Marc Faber spoke yesterday in Tokyo to investors advising them that social trends and advise to buy Farmland and Gold that holds value and are portable:
“The next war will be a dirty war,” he told fund managers: “What are you going to do when your mobile phone gets shut down or the internet stops working or the city water supplies get poisoned?”
Dr Faber did offer a few more traditional investment tips, although their theme fitted his general mode of pessimism.
In Asia, particularly, he said, stock pickers should play on future food and water shortages by buying into companies with exposure to agriculture and water treatment technologies.
One of Dr Faber’s darker scenarios involves growing military tension between China and the United States over access to limited oil resources.
Today the US has a considerable advantage over China because it has free access to oceans on both coasts, and has potential energy suppliers to the north and south in Canada and Mexico.
It also commands an 11-strong fleet of aircraft carriers that could, if necessary, secure supply routes in a conflict situation.
China and emerging Asia, meanwhile, face the uncertainty of supplies that must travel from the Middle East through winding sea lanes and the Malacca bottleneck.
American military presence in Central Asia, Dr Faber said, may add to the level of concern in Beijing.
“When I tell people to prepare themselves for a dirty war, they ask me: “America against whom?” I tell them that for sure they will find someone.”
At the heart of Dr Faber’s argument is a fundamentally gloomy view on the US economy and its capacity to service a growing mountain of debt.
His belief, fund managers were told, is that the US is going to go bankrupt.
Under President Obama, he said, the country’s annual fiscal deficit will not drop below $1 trillion and could rise beyond that figure.
Arch bears have predicted that US debt repayments could hit 35 per cent of tax revenues within ten years.
Dr Faber believes that the ratio could easily hit 50 per cent in the same time frame.