cities did it this way.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: Why didn’t I just take a picture?
That’s the “imbecile” part.
You see, I did take pictures of this stark, yet regal scene. And they looked OK on the 1.5-inch screen of my point-and-shoot digi-cam...
But when I offloaded them onto my PC for this story, every one of them was blurred in one way or another — from my uncontrollable shivering after riding to the spot.
For real, I was practically blue-lipped from the wind and cold air. After returning the bike, it took me 20 minutes in a hot shower to get back to 98.6 at the Fairmount.
And it’s a good thing I did, because the opening day of the 2011 Agora Financial Fight or Flight Investment Symposium was not to be missed...
Something Different In the Air
The vibe at these things is always electric. The air positively crackles with it, especially on day one...
But I’ve been to enough of these events now — and during distinctly different economic conditions — that I’m starting to be able to classify one kind of pre-Symposium “electricity” from another.
In 2007, at the Rim of Fire conference about investing in the new Asian-centric era, the U.S. markets were at peak bubble. And the vibe seemed to me to be more or less pure greed. People wanted to know what the next big, hot thing was going to be. The notion that they could soon lose more than half their assets in the market (or that their homes might plummet in value) wasn’t really on the radar, even though many of AF’s biggest voices had warned of it for years...
But it was there 12 months later, at 2008’s View From the Peak Symposium. A slight nervousness, a shade of doubt. Yet there was still quite a bit of bullishness — many seemed convinced that the market’s fall-off since its high in the fall of 2007 was a “blip” or “correction,” as Washington was so fond of saying at the time. People were still looking to quickly bounce back, and were actively searching for the profit vehicles to help them do it.
Now, however, the vibe seems altogether different.
There seems a kind of nervous indecision in the air, along with more than a small whiff of outrage. People know they’ve been had — and they’re not sure whom to believe, or what to do. There’s more passionate debate, more earnest and intense dialogue.
The cacophony at tonight’s cocktail-and-hors d’oeuvres reception in the Fairmount’s posh Pacific Ballroom was louder than I’ve ever seen it. But I didn’t hear much laughter, unlike in past years. Folks know the situation’s serious — even grave. They seem to be seeking answers and the truth as much as recommendations...
And if today’s powerhouse lineup of speakers is any indication, answers and truth are what we’re all going to get.
Here are the five seminars I took in today, on both our behalves:
AF’s “Chief” Wiggin always has a flair for putting the big picture into perspective — and for calling a spade a spade.
“There are certain things that the government cannot do for us,” says Wiggin, briefly expounding on some of the causes of the current U.S. debt malaise. “They cannot innovate, they cannot compete in the marketplace... yet they continuously promise that they can.” Something’s gotta give, says Wiggin.
But is revolution the answer, as an increasing number of people are wondering aloud these days?
|“Chief” Wiggin explains why he chose the “Fight of Flight” Theme.|
Addison’s come up with a great way of answering that question, using the lens of history (in typical Wiggin form). As a history buff myself, his comparison between the causes and purposes of both the American and French revolutions made me consider in a whole new way whether or not “we, the people” should ponder revolt ...
I can’t really do his contrast of the two wars justice, since I was scribbling notes on his speech just as fast as my fat fingers could write them. Which wasn’t fast enough.
But believe me, I’ll be revisiting his comments just as soon as I receive my own box set of the CD recordings of this year’s Symposium. I found his words quite thought provoking at times — and even a little incendiary — for opening comments. He really set a serious tone for the whole shebang.
That’s a good thing, in my opinion.
We’re in a serious pickle here in the U.S. of A. And we need serious thinkers to help us figure out whether to fight to make things better, or to take flight — which according to Wiggin, Americans have a long history of doing.
His revelations might surprise you. As would those of the mind-boggling visionary who followed him...
On paper, Enriquez is listed as the CEO of Biotechonomy LLC, billed as a “life sciences research and investment firm” in the official Symposium program...
But after hearing him speak, I’d equate him to a hybrid of Bill Gates and Isaac Asimov — a superstar businessman whose “business” is the future of humanity.
That’s a comparison he’d probably see the irony in, since a huge part of his speech dealt with the possibility (actually, the reality) of the creation of an “upgrade” of the human species through genetics.
Except that instead of it happening the way it has happened on 26 prior occasions in the history of humanity — through evolution and natural selection of superior genes...
Enriquez says the time’s right for it to happen in the lab.
|Juan Enriquez on understanding life as a code...|
“Why should there be a single species of human?” he asks.
After all, at one point in the past, there were as many as six naturally evolved human species walking the Earth at the same time. What really puts his question in a new perspective is the fact that the DNA of modern humans and that of Neanderthal Man differs by only .001%.
According to Juan, advancements in human (and animal) genome mapping have made the genetic comparison of large numbers of people feasible and fast...
Which means that we’re on the verge on being able to isolate minute differences between individual genome sequences that could be incorporated into the next generation “upgrade” of the human species. We’re already starting to pinpoint certain desirable or exceptional genes, too. Like the “ACE” gene that’s common to ALL people who’ve shown the ability to climb to extreme heights (like 8000 meters or more) without auxiliary oxygen...
Or the “577R” gene that’s common to every Olympics-class athlete ever tested in certain sports categories related to extreme physical power. And this is just the tip of the turnip, folks.
I thought I knew a good bit about the direction in which we’re headed in the genetic engineering department. I’ve written articles on the subject, in fact...
But the clearly mega-genius Enriquez exposes me for the near ignoramus I must be on the subject — 80% of the stuff he talked about was either completely off my radar, or beyond my ability to grasp right off the bat.
That’s why you can bet that I’ll be listening to his comments over and over again, once I get hold of my recordings of this event. I’ve only summarized about a tenth of what Juan got into in his 50-minute time slot. Most of it just dumbfounded me.
One thing’s not beyond my capacity, though: The fact that incredible wealth is in store for early-movers who see and understand the ramifications of the newest developments in genetics and stem cells...
In fact, Enriquez names five such companies in his speech — and they’re names you wouldn’t associate with the “life sciences.” Check out the CD/MP3 recordings for all the specifics.
And speaking of life and science, Agora’s own resident expert on such things was on tap next...
Patrick’s presentation surprised and delighted me this year — and not just because it included big-screen shots of Salma Hayek, Angeline Jolie, and other super-hot women in scant dress and seductive poses...
But because it unexpectedly combined two things I love to think and talk about: Economic/political philosophy, and the future of science and medicine.
As a political science major in college, I found it like a stroll down memory lane to hear Cox quoting Aristotle, Smith, Jefferson, and others — and adding in Hayek (Friedrich, not Salma), Schumpeter, too...
And all toward points I readily agree with: That freedom is the engine of wealth.
More specifically: The freedom to innovate without needless interference from government. Cox’s exploration of how higher technology affects the business cycle dovetails perfectly with Schumpeter’s long-ago assertion that capitalism is a force of “creative destruction” — that true innovation in any field creates wealth by destroying obsolete or less effective technologies.
Cox’s speech traveled far afield of this framework, though.
His description of sweeping, innovation-driven “Phoenix events” and their relation to Moore’s Law (the theory that most technologies double in capability roughly every two years) carries some significant ramifications for the very near future, especially in the realm of age-related deterioration and life extension.
For instance, Cox claims that there’s now a cure for many types of inflammation.
Not a “treatment” or “therapy” or “relief of symptoms” for inflammation. But an outright cure.
|Cox explains how AI will never be as successful as biology.|
Patrick doesn’t care if you don’t believe him. But he claims to have tested this new substance himself — and he lays out a compelling case for it...
Characterizing this development as a key example of a “Phoenix Event,” Cox predicts that it’ll become so widely implemented, so soon, that the cost of health care as a whole will actually come down because of it.
Like with Juan Enriquez, I can’t possibly do justice in this limited forum to even a fraction of the ground Cox covered in his presentation. My deadlines on these dispatches are simply too tight to allow me much more copy that what I’ve dedicated here.
But you can get the full presentation — and discover the three specific companies he thinks are poised to explode on “phoenix event” technologies — by simply grabbing your own set of CD and/or MP3 recordings of this year’s Fight or Flight Symposium.
Speaking of tight deadlines, I’ve got less than an hour before mine. And I’ve still got two more speakers to briefly cover for you. Here’s the next one right now...
Doug’s the CEO of Leopard Capital, an investment firm with offices in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Hong Kong and other exotic locales.
I’ve never seen him speak before — but I’ll sure never fail to remember him if I ever see him at a future conference or investing event...
That’s because he blew me away with his insights on four “sunrise economies” (what many investors call “frontier markets”) that nobody’s looking at.
But I’ll guarantee you: Everyone in attendance at Doug’s speech at this year’s Agora Financial Investment Symposium is going to be looking at them now.
The nations in question are Bangladesh, Haiti, Cambodia, and Ethiopia. And about the only thing they all have in common is that they’re recovering from recent impoverishment (usually at the hands of their own governments).
I know what you’re thinking — because it’s the same thing I was thinking when he said those names: “Say what?!?”
Now, however, I’m saying, “Why didn’t I think of that before?”
That’s because Doug laid out the case for investing in these nations so clearly and convincingly, I’m left with no legitimate objections to the idea...
Together, these four countries are 94% as large as the U.S. in population — but their combined economies are around 1% the size.
Each of them has low cost labor (in an era when China’s not so cheap anymore), the bulk of their mineral resources still in the ground, and are very early in their current economic cycles.
Beyond these factors, Doug outlined four inarguable reasons why the time may be NOW to invest in these and other frontier markets...
And three specific investment classes to look into within these markets.
He’s also got some advice on how to go about investing in these nations — plus why you shouldn’t watch TV or listen to your broker about them!
With just 36 minutes to deadline, I can’t go into any more detail about Doug’s extraordinary recommendations now. Besides, with this kind of frontier market investing, you need to get all the facts yourself, so you can make a fully informed decision.
That’s why getting your own copy (either CDs or MP3s — or both) of these event recordings is a no-brainer. Especially for as little as the $99 you could get them for right now.
I’ll repeat the ordering details for you in a moment, right after I give a quick introductory mention to one of the Symposium’s perennial favorites...
It just wouldn’t feel right to cover the high spots of opening day at the Agora Financial Investment Symposium without mentioning Rick Rule, one of the events most consistently high-rated and beloved speakers...
I’m going to be covering Rick more fully later in the week, but I wanted to share with you, among other things, this priceless quote from his speech this afternoon:
“The biggest investment risk that you face is really easy to locate,” says Rick “It’s to the left of your right ear, and the right of your left ear...”
That’s a great way of characterizing fear, in my opinion.
It’s this fear that keeps us from capitalizing on events and circumstances worldwide that can have a profound effect on your investments — especially the type of money plays that Rick specializes in: Commodities.
Specifically, the “Bull Case for Commodities” that Rick sees shaping the foreseeable future of that investment class...
In his presentation, Rick lays out numerous compelling arguments for a sustained bull run in resources — none of these reasons more persuasive than this one:
Three billion people in emerging or developing economies aspire to the same standard of living that you and I have, right now...
That’s going to take a lot of “stuff” to make happen. And a lot of commodities to make that stuff. Not only things like silver and Rare Earth minerals for electronics, steel and concrete and copper for building — but foodstuffs as well.
According to Rule, when economies grow from depressed to developing, one of the first things that increases dramatically is individual caloric intake. That represents a huge opportunity for gains in food and agricultural commodities of all types: Wheat, corn, potash, sulphur, etc...
And let’s not forget oil. A scary statistic, from Rick:
Currently, China’s per-capita oil consumption is around 3% of U.S. per-capita consumption. If that Chinese consumption figure increases to, say, 17% as much per capita as the U.S., they’d be consuming all the oil produced on Earth.
Again, I don’t have time or space to cover nearly all of what Rick revealed about the commodities boom he sees coming...
But I promise you: His perspectives on the resource markets alone are MORE than worth the price of the event recordings. Here are those details once more...
Deciding What To Circle
Eleven minutes to deadline. So here’s the deal, once again:
Right now, you can get digital, downloadable MP3 audio recordings of the 2011 Agora Financial Fight or Flight Investment Symposium for just $99...
Or a boxed set of CD recordings for only $149.
Or better yet, you can get them BOTH for the same $149.
Remember, this is 33% OFF the price others will pay for these recordings starting next Tuesday. It doesn’t pay to wait.
If you want the FULL scoop on everything about the Symposium that could help make you rich, help protect what riches you have — or help you decide whether to circle the wagons or circle the globe...
You’d best order your own copies of this event’s recordings right now.
I’ll be around tomorrow to fill you in on even more of the goings-on.
2011 Agora Financial Investment Symposium
P.S. Some folks weren’t clear on this after yesterday’s dispatch, so just to clarify: The price is the SAME $149 whether you order CDs only — or the dual-media pack of CDs and MP3 digital files. There’s literally no downside to getting them both... Again, it’s all in your Symposium recordings, available to you now in both CD and MP3 formats, starting as low as $99.