Introduction: The former Global Affairs editor of MONEYWORLD, Richard Maybury is one of the most respected business and economics analysts in America. His articles have appeared in major publications. Books include "Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?" "Whatever Happened to Justice?" and "Evaluating Books: What Would Thomas Jefferson Think of This?" His current interest is "The Fall of the U.S. Empire". His writings have been endorsed by top business leaders, and is a consultant to numerous investment firms in the U.S. and Europe. He is editor of the newsletter, Richard Maybury's U.S. & World Early Warning Report For Investors.
Daily Bell: We last interviewed you in 2009. Has the world's economic picture gotten worse?
Richard Maybury: As far as production is concerned, I think that things have improved but the essential problem is the malinvestment that was created by the Federal Reserve counterfeiting dollars since 1913, and almost all that malinvestment is still out there and needs to be shaken out. The pain we have been going through since August of 2007 has essentially been for nothing because the federal government stopped the malinvestment, or most of it, from being shaken out, and that traumatic experience is yet to come. So, anybody who thinks we are getting to the end of this thing is dreaming.
Daily Bell: What's the worst problem America is suffering from?
Richard Maybury: I think ethics. Nearly the entire population has been raised in schools that are under the control of government agencies and they have been taught that the government doesn't need to obey ethical principals such as, "Thou shall not steal". So, this has become part of the American culture. I don't see any long-term solution for America or any of the rest of the world until they start accepting the fact that government has to be ethical, just like individuals.
Daily Bell: Is America essentially bankrupt?
Richard Maybury: America isn't but the federal government sure is. I don't think I need to get into statistics, but the federal government is about as hopeless as we have ever seen in history. I can't think of any other government that ever got into this much trouble, but the country and the government are not the same things. Some individuals are bankrupt, some are prosperous, it varies from one person to the next, but most assuredly the federal government is a real financial basket case.
Daily Bell: How can America recover?
Richard Maybury: Well, again we go back to ethics. We have to go back to obeying the rule of "Thou shall not steal". The American founders went through all this two centuries ago. I am doing an article on this in the Early Warning Report. Thomas Jefferson, for instance, in his first inaugural address laid out 16 principles for how the government should be run ethically. I think the time has come where we have to start re-learning what those principals are and the country is supposed to be about. I have become very optimistic when I look at the protests that are going on in the United States now, and there is a lot of focus on the constitution and the writings on the American founders. I think the American people are beginning to realize that there's a lot they were not taught in school and they need to now learn what the country is supposed to be like. That's a wonderful development and I hope it continues. We have to rediscover our origins, and a lot of people are beginning to do that.
Daily Bell: What will happen to the dollar?
Richard Maybury: I think the dollar, as we know it is dead or pretty close to it. Obviously it's not dead yet but it's another great big version of Tulipmania. This demand for not only the dollar but for all paper currency, fiat currency, it's just Tulipmania. It's been going on since 1971 when all currencies were converted to fiat currencies. So now we are seeing the process of the world bringing this calamity to an end. So the dollar and all other fiat currencies will no longer be fiat. They will be tied to something real, perhaps gold, perhaps a basket of commodities that includes gold, I don't know, but the whole world is clearly a lot more interested now in holding real assets than fiat currencies. I think we are in the beginning of a great revolution of currencies where we are going to go back to the type of money that can't be created without limits out of thin air.
Daily Bell: Will the EU be able to salvage the PIGS?
Richard Maybury: I would politely disagree with the phrasing of the question. It should be, Will Germany be able to salvage the PIGS? The answer is probably not in the long run because you can bleed the Germans for a while, but they will probably end up going broke if they try to keep bailing out the PIGS. And there are going to be more PIGS. There are many countries out there operating as welfare states and they are inherently unsound. So if the question were, will the German's bail them out, I would say for a while, but then the Germans will be dragged down too.
Daily Bell: Let's continue with some geopolitical questions. Is the euro going under?
Richard Maybury: Yes, I think the euro is going under but I don't know when. It's a fiat currency like the rest of them. It's going to be wiped out too, or replaced by some form currency that cannot be created in unlimited quantities.
Daily Bell: Ireland just started printing its own euro notes. Is this a significant crack in the dike?
Richard Maybury: Yes, sure. Any time you give any human being the privilege of counterfeiting money, he's probably going to do it, and do a lot. The Irish are just as human as the rest of us and they will succumb to the temptation to inflate the euro.
Daily Bell: Will the EU itself survive?
Richard Maybury: I hope not and I don't think so. If you look back, say, 45 years, when the various countries in Europe were much more independent and they had their own currencies tied to gold, the choice that they had among currencies was a wonderful thing. Let's say if you lived in France, and you saw your government counterfeiting francs in an irresponsible fashion, you could move your wealth into Swiss Francs or into German Marks, and I think before this Great Monetary Calamity is over, the Europeans are going to realize that those were nice choices to have and they are going to go back to that. I think they will break up into much more independent countries than they are now and the less power a central government can have… well, that's always a good thing because it means more liberty for the individual. I think they will move in that direction because they have tried the opposite and it's not working so well.
Daily Bell: China is considered an economic powerhouse. For some two years we've been writing that China is the in the grip of an inflationary bubble. Is China headed for a hard landing?
Richard Maybury: Yes I think absolutely. Whenever you have someone counterfeiting money, whether it's a government or a private individual, that money does not descend on the economy in a uniform blanket. It goes into specific areas. Those areas become hot spots and they attract businesses and investors and these businesses and investors create malinvestment. The Chinese government has been creating yuan in large quantities and creating these spots of malinvestment all over China and that has to be shaken out. Then you take a look at Chinese history. The Chinese have a history of violence and political upheaval that is just astounding. It's probably the bloodiest history in the world when it comes to political upheaval. They may escape that but I don't think that's the way to bet. I think they will follow their heritage and there will be some terrible amount of bloodshed in China from the shake out of the malinvestment.
Daily Bell: What will this mean for the rest of the world?
Richard Maybury: There's no way to know because you are asking what these individual Chinese politicians will decide to do and we don't know what that is. They are like all politicians everywhere – they change their mind pretty much every day and when the bloodshed starts they're surely going to change their minds every day, maybe every hour. There's no way to know what they will do but it's a good guess they will try to direct their population's attention toward outside enemies. Then they may start picking fights with people and getting in wars. It's just impossible to say. We also don't know how many of them will survive but historically in these situations a lot of Chinese politicians end up hanging from lamp posts and so the smart ones will get out of China when the trouble starts. The dumb ones will stay and be killed and we don't know who will survive or how they will behave.
Daily Bell: Will the powers-that-be use a worldwide depression to set up a new currency? Will it be the bancor?
Richard Maybury: As I remember the bancor was not based on anything real. It was just another fiat currency. It was Keynes' attempt to create a fiat currency. When all this turmoil is over with the world is not going to want a fiat currency of any kind and the people will demand that whatever currency they accept is backed by something real – like gold or something else. So, as to your question, will the powers that be set up a new currency, I think they will try. They may try many times. And we may go through various successive issues of new currencies. A currency may rise and then be rejected and then a new fiat currency may emerge and then that will be rejected and so on. In the end, people will no longer accept fiat currency of any kind regardless of what you call it.
Daily Bell: Will the economy simply default to gold, silver and free banking?
Richard Maybury: I think some individuals will certainly try to move in that direction. How many there will be like that I don't know. It's likely that some sort of privately issued money will be tried. I would like to point out that I follow Austrian economics and my belief is that governments should have nothing to do with currencies at all. Private companies should issue currencies and the individual consumer can select which currency he likes. In all probability this would happen over a period of 5 or 10 years. The world would probably settle on a half dozen or so currencies that are the most trusted and they would become the currencies of the world. Now the free markets, to the extent that markets are free, will try to move in that direction and people will move in the direction of currencies they can trust, but whether governments will allow this to happen I don't know. Again, politicians change their mind every day.
Daily Bell: What do you think of the Brownian green backer movement? Is US Intel actively promoting it?
Richard Maybury: As I remember, the Brownian movement might be a move in the right direction but I don't think it goes far enough because it calls on government to do the right thing (laughing aloud) and when has that ever happened? Inherently if you are going to let your currency be managed by a government, you are assuming that the government is going to be wise and honest. Well, where is the evidence for that? To the degree that the Brownian movement relies on the government to do the right thing, it's going to fail.
Daily Bell: Would America really be better off if it printed its own currency?
Richard Maybury: Well, again, America is a country and the government is a different thing than the country. So are you asking would America the country be better off if the federal government was printing it's own currency? Well, it already is printing its own currency and it's doing a rotten job of it so I don't expect that these people are suddenly going to become wise and honest. If you think the government is going to solve your problems you are going to be sorely disappointed.
Daily Bell: Do you expect further deflation?
Richard Maybury: Deflation originally meant a decline in the amount of currency that is in circulation. We are certainly not in deflation under that definition. The federal government has been deluging the world with money. Then we get into what is called velocity or money demand. Velocity refers to the speed at which money changes hands and money demand is the force that governs how fast money changes hands. If there's a high demand for the money then it won't change hands very quickly and if there's a low demand for the money it will change hands very quickly. This has the same effect as changes in the money supply. If money is circulating very fast it has the same effect on the economy as an inflation of the money supply. I explain this concept in my book called The Money Mystery. So, do I expect further deflation? I don't know what to say. Velocity has been the dominant force – not the money supply – throughout this correction and velocity has been bouncing up and down. I think it will continue to do that.
Daily Bell: How about hyperinflation?
Richard Maybury: I think it's coming in a lot of countries and that it is even probale in the United States. I would say over the next 10 years there is a 70% probability that we will see hyperinflation in the US. A lot of other countries, like the PIGS for instance which may end up breaking away from the Euro and the EU, could end up printing their own currencies and head right into hyperinflation. I think hyperinflation is something the whole world is going to learn a lot about.
Daily Bell: Is the dollar dead?
Richard Maybury: For all intents and purposes yes, but I could have said that 30 years ago too. It's a fiat currency and it lives only as long as people believe in the tulipmania. The instant they stop believing in this tulipmania, the tulip – the dollar – becomes worthless. The whole world is beginning to get really nervous about the dollar so I think we are on the edge of it. Whether we are going to go over the proverbial cliff or not is impossible to say for sure, but I think we will. Now I am not saying you should get rid of all your dollars because this begs the question of what do you trasfer in to? Here I refer people to one of Harry Browne's books, Fail Safe Investing, which I think is avery realistic investment plan because you simply don't know what is coming and you've got to be ready for everything – and that's the plan that Harry presents.
Daily Bell: What should people be investing in today?
Richard Maybury: Again I refer you to Harry Browne's book. His plan, called The Permanent Portfolio, is the best one I have ever heard of. Granted, it is not perfect. I would like to be able to hand you something that is going to work perfectly but I don't know of anything that does and I have been actively looking for more than 25 years. I just can't find anything better than Harry's plan. It has been performing spectacularly. Its main purpose is to achieve as much safety as possible for your wealth. I just did some calculations on a permanent portfolio fund and it's up 55% since 2006. This is a strategy whose primary purpose is safety not profit and yet it's up 55%! In addition to this approach, some people may want to acquire further holdings of gold, silver, platinum and other sorts of non-dollar assets. I certainly wouldn't argue against it.
Daily Bell: Is a recovery coming? Is the US still in bad shape economically?
Richard Maybury: We talked about malinvestment already and yes I think the US economy is still in very bad shape. For a real recovery to exist there first has to be real political reform because its unethical politics that have screwed up the country. No country is going to get out of a mess like this unless they abandon the idea that stealing is acceptable. It is not. Once again, it all comes down to ethics. People have been mislead and taught that stealing is OK. Simply put, as long as people are willing to accept the notion of legalized theft in the form of visible and hidden taxes, there can be no lasting solution to the mess we are in.
Daily Bell: Will the housing market recover any time soon?
Richard Maybury: I think the housing market may be bottoming out now simply from the standpoint that real estate is a non-dollar asset and as people flee from dollars they are heading into any non-dollar asset they can find. Real estate will be one of those categories that people will start buying up. I wouldn't be surprised to see real estate start to turn, or let's say start to boom this year at some point. All it's going to take is a bunch of people to decide that the bottom has happened and then they will go in. It's not because real estate is necessarily a good investment but more because it's a superior alternative to holding depreciating US dollars.
Daily Bell: How about employment?
Richard Maybury: I think we are going to be stuck with high unemployment for many years. Even Ben Bernanke has conceeded to at least five years of high unemployment and I think this is evidence that the man does know how to tell the truth occasionally. The economic disruption is so great from all this fiat counterfeiting that has been going on for so many decades that I can't see an improvement in the unemployment rate of any significance for years to come.
Daily Bell: Is Ben Bernanke doing a good job? Will he be the LAST Fed chairman?
Richard Maybury: Well, it would be great if he was the last Fed Chairman but I don't know if he will be or not. Is he doing a good job? I think that his job is to expand the money supply and to lie about it. So, according to that job description, he is doing rather well. But if you think his job description is to preserve the value of the currency and not to lie, then he's doing very badly.
Daily Bell: Will gold hit US$5,000? Will oil go to US$300 as you've predicted?
Richard Maybury: Yes, I think those prices are practically inevitable not because those items will rise but because the fiat dollar will fall. These are none-dollar assets and if the dollar gets weaker, as it's rejected more and more around the world, then one of the things people will run to will be gold and another will be oil. Just about anything that tends to hold its value better than paper money does will attract fleeing capital. To me these are slam-dunk predictions, not because I believe in gold or oil but because I have no faith at all in the future of the dollar.
Daily Bell: Is the price of oil manipulated?
Richard Maybury: Certainly it's being manipulated to the extent that it can be by various governments. Number one being the Saudis. The Saudi Royal Family clearly manipulates the price of oil and nobody even lies about that. It's just accepted in the markets. The Saudis are even called the benchmark producers because they have enough oil that they can manipulate the price. So the Saudi's certainly are manipulating it and there are undoubtedly others who try. But to what extent? I am a bit skeptical about this because oil is a commodity that is traded worldwide and is available in such huge quantities.
Maybe I should back up on that. I tend to think that one way to look at it is that the oil price is manipulated by the US Navy. If the US navy stays in the Persian Gulf and continues to back the regimes that control Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and other oil countries on the west side of the gulf, then the price of oil can go rather high. However, if there's a revolution and the navy leaves and these governments are overthrown and new governments come in and just start pumping all the oil they can, then the price falls dramatically. There were some calculations done, that I wrote about maybe ten years ago, that show the price of oil really ought to be somewhere around $5.00 per barrel because there's so much of it in the Persian Gulf and that's the only place it would be pumped from if politics didn't enter into the situation. All these other places like the North Sea, Texas and Indonesia have higher costs of production than the Persian Gulf does. So if we could remove all the politics then all oil would be pumped from the Persian Gulf at a cost of approximately $5.00 per barrel. In that sense, if the US navy would leave the Persian Gulf, we might see $5.00 a barrel.
Daily Bell: Is oil abiotic?
Richard Maybury: I know that theory and it's a tempting one. For instance, there's one of the moon's of Saturn, Titan, where its atmosphere is methane, meaning natural gas. Well, where did the methane come from? There's nothing alive out there that we know of and yet this rock has the ability to produce methane. The theory about oil being abiotic seems to make sense but I'm still waiting to see some conclusive evidence.
Daily Bell: We think the powers-that-be conspire to keep oil in short supply via environmentalism and regulatory measures. Agree?
Richard Maybury: It's possible but I don't have anything further to add to that.
Daily Bell: Let's circle back. We believe that there is a small Anglo-elite built mostly of banking families that are behind much of the world's problems, including an endless quest for further centralization of money and power, called globalization. Agree?
Richard Maybury: Yes but I might not agree as strongly as others. The way I see it is birds of a feather flock together and rich people are always going to hang around with rich people and they are going to do deals with each other. They are going to try to manipulate events to their own advantage. As far as I know, it's always been so. To what extent are they successful at manipulating events to their advantage? I think in some cases very successful and other cases they fall flat on their faces. The way I see these groups operating is that there's not any central conspiracy, but there are task forces. Rich and powerful people will get together and form a task force to get something done. Maybe it will work and maybe it won't. After that enterprise is over with, it breaks up. Members go their separate ways and then down the road more of these people form another task force and they find some other scheme.
As long as we have large powerful governments this is a wonderful convenience for these people because all they have to do is get control of a large powerful government and they use this as a tool to get what they want. The solution to the whole thing is to eliminate as much political power as you can so they aren't presented with these tools to use on us. I do not regard the groups of the elite as the problem; I regard the political power as the problem. If you eliminate most of the power then you are de-fanging these groups and they are left to flounder and probably can't do anywhere near as much damage to us as they can with all this power available to them.
Daily Bell: We think the Internet has compromised this elite's secrecy. Agree?
Richard Maybury: Everybody's secrecy has been compromised by the Internet! (Laughing). The age of privacy is over with and that's privacy for the elites, government and everyone else. That's the significance of Wikilieaks. In fact, in my February issue of Early Warning Report there's an article about that. I think Wikileaks is the beginning of what will turn out to be the biggest political development in a thousand years. Or say for the next thousand years. Pretty soon it will be impossible for governments to operate in secrecy and once everybody knows what every government is doing it's going to be a different world.
Daily Bell: We think the Internet has turned into a real force for freedom and political fragmentation – which we consider good. Comments?
Richard Maybury: I absolutely agree. Anything that puts light on what the political elite is doing is a good thing. That's why the American founders were so much in favor of a free press and why America is famous for having the most free press in the whole world The founders understood that government can't really hurt us too badly if we know what they are doing. There is no tool more important to a power junkie than secrecy. So yes, absolutely, the Internet is one of the greatest things ever to come along for that reason.
Daily Bell: We think the elite is fighting back with false flag operatives. We think Julian Assange might be one.
Richard Maybury: I don't know anything about Mr. Assange personally so I can't really comment on that, but as far as false flag operatives, that has to be a near certainty. Once everybody knows what you are doing your only defense for what you are doing is to spread a bunch of lies so that nobody believes anything. I think that's what governments are probably doing now. They are trying to spread so many lies that no one will believe anything, including the truth.
Daily Bell: We think the war in Tunisia might not have been entirely spontaneous. What's your take?
Richard Maybury: There are always underground movements, especially in the Islamic world because all Islamic governments are dictatorships and they naturally spawn underground movements. So there's always an underground ready to spring up when a window of opportunity opens. In that sense it was not entirely spontaneous. You could even argue if a government is dictatorial or tyrannical then nothing is spontaneous because the people will eventually do something about the tyranny. It's always this coiled spring situation. All dictatorships are these coiled springs, which is why they don't want a free press, why they don't want you to have the right to bear arms and why they want to have all sorts of other controls on you. They are scared to death of the population and they know the day will come when the population will rise up. You might say there's nothing spontaneous in a dictatorship.
Daily Bell: We think the powers that be could be encouraging a sphere of Muslim radicalism stretching from Saudi Arabia to Somalia and beyond. What do you think?
Richard Maybury: Yes, but guess I'm uncomfortable with the term, "powers that be". There are certainly groups that have an agenda that requires overthrowing some or all of these governments. Now, whether that's the "powers that be" or not, I don't know. I don't think there's a unified power elite either. I think these people are opportunists, just like other humans, and being the elite they assume that they don't really have to follow any rules like the rest of us do. So, what history shows is they stab each other in the back. A good example is Hitler and Stalin. When it was to their advantage, they had an agreement. However, when Hitler decided it was no longer to his advantage he attacked Stalin. I think this goes on all the time. I think this is what governments do. This is basically what foreign policy is all about. Who are we going to stab in the back this week?
Daily Bell: So would you have a term for them or what would YOU call them?
Richard Maybury: Well, maybe to make a term is misleading. Perhaps that's a good point because they are all individuals. They have their own individual needs, wants and desires. Some of them have really evil intentions, while others have really good intentions but are stupid. It's hard to say there's any unified agenda. I have never seen evidence that there is a unified agenda among the rich and powerful. Sometimes I am sure they act in concert, but I think a lot of time they don't. I am hesitating to say there is some sort of a unified plan with these people. We did discuss the case-by-case basis earlier. For example, if something in Libya interests the Bush family but not the Kennedy's then the Bush's might act and the Kennedy's sit it out. I think that goes for all these rich and powerful people all over the world. They operate just like you and I do – sometimes we get together and sometimes we don't. And it depends on the specific situation as to whether we get together or not. I think there is absolute certainty that these people occasionally form groups for the purpose of overthrowing a government so they can take control. Historically in Latin America, for maybe a century or more, the rich groups in the United States have manipulated the Latin American governments. So government control and population manipulation does occur, but as far as a unified plan to take over the world is concerned, I would be surprised if they were able to get a big enough consensus among themselves because they are all going to have disagreements with who ought to be shot and who ought to be subsidized. They're just not going to come together in total agreement of any given quest.
Daily Bell: Isn't it true that the West lavishly funds Saudi Arabia who in turn funds Muslim fundamentalism? Is this just a coincidence?
Richard Maybury: I think it's true. Again the US Navy is the most important subsidy the Saudi Royal Family has. Try to imagine yourself a rebel, living on the coast in Saudi Arabia, and every morning making coffee you look out the window and there's an American guided missile cruiser sitting there. How inclined are you going to be to try to overthrow the government while staring down the barrel of a gun, so to speak. The simple fact that the US navy is there, even if it never fires a shot, is a tremendous interference in the politics of Saudi Arabia.
Daily Bell: How else do we explain the world's drift toward centralization and authoritarianism? We believe when the power elite is challenged, it generates wars. What do you think?
Richard Maybury: In some cases I am sure that's true, but again I think the elite operates on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes they are successful and sometimes they are not.
Daily Bell: Isn't it a fact that the Anglo sphere tends to support its financial adversaries in advance of a confrontation? Didn't Wall Street fund the Soviet Union and by extension Red China?
Richard Maybury: There's a very good book written by Antony Sutton called, "The Best Enemy Money Can Buy." It's about Americans financing the Bolshevik revolution and subsidizing the Soviet Union ever since. I think it's an absolute fact that the US helped prop up the Soviet Union so that Washington would have an enemy that would justify its rationale to go out and meddle in the rest of the world. Sutton presented evidence on this theory and I for one think it's irrefutable. Other than that, I would have to think long and hard about your question.
Daily Bell: How about a war with Iran?
Richard Maybury: I am assuming you mean a US war with Iran. In the next five years, I give it a 60% probability that the US will go to war with Iran. I think it is likely to happen because the Israeli government wants something done with Iran and I think Washington will support the effort. Should I say more?
Daily Bell: Are more wars likely because the Western economy is bad?
Richard Maybury: The whole world economy is bad. If it's not suffering from deflationary forces, it's suffering from inflationary forces. So the whole world is in bad economic shape and that tends to lead to wars. I am working on an article for the March issue on my newsletter now that's going to be about this issue.
Essentially, I believe that the fall of the US Empire has begun and that's what you are seeing in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen. It's going to be like watching dominos fall, in my opinion. So just from that standpoint alone, just from the perspective of a potential collapse of the US Empire, we are going to see the whole world's political matrix upset and there's possibly going to be a lot of wars from that. Remember that there are all sorts of groups of people around the world who have their own private grudges with each other and I think a lot of those are going to erupt – for instance, the historic rival between Pakistani's and the Indians. That's why I keep suggesting defense stocks. I think they are going to look good simply because the defense industry is going to be in big demand for its products. To say that a lot more wars aren't going to happen is to believe that humans have somehow learned their lesson and they are going to behave rationally. I haven't seen any evidence of that.
Daily Bell: Is China likely to be a military adversary of the US?
Richard Maybury: Well, they already are adversaries. If you look at things from the standpoint of the Chinese, I think it is inevitable that there's going to be this adversarial relationship because historically China was invaded repeatedly by western powers. There's no reason for Chinese to feel friendly towards, or to trust, the western powers because they've been kicked around a lot by them for more than a century. You have these US Nimitz-class aircraft carriers sailing around in the far Pacific in the Yellow Sea and the South China Sea along the Chinese coast. There's basically a US naval presence there all the time. Most Americans don't understand what a Nimitz-class carrier is. If it is sufficiently re-supplied, one of these carriers can, all by itself, conquer nearly every country in the world. There's only a half a dozen or so exceptions to that. This carrier can basically sail around the world conquering countries all by itself. And the US has at least one of those things in the waters off of China all the time.
Now, if you are Chinese and your country has already has been invaded numerous times by westerners, how would you feel about one of those carriers sitting off your coast? So the adversary relationship is a definitely exists. As long as Washington continues this kind of behavior there's just no other way it can be. Imagine how Americans would feel if the Chinese had by far the most powerful weapon in the world and they had it parked right off the coast of California. How would Americans feel about that? Well, that's the situation in China.
Daily Bell: Is the Anglo-American culture warlike?
Richard Maybury: Well, certainly, but I guess it's a question of degree. More warlike or less warlike than who else? I think the Anglo part of that, meaning the English part is indisputably war-like. They conquered a fourth of the world. In the United States the assumption of being patriotic means willing to go to war. If the government says we have to attack somebody, by gosh you better be willing to support the battle or you are not patriotic. As long as we've got patriotism hooked to war we are going to be warlike.
Daily Bell: Are all empires warlike? Is the US an empire? You've written about that in the past haven't you?
Richard Maybury: Yes, I have numerous times. Actually in order to do the article for March I had to count them and there is no less than 16 times in the last ten years when I have pointed out that the US is an Empire and the Empire is coming to an end. My article in March is an announcement that I believe the end of the Empire is upon us. The US certainly has an Empire and I should point out that the White House has a policy of stating that the US is not an Empire, therefore nobody talks about it. But you have seen the evidence in the last couple of days alone when the President of the United States called up the President of Egypt and ordered him to quit. (Laughing) If that is not evidence of an Empire, what is it?
Daily Bell: Why is the US still in Afghanistan? We have explained that it is a war to westernize the Pashtuns, not a war for oil or to strategically surround the Chinese. These are secondary goals at best. Agree?
Richard Maybury: Yes, I agree with that. As far as westernizing the Pashtuns, well, of course, Americans are more good and wise and noble than anybody else in the world and they know how other people should behave. As a result, they naturally believe they have every right and duty to go over to Afghanistan and make sure the Pashtuns behave according to the American model. Isn't that logical?
Daily Bell: We do not believe the Afghan war can be won. Do you?
Richard Maybury: It can be won in the sense that the US has the firepower to turn Afghanistan into a radioactive parking lot, but they aren't going to use those nuclear weapons so it can't be won. It's a guerilla war and guerilla wars are practically impossible for a conventional power to win. When I was in the Air Force, I was in special ops and our main job was to train the troops of dictators in Latin America to fight guerillas. In those days, the absolute minimum numerical superiority you needed was 6 to 1 against the guerillas and a whole lot of generals would have told you 10 to 1. The Turks, for example, when they were fighting the Kurds, found out that 100 to 1 wasn't even enough. And that's the way it is because you can't shoot what you can't find. That's the essence of guerilla war – troops can't shoot what they can't find. So the guerillas have this enormous advantage making the odds of winning the Afghan war less than 5%.
Daily Bell: The war is destabilizing Pakistan. Will Pakistan survive?
Richard Maybury: I doubt it very much. I would not be surprised if the next country to go down, which is the next puppet in the US Empire, will be the government of Pakistan. I was talking about this yesterday with some friends and we were saying, OK, Tunisia has gone down and Yemen is near it and Egypt is now going down – what's going to be the next one to fall? If I had to bet money, I would probably bet on Pakistan. It could be somebody else but I have often written that Pakistan is the most dangerous country in the world. It's one of the most unstable and it has dozens of nuclear weapons. I really can't say enough bad things about Pakistan.
Daily Bell: How will Afghanistan end up? Will the Pashtuns retain their independence from the West?
Richard Maybury: Yes. Probably all those tribes will regain their independence from the West. The West is just not going to make the sacrifices necessary to go in there and defeat them. In fact, nobody even knows what victory looks like over there. Nobody has been able to sit down and had to write what victory looks like over there. Nobody has yet to come up with that description.
Daily Bell: We are obviously in a very unusual period in history now. What do you think is an aspect of this period that few investors have recognized?
Richard Maybury: Getting back to my March issue, "The Fall of the US Empire," the White House has this policy that says the US government has no empire. Nobody in the financial industry ever looks at the fact that it does have an empire and yet the empire has such a huge impact on the flow of money. So I think that's the single biggest thing that is being overlooked by the financial industry and now the empire has begun to collapse.
Daily Bell: Good points. Any books or articles you would especially recommend?
Richard Maybury: Well, the March issue is going to have a lot in it about the fall of the empire and how it's going to affect the financial industry. This is where my attention has really been focused lately. I want to point out that I count the beginning of the Great Monetary Calamity as August of 2007 and this means we are almost four years into this economic crisis. I have given this an enormous amount of coverage over the last four years but now I think it's going to be eclipsed by the fall of the empire. That is where our newsletter is headed now. We're going back to covering more geo-politics – to covering more of the collapse of the empire.
Daily Bell: Closing thoughts?
Richard Maybury: America was a really special place between the end of WWII in 1945 and 9/11. Most Americans don't realize how special it was. It was very close to a golden age and probably should be called a golden age. However, now that golden age is over. The financial, career and business strategies that worked very well during that golden age won't work any more. You have to recognize that we are now back into what is normal for mankind, which is a whole lot of war and economic turmoil and general upheaval. That's what's normal on this planet and we are back to normal now.
So you need to adopt a new paradigm, a new model of the world you are living in, which is that we are back to normal now. The golden age is over for a while, at least for the next five to ten years, and then it will come back as the necessary political reforms are made. Here's my point again – as we get more ethical – the golden age will come back again. We have this period that we are going to go through that's going to be really nasty and people need to concentrate on adapting to this nasty period in order to get through it with as little discomfort and as much profit as possible.
Daily Bell: It's been an honor and you have been so generous with your time today. We encourage readers to consider ordering Richard Maybury's Uncle Eric book series. It is a great way for teens and adults aike to get a great understanding of many of the concepts and ideas shared in this interview.
This is a truly great and comprehensive interview with a fine thinker and observer of the modern scene. There are so many delights in this interview for Daily Bell readers that we won't try to catalogue them. The viewer can make up his or her own mind. What stands out most for us is Richard Maybury's strong philosophical bent, his ability to place modern events into a specific context that is historically persuasive. It is a great talent acquired from disciplined study of history and economics.
We hardly want to write anything more; but for the sake of providing some intellectual content in this "after thought," we will revisit the one real area of difference that we have Richard Maybury's world view. That has to do with a power elite that is cognizant of the world scene and making active attempts to influence it. The Daily Bell's brief, generally, has to do with analyzing the dominant social themes of this power elite, which has world government as its goal. It uses fear-based promotions to push Western middle classes to give up wealth and control to international, authoritarian institutions in furtherance of these goals.
If one reads the above interview with the idea of an active and aggressive power elite in mind, the points that Maybury makes fall into an undeniable pattern (from our view). Almost everything going on can be seen within the context of a larger, attempted centralization – one that has run into the decentralizing force of the Internet itself. This is the struggle of the New Age – the 21st century – and no one is much better at deciphering the ramifications than Maybury, even though he doesn't fully accept the premise (as propounded by this website).
No matter, his observations are so acute and his grasp of history so vast that his conclusions are valuable with or without the Bell's putative context-overlay. He is truly one-of-a-kind and has been educating people for decades. Those who believe that people are better off if they understand their culture and their place within it owe Richard Maybury a debt of gratitude. Additionally, we are grateful for the amount of time he spent with us on this interview. Thank you, Mr. Maybury for all you've done and have yet to do.
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