INTERVIEW WITH ZIAD K. ABDELNOUR
“Economic Warfare : Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics”
Good evening Mr. Abdelnour. Firstly congratulations on the release of your sensational Book, Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics
Thanks Eugene… Much appreciate your support in spreading the message around with your very broad group of constituents on the African continent.
Please would you give us a Description of your book?
The natural state of our economy is prosperity. Freedom guarantees that. The only force capable of undermining it is government. Economic Warfare tells that truth.
This book though is not about lamenting the current economic malaise with which the United States is still struggling with. It is rather about solutions and about creating real wealth in today’s day and age.
Armed with the insights found here, you’ll discover why engaging in the wealth creation process, instead of relying on big government and big business, is the best path to prosperity.
My intention with this book is to incite the American people to rise up and assert the fact that this is our nation, our government, and our way of life.
If this book is successful as I expect it to be, a vast number of Americans will emerge who are ready, willing, and able to fight for this nation and all that it was created to be. And they will discover that there are more of their friends and neighbors who share their morals, their ethics, their hopes, and their dreams than there are of the so-called elites; the Takers and Fakers who just want a free ride.
At the end of the day, I guess “success” is not important except in the impact it has on other people’s lives….as this has always been my mantra in life.
What or who influenced you in deciding to write the book?
Well Eugene… I am normally a very private person. As a global deal maker and financier attending to the investment needs of a very sophisticated and discerning international private and corporate client base, my work requires the utmost discretion. When hundreds of millions of dollars may be involved in a single transaction, wisdom dictates that I not broadcast my movements nor forecast my intentions in the realm of finance.
But I am also a warrior.
When I see injustice, when I see abuse of power, when I see a bully throwing his weight around and terrorizing innocent people just because he thinks he can get away with it, I am compelled to take action.
The majority of the American people are still grappling with what happened to them and their economy in the fall of 2008. The predominant media, comprised of little more than talking heads who read the daily dominant social theme dished out by their corporate masters, repeat the mantra that while bad things were done by men who behaved inconsiderately, nothing actually illegal took place. It was just an unfortunate and untimely chain of events.
“Yes,” they smile with a look of genuine concern “A few people made outrageous sums of money while the overwhelming majority of the American people lost their entire financial nest egg, and that’s unfortunate, but that’s just the way the market works. You win some. You lose some.”
In my personal opinion, what happened to this economy was, at the very minimum, a violation of the fiduciary trust and relationship that supports the capitalist free-market system.
In the case of a few highly placed individuals, it was a clear conflict of interest, professional malpractice, political malfeasance, fraud, and theft by conversion.
In the case of people like Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner, and several senior managers of the top New York banks, they should be indicted for conspiracy to defraud the American people on a massive scale. These men are, in the opinion of many, financial outlaws who arrogantly believe themselves to be above the law.
Until we have a Justice Department that understands and applies the basic concept of rule of law and upholds the U.S. Constitution, this will be an open wound in the collective psyche of all Americans. We will become a nation full of anger, resentment, cynicism, and skepticism. We will cease to be the greatest nation in the history of the world.
That is exactly what I am seeing happening today in America. The public servants who are supposed to be working on our behalf, paid by our tax dollars and charged with working to ensure domestic tranquility and promotion of the general welfare, seem to be alternating between an apparent ambivalence and an adversarial position where our fiscal inquiries are concerned. In the name of correcting the weaknesses in the financial system, these agents of the state have launched a full-blown assault on the true creators of wealth in this nation, while the small group who actually participated in, promoted, and profited from the latest economic crisis have walked away with millions of our dollars in their pockets.
This book exposes all the culprits, empowers people to outsmart the system and is the new bible of how to make a ton of dough—even in these difficult times.
What are your aspirations and what would you like to achieve regarding your message… And how do you feel the book will impact people’s lives?
The ultimate purpose for this book is to sound a call to arms and arouse every American to the fact that the freedoms and liberties we have enjoyed and taken for granted in this country are quickly and absolutely being usurped by the current administration and some of their cronies on Wall Street.
Whether you view this president as a socialist, communist, or just plain incompetent, he has filled his administration with people who have very different agendas for America. He has pushed through legislation that has sought to nationalize a significant portion of our economy and expanded the reach and intrusion of the federal government into every area of our lives. Not one of his proposals is grounded in a real-world grasp of fundamental economics, and most of his efforts seem to be aimed at destroying the free-market capitalist system that built this nation into the world-leading economy that it was until just a few years ago. His leadership style is based upon hubris that defies any reasonable or objective logic. He may talk a good game, but he has proven to be one of the most inept and insincere leaders in this nation’s history.
This nation was founded on the principle of wealth creation. As a young Henry Clay said in the House of Representatives in 1812, “It [wealth creation] is a passion as unconquerable as any with which nature has endowed us. You may attempt to regulate—you cannot destroy it.”
That is supposed to be the federal government’s primary objective. It is supposed to promote the creation of an environment conducive to the creation of wealth—not job creation, not bailouts, not subsidies, not expansion of the federal bureaucracy, and not providing lifetime support to those who choose not to take advantage of the innumerable opportunities that exist in this nation for them to create a better, more productive life for themselves.
This book’s aspiration is to renew wealth creation and renew the American Dream.
What do you feel was the turning point in your decision to write Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics ?
The turning point was the Economic Crisis of 2008….
It is a fact that we are still stuck today in the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression.
It is so bad that at this point into the recovery; we are 8 million jobs short of being tied for last place with the previous worst recovery. Our gross domestic product is a trillion dollars or two short of where it should be, and a multiple of that in terms of wealth has dissipated. Our economic weakness has now become a top national security threat.
Did the market fail or did the government fail? If so, how? Are we working on the right problem? Do we have the right people? Are we close enough to the action?
My strong suit is to ask questions until the bottom line is found and it will be …crystal clear.
This could indeed be the most important book you read all year.
What would you advise the “average” person to do in order to stay afloat in these turbulent times both economically and morally?
I believe the best strategies for protecting your assets in these turbulent times ahead include getting out of stocks, bonds, and speculative real estate markets and reducing your debts as much as possible.
Other specific recommendations fleshed out in the book:
- Convert your U.S.-backed assets such as cash into Swiss francs, kroners, or a couple of other strong currencies.
- Deposit your cash into offshore banks in Hong Kong, Panama, or other nations that have so far resisted the U.S. government’s assertion that citizenship means that everything you own is, by inference, the property of the federal government and that the IRS is the sole arbiter of how much of your assets you should be allowed to keep.
- Be smart about this and seek counsel from an expert in international private banking. It is legal to do if you do it correctly, but it can (and probably will) be made to look like something very illegal if you don’t do it in the proper manner.
- If you are going to form a company in today’s business environment, maximize your asset and identity protection by using a corporation organization formed in the state of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Indiana, Missouri, or Delaware. Form a revocable family living trust for estate purposes.
- If you invest, buy hard assets such as gold bullion, silver, diamonds, and a number of other commodities.
- Buy short-term government instruments and money market funds.
- Buy exchange-traded funds and stocks representing commodity businesses that will move up with the price of gold, silver, oil, and other commodities.
- Buy quality stocks that have paid dividends for many years and focus on companies that are in the food, water, and health businesses along with the ones that are in technologies that enable those types of companies. If you need to purchase real estate for the next few years, buy only residential and commercial real estate owned properties directly from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or from lending institutions that presently own real estate in default.
To make a long story short, set your goals and missions to meet the new global financial order.
Last but not least, do everything you can to stay in good health. Drink plenty of good, clean water. Eat moderate amounts of healthy food.
Why do I tell you all of this?
Because only the strong, the smart, and the supple are going to survive; you need to do everything to minimize the effects of stress on your body, your mind, and your spirit if you are going to be a successful economic warrior.
Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years, regarding future Publications?
I plan to continue the “Economic Warfare” series throughout this current decade by writing one such book every two years…. Hence you can expect next edition coming up in 2014.
Mr. Abdelnour; have you ever considered investing in South Africa or what is your firm’s investment strategy regarding South Africa and other emerging markets?
Before getting into details about Africa in general and South Africa in particular, let me lay out some basic ground rules that we at Blackhawk Partners http://blackhawkpartners.com/
follow before allocating capital on a global front.
First, my partners and I will not fund a company in any emerging market where the top brass are not Americans. The CEO doesn’t necessarily have to be an American, but a majority of the board of directors and the senior management have to have some strong American capitalistic influence and education. Remember, the objective is to make as big a return on our investment as we can. We invest capital, we increase the profitability of the company or companies involved in the deal, and we exit in a prescribed manner with profit in hand. There has to be a basic understanding and appreciation of capitalist principles or, as any savvy global private equity investor knows, we will have difficulties down the road in execution of the plan. I don’t mind, for example, funding an Indian enterprise because there is a historical exposure to business that is independent of government involvement. Even a Chinese native who has spent significant time in the West and studied at an American school, then worked for a period of time at an American firm, is an acceptable candidate for management leadership. What is important is that this person has developed an understanding and appreciation of the American entrepreneurial ethic.
Second, we do not fund a company in any emerging market if I don’t know someone in the upper echelons of the government of the country into which I am investing. This is precisely why business and politics are so important and more intertwined than ever when investing in emerging markets. It is an immeasurable advantage to be able to make a phone call or send an e-mail that results in easing of the regulatory process and elimination of much of the bureaucratic red tape, simply because I have taken the time and initiative to build a global network. I also recognize that I have the good fortune to have friends from my youth who have risen to positions of influence and power in different countries.
Third, we do not fund a company in any emerging market without a local investment group co-investing in the deal. Not only does this give me someone directly involved who has “skin in the game,” it gives me access to “real intel,” which I could never have any other way. It also helps spread the risk.
Fourth, we do not fund a company in any emerging market if the participating company doesn’t have at least three years’ worth of consecutive audits by a Big Four international accounting firm. These are Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Ernst & Young, and KPMG. It is unfortunate but often the case that a company that offers only locally audited books has usually “cooked the books.” This is where a company creates the appearance of earnings that really didn’t exist or attempts to hide liabilities that will impact the value of the company. Typically, a company will include incorrect information on its financial statements, such as manipulating expenses and earnings to improve their earnings per share of stock (EPS) or fail to record accurate equipment depreciation. I will fund only companies with at least $20 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) when it comes to emerging markets, as opposed to the $5 million EBITDA benchmark for U.S.-based companies.
Last but not least, it is important to note that we would not fund any company in any of the emerging markets without local American legal counsel totally familiar with contract enforcement in that jurisdiction. All of the big U.S. legal firms already have a strong presence in the countries on which I have focused. My typical exit strategy consists of listing these companies on U.S. stock exchanges and bringing them to the U.S. capital markets. Since many foreign companies use questionable accounting practices and have used backdoor methods to access the U.S. capital markets, I am extra diligent in making sure such companies have passed a most excruciating due diligence examination by my team of experts. This is the reason why we use only U.S. accounting, legal, and banking standards to facilitate the process and totally abide by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules and regulations.
As to South Africa in particular, we be believe the country is indeed a land that screams potential; and we as a growing band of global capitalists need to effectively tap into that.
Other key factors that make Africa at large an ever increasing reason for us to allocate funds there:
- Governments have made significant improvements in economic and political freedoms and have learned to become much more conservative fiscal managers.
- African nations have benefited from debt-reduction programs initiated by Western lenders. As a result, their governments have today much more flexibility to invest in pro-growth policies and projects.
- Higher commodity prices buoyed exports, and the continent was able to attract substantial foreign direct investment, particularly from China.
- Economic reforms that have been adopted across the continent, encouraging investors to finance new projects.
- African businesses have become dramatically more productive due in large part to new communications technology, including mobile phones that are commonplace even in remote villages.
There will be troubles along the way but, as one African proverb puts it: “Smooth seas do not skilful sailors make.”
Of course Eugene…. You can already start ordering the book on Amazon.com and as of today. You can also check out the book’s website at http://www.economic-warfare.com/ which will also keep you posted of all details including but not limited to my TV, radio, book signing events and other worldwide appearances as we get there. Check out too http://www.economic-warfare.com/Home/Reviews for some of the most recent Testimonials.
Ziad, once again thank you very much for your time, and we at Lebanese SA wish you every success in your, I am sure, soon to be , Award Winning Book, Economic Warfare : Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics.