Maurice Jackson: Joining us for a conversation is Jayant Bhandari, the founder of Capitalism & Morality, and a highly sought-out advisor to institutional investors.
Jayant, there are a lot of mixed, contentious emotions regarding COVID-19. Irrespective of one's position, it's incumbent for us all to prepare for how the world will function going forward. Let's discover which parts of the world, and how readers may thrive in a post coronavirus world.
Sir, you recently wrote a musing entitled "What the Post Coronavirus World Looks Like." In this piece, you outlined a number of distinctions that may create a great divide between East Asia, the West and Third World countries. From a 30,000-foot perspective, who do you see coming out as the winners, when and if the world returns to some aspect of normalcy, and why?
Jayant Bhandari: Readers really need to keep emotions out of business. We have to be attached to objectivity to be able to understand what is the right action to take. In my view, from what I have seen happening, East Asia will emerge out as among the most successful places in the world after COVID-19 is over.
In fact, East Asia is already emerging. You can see that in Taiwan—there were virtually no cases and they cleaned up the place very quickly. Pretty much the same happened with South Korea, Japan and Singapore. Hong Kong suffered a bit, but they took very strong, good, quick actions and got mostly rid of the virus, or at least brought it under control in a way that it does not affect their economy.
China has also managed to clean up the virus to a very large extent. Now, I am [not] concerning myself about the culpability that China [has] with the virus, I'm just talking about the economy. These countries will emerge successful from the virus.
I love China for its people and for the changes China has been going through. What I might not have always an appreciation or respect for is the Chinese government. I think China will emerge perfectly fine. The investment world can no longer ignore China, as it is the fastest growing major economy in the world.
I am very keen on investing in East Asia because I see very limited downside risk and a lot of upside, due in part because a lot of share prices, along with commodity prices, have suffered because investors have lowered their expectations, particularly of the growth in China, which I think is wrong.
China will continue to grow. It will suffer for a few more months but it will emerge out successful. On the other hand, the Western countries are countries that are rooted to the concepts of liberty and Christianity. And that is why the Western countries have such a strong moral framework. In fact, East Asia is successful to the extent that it feeds off the moral and rational fabric that the Western countries have put together.
Maurice Jackson: How about the Third World?
Jayant Bhandari: Unfortunately, five out of the 7.5 billion humans live in Third World countries, which are Africa, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and Latin America. And these countries, I think, are rapidly on the path to implosion.
But also, because the Third World has horrible government leadership, one can see chaos emerging everywhere in the Third World. I am afraid and confident that Malthus and Darwin will wake up and walk hand in hand to remove millions of people in the Third World. And I'm absolutely sure that will happen within the next few years, if it has already not started. So my biggest fear is, what is going to happen to the 5 billion people that are in the Third World. I expect there will be a massive humanitarian crisis, never seen in human history.
Maurice Jackson: Jayant, for someone new to our conversation, what is the distinction between Third World economies and emerging economies?
Jayant Bhandari: There is nothing like emerging markets. There's only one emerging market, which is China. The understanding of China in the Western world is very negative. And that is primarily because of the way China is portrayed in the West. Thirty years ago, China once was compared with Uganda and Tanzania or Rwanda. Today, China is consistently compared with the U.S., which is where fallacy lies. You have changed the yardstick on how you understand and measure China. China was a Third World country, and China has emerged very, very rapidly in the last three decades. China is still not the U.S.; China will not be the U.S. for the next 30 or 50 or maybe 80 years.
However, China is a rapidly growing economically. And more importantly, it is a society that is on a positive path, politically, socially and culturally. And all I care about is whether they are improving or they are not improving. And China is improving, hence I call China an emerging market.
The rest of the Third World countries have faced continual degradation since the time European powers stopped running them. Now, we don't necessarily see it that way because in the last 30 to 40 years, economies of the Third World—Latin America, Africa, and India and Pakistan and the Middle East—were growing very rapidly.
Oil prices were booming in the '70s, '80s, '90s, and until recently, actually, Latin America benefited hugely from export of natural resources, and so was the case with Africa. And the Indian subcontinent benefited hugely from free import of Western technology. So these were all dependent on external benefits coming for free to these countries.
And those benefits disappeared about 10 years back. The Third World economies have been stagnating for most of this decade. Third World countries, institutionally, have been falling apart consistently since the time European powers gave up leadership of these countries.
And that degradation of institutions of the Third World will start to emerge and become increasingly visible going forward. But I think COVID-19 has been a catalyst. It has actually rapidly changed the curve and it has added a very high influencing factor to destroy the Third World.
So these five billion people are destroying themselves very rapidly right now. And I don't think there's much time left for these Third World countries to fall apart and implode.
Maurice Jackson: Jayant, as you were speaking, my mind was reflecting on a conversation we had about two years ago, where you made the distinction on the Third World economies [of] how the individuals there still do not understand the concept of the wheel as they carry items on their head. And also you had shared that they still do not have lead piping, which was introduced over 2,000 years ago by the Romans.
Jayant Bhandari: The reality is that, one can go and travel Third World countries—and by the way, today I am in India—and in India you will see something very funny consistently, particularly if you pay attention. Girls and women, girls in school uniforms, girls who are educated, so-called educated, carry pots of water on their head.
Now you have to understand that, despite that they have been so-called educated, they don't really get the concept of wheel. They can draw a wheel, they can see a wheel but they don't really understand how to use [it], put that wheel into action, how to use that wheel to improve their lives.
And that is why technology might be in front of them, smartphones might be in front of them, but they don’t understand the utility the wheel will perform in their lives.
And that is where the biggest problem in the Third World is—the education received, combined with prosperity and technology, isn't helping these people. . .these are virtues [that] have become vices and the tools for these societies to impose their tribal world views on other people.
Maurice Jackson: In my experience, far too often investors/speculators are only bean counters, and they only look at the numbers. And oftentimes these individuals overlook the significant role that the intangibles and other mitigating factors play in their investment pieces. How do cultures and value systems fit into the narrative?
Jayant Bhandari: Most of the world outside the Western society was tribal. We were living like animals before the Western people started exporting their culture, religion and technology to the Third World. So now, yes, I can always pinpoint and find deficiency in the Western society and how they might have exploited let's say, the natural resources of Africa.
But Africans did not even know that there was copper to be found in that rock, they had no such concept. They did not have the concept of tools, they did not really have the concept of written language. Nothing is perfect, Maurice, so we can still isolate some of the bad things European did, and I acknowledge that they did a lot of bad things, but overall the influence of the Western society on the Third World was massively positive. It converted what were, actually, people who were behaving like animals, because they did not really have a civilization. There were no institutions or a structure in these societies.
Europeans brought in the concept of civilization to these societies in the Third World. So, that is the importance of culture. Culture enables two important things, it enables accumulation of capital, and it enables accumulation of knowledge and information. And both of these things are the legs on which civilizations stands. And without which, you can't have capital, you can't have companies, you can't have progress either intellectual or capital.
And if you don't have those cultural bases, everything that Europeans left in the Third World countries will fall apart—and you can actually go to the institutions and buildings throughout the Third World they're always falling apart. You can give them the best airports and the best railway station, and within six months you will see paints peeling off, bricks coming out of the walls, no electricity. Fundamentally, that is where culture is very important. Things tend to fall apart if you don't have the right culture, conducive to capitalism, conducive to civilization, conducive to accumulation of capital and conducive to accumulation of information, knowledge and philosophy.
Maurice Jackson: We’ve covered the East Asia and the Third World, how about the West?
Jayant Bhandari: I'm quite a lover of the Western society and civilization. Western civilization of course, could not heavy-handedly control its people. The West, I think, will emerge fine, at least from the virus. There are other problems in the West today, but West will emerge out fine. But remember that the population of the Western society and Eastern society combined, is only about 2.5 billion people.
Maurice Jackson: What are some key distinctions that are creating the demise of the West?
Jayant Bhandari: Statistically, the biggest problem has been that people of non-European origin and that is statistically, and we can go into the depths of why this has been the case—but statistically, people of non-European origin, particularly females, and colored, and Black people, Hispanic people, they tend to vote for a nanny state.
They tend to vote for a big government, and that goes against the Christian values that were the basis of Western civilization. That goes against liberty and goes against the culture of self-respect and self-responsibility. Western societies that are leaning more and more to the left have embraced whining and grievances and dependency that has taken hold increasingly among the underclass in the Western society.
Now, here is the problem, Maurice—and again, I'm talking statistically—very rapidly 50% of the U.S. is becoming people from non-European origin. And they, as a result, have a very high democratic influence on who runs America. And unfortunately, as I just said, they tend to vote for a nanny government, they tend to vote for the Democratic Party, the leftist people.
And as a result, Western society, particularly the U.S., will very rapidly become a leftist society once Trump is gone.
Maurice Jackson: My wife and I are both immigrants. And it's funny how the family members and friends that we have that lean to the left, their vocabulary is completely different than our vocabulary. We're proud Libertarians and Christians, but their vocabulary on the left is, when am I getting my check?
And they're bragging about receiving something for nothing and not realizing the long-term consequences on future generations. And unfortunately, they're going to be rewarded again for doing nothing in the near future. And one might say to themselves: "Well, I can't work. How can I do something?" The reality is, your creative juices should be flowing right now.
And we should be trying to create utility, because trust me, there's something that you can do that can benefit others and benefit you financially in a constructive way. And only in the United States, and this another discussion my wife and I were having again, prior to this interview, will you see someone that is obese, meaning they consume more calories than they burn, begging for food.
Jayant Bhandari: And I feel these people should be ashamed. And I know there are people with disabilities or people who have a natural reason to be obese, unfit or being unable to work. But a lot of people like me, and that includes me, my partner, a lot of friends I have known in America, they came to America without any money.
They came almost with their clothes on and nothing much else. And that's what happened with me. And America is such a generous society, America is so open-minded, it enables people to become rich very quickly. And all the people I have known who immigrated to America or moved to America to work, very soon had their own houses and started driving cars, had decent jobs.
And they had jobs which they enjoyed and jobs where they were respected. So any American who failed to make a good life on his own and instilled in his children a culture of grievances and whining is such a loser. And I feel so envious for him because, were I given his place, I would not have lost a couple of decades of my life trying to find my way to reach the West, which they did not have to worry about, and they still missed that boat.
Maurice Jackson: Prior to our interview, you made a statement that I thought was really profound. And you stated, "When you change your heroes, you change your behavior." There's so much truth in that statement. Can you expand on that for us?
Jayant Bhandari: What has happened—and we were talking about, of course, before we started recording [was] about colored people, and that applies to both of our communities—the colored people have developed this concept of grievances and the concept of whining and getting free stuff. And one of the big reasons is that, colored people have started to look up to people who advocate giving out free stuff.
Their heroes are people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or a couple of other very ultra-leftist politicians that have become very visible in the U.S. political space recently. If I wanted to have a colored person as my hero, and I don't need a colored person as my hero, my heroes are people like Doug Casey, Rick Rule. . .Adrian Day, these are the people I look up to. And I have Bob Moriarty. . .a lot of them are white people. I am a racially blind, I don't care about their color. What I care about is whether they are rational, enlightened, good people. And I want to follow them and I want to learn as much as possible from them.
And Stephen Cox is another one of the great people I have got to know for the last 15 years. So, I can name people and a lot of those are white people, and I don't care which society they come from, which racial group they come from.
And before you started recording, we're talking about a writer known as Booker T. Washington. And everyone should read his book called "Up from Slavery;" it's a beautiful book. Booker T. lived during the Civil War time and his book is about developing a concept of self-responsibility, a concept of being proud among the black communities. And he actually achieved a lot; he earned respect of white people, he earned respect of white people within and around his community.
And eventually he even tried to help the underclass Europeans living around him. And that is the kind of hero [I would have], if I really wanted to have a black hero. And again, for me it does not matter, he is my hero because he was a great guy. So everyone should read his book, "Up from Slavery," and the name of the writer is Booker T. Washington.
Maurice Jackson: Speaking of Booker T. Washington, I like to share an intellectual exercise I've been conducting probably now for 10 years. And I know that our Silver Stackers will appreciate this. Whenever I'm at a social event, I ask the following question: "Do you believe that President Obama should be the first African American on a coin?"
And I ask this making sure that there is always a black person and a white person. And in my experience in the 10 years, it's been a resounding yes, by the black, and a resounding no, by the white. And you could see the their nonverbals change. I don't care if we were talking about angels and the color pink was all around us, there's some tension in the air. And I share with them, your opinions have no bearing on the outcome of the correct answer. I reach into my pocket and I grab a 50-cent piece minted in 1946: it has Booker T. Washington on it.
This is a 90% silver coin, no different than a Kennedy 50-cent piece. And I share with them that, no matter how passionate you feel about it, it's already been done. And the reason it was done was to stop the spread of communism in the African American community. And by the way, Booker T. Washington was also on the second coin minted with an African American by the name of George Washington Carver, again a 50-cent piece, 90% silver.
But I also share with them that I was not born a U.S. citizen, so English is not my first language. But I do know that President Obama was biracial, just like I am. So therefore, he could never be the first African American minted on a coin.
Jayant Bhandari: And Maurice, this is so sad that, despite that he was actually a very popular guy, he's no longer remembered, at least it seems no longer remembered by the black community and the rest of the American people. And he should be one of our heroes, but carry on.
Maurice Jackson: Which is really unfortunate because the left was inspired and influenced by a gentleman who was the nemesis of Booker T. Washington, and that will be W. E. B. Du Bois. He was the founder of the NAACP. What a lot of people in the black community don't realize about W. E. B. Du Bois was that he was also a communist.
So both of them realized there were wrongs done by slavery, but took two completely juxtaposed positions. And one has been embraced by the black community, and it was the influence, again, of W. E. B. Du Bois. But to me, my hero is Booker T. Washington.
All right, let's get back on track here. You referenced in your musing, the need for order. Can you expand on that for us? And is that the same as being controlled by Big Brother?
Jayant Bhandari: Well, the last thing you want to have is order brought in by the Big Brother, because the moment you have top-down order, there might be order, but the problem is, there will be huge systemic risks because of two reasons.
Firstly, the guy at the very top does not really understand what is happening at the ground level, so he does not really know what is happening at the ground level and cannot really define policies to keep order in the society.
Also, at the same time, people in such a society act like children because they have someone else always telling them how to live. As a result, the combination of these two things create a very infantile society where people have no sense of responsibility.
And as a result, this creates a massive systemic risk in the society. So, what I don't want is top-down order, what I want is bottom-up order, an order within an individual. And within an individual requires, for a lack of word, domesticating that individual. Making that person understand the concept of civilization.
And that was an order that was brought in by among many other things, Christianity. I am an atheist, but I truly understand the huge value Christianity provides as one of the most important legs for the Western society.
So, it is a self-imposed order that you accept. You accept the concept of integrity, you accept respect for other people, you accept doing charity for the people who need to be helped, and these are the concepts which are uniquely Christian.
So this is the kind of order that I'm interested in, a bottom-up order where an individual is self-responsible, he does not have the culture of whining and grievances, and he does not impose himself on other people. So that is what I am referring to when I state "the need for order."
Maurice Jackson: If East Asia looks to be the primary beneficiary of a post-COVID-19 era, how can someone [reading] benefit financially?
Jayant Bhandari: There are a lot of emotions in the market, which means there's a huge amount of volatility in the market. If you understand what that volatility means and how you can exploit that volatility, you can actually buy something when it is very inexpensive and get an extra upside from that huge volatility.
So that is where East Asia comes into the picture. A lot of East Asian stocks have suffered. Now there is, of course, a problem: you have to be very nuanced in your thinking because you don't know what bank balance sheets will look like. You don't know how easy it will be for Chinese clothes manufacturers to be able to export to the U.S. in the near future.
Therefore, readers have to be aware of some of those things, but this volatility, this fall in the stock prices, actually might be beneficial for readers in getting an extra upside. Readers have to remember that a lot of these stocks have bounced back over the last month. If I had to buy something, I would just want to keep an eye on good companies and wait for another fall in the stock prices to exploit that volatility again.
Maurice Jackson: Many of our audience members are active participants in resource stocks. Sir, how will the resource space respond for investors in a post-coronavirus world?
Jayant Bhandari: It's very interesting question, because I just told you for now, it is difficult to know what a bank balance sheet or exporter balance sheet will look like, because we don't know what the trade situation between China and U.S. will be like in moving forward. Therefore, the more upstream you go, in terms of what a company makes, the better it will be for you, because the more you are closer to commodities, the better your understanding of the cost and revenue is.
For example, speculators know exactly what the revenue will be for oil, gas, mining companies, base metals, gold and silver, to include what your production would be and what your costs would be because you know what costs go into these industries. As a result, the more upstream you are, the better off you will be in valuing these companies.
And you can hedge yourself; you can play with the futures. I don't always advocate investing in mining companies, but I think commodity businesses are going to be at a huge advantage because you are much better able to value these companies in the current scenario.
Maurice Jackson: Jayant, you're a highly regarded name in the natural resource space as you consult with institutional investors on unique value propositions. Can you share some golden nuggets that you see as buying opportunities right now?
Jayant Bhandari: Sure. Just be mindful of the fact that some of these stocks have gone up over the last three weeks or so, and I would not be surprised if they fall. I would only give limit orders and I would give stink orders actually, just to get as much benefit from volatility, which I think will continue to happen over the next few months.
One is Anaconda Mining Inc. (ANX:TSX). They came out with a good quarterly, it's trading around $0.25/share. I wouldn't bid for it at higher than that. I think it's a good company based in Canada, which in my view is a safe jurisdiction. And from what I know the mine continues to run and continues to spit out a good cash flow.
Another company, O3 Mining Inc. (OIII:TSX.V), [is] a company I've mentioned to you a few times. It has gone up quite a bit from $1.10 to $2.50/share recently. But I still think it has a very good upside, I would bid for it around $2 or less, to see if I can get that company.
There's another company called Mirasol Resources Ltd. (MRZ:TSX.V), which Is trading around $0.40/share. I would wait for it to fall to maybe about $0.35. I know there are a lot of sellers because this company has everything in Latin America. But if you buy it below $0.35, you will be buying it for cash value.
Maurice Jackson: It goes without saying, you're also the most respected name when it comes to arbitrage opportunities. I still remember your call on Sunridge Gold, that went up over 600% in less than three months. Do you have any arbitrage opportunities to share with us?
Jayant Bhandari: Absolutely, and arbitrage opportunities are some of the most basic ways to make money. We should just keep ourselves limited to what we understand, so arbitrage requires very simple math.
Tethyan Resource Corp. (TETH:TSX.V), situated in Canada, is being acquired by an Australian company. So if you buy Tethyan, which offers you about 20% arbitrage upside at the current price of CA$0.15, you not only have an arbitrage opportunity, but the company that is acquiring it actually is a very well-run company from what I know, and it actually has a very good upside as well. So, have look at Tethyan Resource.
But remember that these shares will convert into Australian or London stocks after the merger is over. So you should have an account with a brokerage like Interactive Brokers, where your shares can automatically convert to ASX or London-based stocks without a fee. And you can then sell those stocks at a reasonable commission, not at a very high commission, if you hold this company and, let's say, use TD or Scotiabank.
Maurice Jackson: Moving on to physical precious metals, from a scale of one to 10, and 10 meaning the highest, what number would you assign to owning physical precious metals right now?
Jayant Bhandari: As I said just a while back, Maurice, [for] mining and commodity businesses, the more upstream you are, the safer you are in terms of valuation because you know what is going in and what is coming out much better than when you get into very complex businesses, let's say like Apple cell phones, or banks, or clothes manufacturers, because you don't really understand what costs and revenue will look like, and whether you can sell or not.
So the more upstream you are, the better off you are. And hence mining and commodity businesses are very good for me. But also, if you can actually own commodities, you are even better grounded to valuation, solid valuation. And that is where I think it's extremely important to own a good part of your net worth, let's say 10 to 20%, in precious metals.
Now the easiest precious metals to own are gold, silver, platinum and palladium. And if I could buy these when the prices are good, I would certainly want to accumulate more of these. I would assign a big 10, that investor should own physical precious metals.
Maurice Jackson: What financial words of wisdom would you like to impart for someone that does not own precious metals?
Jayant Bhandari: So, the more downstream you go, Maurice, the more you are in abstraction for now, because the economic structure of the world is going to change and has already changed. Now this is not necessarily because of COVID-19, it is more because of some of the crazy—and I would say, stupid—decisions several governments have taken.
This has created an economic chaos around the world. And the more grounded you are to value in these days, the better off you will be. At least you will get a peaceful sleep. And also you are more likely to protect your savings. Maybe you won't make a lot of money but my guess is that, you will actually make money in gold and silver.
So yes, it's extremely important to be invested in physical precious metals. But also, if you understand more of downstream businesses like banks or clothes manufacturers, then go for it. I invest in Singapore, Hong Kong and China, and I know the risks I'm taking. So I will continue to invest in them.
But if you don't know a lot about investing, then precious metals and commodities is actually an extremely safe way to protect your savings. Precious metals are actually, across the board, very safe ways to protect your savings. And because they're safe ways, a lot of people will be buying these in the near future, so investors should take advantage of the low prices and start buying now!
Maurice Jackson: And if readers are looking to purchase physical precious metals be sure to contact me. I'm a proud licensed representative for Miles Franklin Precious Metals Investments.
Now let's discuss a topic that is germane to all of the aforementioned, yet never discussed, it seems, on any other financial platform, and that is philosophy. Mr. Bhandari how does philosophy fit into today's discussion?
Jayant Bhandari: For me, the most important thing is the foundation. And the foundation is, why we have a civilization, why we are no longer animals, is because of culture, because we are able to think for the future, we can accumulate knowledge and information, we can plan for tomorrow. And as a result, philosophy is very important, because philosophy and reasoning allows us to add value as we go forward.
So, for me, that is the cornerstone, that is the foundation of everything. Some people tell me that I should focus on investing and not worry about philosophy. But for me, what is not seen, what is the foundation, is the most important.
Maurice Jackson: Sir, you are the founder of a philosophical form focused on reason, argumentation and liberty. Please introduce us to Capitalism & Morality.
Jayant Bhandari: I have been running this seminar in Vancouver, Canada, for the last 10, 11 years now. This is a one-day philosophy seminar in which people like Doug Casey, Adrian Day, Rick Rule, Jeff Dice, Walter Block [speak]; a lot of these people have spoken in the past and they continue to come in and speak in that seminar.
It is a very enlightening seminar in my view; I do it every summer. The next one will be on July 25, 2020, in downtown Vancouver, subject, of course, to the fact that people, by that time, are allowed to travel between the U.S. and Canada.
Maurice Jackson: In closing, sir, what keeps you up at night that we don't know about?
Jayant Bhandari: Well, right now Maurice, I am stuck in India. And I've been here for the last two months because of an atrocious lockdown that Narendra Modi has enforced in this country. It has created a massive humanitarian crisis, which I think will lead to deaths of millions of people. And it will probably create a massive amount of chaos in this country.
And as I said earlier, there will very likely be no recovery in the foreseeable future. India will implode and fall apart; disease and a virus will have a field day in this country. I feel very bad about what I'm seeing with my eyes. Unfortunately, I feel sad for the people who are suffering because of horrible leadership that exists in India, including the Third World.
Maurice Jackson: Mr. Bhandari, last question: What did I forget to ask?
Jayant Bhandari: Well, I think we have talked about a lot of things. Maurice, I still hope I can run my seminar on July 25, 2020, in Vancouver, subject to the fact that travel between the U.S. and Canada opens up.
Maurice Jackson: Jayant, for someone listening that wants to learn more about your work in Capitalism & Morality, please share the website address.
Jayant Bhandari: [Go to] www.jayantbhandari.com, and go to a tab called Capitalism & Morality, where [you] can watch speeches of the last 10, 11 years. And you can also register for this year's seminar.
Maurice Jackson: 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 and precious metal IRAs.
Call me directly at (855) 505-1900 or you may e-mail [email protected] Last but not least, please subscribe to www.provenandprobable.com for mining insights and bullion sales. Jayant Bhandari, 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]
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