When many people think of the classic American film Gone With The Wind, they will often remember it as a movie about the American civil war, which of course it certainly was. However, while you might not think so, it is a relevant film today for a few reasons that might seem to be so obvious. Considering the film was released in 1939, you probably have to wonder what does a seventy-seven year old movie have to do with what is going on today in 2016? Well, while images of lush southern plantations, large majestic Georgian style mansions and of course slavery all come to mind in terms of the movie setting, we remember the film most for what it taught us about offshore banking, national independence movements and citizenship renouncement. Allow me to explain.
In terms of many US based school history text books, students are are often told that the American Civil War between the Northern and Southern States (or the Union States versus the Confederate States) was a war that was fought to end slavery, but was that really the reason for the war? Former US President Abraham Lincoln is idolized and revered as the American President that freed the southern slaves as a result of that war (of course having been the President on the side that won, history is always written or told by the winners). But interestingly enough in his own private correspondence Lincoln wrote if he could save the union with slavery left intact he would do it, as slavery was not the issue for him but rather the renouncement of the of the southern US States certainly was (we can suggest you read The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War by Mr. Thomas DiLorenzo, a professor of economics at the Sellinger School of Business and Management at Loyola College in Maryland). In this regard, the movie reminds us that different regions or even ethnic groups often want to separate themselves from the existing political arrangements and form their own country for whatever reasons. Sometimes that is accomplished peacefully and in other cases with violence (in the case of the American civil war, the southern states declared succession peacefully but were brought back into the fold through violence). We suppose one question to be asked is: when is violence, coercion or even war acceptable when anyone or any political entity wishes to separate? Is it ever even acceptable at all, regardless of the circumstances? Does any country or political affiliation have the right to insist that it’s citizenry and or it’s member states (or nations) continue to participate economically or pay taxes after the expatriation or voluntary separation has taken place?
In recent years we have had Quebec voting on whether or not it would peacefully separate from Canada. Scotland of course even more recently had a referendum on the very same theme in terms of it’s ongoing relationship with the United Kingdom. And we have also had Czechoslovakia that peacefully separated into The Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993 whereas the dissolution of former Yugoslavia into it’s respective current nations that was not exactly so peaceful. And even as I write this (and presumably you read this) the separation of the UK from the European Union, or Brexit as it has been called, is yet another very current example on the table.
However, all this demonstrates to us that the desire for self rule and to become an autonomous or independent political entity still exists today as it did centuries ago. What is it about this idea that stirs up such emotions and reactions? In terms of the side wishing to separate, there appears to be a mood of joy and hopefulness whereas the political entity losing a part of it’s political union acts as a jilted lover. In fact, the party losing the currently attached parcel of land or ethnic group often displays behavior similar to one of the bitter persons involved with a marital divorce, using all kinds of legal or other antics to stop or retard the detachment process. And we see this equally as well with the state or political entity losing individual citizens, who might wish to renounce citizenship and go elsewhere. Such persons are labeled as social malcontents or people that are shirking their social responsibilities (how responsible and responsive has your current government been to you when you needed them to step up and provide assistance to you when you really needed it?).
There is today and really has always been some form of social contract between the rulers and those ruled, but what if one of those parties is not fulfilling it’s part of the contract? What if one of those parties wants to change the terms of the contract without consulting or seeking approval of the other? What is the redress? What if the party that wants to change, alter or simply not fulfill it’s part of the social contract happens to be the very same party to the contract also controls the courts or legal system? Previously during the middle ages this contract primarily involved or had the tenets of a protection racket – you paid for the noble to protect you from thieves, invaders and so on. Today in modern times, the state has involved into an all encompassing social welfare care giver (although we must admit calling it care is a stretch and an insult to the term). As such, the previous paradigm of paying taxes for protection has given way to paying various forms of taxes to support social welfare programs for the national population, be such persons legal citizens or not (which certainly is a peeve for many citizens, realizing their tax payments are going to a person or group that has not paid one farthing into the system and may not even hold legal residency, never mind citizenship). Under the previous paradigm, if you stopped paying and opted out it was understood you are giving up the protection angle of things, and that was the end of it. Today, individuals seeking citizenship renouncement are portrayed as villains of some sort, even demonic to an extent, for wishing to exit stage left (with the implicit understanding they will no longer have any right to petition the welfare state in the future for welfare assistance or anything else for that matter, even though they certainly are not taking it now). Just as we do not wish to seem callous or misunderstood about the slavery issue surrounding the American Civil War, we also do not wish appear so regarding those people in society that are in true need today in terms of social assistance. However, one must clearly understand all sides of an issue and accept the fact that some things are truly not beneficial to all, and the rejection of certain ideas does not equate to a lack of patriotism or selfishness. Have we lost our right to disagree and peacefully vote with our feet should we wish to do so?
Just as the American Civil War was really not about slavery per say (as is the official story) nor is the desire to detach oneself as a region, a nation or individually from any kind of current political affiliation about being antisocial, selfish or irresponsible. Sometimes individuals or larger groups of people feel the arrangement is just not working out or they feel the political leaders of the collective larger group are forcing policies or ideas on the whole that are not beneficial. It is in it’s essence that simple.
In terms of offshore banking, it is first very important to now take the time to examine our hero of the film, which is the character Rhett Butler (played by American film legend Clark Gable). In short, Rhett Butler had his money offshore, and that was the only thing that saved him financially in the end. Many perceived Rhett Butler to be nothing more than a rough, whiskey drinking, womanizing, and scoundrel like ship captain. Perhaps this was all true. However, he was also a very smart man that saw the writing on the wall, and protected himself accordingly. If you remember the beginning of the film, when everyone was so excited about going to war to teach them Yankees a lesson – Rhett did try to talk some sense into the others. He said, you better think long and hard about what you want to do. The south has an economy based upon agriculture and not industrialization. Sure there was some industrialized production in the southern states, but it was nothing in compared to the capacity that the northern states had, in terms of being able to crank out weapons of war (the weapons of mass destruction of their own time). Rhett said, think about what this will mean and what the real problems are going to be. Alas, they would not listen to Rhett – did they? No, they were full of fight and vinegar and for them – that would be enough to win the war. Maybe it would, but then again maybe not.
In any event, what did our hero Rhett do? Well, he volunteered to keep on keeping on. In other words, he agreed to continue piloting ships back and forth between Europe (England mainly) in order to bring the southern agricultural products (cotton) to market so money could be earned to fuel the local economy in Dixie. This was not an easy feat, as he risked his life and also risked being jailed if he became captured. Never the less, he did do it, even though he knew what the long-term held in store. But he also did something else. He put his earnings and his life savings offshore, or better stated in another country. England to be exact, an independent country not involved, where he knew his money would be safe, come what may. Maybe Rhett had gold, maybe he had his assets denominated in British Pounds with a bank in London, but regardless he did have it elsewhere – and certainly not denominated in the new Confederate paper currency that became worthless almost overnight. Rhett was offshore, and a good thing too.
Was Rhett a social malcontent? Was he any less patriotic than all the other men of the south? Was he someone to be chastised or someone to be held in high esteem for his smart and forward thinking? Well, oddly enough, most of the so-called wealthy high society folks who tolerated him before, but certainly did not think too highly of him, all ended up broke. Most lost the family plantations, if not because of the immediate war itself, then because of all the high reparation taxes charged by Washington later on. Not Rhett, he had his money safe and sound. In fact, after the war was over (and after he was released from the Yankee war prison he was in) Rhett went back and got his money. And he came back a wealthy man. He bought a huge house in Atlanta, which was the envy of all the high society folks that scorned him previously. Not only that, those same people actually stopped to say hello to him when they passed him on the street. Success has a funny way of changing how other people view you – does it not?
Anyway, what is the lesson we can learn from Rhett Butler? Well, for starters, being offshore, or having funds invested in another safe haven country (other than our own that we are living in) may not be such a bad idea after all. Having another citizenship, another passport and another place to call home or a safe haven if you like is simply good insurance. Are you a scoundrel, criminal or some sort of anti-patriot for doing so? I suppose it all depends upon your point and view and where you end up a few years down the road from now (and where everyone else that likes to criticize you ends up as well). Will they still consider you a scoundrel or foolish idiot later on? Hard to say, but just like Rhett, a little bit of common sense allows you to see the writing on the wall, and protect yourself accordingly.
What does all this have to do with today? Well, ask yourself a few questions. Just like Rhett trying to warn the other gentlemen not to do something foolish or at least think about what they want to do – is it possible that current day politicians are really using some common sense in terms of the problems at hand, or are they brushing it under the rug hoping wishful thinking will pull them though? Or are they instead actively engaged in foolish and maybe even deliberate unpatriotic policies that they know will ruin their country later on? Are they even taking the time to seriously address the looming problems we know are coming down the line? These are questions you have to think about and answer for yourself. However, the problems and issues are out there, and they are not going to go away. Loss of manufacturing and other kinds of jobs to foreigner countries with lower wage costs are for sure going to change the long-term dynamic of the American and other industrialized nations as well. Foolish central bank policies that perpetuate zero interest rates, and now even negative interest rate, are doing harm to many so-called wealthy economies (we say so-called because we wonder how wealthy are they still really?). Bail-outs of financial and other private firms using tax payer money, which places additional tax burdens upon the rest of the population via ever increasing government debt to pay off later on (or not pay off as the case may very well be). The baby boom generation getting ready to retire and take benefits from the government social welfare pension system at a time when it is not exactly as solvent as it should be. Government and personal spending run amok, with higher and higher debts and deficits mounting year by year with no end in sight and no real sensible way to pay it off. The list goes on and on. So, what do you want to do? If you feel like Rhett, trying to talk sense into someone that refuses to take you serious or even listen – you know what you have to do.
Source : www.ascot-advisory.com