Doug Casey, a renowned contrarian investor and global citizen, views the West as collapsing due to excessive growth of government, but Eastern Europe as a viable place to do business, he said in an interview with Bulgaria Analytica.
Speaking on the sidelines of Anarchapulco, an annual anarchocapitalist conference in Acapulco, Mexico, Casey recollected first visiting Eastern Europe in 1967, crossing then-communist Romania and Bulgaria aboard the Orient Express to Istanbul. Casey, who boasts having traveled to more than 150 countries, said much has changed since then. He lauded contemporary Eastern European states for their rejection of socialism; likewise for their rejection of mass migration.
“It’s said that there are more communists in American universities than there are in Eastern Europe today, and I think that’s true,” Casey said. “I think that people have actually learned a lesson about what socialism’s all about.”
Casey praised Eastern Europe, including the Baltic states and Russia, for having what he describes as quite reasonable and low tax structures. Casey contrasted the new economic models of Eastern European countries with the large welfare states that presently exist in Western Europe.
“The Western Europeans think socialism’s great. They love living in a welfare state,” Casey said. “Eastern European countries are generally not welfare states. Well, they can’t afford it, at least yet.”
Casey said Eastern Europeans presently have more drive to work and fewer bad habits than Western Europeans.
“People see the things the West has, and they want to work for them,” Casey said. “In the West, people are fat and lazy.”
In discussing migrant flows to Europe, Casey said the world is currently going through the largest period of mass migration since the collapse of the Roman Empire. Casey said, in the coming years, he expects at least dozens of millions of Africans to migrate to Western Europe, driven both by the prospects of a better life and a Chinese takeover of Africa.
Casey said Beijing is migrating more and more of its citizens to Africa and has plans to eventually to seize Chinese-financed infrastructure on the continent.
The contrarian investor argues mass migration from Africa and elsewhere will destroy the culture of Western Europe. Alternatively, Eastern Europe will retain its culture and be more stable, Casey said.
While speaking at Anarchopulco, Casey suggested young or prospective entrepreneurs should head to Africa, where they will find an unlevel playing field and the most opportunity to make money. Secondarily, Casey singled out two countries in the former Soviet Union where he says young or prospective entrepreneurs from the West should go: Uzbekistan and Ukraine.
Casey told Bulgaria Analytica Uzbekistan is heading in the right direction under the government of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who took over in 2016, following the death of longtime Uzbek leader Islam Karimov. He noted, though, Central Asian countries tend to be dictatorships, and political situations can change quickly in the region.
Describing Ukraine, Casey said the country is large, empty and has some chaos. That type of instability often presents opportunity, he said.
But Casey said entrepreneurs and investors can pick any country in Eastern Europe. They are all good places to go, he said.
The contrarian investor’s sentiments on the future of the European Union and the global economy are much more pessimistic. Pointing to bloated bureaucracy in Brussels and secession movements within various member states, Casey expects the EU to fall apart. As for the world economy, Casey predicts an economic hurricane much worse and longer lasting than the 2008 financial crisis will soon sweep the globe.
“I think there’s tough times ahead,” Casey said. “Talk to me again in a year or two and see if I was right or wrong.”