Dan Collins, the founder of Tiger Hill Capital, a Hong Kong based asset management company, has lived in China for 15 years. He addressed how China's unprecedented industrial revolution has created massive wealth. Since the reform in the 1970s, in which citizens began to be allowed to reap rewards from their own businesses, China's economy has catapulted ahead to become the world's largest. In the economic sense, it's actually more capitalistic than the United States, but politically it's absolutely communist, with tight controls, and little or no voting, he pointed out. "On the economic side, it's totally the Wild West-- no property taxes, no environmental regulations," and it's very easy to open a new business, he remarked, adding that there are an estimated 60 billionaires in the Chinese Politburo.
By not being a democracy, China was able to make quick economic strides such as putting in a high-speed rail system in a short number of years. They are currently building 50,000 skyscrapers (the equivalent of 10 New York City's), and they've constructed 70 international airports in the last 10 years, he cited, adding that there are one million Chinese citizens now living in Africa, pursuing business opportunities, and tapping into the bounty of natural resources there. China has been increasing military spending by over 10% a year for decades, but Collins doesn't foresee them attacking America-- they are much more interested in areas closer to home such as Taiwan, and countries near their borders, he said. For the US to beat or more readily compete with China, he believes it needs to overhaul its tax system, and move to a consumption tax that is more friendly to business and manufacturing.
Expert in self-reliance and backyard food production, Marjory Wildcraft, has been seen on such TV shows as Doomsday Preppers. In the second half, she discussed her work helping people to become more resilient by loosening their dependence on corporate agriculture, and setting up easy ways to produce food no matter how small your home may be. While current US citizens are not used to famine, drought, and power outages, various disruptions have been a part of human history, she noted, and as a practical matter it can be extremely valuable to have experience growing your own food. Grocery stores only have about four days worth of food, she added.
The process of industrial agriculture has lowered the nutritional value of food over the years, Wildcraft suggested. For instance, to get the nutritive value of one carrot from 50 years ago, you'd have to eat 11 carrots today, she reported. Being able to directly work with the earth and grow your own food is incredibly self-empowering, and improves strength and fitness as well, she stated. Starting small rather than trying for complete self-sufficiency is a good way to begin, such as planting a 50 sq. foot plot for potatoes, or getting involved in a community garden. For more, check out Wildcraft's video, as well as her free online event "Home Grown Food Summit" in which 30+ leading experts in backyard food production will share tips from April 6 through April 12.