Bubbles, Bailouts, and Stimulus Plans

global_economic_bubblesSo much of the shouting about this economic “downturn” centers on the United States of America. I’m no economist (thank, God!), but it seems to make sense that the epicenter of the econoquake is the USA.

Still . . .

What about other countries? Like:

China, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Taiwan (ROC), Philippines, Romania, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Brazil, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Iceland, and Australia.

One of my constant companions on the Internet Journey is Global Voices. In a recent article, they rely on their global network of bloggers to identify these issues:

“…Jamaica’s dollar-earning bauxite industry has shed hundreds of jobs already because of the downturn in US car production.”

In Bangladesh, the housing bubble is tied to remittances sent by Bangladeshis working in other countries; but, mass layoffs in the US and Europe is ending their property boom.

“Cambodia is also experiencing a property bubble. South Koreans are Cambodia’s biggest investors. Since South Korean businesses have been badly hit by the financial crisis, many of them have already pulled off their real estate investments in Cambodia.”

The Caribbean financial crisis originated, partly, from drops in methanol and real estate prices.

The Brazilian government was claiming the global crisis was having a minimal impact on their economy. But, recent reports show Brazil as the second “most affected” country.

“Bank nationalization schemes have been enforced in some countries like Iceland and Kazakhstan. Trinidad and Tobago banks were rescued not just by their government but also by governments from neighboring countries.”

Hungary is going to implement a tax reform.

“Hiring street sweepers is part of the Philippine stimulus plan.”

There are many more details on the Global Voices site…

Spiritual Quote:

“Central to the task of reconceptualizing the organization of human affairs is arriving at a proper understanding of the role of economics. The failure to place economics into the broader context of humanity’s social and spiritual existence has led to a corrosive materialism in the world’s more economically advantaged regions, and persistent conditions of deprivation among the masses of the world’s peoples. Economics should serve people’s needs; societies should not be expected to reformulate themselves to fit economic models. The ultimate function of economic systems should be to equip the peoples and institutions of the world with the means to achieve the real purpose of development: that is, the cultivation of the limitless potentialities latent in human consciousness.

“Society must develop new economic models shaped by insights that arise from a sympathetic understanding of shared experience, from viewing human beings in relation one to another, and from a recognition of the central role that family and community play in social and spiritual well-being. Within institutions and organizations, priorities must be reassessed. Resources must be directed away from those agencies and programs that are damaging to the individual, societies and the environment, and directed toward those most germane to furthering a dynamic, just and thriving social order. Such economic systems will be strongly altruistic and cooperative in nature; they will provide meaningful employment and will help to eradicate poverty in the world.”
Bahá’í International Community: 1998 Feb 18, Valuing Spirituality in Development

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Money and Value

Money doesn’t always equal value.

These news items are about the United States but what’s happening there is impacting the global economy . . .

From The New York Times: Worried Banks Sharply Reduce Business Loans “Banks struggling to recover from multibillion-dollar losses on real estate are curtailing loans to American businesses, depriving even healthy companies of money for expansion and hiring.”

From the Economist: Inflation or deflation? “The markets have become incredibly volatile as investors vacillate between these outcomes.”

From the BBC: Record deficit for next president “The next US president is expected to face a record federal budget deficit of almost half a trillion dollars.”

Economics used to seem as opaque as metaphysics to me. Then, as I hit the middle of middle-age, it became apparent I was studying the economics that businesses use, that nations use, that politicians manipulate.

The economics that has squandered vast quantities of non-renewable resources.

The economics that keeps certain people away from creativity, away from a decent livelihood.

The economics that spawns wars and utterly brutal treatment of innocent civilians !

I don’t want to start ranting so here are some spiritual quotes to ponder:

“The repudiation of national right and power to make war represents the first step toward mutual wealth and sound economy. Short of a world economy mankind will not achieve the fruits of civilization.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1947 Feb, A Bahá’í Declaration of Human Obligations and Rights

“Widespread uncertainty about the condition of the economy indicates a deep disorder in the management of the material affairs of the planet, a condition which can only exacerbate the sense of frustration and futility affecting the political realm.”
The Universal House of Justice, A Wider Horizon, Selected Letters 1983-1992, p. 102

“…participants in the informal sector of the economy, women in particular, must be involved in reconceptualizing economics altogether, both theory and practice. If women have a unique approach to economic activity, it would most likely be apparent in the largely unstructured informal sector of the economy. For example, preliminary findings in an on-going study of women industrial sub-contractors in Malaysia, show that the business objectives of the majority of women sub-contractors are defined not so much in monetary terms as in terms of values.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1995 Aug 26, Women in the Informal Sector in Malaysia

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Business . . . (as usual?)

I’ve recently begun a business that makes me an entrepreneur. The linked article from Wikipedia says, “Entrepreneurs often have strong beliefs about a market opportunity and organize their resources effectively to accomplish an outcome that changes existing interactions.”

Marketing? And, you call yourself a spiritual person, Mr. Zoltai?”

Well…

Howard Rheingold said, “Markets are as old as the crossroads.”

And, tonight, in a business training seminar, Brett Rademacher said, “Life is a moving market.”

Nothing happens without someone selling something.

“What?”

Consider this:

Did you ever pursue someone for a date?

Did you have the date?

You must have sold them on the idea . . .