Isn’t Monarchism Dictatorship?

I’m on holiday now. I am not doing too much during this holiday, but I have been thinking about monarchism and dictatorship. You see, many people are monarchists, but I cannot understand why anyone could be a monarchist.

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Dictionary.com defines monarchy as “a state or nation in which the supreme power is actually or nominally lodged in a monarch.”

A monarchist is someone who advocates for rule by a particular monarch. What is a monarch? A monarch is just a person. Is there anything special about Queen Elizabeth? She is just a person. Hence monarchism is advocacy for rule by a particular person.

But wait? Isn’t this the definition of dictatorship?

Dictionary.com defines dictatorship as “a country, government, or the form of government in which absolute power is exercised by a dictator.” It is also “absolute, imperious, or overbearing power or control.”

Dictatorship is rule by a dictator. Similar to a monarch, a dictator is just some person. Is there anything special about Adolf Hitler or Josef Stalin? No, they are just people.

In other words, monarchy and dictatorship pretty much mean the same thing.

Why do I raise this up? What is the point? You see many people supporting monarchism but hardly anyone goes around supporting dictatorship.

Why is that?

Is it like cult versus religion where a cult is a belief you hate while a religion is a belief you like? Perhaps authoritarianism by someone you like is referred to as monarchism but authoritarianism by someone you hate is called dictatorship.

Aren’t developed countries like the UK and Australia well functioning  monarchist countries?

These countries have what is called constitutional monarchism, and constitutional monarchism is effectively just democracy except the monarch has no power and simply has a ceremonial role. If that is the case then, in my opinion, monarchism is a waste of money. Why should taxpayers pay a monarch and her family to ride around in horses and live in castles?

The opposite of constitutional monarchism where royalty has no power is absolute monarchism where royalty has absolute power. Absolute monarchism exists in Saudi Arabia and Thailand.

Can monarchism or dictatorship be successful?

You can always give examples of dictatorships that succeeded. I’d argue Communist China is a somewhat successful dictatorship as judged by economic growth. Benevolent dictatorship is possible in theory but top-down control is usually hard and for every example of good dictatorship you can give there is always Hitler, Stalin, etc. If you were a monarchist leading a political rebelling to restore monarchy in America with the hope that you get a benevolent dictatorship, this is a risky strategy because you might end up with another Hitler or Stalin.

Democracy can be more inefficient that dictatorship but the spreading out of power under a democracy lowers the risk that comes with concentration of power.

Quit Your Job and Go to Chiang Mai?

I love YouTube. In fact, if you still watch normal TV, I highly recommend you buy a Google Chromecast, attach it to your TV, and watch YouTube instead. I watch about two to three hours of YouTube per day while I eat dinner.

If you spend a significant amount of time watching YouTube videos about veganism, entrepreneurship, minimalism, and digital nomadism (as I do nowadays), a recurring theme is that of quitting your job to work on your online business. Most likely the recommendation is that you move to a place with a low cost of living, such as Chiang Mai, the digital nomad capital of the world.

I have recently been reading The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, which is described by many as the bible of digital nomadism. This book gets mentioned frequently by digital nomads. This book seems to strongly recommend to its readers that if you don’t love your job, you must move. Two other digital nomad books I’ve read, Johnny FD’s 12 Weeks and Thailand and Life Changes Quick, seem to make similar recommendations. If you hate your 9 to 5 job, then just quit otherwise you are wasting your time, and you’re watching your employer’s time.

Of course, the advice to simply quit initially didn’t resonate with me. Everyone is different. I haven’t finished reading The Four Hour Work Week, but it’s clear based on reading the first few chapters so far that Tim Ferriss is not your average person. He has been starting companies ever since he was young and was likely already well off.

I have read all of Johnny FD’s books via Amazon Kindle, and his situation is slightly different to that of Tim Ferriss. Although Johnny FD makes close to $30k per month now, he spent about four to five years in Thailand not sure what he would do with his life. He dabbled with writing ebooks, Thai boxing, and being a divemaster. He finally started making serious money when he discovered dropshipping.

Everyone is different. If you are young and single, with no mortgage, car loan, or children, it is less risky to simply move to Thailand. If you are renting in a developed country like Australia, you will likely save money on rent. For example, US$1500 per month in Melbourne, Australia would only get you an average place to rent, but in Chiang Mai you can easily rent a place for US$500 or less. Even if you have a mortgage, you can rent your house out and use the rental income from your house to live in Chiang Mai.

As for me, I have not quit my 9 to 5 job yet, which is unfortunate because I hate my job! There are days when I feel like quitting on the spot, but my mood seems to go up and down. I remember I was very unhappy with my job about a month ago, but more recently I feel better. There are days when I wake up and dread going to work, and there are days when it’s not so bad.

My biggest fear with quitting and going to Chiang Mai is that I run out of savings, which means I’ll need to return to Australia and start applying for a job again, which is not ideal. Not only would I not be living my dream as a digital nomad, but it’s also quite shameful chasing your dream in a faraway land only to return defeated.

My advice is to follow Sean Lee’s advice (below), which is to only quit your job and go to Chiang Mai if you have set up at least one online business that is producing money.


I live off dividends

I would even go further. Sean mentioned in his video that you can live like a king in Chiang Mai for US$1000 per month, so you should not only aim to create income from an online business but you should also aim to invest in ETFs and produce US$1000 per month in dividends. This ensures that if your online businesses fails for whatever reason, you can draw upon your dividends, live in Thailand, and continue to keep building your online business. Your dividends should be your safety net.

Personally, I already make more than US$1000 per month in dividends, but I have no online business, and I do admit it’s difficult to get an online business going because there are so many ideas that it’s easy to get lost, but I believe that the first step is to simply devote time to trying different ideas out. If it fails, move on to something else. I am busy during weekdays with my 9 to 5 job, but on weekends I have spare time. I have discovered that I waste far too much time on weekends.

Don’t talk to your coworkers or your family about your digital nomad dreams!

Among just about everyone in a 9 to 5 job, socializing, travelling, and going out are seen as status symbols. On Fridays, everyone asks about what’s up for the weekend, and if you tell them you will stay at home and read The Four Hour Work Week, they think you’re a loser. They ask, “Don’t you have any friends? Don’t you have a girlfriend?” They may even attack you for reading a self-help book. One coworker said to me, “How can you work four hours a week? That cannot possibly work because you’re still working here!”

My advice to 9 to 5 worker is to not talk about your dream at all, and if people ask you what you’ve been doing over the weekend, you don’t need to lie, but you don’t need to be specific either. You can speak generally and tell them you are “relaxing at home, browsing the internet.”

The reality is that there is a crab mentality among most office workers. The office is filled with negative people who are fearful of being fired from their jobs. They are also envious (and fearful) of those higher in the hierarchy.

Most people look down upon status symbols like Ferraris, Rolexes, and Hugo Boss clothing, but personally I find these products cheap, especially since you rarely buy them. The worse status symbols are those accepted by society, e.g. going out with friends, taking a girl to a fancy restaurant, marriage ceremonies, having children, and getting a mortgage. Before you scoff at me calling these “virtuous” expenses status symbols, you must admit to yourself that when people talk about these virtuous expenses at the office kitchen, people are showing off. You can tell when someone is showing off. There is a snobbery vibe they give off. I have felt it, and I’m sure you have as well.

Conclusion

As mentioned above, I am not an expert in online business, but currently I am experimenting on or thinking of the following: blogging, eBay arbitrage, online stores, and buying/selling websites (e.g. using Flippa or Empire Flippers).

What is great about living off dividends is that you can live off dividends forever, which means you have a lifetime to devote to making your dreams a reality. If you simply saved up, quit your job, and moved to Chiang Mai, you’d run out of savings and you’d need to return.

 

Am I Misanthrophic?

I hate people. I am a misanthrope. There are times I feel lonely, and when people keep telling me how important it is to have friends and companionship, I give in and make an effort to make friends. When at work, I’d build relationships because everyone knows it’s important to network.

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But inevitably when I try to integrate myself into the world, I am so repulsed by how vulgar people are that I would quickly isolate myself again. I won’t make contact with my friends ever again, and if they invite me over, I’d reject a few times just to make it clear that I don’t want their friendship.

And I’d be lonely again, but it’s a comforting loneliness. When I think of how bad people are, it makes me thankful that I am isolated.

Of course, if you isolated yourself completely, you’d need to quit work, and if you have bills to pay then you’re out of luck because you have to work to make money. Work is a necessary evil.

Luckily, I have a job, and the job is not too bad. At work, I pretty much keep to myself and don’t get too involved in anything. I try not to make friends with anyone at work. I understand from experience that deep friendship at work can have bad outcomes.

I don’t mind working at the moment. I will continue to work, I will continue to save up, and I will see how long I can last in this organisation before they kick me out.

We live in a crazy world filled with evil people, and it’s important for everyone to have the ability to isolate himself from the world and live like a hermit if he wishes to. Sometimes you feel so drained by humanity that you absolutely must check out and live by yourself. This is what I plan to do. As I said many times already, I think I can currently live off interest and dividends, but only if I live in a country like Thailand, so I will continue to work and save and to accumulate recreational leave, and when thing get really painful for me, when I cannot take the world, then I will take a very long holiday, maybe two to four months off. I just want to see if I can live off interest in another country all by myself. Only then will I know that I can really be independent.

Thoughts on “Early Retirement Extreme”

I love listening to podcasts when I’m driving, exercising, or stretching. It’s free education and entertainment. A recent podcast I’ve listened to that I feel I need to write about is one on the Survival Podcast featuring Jack Spirko interviewing Jacob Fisker of Early Retirement Extreme.

I have always been fans of both Jack Spirko and Jacob Fisker, so having these two together in a podcast is brilliant. Basically, Spirko is a “modern survivalist” who works to set up a homestead in the country where he can take refuge in if there is ever some disaster scenario. He focuses on self-reliance, independence, frugality, and being prepared. Even if nothing happens, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

Jacob Fisker of ERE, on the other hand, is different. Whereas Jack Spirko works outside the system (or “off the grid”) in order to free himself from it, ERE is about using the system to your advantage, i.e. applying capitalism to achieve freedom (or as the ERE website sometimes says, taking advantage of “rentier capitalism”).

Fisker’s story is remarkable. He takes retirement to the absolute extreme. Mainstream retirement advice is that you save up 5% or 10% of your income and then over forty years or so, assuming some wildly optimistic rate of return and then harnessing the power of compound interest, you will retire when you are incredibly old and frail with an income that is about $50,000 a year.

ERE, in a nutshell, states that you save up to 85% of your income and then retire within five years. Because you are saving up in five years, compound interest does not matter. What is remarkable about Fisker is that he was able to retire at age 33 after saving 85% of his income with an income of only $25,000. He achieved this by e.g. not having a car and walking to work (walking about five miles back and forth).

Suppose the typical person earns $50,000, and assuming zero taxation (for simplicity), then in five years, assuming you save up 85% and assuming zero rate of return on your savings (again for simplicity), you’d have a little over $200,000 saved up. Assuming a rate of return of 5% on the savings if invested in a mixture of cash, bonds, stocks, REITs, etc, you’d be earning about $10,000 per year or about $800 per month.

Can you live off $800 per month? In a country like Australia or even the United States, I think it’s highly unlikely. Maybe you can buy a place in the country and scrape by, but I’m not too sure.

However, in a country like Thailand, $800 per month is more than enough.

JC of Retire Cheap Asia is a retirement consultant who lives in Thailand. He advises expats from America and other developed countries on how to retire in Thailand. According to him, the minimum amount you need to survive in Thailand is $500 per month. At $500 per month, you live a very rough and bare life. However, if you have $1000 per month, you live a life of luxury. An income of $800 per month achieved through five years of Early Retirement Extreme would afford you a comfortable existence in Thailand (see Retire Cheap Asia Retirement Income Categories). This applies not just to Thailand but other countries like Cambodia, Philippines, and maybe even Belize and many others.