Chapter 8

The Twenty-First Century Belongs to China—and Commodities

James Beeland Rogers Jr.

James Beeland Rogers Jr.’s stature looms far larger than his person. He is not quite diminutive, but he is also not the prototypical master of the universe one might envision, with bulging muscles constrained by tights and a cape. The bow tie, crisp white shirt, gray suit pants held up with suspenders—braces in the more correct sartorial nomenclature—belie a near whirling dervish of activity. During our afternoon together, we coursed through midtown New York with a range of media pit stops along the way. It was a microcosm of who Jim Rogers is—someone always on the move, travelling the world under the rubric of adventure, yet always leaving with an investment thesis—newly formed or freshly ratified by what he has seen, heard, experienced. He offers a sharp contrast to the universally held perception that Wall Street, a proxy term for the financial establishment, is a dull painting in black, white, and the occasional gray. In the facts of his background, in his achievements, in the courtly but pointed pronouncements with which he skewers some of the sacred cows of current economics, and above all in the way he goes about investing—like an explorer discovering and staking claim to new worlds—Rogers is one of the more colorful characters the Street has ever known.

This is the guy who grew up in Demopolis, an Alabama town so small the family’s phone number was 5. It was in this small town that ...

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