Is Latin America the New Europe?

There is no doubt that the economic balance of the worldwide economy has moved over the last five or six years after the U.S.-led credit crunch which resulted in a worldwide recession part one, part two and part three?

As a consequence Central/South American countries, led by Brazil, are now amongst the strongest economies in the world and their presence on the worldwide stage is growing. There are very close similarities between the ongoing developments within Latin America and the development of Europe in years gone by as one of the leading powerhouses.

European companies flocking to Latin America

In the 1990s the likes of Brazil and Argentina were on the verge of economic collapse and labelled as “basket cases” by many leading economist. There was talk of decade-long recessions, a reduction in the standard of living, a reduction in the number of expats and a reduction in investment in the region. To all intents and purposes Latin America had been written off by many companies, many governments and many economist. How wrong they were!

Over the last few months we have seen a significant increase in the number of European countries looking to invest in Latin/South America. This on top of ongoing North American investment in the region has led to significant economic growth which looks even better compared against the ongoing worldwide difficulties. This investment in the region is set to continue in the short to medium term, and potentially longer term, amid signs that the euro could be in the doldrums for many years to come.

Expats look to Latin America

The number of expats moving to Latin/South America has grown significantly since the worldwide recession, much of which was avoided by Latin America and Australasia, and this is set to continue for the foreseeable future. It is the standard of living, the growing economy, the prosperity of the region and the fact that there are opportunities aplenty for those looking to settle into a new life. The influx of expats into countries such as Brazil, Mexico, etc has actually picked up in pace rather than subsided over the recent months which has surprised many people.

The growing number of expats in Latin America will obviously attract more and more people to the region, lead to increased demand for services and retail products and also help to stabilise government finances across the board. This is effectively a win-win situation.

Comparisons with Europe of years gone by

Europe has not always been the financial powerhouse which it was before the Euro collapse. Indeed there are some similarities between the 1990 collapse of the likes of Brazil and Argentina, which technically defaulted on their debt, but were bailed out by the IMF. Perhaps we are seeing history repeating itself with the emergence of Latin America as the new economy of the new-age while Europe and North America continue to struggle.

Financially Latin America is streets ahead of Europe at this moment in time and indeed the volatile US economy is also strengthening the position of Latin America.

Conclusion

It is no surprise to see that more and more expats are looking to move to Latin America when you bear in mind the ongoing economic prosperity of the region. We have the likes of Brazil leading the way in the region and also causing significant waves on the worldwide scene. We have Mexico bringing in a new political era, tackling the drug barons and assisting an economy which has been growing for some time. These situations are replicated time and time again across Latin America and at this moment in time the region will emerge from the ongoing worldwide economic downturn as a significant force.

Why Are Expats Moving to Latin America?

Amongst the economic doom and gloom surrounding Europe and North America there is no doubt that Latin America/South America has been a ray sunshine in these troubled times. This is an area of the world which for many years was overlooked by investors, shunned by expats and seen as something of a political abyss. Oh how times have changed!

There has been a significant shift in expat trends over the last few years, as Europe and North America continue to toil, but why are expats moving to Latin America and what can they expect?

Economic prosperity

When you bear in mind that the likes of Peru are set to deliver economic growth of 6% during 2013, Columbia somewhere around 4% and Brazil anywhere between 2% and 3%, there is hope for the future. These figures in isolation may not seem startling but when you compare them to the ongoing issues within Europe, with some countries on the verge of a triple dip recession, they look even better.

The reality is that this economic prosperity has been ongoing since 2008 when many experts predicted the fall of Latin America in light of the mortgage crisis which gripped America. The reality is that countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, etc have excelled over the last five or six years and indeed in many cases have put their European counterparts in the shade. Historically European partners often negotiated trade arrangements from a stronger position than their South American counterparts although in many ways this has moved full circle in recent times.

An improving standard of living

While it would be wrong to suggest that all residents of South America/Latin America have benefited from the economic upturn it would be correct to say that in general the standard of living and average incomes have increased dramatically. There are still some areas in which the leading countries need to step up their game, poverty is still rife for one, although hopefully growing economies will arm governments with additional funding to tackle these devastating issues.

While the cost of property, cost of services, cost of goods and the general cost of living has increased across-the-board in South America, for many expats it is the ongoing stability within the political arena which is most encouraging. The ever-growing multicultural make-up of the region has opened up many new opportunities to businesses, investors and expats and many of them have not been slow in coming forward.

Stability

Aside from the economic prosperity currently being experienced by South America perhaps the other main attraction is “stability”. When we talk about stability we talk about it from not only an economic point of view but also a political point of view. The area was seen by many as a political hot potato for many years, Brazil flirted with bankruptcy, Argentina is still struggling with growing debts but on the whole the political arena has remained relatively steady.

These are the kind of elements which expats hold very close to their hearts when looking for new homelands overseas. These are the kind of elements which will also attract significant international investment and these are elements which will make or break the region in the future.

Conclusion

Even just the merest of glimpses around various expat forums will show you that increased interest in South America/Latin America is there for all to see. Countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, etc continue to grab the headlines and compared with their European and North American counterparts they are prosperous to say the least. Therefore it is no surprise to learn that more and more expats are now looking to move to Latin America, many are planning retirement in the region and a growing number see the area as something of a safe haven for investment.

There has been much work behind the scenes from various governments in the region, trading arrangements have been improved and agreed going forward and ultimately in relative terms the region of South America has never been stronger from an economic point of view. This creates a perfect magnet for expats looking for pastures new.

Biblical Social Architecture Is What Made America Great

America has historically achieved what is called exceptionalism because it was founded upon biblical social architecture. America’s exceptionalism does not mean that America is in a place to be proud and arrogant, but rather that we are to be stewards of the social model that led to our greatness. The foundations upon which our nation was built led to great prosperity, ingenuity and influence around the world. I have had the privilege of visiting other nations, and one thing that I am told is that America is the leader which many other nations follow. This is a great responsibility which has the potential for great good or evil in the world.

In many places I have heard stories of America’s generosity for which people are still grateful today. People in South Korea pray for America daily because they are still grateful for the sacrifice of Americans’ lives in their fight for freedom. Even today, when nations face calamities, Americans often reach into their pockets to help. Charity is integrated into the values of our people, and is made possible because of the prosperity which has been achieved as a result of the foundations which our founding fathers laid.

America’s exceptionalism is a phenomenon which was acknowledged internationally by other countries including France. In the 1830s Alexis to Tocqueville came to America to study our success. America was already decades-old, and had only gone through one revolution whereas France had already gone through several. After studying the social architecture of America, Alexis to Tocqueville credited our success to the influence of biblical religion upon the nation. He went so far as to say that Christianity was the chief political force in America. He went back to France and told them that the influence of biblical faith is what made America great.

It is not hard to understand why the influence of true Christian religion upon the nation was able to assert such a benign influence upon society. Those believers took their faith seriously, and believed that every vocation in life was an act of service to Almighty God which they would be held accountable for on judgment day. They saw it as their moral responsibility to integrate all of their lives for the service of God and the benefit of men. Even riches were meant to be used in ways which were responsible, and therefore were put to uses which are good and noble rather than corrupt. In those days the common religious consciousness was convinced that religion was to assert influence over all of our lives and not be relegated to a divine insurance policy which only takes effect in the afterlife. They believed such revolutionary ideas such as speaking the truth in love, protecting and defending other’s liberty and living just and moral lives was essential to true religion. All of these values and foundations naturally lead to prosperity and blessing, and were the foundation upon which this nation was built.

Not only were individual moral and religious values essential in America’s founding, but biblical social structures were integrated into the very systems of the nation itself. The founding fathers structured America politically, socially and economically according to the wisdom which is revealed in the Bible. Biblical models were used in designing the three branches of government, the free market economy and the educational system. Our founding fathers believed that all of the troubles that plagued other societies were a result of man’s ignorance of Holy Scripture, and therefore they promoted literacy with the intention that future generations would know the truths of God’s word. They were convinced that tyranny and oppression flourished whenever people do not hold leaders accountable according to the scriptural boundaries placed upon national governments. They believed that if people understood the social architecture which is revealed in the Bible, that they would be able to use that wisdom to destroy tyranny and oppression and bring forth prosperity and blessing.

Today the very thing which our forefathers feared has become a reality. Not only is the average citizen unaware of the Biblical models of social architecture, but many believers and even religious leaders are also ignorant of such truth. It is no wonder then that America has been experiencing great social moral and economic troubles since we have forsaken the very foundations which made us great.

We find similar situations recorded in the Bible. In ancient Israel during the reign of King Ahab, the nation radically forsook their foundations and began implementing other values and place of those which they had inherited. It was during that dark time in the nation’s history that a prophet appeared out of the wilderness and turned the hearts of the fathers to the sons, and of the sons to the fathers. This is exactly what is taking place in America right now. Many voices are calling for our generation to return to the foundations which were laid by our founding fathers. These voices are making clear the vision for America to be restored to a place of prosperity and blessing which so many are longing for.

I’m not arguing that America’s founding fathers had everything exactly right, nor that biblical religion was the only influence in early America, but that our leaders founded this nation upon biblical values. They had a vision for something which was revolutionary, but it was still very much in its infancy. As humans, they naturally made many mistakes, but they had the courage to initiate something which had never been done before. They set us on a course which, if maintained leads to great prosperity, blessing and good in the Earth. We were set on the trajectory to be a powerful force against tyranny and for liberty in the world. Unfortunately, through ignorance of the truths of God’s word we have failed to maintain that direction, and set out on a course that leads to a different destiny than our founding fathers desired for their posterity. Today we stand at a crossroads and have to choose a destiny for our society which will influence our posterity. We can choose to forsake a biblical social architecture which will lead to more corruption and injustice, or we can return to the values which made America great and leave for our children’s children a society founded upon justice and liberty.

The Dying of America and How to Save Her

Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.

This statement was made by one of America’s greatest Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin. It is a simple statement but powerful. Unfortunately, it is noticeably neglected, unrecognized by the masses, let alone demonstrated by them.

Freedom is America’s number one asset. It is a privilege to be free and to live in a free country, not a right. Furthermore, there are no guarantees of freedom. Throughout her history, many American citizens have died to create and protect her most prized commodity. Others have died to get it by risking their lives to come to America. The freedom America has enjoyed was created by virtue, that amalgam of personal qualities and characteristics that are of an elevated, exalted, honorable and noble magnitude, qualities such as courage, sacrifice, selflessness, self-control, discipline, devotion, hard work, independence, honesty and personal integrity.

But look around. Where are these qualities manifested in our leaders and the public at large? Where is there a concern for freedom itself, not personal interest or personal agendas? Where is the sacrifice? Where is the restraint? Where are the discipline and self-control? Where is independence? Most importantly, where are honesty and integrity? In effect, where have all the virtues gone? Where are those people whose hearts, minds, spirits and actions are based in that which is noble, exalted, honorable?

Look around again, not casually but deeply. What are the core values that motivate the masses in America? Getting rich at the sacrifice of integrity sans ethics? Being famous at all costs, as if being famous were something to be proud of? The worship not of noble ideals but passing faces of movie stars, rock stars, sports stars, sex symbols? The striving for material excess? This is what we worship in America? This is the level of substance to which we’ve gravitated, i.e., sunk? This is that on which we’re basing our freedom?

Most people talk about freedom and love their freedom, but are they conscious of what it takes to create, sustain and preserve freedom? One of the greatest military generals in history was Douglas MacArthur. Regarding freedom he said: No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation. We are all aware of America’s military might which serves to protect our freedom from outside invaders and destroyers, but who is there at the street level of American towns and cities who is truly being vigilant in the preservation of freedom or even understands what it takes to preserve freedom on a virtuous level?

The freedom America manifests, and for which most of the world’s people clamor, wasn’t created by sensual and material indulgence, gratification, greed and selfish self-interest – those characteristics saturating and plaguing America at its core today. The freedom America has enjoyed was created by virtue. Indulgence, gratification, greed, striving for material excess without an ethical base and exorbitant self interest are not virtues. They are clear manifestations of the lack of virtue. And since, as Franklin stated, Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom, our freedom is being destroyed, not so much by external forces but by our own internal blindnesses, immoralities, improprieties, indulgences, gratifications and misaligned priorities. In effect, America is dying because her virtue is dying.

As the great Helen Keller noted, Science may have found a cure for most evils but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all–the apathy of human beings. How much apathy is there in America regarding the subject of virtue? Who cares about virtue? When was the last time you heard a conversation about virtue or someone making choices to be virtuous? Where is the local virtue school in your community? The sad reality of today’s America is that in the main, people are not concerned with virtue. If they were, there would be more openness about it, concern for its manifestation in our lives. More sadly is that people mock virtue, denigrate it, deplore it, deny it and consider it old-fashioned. Yet, from the perspective of freedom, nothing could be more, and will never be more, in fashion.

How can America be saved from dying? America can be saved from dying by having the majority of her people, her leaders, icons and role models express, discuss, promote and live lives founded in virtue. This is how she will maintain her freedom and her majesty. Otherwise, she will continue to die at the hands of her own making, and she will have no one to blame but herself. If America is not vigilant in living a virtuous life en masse, her life – her once beautiful, glorious, majestic, noble and divine life – will continue to fade, ending in a most ugly, inglorious, disgraceful, ignoble and damned death.

America, Sweet Soul

Richard Andrew King

America! America!
Sweet Soul, lift up your eyes.
Your love of personalities
portends of your demise.

Great men and women seeking Truth,
in search to quench their thirst,
place principles on pedestals–
not personalities first.

There was a time when you believed
in Right, where virtue graces;
but now you’re sacrificing all
for the love of passing faces.

You worship Ease, not Principle.
Accept the base to lead you on.
Blinded by your biased greed,
you displace Right with Wrong.

America! America!
Sweet Soul, observe your deeds,
for they are the reflection
of your prior, planted seeds,

seeds which yield fruit
exactly of its kind.
One cannot harvest oranges
after planting seeds of lime.

America! America!
Love principles chaste and pure.
Personalities will come and go,
but principles endure.

Times will go on changing
with faces old and new.
Success, however, rests upon
principles holding true.

Therefore, beware America!
Your legacy lies in knowing
that the reaping of your future
hangs on the seeds you’re sowing!

Copyright Richard Andrew King
All Rights Reserved