Category Archive 'Asia'

31 Jan 2017

East Asia & Australia

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(click on map for larger image)

06 Oct 2008

Hockey Moms & Capital Markets

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Spengler, writing in Asia Times, explains that America will inevitably continue to attract Asian investment and that people like Sarah Palin are the reason.

On my desk is a draft paper by a prominent Asian politician, sent to me privately for comment. It calls on Asians to take charge of their own financial destiny and invest their money in Asian markets rather than into the maelstrom of American markets. Privately, I advised the leader in question not to publish it. It will do no good. Asian capital markets cannot absorb Asia’s savings.

What does America have that Asia doesn’t have? The answer is, Sarah Palin – not Sarah Palin the vice presidential candidate, but Sarah Palin the “hockey mom” turned small-town mayor and reforming Alaska governor. All the PhDs and MBAs in the world can’t make a capital market work, but ordinary people like Sarah Palin can. Laws depend on the will of the people to enforce them. It is the initiative of ordinary people that makes America’s political system the world’s most reliable.

America is the heir to a long tradition of Anglo-Saxon law that began with jury trial and the Magna Carta and continued through the English Revolution of the 17th century and the American Revolution of the 18th. Ordinary people like Palin are the bearers of this tradition. …

It is true that Asian economies depend on American consumers and an American recession is bad for Asian currencies. But why don’t Asians consume what they produce at home? The trouble is that rich Asians don’t lend to poor Asians in their own countries. Capital markets don’t work in the developing world because it is too easy to steal money. Subprime mortgages in the US have suffered from poor documentation. What kind of documentation does one encounter in countries where everyone from the clerk at the records office to the secretary who hands you a form requires a small bribe? America is litigious to a fault, but its courts are fair and hard to corrupt.

Asians are reluctant to lend money to each other under the circumstances; they would rather lend money in places where a hockey mom can get involved in local politics and, on encountering graft and corruption, run a successful campaign to turn the scoundrels out. You do not need PhDs and MBAs for that. You need ordinary people who care sufficiently about the places in which they live to take control of their own towns and states when required. And, yes, it doesn’t hurt if they own guns.


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