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Reading "Around the World with Jim Rogers" has got me thinking about my ability to withstand a downturn in the US economy. His experience took place from 1990-92 and was written soon afterwards. His conclusions were that everything in this world is transitory. The Roman Empire didn't last forever. Country borders are somewhat arbitrary and will always be changing. The United States as a power cannot exist forever, particularly when its financial policies are unstainable and spends money on things that do not have any long-term payback. He strongly suggests that everyone should diversify into overseas markets, currencies, and commodities, particularly in countries that promote free markets and disavow "statism." At the time he was particularly interested in Botswana, South Africa, Cameroon, Argentina (and a few other South American countries), and others that I can't recall offhand.

This book was written in 1990 and the world has changed. Since then we've seen the fall of communism, a rise in globalization, a tech bubble, a real estate bubble, a war in Iraq, ...etc, but the premise still remains. The U.S. was poor and in debt in the 1800s and early 1900s, but the debt was used to build up infrastructure and capabilities that made the U.S. a great country with a huge trade surplus through the rest of the century. Over time, our habits and policies have changed and the U.S. economy is set to decline.

If I am understanding Mr. Rogers correctly, if/when the country's financial situation collapses, there won't be enough buyers of American dollars for people to be able to get their money into a more stable currency without losing a lot of capital.

I don't know enough to form a strong opinion one way or the other, but Jim Rogers seems to me to be a very intelligent guy who has a better knowledge and fundamental understanding of the world's economy than most. Afterall, there aren't many people who have biked the world over!

So here are my questions.

Is he correct? Is the U.S. economy in general in a bubble? What is the best way to hedge against this? I'm assuming global gains is a good place to start.

I am not betting against the U.S. and the majority of my assets are in U.S. stocks. I have, however, begun to expand overseas primarily via ADRs and stocks listed in the US markets because it's easier and the currency exchange is automatically built in to the stock price. I'm guessing Jim Rogers would have me purchase all stocks using the primary market that they're listed in. There has been some discussion about the differences in ADRs vs original stock in the various boards, but most of it has to do with volume, arbitrage, voting rights, etc. What about the risk of delisting?

I would be interested in hearing some of the global gains staff's thoughts on appropriate ways balance ones risk, particularly for someone who has many decades left in their investment lifetime.

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