by | Jan 27, 2002 | Archives

Where is the land of the free?

Dear International Friend,

Merri and I recently arrived at our winter home in Ibarra Ecuador. First night here we were invited to dinner at our neighbor's house.

Dinner was about as cosmopolitan as one can imagine, the host a Canadian professor of anthropology, hostess, British, one guest Chilean, another Ecuadorian but both had been living in Los Angeles.

Discussions roamed from economics to politics to education, to which markets had the best fruit etc. Then we touched on the subject of freedom when the hostess pointed out how, when in Europe, Canada or the U.S., she felt stifled by almost infinite rules and regulations. The host agreed and pointed out as an example how he had built his three gorgeous houses on this plantation without a single building permit.

We began looking at all the things we can do in Ecuador that are much harder (or more frustrating) to achieve in Europe and North America.

Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of red tape here in Ecuador, as well. The mode is just different. Sometimes small bribes have to be paid to get things done. (But isn't that better than being so overwhelmed by rules and regulations that you can never get anything done).

There are very few driving restrictions and the ones that exist are regularly ignored and barely enforced.

Ecuador (and much of Latin America) offers a more laissez-faire way of life in business. There are not so many rules and regulations nor so many governing bodies that affect every aspect of business life. The SEC, FDA, IRS, OSHA, FTA, etc don't dominate every aspect of commerce and there are very few law suits.

The downside is that one does not have as many nor checks and balances that exist up north either.

For example no building permits nor codes means you have to be careful where you buy land lest someone puts up a factory next to your new home etc. Less traffic regulations means that you have to be more careful when driving. Fewer regulatory bodies means that we as consumers have to take a little more care.

But I have a feeling this is not bad and that many of you are feeling a freedom pinch.

Recently a letter sent to me suggested this when it said:

“Gary, Why don't we restore the State Legislature and the House of Representatives to, “we thepeople,” by electing Constitutionalists to the local level. Let's take our country back before we lose it. “We the People” are being killed and poisoned by the government that we elect. Perhaps the dumbing down in America is far more successful than I imagined. God Help America,”

Sometimes I cannot help but agree. Here is a small example why. Last year we built some additional cabins at our North Carolina farm so more visitors can stay with us. All we wanted was sleeping accommodations. Yet Ashe County building codes don't allow this. Each cabin had to have a kitchen and even worse had to have a connection for washer and dryer. There was no way, reasoning or bribe that would allow us to build what we needed and wanted.

If you are feeling more and more repressed, especially with new homeland security regulations, the USA Patriot's Act and such, consider a life abroad.

If you can adjust and live in more than one culture, you gain enormous freedom. If you are thinking along these lines, I invite you to attend one of our upcoming courses which can help you learn how to earn and live abroad.

Until next message, good investing and business!