The Native Americans had a pretty good life pre-1519.
Then smallpox came.
Pretty swiftly after its introduction — from overseas — it ripped through South America.
Native populations in the areas now known as Colombia, Peru and Chile were decimated.
They didn’t stand a chance.
It didn’t make much headway northward. But the North American Native Indians only got a temporary reprieve.
Smallpox came to what we know as the US today after landing at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1633.
Native Americans started dying like flies shortly after.
From there, it ripped through the Mohawk nation, the Iroquois, in the Lake Ontario area.
By 1698, smallpox gallivanted — totally unhindered — across the Mississippi.
And almost obliterated the Quapaw Indians of Arkansas.
Not only were smallpox and other European diseases catastrophic for indigenous peoples at the time…the mark they left can be detected today, hundreds of years later.
According to Science Magazine, they ‘have molded the immune systems of today’s indigenous Americans, down to the genetic DNA.’
Could COVID-19 do a similar thing to Australians if we open up our borders?
Probably not. But the question did pop into my head while reading the fascinating Australian bonus chapter of Jim Rickards’ new book, The New Great Depression: Winners and Losers in a Post-Pandemic World.
The bonus chapter is penned by Jim’s Australian editor Nick Hubble.
(An exclusive eBook version of that book, by the way, is soon going to be made available to Rum Rebellion readers. More on that shortly…)
As I’ve mentioned in a previous edition of The Rum Rebellion, Australia is an island.
If we close the borders, we can keep the pestilence at bay. Barring the odd bit of human error — causing small outbreaks we can control with more lockdowns.
But how long, exactly, can we do that?
Health Department secretary Brendan Murphy said he expected the current closed border system to remain in place for most of this year.
As The Sydney Morning Herald reports:
‘Professor Murphy says that borders could stay closed even after a large percentage of Australia’s population has been vaccinated because it is still unclear whether vaccination will prevent transmission of the virus rather than simply stop people from getting seriously ill.
‘If borders are opened, he implies, people in Australia who cannot or will not be vaccinated could still be at risk.’
According to Nick Hubble in the Australian bonus chapter of The New Great Depression, based on what our country has done so far, we really are now stuck between a rock and a hard place.
And — in a worst-case scenario — we’ve made ourselves as vulnerable to a new, big wave of the virus as the indigenous Americans were in the 16th century.
Australia is now indefinitely stuck on the verge of a lockdown, or in one, according to Nick…
‘Australia has escaped COVID-19 rather well. Great. But we’ve exposed ourselves to [an economic version of] long COVID like no-one else.
‘We can’t economically recover from the pandemic, because we haven’t really had it. Yet.
‘And either we continue to sacrifice our economy, or, when we do have an outbreak, another wave of economic chaos will be unleashed alongside the health nightmare. While other nations around the world are already much further down the path to the new normal, Australia is yet to truly experience the pandemic and its fallout.
‘Either way, I predict our economy will be among the last to emerge from the pandemic’s crisis — whether we choose to sacrifice our health by opening up, or our economy by staying in lockdown. And our economy will feel the long-term effects of long COVID for longer than others’, too.
‘This is precisely the opposite to the narrative that markets are pricing in, where Australia leads the world’s recovery due to its lack of COVID infections.’
In the bonus chapter, Nick expands on what he sees as the economic implications for Australian investors.
But I really do encourage you to read the whole Jim Rickards book when we make an exclusive Australian version available to Rum Rebellion readers soon.
There’s a good chance you’re familiar with the name ‘Jim Rickards’…
He’s a guy whose name seems to have popped up at some pretty big turning points over the last 40 years.
Jim helped the Carter administration negotiate the Iran hostage crisis.
He helped the Fed avoid global financial collapse by winding down Long-Term Capital Management.
He got tapped by the CIA to spearhead counter-terrorism efforts after 9/11.
He’s been called in by the Pentagon to wargame cyber-terrorism attacks.
Jim’s got quite the contact book. His forecasts are always fascinating, and very often correct. I’ve spoken to him on numerous occasions over the last year to pick his brains.
And Jim’s new book is the first of its kind that talks in-depth about the investment implications — and potential opportunities — of the pandemic.
Like I say, it’s called The New Great Depression: Winners and Losers in a Post-Pandemic World.
You may have seen it promoted already. Apparently, it’s storming up the charts on Amazon in the States. But it doesn’t get its official publication in Australia until 23 March.
Jim and his team have just put the finishing touches on a uniquely Australian edition. You’ll be shown how to access that exclusive pre-publication Australian eBook version soon.
Watch this space…
Editor, The Rum Rebellion
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