Published January 24, 2014

Three Men Make a Tiger

Dear Reader,

History has all but forgotten Pang Cong. But we shouldn't forget the critical lesson he taught us.

Two and a half millennia ago, China was a jigsaw puzzle of seven separate territories. As ancient city-states were wont to do, they constantly tried to conquer each other. War was profitable back then—the victor got to claim its vanquished enemies' treasure and pillage its citizens. Not like today, when modern weaponry reduces the loser of any conflict to a smoking crater.

Because of the constant threat of invasion, the cluster of Chinese city-states was an ever-shifting tangle of alliances. One day, the Yan and Qin states might be bitter enemies. The next, they would unite because a bigger, badder city-state was threatening to decimate both of them.

But while the different states often needed each other to survive, they didn't trust each other one bit. So to keep their tenuous alliances honest, they implemented a primitive version of "Mutually Assured Destruction." When one state allied with another, they would exchange princes as hostages. This incentivized each king not to betray the alliance, because doing so would result in his son's head on a spike.

During one of these princely exchanges, an unlucky prince from Qin was to travel to the Handan province to serve as hostage. The aforementioned Pang Cong, a high-ranking official and one of the king's most trusted advisors, was to escort him.

One little-known fact about the ancient Chinese is that they liked to gossip. Pang Cong was worried that in his absence, those jealous of his lofty status would talk trash about him, purposely undermining his credibility and standing with the king.

So Pang Cong told the king a story.

"Your Majesty, if someone were to tell you that there was a tiger roaming the markets of our capital city, would you believe it?"

"No," the king replied.

"What if two people told you there was a tiger in the market?"

"I might be suspicious of it, but I wouldn't believe it," the king replied.

"What about three people?" Pang Cong said.

After pondering for a bit, the king admitted that, yes, he would believe there was a tiger in the market if three people said it.

Pang Cong said, "It is obvious that there is no tiger in the marketplace, yet three men saying so can make a tiger. Handan is further away from here than the marketplace. And the number of men wanting to slander me is far more than three. I hope your majesty can see my circumstances."

"I understand," the king replied.

But he didn't really understand. Just as Pang Cong feared, while he was away, slanderers poisoned his reputation. When Pang Cong returned from his journey, the king refused to see him.

The moral of the story? Many people saying and believing something creates a powerful lie. One that others are prone to believe. Three men make a tiger.

Here's where Pang Cong's story intersects with modern reality: countless tigers are strutting around the financial markets right now, masquerading as truth. Let's catch three of them by the toe to see where the "wisdom of crowds" goes wrong and why we should heed Pang Cong's lesson instead.

Tiger #1: Markets Are Efficient

Are markets efficient? Ask an average person with a respectable amount of financial knowledge this question, and I suspect he'll reply with a confident "yes." The common belief is that markets immediately agglomerate all information about a particular asset into its price—therefore, unless you have inside information, beating the market is impossible.

To help evaluate that bit of conventional wisdom, let me tell you a story about a stock called Great Northern Iron Ore (GNI).

GNI is a trust that owns iron-producing property in Minnesota. What's so interesting about this stock is that it has a clearly defined expiration date. The trust agreement stipulates that the trust will terminate 20 years after the last surviving beneficiary dies, which happened in April 1995. So GNI will cease to exist on April 6, 2015.

On that date, the rights to the trust's underlying property pass to ConocoPhillips, and the shares become worthless. Shareholders will get a final liquidating distribution, which GNI management has estimated will be $8.39 per share.

GNI remits all of its quarterly net income to investors as dividends. Given that there are five quarters left until GNI terminates, we know that it will make five more dividend payments. Its dividend has declined in recent years, but let's be generous and assume it can continue to pay out at its most recent clip, which was $2.65/share in Q4 2013.

Let's do the math…

As you can see, a share of GNI is unequivocally worth no more than $21.64. And in reality, it's worth less, when you factor in the time value of money and taxes.

All of this information has been available for several quarters. But as recently as January 3, GNI was trading for $65/share. Anyone who bought at that price—and plenty did—was effectively trading a dollar for 33 cents.

Valuing companies usually involves a great deal of subjectivity. But not in this case. We know the terminal value. We know the distributions. We know every dollar that GNI will produce before it terminates.

In other words, we know pretty much exactly what GNI is worth. Yet the market assigned it a value of more than triple that.

As the cyberkids like to say: WTF?

The allure of lucrative dividends seems to be the culprit—GNI paid out a hefty 18.2% in 2012. Apparently that fat quarterly paycheck blinded investors to the fact that they were trading dollar bills for dimes. The price of GNI did come crashing down recently. But as I write, it's still priced at a too-rich $22.65.

So are markets efficient? Clearly not. They do assimilate all available information. But some information is bad. Humans are imperfect and are driven by more than pure logic. In this case, dividend chasers kept GNI sky-high when it deserved to be much cheaper.

Pang Cong: 1
The Wisdom of Crowds: 0

Tiger #2: Gold Can't Be Manipulated

With gold mired in a prolonged correction, the idea that large traders are suppressing its price is a hot topic. Despite a vociferous minority that claims otherwise, the prevailing notion is that manipulation, at least in an attempt to turn a profit, is impossible.

That conclusion seems intuitive: sure, a big-time trader could sell a boatload of gold all at once to depress its price. But to turn a profit, it would have to buy the gold back at those lower prices, which would undo the initial effect. Case closed, right?

Actually, no. By far the best and most lucid explanation I've seen on the matter is Casey Research Senior Economist Terry Coxon's recent article in The Casey Report, "How to Piggyback on Gold Market Manipulation." He explains that under certain economic conditions, not only is it possible for a big investor to push the price of gold around to turn a profit, but that "in the entire investment universe, gold is the asset most likely to be manipulated by big purchases and sales."

It's truly an eye-opening piece. Terry even concludes with two strategies that gold investors can use to take advantage of the potential manipulation to buy gold at better prices.

If you'd like to read the article but aren't a subscriber to The Casey Report, consider taking it for a test drive. Our generous refund policy allows you to receive three new issues—plus peruse our entire archives of over 60 issues—before deciding if it's for you. If it's not, no problem—just cancel within 90 days for a full refund. Click here to subscribe to The Casey Report.

Pang Cong: 2
The Wisdom of Crowds: 0

Tiger #3: Invest in Countries with Rapidly Growing GDP

I shudder whenever I hear a pitch to invest in a certain country's stock market that begins with "Look at how fast its GDP is growing!"

That's because, counterintuitively, GDP growth rarely translates to strong stock market returns. In fact, many studies have found that there's no link at all between GDP and stock returns in the short and medium term; some even argue that the correlation between the two is negative.

China is the poster child for this phenomenon: the Chinese economy has been growing at over 7% per year since 1991, yet Chinese stocks peaked at the end of 2008 and have gone nowhere in the past five years.

To understand this strange dynamic, first recognize that a country's GDP and its stock market do not benefit from the same conditions. For example, the US economy (and therefore US GDP) thrives on low oil prices because America must import oil. But the S&P 500, which includes several prominent oil companies, benefits from high oil prices.

For emerging economies, the disconnect is even more severe. Many of the biggest companies in emerging markets are state controlled, or at least state influenced. If PetroChina has the potential to make a $1 billion profit per year, the Chinese government has every incentive to take $500 million of that profit and spread it around to Chinese citizens in the form of jobs and higher salaries. After all, Chinese citizens vote (sort of); foreign investors don't.

Of course, the Chinese government can't tell investors to take a hike and raid all corporate profits. That would discourage foreigners from investing in China. But it can and will pillage some profits. Profit maximization is simply not the Chinese government's #1 priority. Nor is it the priority of most emerging markets.

Remember that when investing—especially in immature markets.

The final tally:

Pang Cong: 3
The Wisdom of Crowds: 0

There you have it. To be fair, I'm sure we could find some examples of when the wisdom of crowds produced better results. But by and large, zigging when the crowd is zagging is a proven path to investment success. In fact, it's exactly how the most successful investors I know, including Doug Casey, made their fortunes.

I'll now pass the reins to a friend of Casey Research, Pete Kofod, who has some thoughts on how modern libertarians are often an embarrassing bunch. Regular readers will recognize him as the author of one of the best and most thought-provoking articles ever published in these pages, "The Rise of the Praetorian Class."

After that, you'll find some classic tips from David Galland about how to invest in junior miners in Casey Gems.

I'll leave you with this quote, which is just too perfect not to share, given the subject of my above missive:

"No one in this world, so far as I know, has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people."
—H. L. Mencken

What’s Wrong with Modern Libertarians


Like many of you, I was sad to learn that David Galland would be stepping away from The Room. His insights always served as a highlight of the week, offering a dose of refreshing candor into the tragicomedy of our world. David has become a dear friend, and I look forward to seeing him regularly at the owners' events at La Estancia de Cafayate. David is unlikely to remain still, so join me in wishing him the best of luck in whatever endeavor is fortunate enough to attract his attention. I would like to say that our friendship has been fostered through many hours of spirited conversation, often over a glass of Malbec, with topics ranging from the mundane to the rather bizarre. We share a general optimism and love of life with a sprinkle of concern for the world we are leaving our children, as well as a passion for the genuine, unhurried, and earthen region of Northwest Argentina. We are, if you will pardon the thread-worn expression, like-minded. That doesn't mean that we agree on everything. Far from it, in fact, which is what makes many of our chats so interesting.

With that as a backdrop, a recent topic of discussion centered on the ongoing fracas within the "libertarian community." While David is enjoying the climate of Cafayate, business commitments still keep me in the colder Northern Hemisphere. We therefore stay in touch primarily via email as well as Skype, which, by the way, is an amazing service that has single-handedly disrupted the telephone monopolies' death grip on toll calls.

In said conversation, I observed that the broad libertarian movement has become a halfway house for a wide array of misanthropes who, thanks to the platform provided by the aforementioned Internet, are making a mockery of classical liberal thought. David's response followed shortly after:

"You know, when you get right down to it, while I completely embrace the idea of small (almost nonexistent) government, the more I deal with libertarians, or anyone else who insists on putting themselves into a box, the less enamored I am of the breed. They are an oxymoron in action (complete with a lot of morons)—individuals who want to group together. And when they do group together, they can't work in concert because they place so much of their ego around being individuals. Which is why most of them don't have two nickels to rub together, because as the stoics correctly point out, humans do best when working in concert …"

I found his statement to be spot on and copied it verbatim to one of my social media accounts. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, which in turn caused me to ponder the matter in greater depth.

Particularly, in the last few weeks, I have noticed a growing trend of pettiness and boorish behavior among those who claim membership in the "liberty movement." Name-calling that would earn Ralphie a bar of Lifebuoy soap for dinner has become accepted vernacular. Further, it appears that the more trivial the issue of contention, the angrier the rhetoric becomes. In reviewing my various social media threads over the past few weeks, the following drama unfolded before my very eyes.

The Bitcoin versus Gold Debate

As bitcoin has moved beyond the obscure crypto-anarchy community, it has attracted its share of skeptics and detractors. In addition to receiving flak from the usual cheerleaders for the unbridled state, bitcoin has come under fire from unexpected corners. Critics of the Fed's digital print press have split and turned on each other.

On one side is the gold faction that, in a bitter twist of irony, is criticizing what's perhaps the most revolutionary experiment in monetary history.

On the flip side is the bitcoin faction, vulgarly dismissing the historical significance of gold.

Both sides use mocking and hateful language. While anything new and untested deserves a high degree of scrutiny, particularly that which seeks to complement if not supplant the global monetary system, the conversation has been marked by ignorant fear masquerading as supercilious contempt.

Real "-isms" versus Invented Grievances

As an unintended consequence of the dim view most libertarians take on Political Correctness and the Thought Police that it fosters, the libertarian community has attracted its share of jerks, racists, sexists, and other uncouth louts. They promulgate the very beliefs that libertarians tend to abhor, namely the judgment of persons by their ethnic or gender classification as opposed to the nature of the individual. The truth is that these individuals have merely found a naïve audience for their atavistic garbage. Political Correctness to a libertarian is like garlic to a vampire. For the time being, many libertarians tolerate language and behavior that should be shunned, merely out of fear for being labeled "The PC Police."

In turn, various "oppressed" people within the libertarian community have chosen to reach for the nuclear label, calling people a (fill-in-the-blank)-ist, because they know that the moniker is a powerful weapon, even in a broadly anti-PC community. Assuming an "-ism" first instead of last is a surefire way to never be able to have a civil conversation again.

Well played, "libertarians." You have introduced the false narrative of people either being PC or racist/sexist/homophobic. As a result, most people do not engage in meaningful dialogue because they've learned the lesson that, to borrow from the movie War Games, "The only way to win is not to play."

Academic Institutions Battling for Intellectual Leadership

There seems to be a never-ending, infantile battle between ego-driven academics. What in some instances begins as a trivial argument over philosophical semantics invariably devolves into mudslinging à la "Elliott is a big poo-poo head." Obscure early writings from academics exploring political science and economics are dug up and used in a game of "Gotcha" that is reminiscent of the tawdriest political campaigns. And to what end?

What these high priests of libertarian orthodoxy seem to miss is that the majority of their readership are not purists. Their views are informed by many sources, and acting like an ill-mannered preschooler is quite unseemly for individuals or organizations presenting themselves as a credible scholarly resource. I am frequently reminded of this classic scene from Monty Python's The Life of Brian (caution: strong language).

Observing these discussions descend into pathetic name calling has led me to ask the question: "Is there a set of litmus tests for being a libertarian?" The question is in and of itself paradoxical, given that it essentially seeks to standardize membership for a group in which the defining trait is purportedly individualism: a seemingly hopeless task indeed. Instead, I went about cataloguing character traits of leading "libertarians" whom I respect. In no particular order, the traits are:

Live and Let Live

Every human being is the unique product of a complex set of formative conditions set in motion long before birth. Throw in free will, and it is really amazing that our species finds agreement on anything at all. Our criteria for happiness and success are as varied as are our methods of achieving them. How often we forget this and seek to condemn others for not only their preferences, but even for their very identities.

Live and let live instructs us to go with the flow and seek to understand. For some, this is seen as compromising principles. Not so, I would argue. Principles and pragmatism can happily cohabitate. I am reminded of a story regarding the Dalai Lama. He was attending a fundraiser for Tibet at the private residence of a very wealthy supporter in Hawaii. The fundraiser included a cocktail in which hors d'oeuvres were served. As the hostess introduced four guests to the Dalai Lama, a waiter presented the Dalai Lama with a plate of Kobe beef appetizers. The Dalai Lama smiled, accepted a serving, and thanked the waiter.

Now it is fairly well known that for ethical reasons the Dalai Lama is a strict vegetarian, yet he consumed the beef and carried on with the conversation. Shortly thereafter, the hostess excused herself from the conversation, at which point one of the remaining guests exclaimed, "Your Holiness, you just ate beef!" The Dalai Lama smiled and calmly replied, "The cow is dead. The hostess is alive."

Win-Win or No Deal

In his wildly successful book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey lists life choices that lead a person from dependence through independence to interdependence. The first three habits focus on moving from dependence to independence. The fourth habit is "Think Win-Win," and it is the foundational trait of an independent person seeking interdependence. Interdependence, in this instance, is the process of becoming an increasingly significant positive contributor to the world and in turn receiving the appropriate rewards that accompany such contributions.

Doug Casey has often bemoaned "broke libertarians." I believe that it is because while many libertarians believe they should have the right to do as they please, provided they harm nobody, many never seem to consciously recognize that to be rewarded you must meet others at their level of need. That means that while you are free to do as you please, if you wish to be rewarded, you should learn to do as they please. Kindergarten 101, folks.

Minimize the State's Coercive Influence in All Affairs

We have all been "blessed" in our lives with people who believe that they know what is best for others and, in their ardor to form a more perfect society, would employ the mailed fist of the State to achieve those ends. Of course they will never put it in such words, instead relying on terms like "nudge," "tax-incentivized behavior modification," and other sanitized terms of Leviathan's truncheon. But let there be no mistake. While they hope you join them willingly, when presenting you with an offer to "do this or else," they are fully prepared to unleash "or else."

A true libertarian finds those operating conditions revolting and, even when given the opportunity to place the shoe on the other foot, will not resort to the blackmail tactics of the State. While this should be the most defining trait of a libertarian, it is perhaps also the most elusive and subjective. Because the State has insinuated itself into virtually every aspect of social interaction, opting out is not as simple as passing on a street solicitor's offer. A purist rejection of the State is essentially impossible in Western society, as it presumably involves nonpayment of taxes, rejection of State-operated facilities, and so on and so forth. Rejection of State coercion therefore becomes a "shades of gray" discussion.

While two people may agree that the State should not be in the business of operating a communal revenue-generating service, what one person may be willing to resist on principle, the other may acquiesce to for pragmatic reasons. That doesn't make one more principled or libertarian than the other. It merely means that in rational self-interest, one is willing to forgo a State service while the other is not.

Recognize Leadership and Collaboration as Positive

I find myself bewildered by the primitive mindset that holds that any form of collaboration, let alone acquiescence to worthy leadership in the pursuit of self-interest, is somehow an immoral or cowardly arrangement. Many years ago, a manager of mine shared a story. After being discharged from the military where he had served in Vietnam, he found himself bouncing around from place to place, ending up in a hippie commune in upstate New York. While he was amenable to some of the more liberal social norms of the place, particularly as they applied to health and recreation, he was somewhat bothered by the sanitary conditions of the facility. The place was a complete pigsty.

He realized in relative short order that while the place had an established code of conduct, it lacked leadership and in fact intentionally sought to operate as a leaderless environment. When he called out the unfortunate consequences of this arrangement, along with naming the two lazy moochers who left their trash everywhere, he was pilloried as an establishment stooge. He ended up sticking around for another few days for reasons I suspect are clear, but eventually had enough and moved on.

For those "libertarians" who believe they can go it alone in life, I highly recommend Not a Zero-Sum Game by Manuel Ayau, available from the Mises Institute bookstore. It is a short and simple, yet very compelling explanation of how the Law of Comparative Advantage encourages collaboration and increases productivity for all participating parties.

It is not uncommon to hear of entrepreneurs "hiring their own boss." They realize that their talent is not running a company and see the company they founded as bigger than a mere edifice to gratify their personal ego. Can it go wrong? Sure. Steve Jobs' ouster from Apple by John Sculley is legendary. But it is common to see visionary entrepreneurs "replace themselves" once conditions allow, so that they can get back to what they do best, which is innovate.

Conditions in Life

If you are the kind of person who espouses libertarian views, yet find yourself nurturing your grievances, ask yourself how much you are committed to creating the world you wish to live in. We live in exciting times, filled with change, challenges, and opportunity. Take a moment to read the top regrets that people have on their deathbed, and commit to having none of them on yours. Eliminate negative people from your life, beginning with your alter ego, if necessary.

There are enough people who desperately need your success. When you are afraid, don't call it by another name. Fear of the unknown is universal to humanity. By accepting for what it is, you gain power of it.

And above all else, don't be a jerk.

Pete Kofod is the cofounder of The Sixth Flag, a firm that provides secure desktop computing as a service. He is also the founder of Datasages, a firm that provides technology consulting to large organizations. Prior to entering the private sector, Pete served in the United States Army, both as an officer and non-commissioned officer, including six years as a Special Forces soldier on an Operational Detachment-A. Pete holds an electrical engineering degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Pete is an owner at La Estancia de Cafayate and enjoys skydiving.


Casey Gems—David Galland on Investing in Volatile Junior Miners


[Ed. Note: David's advice herein, which came during another resource market correction, in 2006, is equally relevant today.]

Recognizing I'm addressing readers cut from far more sophisticated cloth than the burbling masses, I apologize in advance for reminding you that when it comes to junior resource stocks ("burning matches" as Doug Casey calls them)…

  • Investing in the junior resource sector has absolutely incredible upside… but TANSTAAFL (there ain't no such thing as a free lunch). In this case the "cost" for the upside is far higher volatility and risk than is present in more traditional sectors.
  • Success in this sector requires patience. Some readers simply buy and hold the quality stocks until the trend peaks (the sign of which will be when "everyone" comes to know that gold is going to the moon). That is the approach favored by Doug and myself. Other successful readers tell us they trade the volatility, buying on the downswings, then selling on the run-ups, picking up a nice string of double-digit wins in the process. What successful investors in this space never do is panic out of stocks during a big pullback, as doing so ensures they will (a) take a loss, and (b) stand aside until it is "safe" to come back into the market… which means buying back in at higher prices.
  • While some degree of concentration is required to generate serious portfolio returns, let us urge you again to invest in this sector only with money you are not afraid to lose half (or more) of. The reason for that admonition is simply that if you are able to accept the volatility, then you'll be far more likely not to panic, or even be overly concerned, during a downturn such as we are experiencing.

Then, there's this…

And while we're on the subject, there are, in the main, two relevant factors involved in precious metals bull markets.

The first has to do with the fundamentals of the economy, and the fundamentals have never in modern history been worse. Toss your dart at the big board, and it will land anywhere but on the space marked "soft landing."

It is far more likely to land on a blow-up in the hedge funds or in the derivatives market (on the latter point, it was recently reported that JP Morgan did a record $5.5 trillion in new derivative trading in the first quarter of 2006 alone, pushing the value of its derivative book up to an astonishing $54 trillion. And that is just one firm.)

Or it might land on the housing bubble, the leaking news from which tells us that the inventory of unsold houses is on the rise, as are mortgage defaults.

[Ed. Note: Chalk one up for David. This was written in 2006, and in fact the housing bubble and the derivatives markets' losses were two primary causative factors in the financial blowup that began a year later.]

Or it might land on the trade deficit, which surged to $68 billion in the latest reporting period, yet another all-time high. Or the possible fallout resulting from US politicos stumping against the new yellow peril as they pander for votes. On that front, as I write, Congress is winding up legislation imposing tariffs on imports from China, a proposition unlikely to be warmly received by the Chinese. Who, in case it has slipped anyone's mind, are sitting on close to $1 trillion in our depreciating dollars… making throwing the first ball in a trade war more akin to playing with hand grenades.

In fairness, there is some good news, including a report out today that in August the CPI rose by just half of the .4 percent rate reported in July… though "core" inflation, i.e., without food and energy factored in, remained the same. Cause for a celebration? Hardly. Thanks to constant tinkering, the CPI is, at this point, nothing more than the bastard child of government functionaries looking to keep the masses calm so they can continue at their task of destroying the economy unhindered.

But there is a sunnier aspect to bull markets in precious metals stocks—they can just as easily be triggered by large discoveries.

For those of you who follow our ideas in our precious metals-oriented publications, we highly recommend staying in touch with the website updates, paying especially hawkish attention to news from the exploration front during this correction. When such news indicates, or confirms, a major find—and the masses with all their fretting do nothing—that may be your call to action.

And Finally…

A final thought before signing off.

If I were to ask you…

"On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the best, how would you rate the ability of the government—any government—to successfully manage an economy?"

What rating would you give it?

Personally, I'd give it a one or, if I was feeling particularly generous, a two. And I suspect that even the broader community, less skeptical than I, might push that rating up, on average, to only a three or a four.

Yet, these same masses invest their personal wealth as if the government, in this case the US government, warranted a shinier rating, maybe a nine or a ten.

Why the disconnect?

That is a topic for another day, but in my view it has to do with the phenomenon of social proof and our desire to go along to get along. It is only when most people see their neighbors taking a different view—for example, returning to the idea that gold and other tangibles are more desirable than paper born of the bottomless pit of political pandering—that the masses will get involved in this market in a serious way.

In the meantime, we early adopters are at once blessed and burdened with both the advantages and disadvantages that come from being a few steps ahead. The advantages include the foresight and time to rig for stormy weather ahead of the storm. And they include the ripe opportunity to buy low in order to later sell high.

The disadvantages include having to suffer through the corrections that are inevitable as the powers that be apply all their considerable leverage to the effort of maintaining the status quo.

The single best way to ensure a sound sleep is to participate in the sector only with that percentage of your net worth you will not be terribly pained to see dip, fall, and even crash—albeit temporarily, in our view—as we sail together toward whatever it is that lurks just over the horizon.



Friday Funnies

A prankster in London put up some fake signs in the underground. Some of them are hilarious…

See them all here.


That's It for This Week

A few quick announcements before I sign off for the week:

1. Time is running out to enjoy an insider's view of La Estancia de Cafayate—in the company of Doug Casey and VIP guests at the 2014 Harvest Celebration, March 17-22.

Pretty much everyone has heard about Doug Casey's lifestyle and sporting estate in Cafayate, Argentina—but only by visiting it in person can you fully appreciate just how unique is this burgeoning community in the scenic wine country of Northwest Argentina.

And there is no better time to visit than during the annual Harvest Celebration this March 17-22.

That's because as a Casey Research reader, you'll participate as a VIP guest in the special activities organized by and for the owners and guests during the annual wine harvest. In addition to having full access to the wide range of amenities at La Estancia, including golf, horseback riding (even polo if you are so inclined), tennis, the world-class Athletic Club and Spa and more, you'll also join like-minded owners from around the world in array of social activities, including an authentic Argentine asado, cocktail parties, gala dinners, and, of course, private wine tastings at bodegas in this charming up-and-coming wine growing town.

Topping off an extraordinary week in the sun away from the maddening crowds will be a half-day Casey Research conference featuring Doug Casey, David Galland, Frank Trotter, Pete Kofod, and more.

At just $350 per person ($300 if you register before January 31), the Harvest Celebration at La Estancia de Cafayate always sells out. As time and space are running out, if you are interesting in experiencing life at its fullest, write for more information and receive your place today by contacting Chris Leverich at VIPConnect@LaEst.com.

2. Upcoming free video event: Upturn Millionaires—How to Play the Turning Tides in the Precious Metals Market.

Some of you may remember our vastly popular video event Downturn Millionaires—How to Make a Fortune in Beaten-Down Markets from last year. Doug Casey, Rick Rule, and other experts made the case for investing in the dramatically undervalued junior mining stocks as a way to earn staggering gains. A contrarian's wildest dream, so to speak.

Back then it wasn't clear when exactly the bottom in gold and gold stocks would be in, but now all the signs are pointing to that time being close, if not already here. In the upcoming sequel, Upturn Millionaires on February 5, eight resource insiders and investment gurus will present the evidence and discuss the opportunities the imminent upturn poses for bold investors.

Click here to register for free and save your seat. (Even if you don't have time to watch the premiere on Feb. 5, sign up anyway to get a video recording of the event.)

And with that, I hope you have a superb weekend. Thanks for subscribing to a Casey Research product!

Dan Steinhart
Managing Editor of The Casey Report