23 Nov 2011

Guess what comes after an economic upheaval?

Kyle Bass seems to have made it his business - and a profitable one, at that - to see the 'big picture' evolving around world. First, the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the US; then the sovereign debt crisis in Greece; and now he is betting that the next domino to fall will be... Japan!

(Here's an interesting bit of trivia: Japan is the Indian government's single largest bilateral creditor! At end-March 2011, they owed Japan US$ 14.7 billion, followed by US$ 2.7 billion to Germany.)

Watch Kyle Bass spar ever so graciously with the lady presenter on BBC HARDtalk.

Towards the very end of 24-minute episode, Kyle points out that, historically, fiancial and economic upheavals tend to lead to social upheavals as well.

Which brings us to the next subject...

It's an interesting article on the Bloomberg-BusinessWeek website on the emigration, or more rightly, a near-exodus of China's super rich from the country.

Many of them are seeking foreign passports or residency permits in the US, Canada, Australia, Singapore, and New Zealand.

How many of them?
More than 500,000 Chinese have investable assets of over 10 million yuan ($1.57 million), according to a joint survey released in April by China Merchants Bank and Bain & Co. The study says almost 60 percent are considering emigrating, have begun the process, or have emigrated.

Want to guess why?
So-called mass incidents—riots, strikes, and protests—doubled in five years, to 180,000 in 2010, Sun Liping, a professor at Beijing’s Tsinghua University, wrote in a Feb. 25 article in the Economic Observer. “Some people in China are talking about class conflicts against rich people,” says Wang Xiaolu, deputy director of the National Economic Research Institute in Beijing. “Maybe some of those emigrating or getting residency are worrying about possible policy changes turning China ‘left’ that will put them in danger.”

And it's not just the crazy professors saying things...
One émigré in Boston (who asked only that his last name, Yang, be used since he still owns a factory in China) points out that the Chinese government spent more money on internal security (549 billion yuan) than on defense (534 billion yuan) in 2010. He says that if things got ugly, the rich would be targets not just for being rich but for their close connections with the government.

Wait a minute, this sounds familiar...

Blistering economic growth rate. Massive 'investments' in the infrastructure and real estate sectors. Financial sector joins the party, with absurd leverages and adventurous schemes. The economy overheats with excess money supply, sending inflation skyward. The central bank steps on the brakes with interest hikes. The inevitable slowdown sends the financial sector precariously close to tipping-point. This causes a credit / liquidity crunch.

Almost overnight, the starry-eyed ambition of the masses awaken to the realisation that the political and oligarchic classes manipulate the system at will, in their own interest. There never was, any 'trickle down effect'; and the 'middle class dream' was just that - a dream.

But the "good times" go on for the corporate kings... And if their country's circling the drain with economic woes and pollution that they caused - they've got dual citizenships now!

Live with it.

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