Take physic, pomp

A trail of empty snake oil bottles leads to Doug Casey’s door

With due hat tips to the original source @tonevays and thanks to site pal Frizzers for passing it along, this is comedy gold. Back in 1981 People Magazine (of all places) ran a note entitled “These Bad News Bears Are Bullish on Gloom and Doom—and Best-Sellers” and you’ve gotta see the profile they put together of Doug Casey, they had his number nearly four decades ago, my stars so they did. What amazes me is that this purveyor of pure unadulterated snake oil has managed to pull the wool over the eyes of the market not just once or twice, imagine the hundreds of times he’s stood in front of a room and seen that virginal look on the faces as they get fed his well-turned bunkum for the first time. Anyway, read all about how Zimbabwean real estate was the place to be in 1981 but it didn’t really matter because there was a nuclear war in 1983. Doug Casey looks way older than 72, though.
Few prophets of America’s economic future are as spectacularly grim
as Douglas Casey, the 34-year-old Washington, D.C. bachelor whose Crisis
Investing (published by Stratford Press) was a No. 1 best-seller nine
weeks and has sold close to a half-million hardback copies since it was
published two years ago. By 1983, he warns, the U.S. will enter a
depression that “will make the crash of 1929 look like a technical
error.” Mounting inflation will lead to bank failures, the collapse of
Social Security and pension funds, a return to bartering, urban riots
and possibly even nuclear holocaust and germ warfare among industrial
Now for the good
news. Amid the gloom-and-doom, Casey argues, lurk opportunities that can
make smart investors rich. He urges speculators to buy into companies
that have fallen out of public favor—utilities committed to nuclear
power or chemical companies accused of illegal dumping. “You can’t run
with the thundering herd,” explains the cigar-smoking maverick. “The
herd always ends up in the slaughterhouse.”
Casey cautions
investors to unload their pricey U.S. real estate and recommends buying
cut-rate hideaways in the cozy Bahamas or even property in Zimbabwe once
that African nation’s civil conflict ends. Collectibles like stamps,
rare coins and even custom-made knives are hedges against a currency
collapse and perfect assets for bartering. “In uncertain times, you
don’t want to be burdened with un-transportable possessions,” he notes.
Gold bullion, now selling for about $500 an ounce, will jump to $2,000
during the next two years and should be banked in Swiss accounts
“because in this country gold is a natural candidate for nationalization
and confiscation.” Likewise, savings should be transferred to neutral
foreign nations like Switzerland and Austria. If this sounds
unpatriotic, well, “I didn’t make the rules,” Casey says. “I’m just
playing the game.”
Of course, wealth
has never been a problem for Casey, who was born the son of Eugene B.
Casey, a multimillionaire Maryland landowner and developer and onetime
crony of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Casey graduated from Georgetown
University in 1968 and started work as an insurance consultant and
financial adviser. “Everything I have I made on my own,” he observes. In
1978 he wrote a little-read book on international finance. Crisis
Investing was also a flop until author-publisher Robert (Winning through
Intimidation) Ringer snapped up the marketing rights, redesigned the
cover and papered the country with newspaper ads announcing how “A few
will not only survive, but prosper” during the coming Armageddon.
With sales now
expected to hit more than $5 million, Casey is working on a follow-up
volume, selling his consulting services to well-heeled investors and
publishing a monthly newsletter, Investing in Crisis, for subscribers
who can afford its $145-per-year price. A regular on the talk-show
circuit, he has tried drag racing and skydiving (65 jumps) and he still
scuba dives and studies karate. “The martial arts offer
self-discipline,” says the brown belt, “which also happens to be what
investing is all about.” The problem is that Casey’s reputation precedes
him: “I’ve been looking for a good game of poker for months.”

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