Take Eduardo and Consuelo, who work at our Ecuador Hotel El Meson de las Flores. The hotel was in receivership and empty when our foundation Land of the Sun bought it to help stimulate the economy in this part of the Ecuador countryside. By bringing people we have helped save their jobs.
A reader raised a good question about this though when he wrote:
“Gary, I’ve received your email newsletter for about six months now. I have been interested in real estate in Ecuador for about a year. I’ve been to Ecuador twice in the past year, and am going again July 1. On the one hand I understand your enthusiasm for Ecuador, but on the other I wonder how pushing Ecuador real estate will impact the local population? Obviously if you are a property holder, it’s a good thing; but if you’re not, but hope to be, outside money could push many locals out of the market. Is this creating any kind of animosity toward outsiders? I’d appreciate your insight on this. I am an economist with a focus on international finance, so I enjoy all aspects of your writings. Regards.”
This has been a never ending story since the beginning of time..everywhere, neighborhood to neighborhood, city to city, county to county and country to country.
So far the majority of Ecuadorians love us….as much or more as our neighbors here in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge mountains.
Most Ecuadorians cannot afford property because the locals were pushed out of the market by the Spanish about 500 years ago…just as American natives in the US were pushed out by the English, Germans, Irish, Scots, Italians, Chinese and others who arrived here.
Our arrival in Ecuador creates jobs, hope and a chance that many more Ecuadorians will be able to own their own land.
However the problem goes beyond just a few investors arriving from the US, Canada, Span, Italy and many from Colombia and Peru. This is a time of transition for Ecuador with the final phase of the colonial hierarchal system near its end. Whether the locals in Ecuador like it or not…just as people in many other countries do not like it, we all live in a global economy. Many Americans did not like selling so much property to the Japanese in the 1980s. They will gripe now as Europeans buy big chunks of Florida. The Floridians will gripe. Yet they will sell, take the money and move to North Carolina…where the North Carolinians will gripe about the inflow of Floridians.
Prices will equalize anywhere there is a distortion, locally…nationally or globally.
Water gushes down. Air rushes into vacuums. Money flows towards good value.
We see this in the United States with gas prices rising to $4 a gallon. This is not as bad as in Europe where gas runs $7 or $8 a gallon….but it is still a shock to those of us who can remember…(yes it’s true) gas at 19.9 cents a gallon.
Gas is a global commodity. Americans have to pay the going rate.
Ecuador property is a global commodity…in an ever growing global economy.
I am a full blooded American…born and raised in the USA…as you can get.
Today, I am wearing all American clothes beginning with my American Converse tennis shoes (made in China), my American Wrangler jeans (made in Mexico), my American Fruit of the Loom underwear (made in El Salvador) and my American Van Heusen shirt (made in Bangladesh). So even if I stayed in America, unless I plan on running around shoeless and naked, I will encroach on people in other countries…pushing up property prices for factories…that create jobs…help feed families…and create pollution. Positive…negative…positive…this never ends.
My first book “Passport to International Profit” was published in the early 1970s and included a chapter on “border blindness.” This chapter looked at how political borders are illusions that support hidden agendas for the few who encourage them. Borders are transcended by almost all human emotions. Get a pretty Italian and handsome Irishman together and they will fall in love. Put a Mexican with a cheaper tomato next to a hungry Canadian and the Canadian will get out his loonies and buy the tomato. Put an Englishman and Frenchman in a sinking ship and they will both bail water.
The market place of humanity tramples borders. The deepest nature of our existence supports free trade and free movement of all to anywhere in the world.
Since that book was written…modern communications and transportation have made all of this even more true. For example at Cotacachi communications see how broadband has changed the way we can live in Cotacachi.
We are, at the deepest level of our being, all citizens of the world. It is logical and correct that we trade with those who serve us best…whether they bring products to us (like the tomatoes, shirts, shoes, pants and even underwear) or we go to the product (real estate abroad).
I have found that if one treats people with fairness and respect, these courtesies will be returned. This was as true when we moved from Florida to Ashe County, North Carolina…where Floridians are called “Floridiots” by many locals…because they pay too much for the land and drive prices beyond the local abilities.
I know we are loved by our friends and staff in Ecuador. Cotacachi Ecuador Hospitality shows how they treated Merri on Mother’s Day.
We are loved up here in North Carolina as well…not because we are Americans or Floridians or because we are red, white or black, Christians, Muslims or Jews, but because of how we act with our friends, neighbors and business associates.
When you treat people right…you become known as a friend not a nationality.
We are loved because we try to treat people with care, respect and fairness. We bring in money and bring them work.
Few economies, local or national can isolate themselves from the global economy and enjoy a high material standard of living.
Ask the people of Mynmar if you do not believe this.
What a grand experiment (though I do not see it happening) would be for
mankind to eliminate all borders, customs, immigrations and nationalities for a decade. My bet is we would never go back.
In Ecuador I do not see a resentment problem…but let’s allow the people of Ecuador have ther say. A leaflet has been posted on buildings and telephone poles all around San Clemente, the small village where Merri and I have bought our beach condos. This was not put up by us..nor by the developer of the condo where we are buying. This was written by locals in San Clemente.
I asked John Papski, our man on Ecuador’s beach, to translate it. Here is what the Ecuadorians are saying about our arrival in their small fishing village with a five star spa hotel and a 61 unit luxury condo development that will change the village’s life forever.
“Ecuador has a population of 13 million (2008 )and 3 million that live abroad (23% ). Parents have immigrated leaving their children; people left for lack of work, pessimistic views of the future without opportunities, corruption, globalization and neo-liberalist practices have contributed to a disappearance of opportunity for individual, family and social development.
“San Clemente has an approximate population of 4500. There is a need for 600 new jobs per year for the youth but nature and the sea does not allow sufficient funds for welfare, health and studies.
“However, tourism is one of the few chances left for Ecuador and its youth.
“The marvelous beaches of San Clemente attract people that travel many hours, save and borrow money so they and their families can spend on food, lodging, water, beer, sun lotions, repellents, handcrafts and return home broke but content knowing that health, welfare, lust for life, relaxed has prepared them to continue the hard fight in the city.They have integrated with nature with the immense help of the sea and its marvelous sounds and movements, with the wonder of the beach and hills that surround, wonder of tranquil people, amiable and service orientated to all visitors with humanity, smiles,assistance and hospitality.
“Our visitors dream during their happy stay of a swift return to our beach or perhaps remain here forever. The beach tourists do not come to Rocafuerte or Charapoto (nearby towns ). They come to San Clemente.
“Bahia apartment owners come to us because they know our beach is a great treasure with fantastic potential of nature, not enclosed in sad cement but green, blue, orange living nature. Look after nature as we care for ourselves and defend the future of our youth.”
There you have it, a local view of what they think of us.
So far I believe we are more than welcome. I hope that Merri and I and all we bring along have the wisdom to be with the wonderful people of Ecuador in a way so they are not just happy that we come…but that they also want us to stay.
I invite you to join us in the wonderful adventure and as human beings who are citizens of the world!
See dates for our other Ecuador courses and tours:
Pool, tennis court and beach at Palmazul where we stay on our coastal tours.
Beach at Palmazul.
Courtyard at Ecuador hotel El Meson de las Flores where we conduct our Spanish Courses, Imbabura Real Estate Tours, Shamanic Mingos and Import Export tours.