Maurice: Today we will discuss the Coronavirus and a number of buying opportunities for your portfolio. Joining us for conversation is Jayant Bhandari, the founder of Capitalism & Morality, and a highly sought-out advisor to institutional investors. Sir, the world is a much, much different place since our last interview in January. May I ask, where are you these days?
Jayant: I am currently in India. I came here about two weeks back immediately after the end of PDAC in Toronto.
Maurice: For those of us in the West, can you provide us with some insight on how the overall sentiment is there regarding the coronavirus, and what type of precautions are being taken there by the government and the citizens alike?
Jayant: When I arrived in New Delhi, Maurice, they were testing the temperature of everyone, but they were more focused on collecting a self-declaration form that people were asked to fill up. And apart from the Delhi airport, there was virtually nothing happening in the country. I flew around to a couple more airports after that and there were booths that was supposed to be manned by health officials to test temperature of people, but the booths were empty. So, in a mere 20 days, the dysfunctionality of India was showing up in how they control a problem socially and politically. Those in charge of manning the booths disappeared because they knew there was no one checking on them, so they probably stayed home.
Maurice: Have you seen any estimates on the projections of how serious the situation may get in India?
Jayant: The World Health Organization has come out with a statement with a lot of praise for India. They say that India has been very proactive and India has done extremely well in terms of controlling the virus. The official numbers in India are around 150 people [as of the date of the interview].
But I am of the opinion that those numbers are not accurate. The World Health Organization should employ me as a consultant, and I could advise them on a few things. The reality is that a lot of people who are suspected of having the virus are absconding, a lot of people have run away from quarantine centers, and the Indian government is hardly testing anyone for the virus. And the reason is very simple, India is an extraordinarily dysfunctional place. They don't really have the kits to test people, and people are absconding because they know what they will get into if they surrender themselves to an Indian hospital.
The quarantine centers in India is abysmal: The toilets are dirty, the beds are dirty, you are close to other people who are likely suffering from the virus; and the situation is so unhygienic in most places that people are running away. There was a British person who ran away from the quarantine center because he thought that he would die within the quarantine center because of the conditions.
So that is the situation with India. India is going to be, in my view, something very similar to Iran, except for a difference in temperature. India is a much warmer country, so the virus might lose its potency in this country. But it's a very chaotic place. If the virus is spreading here, we could potentially see thousands of people die. No one knows about it because doctors are not very well trained. The Indian medical system is one of the worst medical systems on the planet.
The reader may recall that, about 10 to 15 years back, people were talking about medical tourism in India. But that all disappeared because people soon realize that the Indian medical system was cheap, meaning [low cost = low quality, versus low cost = inexpensive]. Indians go to the hospitals here to die.
So, in conclusion, if the virus gets hold of people in this country, thousands, and I guess hundreds of thousands, of people can easily die because people are so close together, they're so superstitious, and they are ill equipped on how to deal with these kind of scenarios.
Maurice: Let's expand the narrative here regarding the coronavirus and Third World nations. What are your thoughts on the impact of the coronavirus there?
Jayant: We may see a similar situation in Africa, the Middle East and the Latin American countries. There are not enough cases coming out of these countries. And my suspicion is that this is mostly because their governments are so completely dysfunctional. Nothing ever works in these countries.
And my guess is that if not this, something else will come up, which will be nothing but Malthus and Darwin working together to bring the populations of these societies under control. Certainly, within a few years or within a decade—at some point of time in the future—hundreds of millions of people in the Third World will disappear because these societies are so dysfunctional and so completely dependent on Western technology and Western help. And West can no longer continue to provide help to these people.
Maurice: I'm speaking as a Westerner here, but I noticed back in January and February there was daily reporting from China, almost by hour by hour, with updates there. And everything just seemed to stop. I know you have contacts in China. Do you have any discussions with them on the situation there?
Jayant: I keep in touch with people in China. I know several libertarian friends of mine from Western countries who live in China, and several of them prefer to stay back in China rather than leave China, because they think that China is not only more competent, [but is] better prepared to deal with coronavirus than probably than Western countries.
Now, of course, the virus started in China. . .Once they found out about it, and once they declared it, they have taken very good measures. The whole of East Asia has taken such strong measures, not just because of the governments, but because of how their societies are organized, where people feel individually self-responsible to control these kinds of things, that the virus has come under complete control. China today has fewer sick people from the virus than Italy, Iran, Spain or even Germany.
Maurice: There's been some finger pointing between the China and U.S. regarding where and when the virus actually began. Could this lead to further escalations?
Jayant: It certainly can, and I completely agree with what Trump says, it is a China virus. And China should accept full responsibility and should take measures to control possibility of this happening again in the future. That said, I am very respectful of what the Chinese have been able to achieve. But I'm also completely on the side of Trump. . .because he is pointing fingers in the right direction.
Maurice: Which in today's world seems like the wrong thing to do. Do you believe that the World Health Organization and governments around the world have reacted too late on the spread of the Coronavirus?
Jayant: I don't think they have reacted too late. What has actually happened, in my view, is that governments have become [so] big—they have taken over control of so much of our lives—that now they suddenly realize that, as this virus continues to spread, it will create complete chaos because they don't really have organizations to put such a virus under control.
If you need 10,000 beds, let's say, in Vancouver, you won't be able to organize those beds at all. There is no system to put in place for such a measure. China can organize those beds. So simply put, our world governments have become very big and right now we have no other choice but to play the tune that the governments are playing for us.
But this is simply a sign that the governments are incapable of dealing with these kind of large-scale problems. They should have decentralized the world. And this virus issue is pointing fingers at over-centralization of governments around the world.
Maurice: What type of impacts are we going to see moving forward on the global economy?
Jayant: Clearly there is hysteria in response to the virus. Governments are overreacting because they don't want to be held responsible if anything goes wrong. People are extremely emotional. I think people should find a refuge in the Bible. People are very emotional, very lustful, very greedy right now. When I see people running for toilet paper, I clearly see there's a lot of fear in these people, and they should find some relief in the Bible. And that's not for superstitious purposes, that's to learn and understand that we have to keep our emotions under control. To become a human being, to become rational, we should keep our sins and our emotions under control, which should lead us, show us, more clarity in terms of what we should do.
Maurice: Amen to that, brother, I'm a Christian.
Well, let's switch topics and discuss junior mining companies, sir. Jayant, it goes without saying you're the most respected name when it comes to arbitrage opportunities. Do you have any to share with us?
Jayant: Oh, there are so many companies right now, Maurice, that I am interested in. A number of quality names have fallen by 50% to maybe 80% in the last few days. So, pretty much you can invest in any of the good names and you should be able to rewarded financially by buying at these depressed prices.
Let me just quote some names and I can't give prices anymore because prices are so volatile. One company is Strongbow Exploration (SBW:TSX.V). The last time I saw the price it was, I think, $0.015. Harfang Exploration Inc. (HAR:TSX.V) is trading at $0.16. Aston Bay Holdings Ltd. (BAY:TSX.V; ATBHF:OTCQB) is trading at $0.03. Commander Resources Ltd. (CMD:TSX.V) is trading at $0.045.
There are two arbitrage opportunities, which if you want take an extra benefit from arbitrage. One is Otis Gold Corp. (OOO:TSX; OGLDF:OTCMKTS). And another one is Balmoral Resources Ltd. (BAR:TSX; BALMF:OTCQX).
Look at how much Novo Resources Corp. (NVO:TSX.V; NSRPF:OTCQX) and Irving Resources Inc. (IRV:CSE; IRVRF:OTCBB) have fallen; Atico Mining Corp. (ATY:TSX.V; ATCMF:OTCBB) and Rio2 Ltd. (RIO:TSX.V). So many of these companies have fallen for no good reason.
Maurice: We've been active buyers of Irving Resources, a company you and I have shared. We're certainly looking at Novo Resources. And in your latest musing, I noticed that you had another one of our sponsors on there as well, which is Riverside Resources Inc. (RRI:TSX.V; RVSDF:OTCQB), which actually caught my attention as I am aware that you're not a big advocate for project generators, so that really surprised me.
Jayant: I like John-Mark, the CEO of Riverside Resources. And this company has fallen to $0.095.
And I'm quite happy investing in companies that have cash in their treasury, which means that they are not going to go back to the market very soon. And such companies have a much better chance of providing me an upside or, in other words, they have a much higher chance of not diluting away my upside by raising money at low prices.
Maurice: Moving on to physical precious metals. For the person reading at home right now that does not own physical precious metals, what words of wisdom would you like to share with them?
Jayant: Everyone should have six months to one year's worth of cash with them. It's extremely important to not have to worry about daily expenses, which also means that once you have enough cash to survive, emotions don't take over the rational part of your brain.
But apart from that, people have to invest where they see a good upside. Rather than sell in hysteria, they should be looking forward to buying companies that have fallen too much, and at the same time, they should keep some of their money in gold and silver because these are the commodities [that] are exchangeable into cash and other resources in a bad time.
Paper currency is going to get inflated away. So you can't really sit on too much cash, and you can't really be assured that your investments will do well—the way you want them to do—at least in the short and medium term. So, for short and medium term, you should also have enough gold and silver supplies with you to be able to do transactions if the emergency situation continues.
Maurice: Now let's discuss a topic that is so vital to all the aforementioned yet so frequently overlooked, and that is philosophy. Mr. Bhandari, how does philosophy fit in today's discussion?
Jayant: It's extremely important. And I like the concept of reason, a concept that I witnessed only while I was living in the West. I grew up in India, a country where critical reasoning, and thinking, and questioning is almost completely absent. And the only sign of reasoning and critical thinking I saw outside the West was in East Asia. And I have become a huge fan of East Asia over the last few years, and that is why I run a philosophy seminar in Vancouver called Capitalism & Morality.
And I think what makes us human is the concept of reasoning that allows us to think into the future, that allows us to calculate and measure the future, and which enables us to take a position where you can improve your life as time goes by.
Maurice: You're the founder of a philosophical forum focused on reason, argumentation and liberty. Please introduce us to Capitalism & Morality.
Jayant: This is a seminar I have been running for 10 or 11 years now. And the next one will be held in Vancouver; downtown Vancouver at the Simon Fraser University, but probably at a different location. It will be on July 25, 2020, which is a Saturday, and this will be immediately after the Sprott conference.
Maurice: In closing, sir, what keeps you up at night that we don't know about?
Jayant: I think the virus situation has become a hysteria, and governments have made it much worse because they were not prepared for things that they told the public they were prepared for. So they are not prepared with the healthcare system, and they are not prepared to take the risks associated with the virus. These politicians are mostly uneducated, populists and demagogues. Look at the demagogue and populist we have in Canada.
Now, the situation in the Western countries is bad enough. The situation is far worse in Africa, Latin America and the Indian subcontinent. So, the situation by itself might not have been so bad, but because of the governments and because of hysteria, it will become much worse.
Two things, I think, will be a very horrible consequence of the current problem, the political, social and hysteria-related problems to do with the virus. One is that the Middle East will implode. I go to the Middle East twice a year. And I'm well aware of the fact that most Middle Eastern people have not worked for the last three generations because they have got easy money from oil. They don't have the concept of owning money, and oil prices are heading toward zero right now. So these people rapidly are not making cash anymore, but also they're depleting their savings because a lot of their savings were in sovereign wealth funds, and the stock market has crashed. So they have lost money there as well, and they have to now sell those shares to keep the societies going. So I think Middle East is in a terrible situation right now.
There's another problem. There are a lot of people in America, probably as many as 50% of American population, who have no emergency cash with them. So now, in a lockdown situation, how will they find money to survive? And this is a problem with a country that is among the richest countries on the planet. What happens with billions of people in the Third World, where 90 to 99% of the people live hand to mouth? In a lockdown situation, these people have no choice but to stay hungry.
So, for a small likelihood of spreading the virus, we actually confined a huge population of world to poverty. But again, as I said, Malthus and Darwin will kick in at some point of time. The Industrial Revolution, Green Revolution, kept away Malthus and Darwin for awhile, but they will kick in, and hundreds of millions of people will perish in the Third World.
Maurice: Jayant, for reader that want to learn more about Jayant Bhandari and Capitalism & Morality, the website address is www.jayantbhandari.com.
Before you make your next bullion purchase, make sure you call me. I'm a licensed representative for Miles Franklin Precious Metals Investments. We provide a number of options to expand your precious metals portfolio, from physical delivery, offshore depositories, precious metal IRAs and private blockchain distributed ledger technology. Call me directly at (855) 505-1900, or you may e-mail [email protected].
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Jayant Bhandari, the founder of Capitalism & Morality, thank you for joining us today on Proven and Probable.
Maurice Jackson is the founder of Proven and Probable, a site that aims to enrich its subscribers through education in precious metals and junior mining companies that will enrich the world.[NLINSERT]
1) Maurice Jackson: I, or members of my immediate household or family, own shares of the following companies mentioned in this article: Riverside Resources, Novo Resources, Irving Resources. I personally am, or members of my immediate household or family are, paid by the following companies mentioned in this article: None. My company has a financial relationship with the following companies mentioned in this article: Riverside Resources, Novo Resources, Irving Resources are sponsors of Proven and Probable. Proven and Probable disclosures are listed below. Jayant Bhandari is a shareholder of all the companies referenced, but they do not sponsor his work.
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