Introduction: Anthony Wile is an active investor, business strategist and consultant, financial markets commentator, publisher and author. Having lived and worked in several leading financial centers around the world, he has established an international network of asset managers, banks, family offices and financial analysts, as well as institutional investors and securities firms.
Now at The Wile Group International Ltd., Anthony provides consulting and strategic financial advisory services to select firms and individuals within this network. Anthony founded The Daily Bell and served as its Chief Editor until February 2016. He is the author of four books: Financial Freedom: The High Alert Way to Discover Winning and Profitable Investment Ideas, High Alert: How the Internet Reformation is causing a financial hurricane – and how to profit from it, and The Liberation of Flockhead. He serves as a director of Fundación PharmaCielo, which endeavors to assist rural Colombians through partnering with existing organizations and efforts to improve living conditions and expand opportunities.
The Daily Bell: Great to sit down with you again. It’s always good to catch up with you and find out what you’re doing. You led The Daily Bell at a time of its greatest growth, when the publication had regular, worldwide impact.
Anthony Wile: I remain very proud of what The Daily Bell became and has become. Unfortunately, I simply don’t have the time to run it anymore and thus it has passed into very good hands, as you know. I am glad to contribute from time to time and to watch its continued success from afar.
The Daily Bell: It’s obvious you’re busy and are involved in significant entrepreneurial efforts via The Wile Group, which you founded in Toronto and serve as its Chairman and CEO.
Anthony Wile: The Wile Group (TWG) is a relatively new entity I have established, subsequent to serving as the Chief Investment Strategist of High Alert Investment Management. TWG is an active venture capital group – meaning we provide a lot of value added consulting and introductory services to help growing companies achieve their maximum capability. In other words, we don’t just write checks and sit back hoping things will work out… we roll up our sleeves and go to work alongside management to ensure our collective success.
Currently, we are very active in the burgeoning cannabis industry with a focus on Colombia. Additionally, we are working to develop real estate projects in Colombia. As a VC group, TWG is really interested mostly in developing private business initiatives versus publicly traded situations.
The Daily Bell: We want to discuss both of those. But first we want to ask you about some larger economic issues. Where do you think the economy is headed these days – both regionally and on a global scale?
Anthony Wile: I think the coverage we provided for so many years in The Daily Bell explains it appropriately. There’s a struggle going on between those who want to control free-markets – call them elites – and those who want to experience the benefits of free markets. This is a historical struggle and the Internet has complicated it because what was once secret is now fairly obvious. This is leading to a lot of upheaval in the world including economic volatility, sociopolitical changes and expanding military actions.
The Daily Bell: So where are we now and where does it end up?
Anthony Wile: We’re at a point where what The Daily Bell calls “memes” are being contested at every level. Elites utilize memes – dominant social themes – to steer the world in certain directions. These memes may or may not be valid, but they are promoted by the controlled mainstream media on a constant basis.
The Daily Bell: Yes, that’s what we continue to cover, the ongoing promotion of those memes and the evolution of new ones.
Anthony Wile: There are significant new ones from time to time, but much elite propaganda is focused on promotions that are decades old.
Many of these memes involve scarcity propaganda, like peak oil. We spent a lot of time debunking the peak oil concept in the earlier 2000s and, of course, we were correct. Oil is a highly controlled commodity. It’s the age-old strategy. If you can control supply and demand, you can set a price. That’s what happened, though thanks to the Internet it’s perhaps a good deal harder now. People are more aware of these manipulations and have the wherewithal to write about them and broadcast their thoughts.
The Daily Bell: Of course, precious metals constitute another elite meme. Central bankers, for instance, hate gold and the mainstream media constantly discourages significant interest or ownership. Nonetheless, we sense a resurgence in gold and we wanted to get your thoughts on the immediate future – and long term as well.
Anthony Wile: When gold made its big move down, I was one of the few in the alternative media who forecast that it was not going back up again any time soon. And I was correct. The same thing with mining equity. Exchange traded funds were attracting most of the liquidity at the time because an ETF was a simple investment. You didn’t have to sort through a lot of possibilities – potential fraud, regulatory impacts, etc. Of course, there was some of that but not nearly so much.
The Daily Bell: Agreed. ETFs have become a major opportunity in precious metals.
Anthony Wile: Stocks are complicated and ETFs are simple. Having said this, I’ve been watching the mining market and stocks are beginning to move. I’m aware that my friend Doug Casey, for instance, just put something like $1.5 million in the metals market and he’s a very clever man.
At TWG we are not convinced that the mining industry is headed north with any sustainable momentum any time soon – at least not as long as the ETF gorilla is in the room. I suggest that anyone interested in reading deeper into my views on this issue take the time to read this editorial I penned here at the Daily Bell a couple of months ago: “Why Most Gold Stocks Are Bad Investments.”
The Daily Bell: That’s his personal money but, of course, he also runs a research group that makes general recommendations.
Anthony Wile: There are a few top-notch, free-market oriented investment shops like Casey’s and people ought to pay attention to all of them.
Sovereign Man is another, run by my friend Simon Black. I’m aware that Black has an investment conference coming up in Colombia, where I live part of the year. In fact, I will be speaking at that event.
Black fully understands what’s going on in the world today and his record of investment success is terrific. Even more importantly, he has created an entire lifestyle insurance plan that shows you how to live abroad and provide legal but sophisticated protection for your assets.
The Daily Bell: Good point. That kind of thing is really a necessity if you have any wealth to speak of.
Anthony Wile: You have to be aware of economic cycles as well, as The Daily Bell often points out. As the business cycle turns, hard-money publishers like Simon Black and Casey observe the transition and anticipate it. That’s why their observations are valuable and often correct. What was promising at one point becomes less so at another.
The Daily Bell: That’s the reason for mining focus now. The sector is terribly beaten down.
Anthony Wile: True. But I suggest, as previously pointed out, to be very careful about how one enters this space – if at all at this time.
The Daily Bell: Careful in what sense?
Anthony Wile: I’d try to be very particular. I’m on the record as supporting mining companies like Seabridge that are building value from the precious metals they’re identifying in the ground.
Usually, the “value” of a modern mining firm – and even its share price – is denominated in fiat. That’s because they sell gold almost immediately upon its discovery. They dig it up and market it. There are only a few mining companies where this is not so. Seabridge is one of them, and I’m confident of its prospects for that reason among others.
The Daily Bell: Yes, Seabridge holds onto its gold.
Anthony Wile: Seabridge identifies gold deposits on its properties, but leaves the gold where it is, thus creating a resource base denominated in gold rather than dollars.
The Daily Bell: That strategy works best when the dollar is on its way down – and gold is thus accruing value against the dollar.
Anthony Wile: I have no doubt over time the dollar will erode further in price against gold – or in popular terms gold will “go up.” The issue is one of timing. That’s why companies like Seabridge are attractive – when there’s interest and buying in the precious metals market.
The Daily Bell: You want to speculate where gold and silver are headed?
Anthony Wile: Well, without putting any numbers on it, I’d say it’s obvious that sooner or later gold and silver will arrive at the very top of their arc relative to fiat currencies. To me it’s a matter of when public confidence in the global fiat money fraud finally collapses, which is inevitable to anyone who has even a passing knowledge of historical monetary structures.
Nothing is very stable these days. Sovereign debt is enormous – unmanageable, in fact. That’s a point that people should keep in mind. The entire fiat system is on a precipice. When you have a thousand-trillion dollar derivatives market, you don’t really have an economy anymore. You have a catastrophe waiting to happen – or as I referred to it in High Alert, first published in 2007, a financial hurricane.
The Daily Bell: It’s hard for people to focus on what’s been done. The destruction is never really reported until it’s too late …
Anthony Wile: It will continue until suddenly it doesn’t. The collapse will seem leisurely at first and then it will become very rapid. We are likely going to be exposed to unimaginable catastrophes before all of this is over. Those who are prudent and have positioned themselves using the best and most sensible strategies are going to emerge winners. I’m afraid many in the middle class are just going to be wiped out.
The Daily Bell: Our perspective has always been that the business cycle hasn’t turned since 2002. We’re still in a bear market for equities despite the market’s significant rise.
Anthony Wile: It depends on how you want to define a bull market in stocks. From a purely numerical standpoint, we’ve had several bull markets since 2001. But it’s true when you analyze those markets you find that much of the movement can be attributed to central bank stimulation. In other words, Wall Street has had a nice big fat party that was paid for by the Federal Reserve’s loose money policies. The whole thing is a gigantic casino meant to defraud the general public of their savings, wealth and in essence… their lifeblood. Think of it as democratic slavery.
The Daily Bell: Yes, a study just came out that attributed something like 90 percent of market advances to monetary policy and nothing else. The industrial component is obviously insignificant.
Anthony Wile: It’s hard for most people to internalize what’s going on, much less make logical predictions. But I’ve been at this game a long time. You really have to make an effort to separate reality from the propaganda. For instance, when we spoke of the collapse in the gold market, I went on record regarding a Wall Street Party that would take the stock market much higher. I was right about that.
At the time, many expected a collapse over the next few years. That didn’t happen in part because of aggressive central bank easing – quantitative easing in particular. But I’ll be surprised if they can continue to push the market up much longer.
The Daily Bell: You believed 2016 was perhaps the outside end of it. Of course, we never imagined negative interest rates and a cashless society.
Anthony Wile: Regardless of whatever ideas central banks come up with, the cycle has got to turn sooner or later. That’s one reason I’ve emphasized private equity investments over public ones. Keep your interests outside of the public markets – and their increased volatility – and try to find the best possible opportunities that are not being publicly promoted on Wall Street.
The Daily Bell: Your support for the cannabis industry is well known.
Anthony Wile: It’s a worldwide business, and one that will assume that profile sooner rather than later. I can’t put a timeline on it but I think the UN’s UNGASS conference in April will be a turning point.
After that, you’re going to have a regulatory structure that can be implemented worldwide. For producers of medical marijuana, it’s going to be especially advantageous given the demand for the product and the benefits it offers.
The Daily Bell: You’ve made some predictions about how the business is going to evolve into an international marketplace where regions of the world that enjoy comparative climatic and economic advantages will undoubtedly end up supplying nations less suited to compete on a global scale. But it’s not there yet –
Anthony Wile: Right, because the business is still being driven by legal issues. The law creates the industry and thus regions where cannabis is legally available have become leading areas for cultivation. That means places like Canada – a very cold climate – are growing a lot of high-cost, indoor-grown cannabis. But in addition to the physical cost of producing in such unnatural environments, there are also steep environmental costs. Simply put, there are countries like Colombia where cannabis can be grown naturally for only pennies a gram, and the process can deliver a net positive environmental impact.
What will consumers choose, do you think? Products derived from high-cost, unnaturally grown cannabis or naturally produced, low-cost cannabis products? Seems like a no-brainer to us. Here is another link to an article I was recently quoted in that delves deeper into this issue: “Anthony Wile: The UN and an environmentally wise path to white market cannabis.”
The Daily Bell: Thanks. You’ve also said that places like Canada will evolve into a value-added player in the global cannabis industry.
Anthony Wile: Of course, sooner or later. Canada is a prime example of entrepreneurs rushing into a regional marketplace without considering what history has taught us about comparative advantage. Maybe reading a little more David Ricardo – or even Adam Smith, for that matter – would give both the entrepreneurs and the investors financing their projects reason for pause.
Again, since these topics require a bit more explanation than just a passing paragraph or two, I suggest readers peruse this editorial of mine that was published by Canada’s Globe and Mail a few months back: “Investors should take a deep breath before they try cannabis.”
The Daily Bell: Good. Seems like a cogent argument for a free-market thinking person.
Anthony Wile: Ultimately money will force the issue. The businesses that are more globally focused and adhere to common-sense economics – at least when it comes to cultivation – will win the day.
The Daily Bell: That goes for hemp as well?
Anthony Wile: Yes. In the past, industrial hemp strains, which contain little to no THC, have been used to make superior paper, clothing – even concrete. Now in the 21st century all those possibilities are becoming a good deal more practical. The opportunities in hemp are incredibly consequential.
The Daily Bell: Do you have a timeline? Are you investing in hemp as well?
Anthony Wile: We have a number of projects ongoing, either in the planning stages or beyond. I’d have to characterize hemp as something that is in the planning stages. We can only do so much at a time, so it depends on what else we take on and what takes off.
The Daily Bell: Expand on the private community in Colombia, please.
Anthony Wile: Yes, it’s going very well but also in the late planning stages of its project development life cycle. We tend to be overly cautious and take a lot of time to develop business initiatives – meaning we look for reasons NOT to proceed and once satisfied the business possesses the right risk/reward ratio we move forward. We are getting close to being ready to discuss this more openly and make it available for interested folks.
The Daily Bell: It’s along the lines of what Doug Casey offers in Argentina?
Anthony Wile: It’s not as large as Casey’s community, but we’re very pleased with the response. The demand has been exceptional and the necessity is based on what we call social insurance.
The Daily Bell: You’ve mentioned that before –
Anthony Wile: The idea that those who can afford it need to replicate their lifestyle abroad. That doesn’t mean that less wealthy people can’t take measures to create alternative lifestyles, but this project is aimed at those who want to purchase a house abroad in a beautiful climate near likeminded people. Of course, people’s beliefs are not a primary concern, but we do tend to attract those who see what’s going on in the West, especially the US and Canada, and want to create lives not bounded by the current elite reality.
It makes all the sense in the world if you have some extra money to use it to create lifestyle alternatives. And I’d argue that Colombia is one of the best places to go. The political situation here is very promising. There’s little violence to speak of. The society is stable and the land is absolutely gorgeous. The weather is balmy and beautiful throughout all four seasons – not that Colombia actually has seasons.
But imagine a lifestyle in which you can get up and go horseback riding or golfing in the morning and then dine alfresco at home or with friends on absolutely fresh produce that farmers are actually bringing to the community everyday.
In the afternoon, perhaps you want to take a trip to a nearby city – and the city nearest to us is one of the most modern and cleanest in the world – and then return for a dip in your pool and a leisurely dinner.
That’s just one description of one 24-hour period. Certainly, there are those among us that aren’t suited for the leisurely life. If you want to stay plugged in and focused on current events and market movements you can do that, too. Internet service is great down here and world-class computer technology is easily available and supported.
The Daily Bell: It sounds wonderful. The demand is no surprise.
Anthony Wile: Bluntly speaking, I wouldn’t want to make a full-time home in the US, Europe or Canada at this point. I feel these regions are being actively destabilized and that things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.
The Daily Bell: When it comes to business or locales, you’re trying to hit the sweet spot.
Anthony Wile: Absolutely. Why settle for anything less? Cannabis is the world’s most promising, emerging business. And separating yourself geographically from the West is a very good idea at this point. That doesn’t mean you have to become a hermit or a permanent expat, but it does mean you should provide yourself and your loved ones with appropriate alternatives.
The Daily Bell: In other words, your businesses are the result of personal preferences …
Anthony Wile: Investment and lifestyle choices, exactly. That’s what I’m working on now and, fortunately, others seem to agree with that strategy.
The Daily Bell: Not surprising. You’ve got a lot of great information to present that people should know about. Good catching up with you. And we’ll look for further bylines from you when you have the time.
Anthony Wile: Please do. Keep up the good work.