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2017
Asia Needs more Dialogue
Solutions to urban pollution may prove complex
Spread of ESGs could herald new global movement
Investing in quality education is imperative if India wants to reap demographic dividends
China needs to lead in new multi-stakeholder world
China’s B&R initiative leading a resurgence of Asia
Education is key - but long-term: Can we survive?
New wave of robots will be beneficial to all
China needs to continue with its ‘heavy lifting’
Time is right for Chinese firms to invest in Europe
Robots to the rescue for China?
Asian Multinationals are Going Global, But to Where?
China ratchets forward with energy efforts
China’s calm necessary for globalization push
Bridging managerial gaps involves trust-building
China well-placed to power its future through green technology advances
China's new 'springtime' is here
2016
China’s moves show it’s banking on the future
Mindset for action at the G20 summit will be determined by Chinese presidency
Chinese head-hunting intensifies for rare managers that can steer overseas firms
US talk of isolation jars with growing links in Europe and Asia
Electoral rhetoric on global trade not in sync with reality
Is it time to be prudent and consider austerity policies again?
What will we do if we have no oil?
Unlock talent by finding the right fit for a person
The benefits are real and tangible
Trade along China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ won’t succeed without the currency of trust
Reasons for optimism about the long term
2015
Can big oil go green and win?
Poorer Nations Could Sway Climate Talks
Combating Idleness and Deprivation
How China can be a model of food sustainability for the developing world
Kyoto II – Is it a Done Deal?
A meeting of the two largest economic powers
Why China will experience a 'soft' landing
Beware of superstitions
The Elephant and Dragon move ahead
G-7 target on fossil fuels raises many questions
Why Battle for Net Neutrality in the US Matters Globally
China’s resurgence – the ‘normal new’
Wanted: A managerial culture that embraces cultural differences
China's early education plan a smart investment in the future
The New Normal for China and India
2014
China's infrastructure push offers a sure track to better growth
US-China climate pact a good start, but not quite enough
Rethink the human’s place in the ‘digital revolution’
China springs a carbon surprise
Infrastructure - the invisible hand in full view
Dialogue vital for survival of Iraqi nation
China must nurture a new generation of beautiful minds
Great expectations in China and India
GM Cereals – The Pros and Corns
Time to be Honest about Our Energy Prospects
Weathering the Storm of Climate Change
Making a Big Decision? Beware of Your Biases
West Deserves Better Logistics Infrastructure
Digital Currencies do Represent the Future
From 'Printed' Houses to Wooden Skyscrapers
It’s time to bail out our schools, not our firms
Solution to India’s housing shortage – print new ones!
And the most promising green technologies of 2014 are ...
Transport infrastructure key to domestic, export growth
Oil stopgaps: Not worth risking
2013
Why the US should grant Edward Snowden amnesty
May we be more optimistic!
China headed for another massive social experiment?
A dialogue that worked
Yes, politicians deserve vacations - because we benefit
NPOs, NGOs invaluable as creators of dialogue
Look closer and ask: Is America reinventing itself?
Boston bombings case underlines need for dialogue
Millennium Development Goals or own goals?
As usual it's about balance - and timing - of course
Chinese strategists make right moves for growth
2012
Preparing for tomorrow
Austerity or growth?
Japan in danger of becoming 'just a place to fly over'
Beware of the business cycle?
An inconvenient truth
Limited offer sale: Buy a country
Where did our money go?
Leading from behind - a year of elections is almost over
Driving towards a green future
Waiting for springtime
Preserve or Perish
Startlingly similar Asia policy for Obama, Romney
Globalisation remains an irresistible trend
Google has the edge in smartphone war
U.S. Braces for China's Rise
Mankind’s General Scourge
The summer holidays are over and nothing has changed!
Put the hidden trillions to work
Making sense of India’s woes and wonders
Storm in a teacup!
Let’s give bad bankers a venue to admit their sins
News is about depth, not puff or velocity
Booming India, but too few toilets
Delayed Court decisions doesn't mean one may continue to play 'Great Game'
We need media to reflect on data and offer public a balanced view
Big polluters can lead in forging common purpose
The weighty issue of choosing a leader
EU-India Relations - Facing similar challenges
Educating with a goal
The Judicial Malaise
We are growing out, but not growing up
EU´s retrenchment enigma
Urbulence in the Eurozone and the effect on SMEs
Skolkovo May Help Russia to Diversify
Make things more effective
Tapping into the Commonwealth connection
Innovative models for public finance
Facebook revolution but Indian style
The feel-good factor
Asian investors - a private equity opportunity
India needs to be taller and stronger
China´s low sales volume...
Nations playing leapfrog
Shafts of sunlight
What webs we weave
As performers go to Davos, the circus steals the show
Can we control the politicians?
 
2011
Europe’s reminiscence
China firms should go for win-win in overseas ventures
Of procrastination...
Making sense of profiteering
Truth about financial mess must be laid bare
Small is also beautiful
China can help Europe with debt crisis
Excising the cancer of global corruption
Education, a critical asset
Arab uprisings set in motion forces of creative destruction
A new era of change
We must ensure better education for all
Beijing wary of bankrolling a lost cause
Asean's re-emergence as a local and global leader
Why India's Role in the Global Economy is Still Work in Progress
Its the leadership, stupid!
Reverse globalisation: The new buzzword
Limited offer sale: Buy a country
By Frank-Jürgen Richter
Sunday Guardian, November 10, 2012
 

This sounds grandiose and a little outrageous — but so was the thought of buying an island which now is not so unusual for the rich. If however one buys a country there must be the small print rulings like you may install your own finance minister, you must not asset strip, and you must endeavour to bring back full employment for your people.

When nations suffer from a "boom and bust" cycle with easy credit offered on poor quality assessment in times of growth it results in non-performing loans (NPLs) in the hard times. These weigh heavily on the performance of the lending banks and on the relevant national regulators as the recovery of collateral takes too long. To complicate matters further there are often beneficial tax adjustments and write-offs made available to the NPLs and even to state-owned banks. Over time the management of sovereign debt through the "London Approach and INSOL Principles" has led to new procedures in handling private debt so that debtors are not wiped out. In these there is a statement to the effect that if there is agreement among creditors that a troubled company is viable in the long term, creditors should be ready to provide longer-term financial support to it by means of restructuring tools — maybe involving management changes, sales of assets or divisions, or even a takeover of the company by a third party. The eurozone seems to be tipping into that position, of needing external support.

The debt of nations is characterised by its national (or public sector) debt, which is the amount the government owes its citizens; while its external debt is the private and public sector money owed to foreigners. Some low-to middle income nations show aggregate external debts, but if their foreign reserves and unrecorded offshore assets are counted their overall position may change to a net creditor. I will argue that the havened money ought to be better used.

Often national debt is compared to the nation's GDP, thus the US has $11 trillion of national debt or 70% of its GDP, in contrast, the US gross external debt is about $15 trillion. The Economist summarised some of the eurozone issues as a spoof memorandum sent to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The memo outlines the real concerns facing the euro-nations' support of the debts of its member states, in particular the southern states of Greece as well as Portugal, Ireland, Cyprus and Spain (the PICS) with their relative net-indebtedness of 100-70% of their GDPs. Italy and France exhibit smaller debts of about 20%, with the northern nations being in credit. The memo concludes that the Greek exit makes more sense if this action also includes the PICS. Ultimately the gross effect on Germany might be a charge of 500 billion euro in the short term, with no guarantee of future European stability in the long term. Exacerbating the interminable and fruitless European "rescue" discussions is the fact that relatively poor member states are expected to fund a central bank to create the funds for member bailouts. What is needed is external aid.

I have opined elsewhere that the cash held in tax havens ought to be enticed out to work beneficially for all. One part of a nation's debt is caused by assets being sent overseas so those individuals can't be taxed on their wealth because, clearly, they are not wealthy. Yet those assets abroad are not taxed back home as they are hidden in opaque tax havens. I suggest the $21-$32 trillion havened by wealthy individuals is used to purchase the distressed nations of the globe. The Tax Justice Network published details of havened cash in "The Price of Offshore Revisited" in July 2012. They note the three banks handling most offshore assets are UBS, Credit Swiss and Goldman Sachs. It would seem reasonable to reassign these trillions to alleviate the eurozone problems. And to ensure future "best management" of these economies members of the Banks ought also to be assigned as Finance Ministers as clearly they do excellent work for their rich clients. One might envisage a new group of high-level fund managers for this task.

Of course "buying a nation" would not occur. The market is not large nor yet developed; and maybe will never be so. Yet havened assets could be put to use, and the wizard bankers also be put to work advising the relevant governments. After all, the bankers presently manage the cash for their clients; and to safeguard the new asset placement it would be prudent to usurp national Finance Ministers since they have been imprudent in the past.

 

Frank-Jürgen Richter is the founder and chairman of Horasis, a Swiss-based global visions community.


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