26 February 2009

A new world after this economic crisis

The present economic crisis represents another lurch to a less US-centric world. Where previously, the US market had been preeminent in the export development strategies of many countries, its relative weight will fall post-crisis. Full essay.


Anonymous said...

If US consumer consumption patterns change, ie saving more and spending less, it would mean trouble for countries like China, Japan, South Korea and Singapore among others.

These countries have tailored their manufacturing base to cater to a US consumer consumption pattern of excesses and wastefulness, so much of the factories will have to close for good. It will be a different world.

Singapore News Alternative said...

The United States is still the leading superpower in the world and I don't think it will change with this "crisis". I don't think the American will readily surrender their pole position as an economic power to other countries yet. It may use it's superior military might to support its economic status. Only a war can really save America now, where the conquest will be an oil-rich country. I believe there will be another "crisis" like 911 coming, only this time is much bigger in order to stir the Americans to war. But will it result in WW3? That to me is a real possibility when superpowers clashes in competition for global dominance.

Teck Soon said...

I don't agree with Singapore News Alternative. Why would a war be helpful to America? America is certainly not an economic superpower because it has fought a lot of wars. Most of the time, countries that fight long or numerous wars are poor (like Eritrea and Ethiopia). Furthermore, the US is not a superpower because it has somehow beaten back other countries - it is the largest economy because it is a stable non-communist democracy with a free market system, with a well-educated and literate population and good universities with real academic freedom, an entrepreneurial spirit, a rich culture that gets exported around the world (music and movies, for example), and (usually) wise foreign policies (free trade agreements with other countries, for example). Yawning Bread's article makes them all sound like stupid, rich, SUV-buying arrogant ingrates a la Paris Hilton. The Singapore government, no doubt, will blame America for all its economic problems too. It is a common strategy in dictatorships, whose populations are perennially poor and suffering because of the evil democracy superpower.

Anonymous said...

If it results in WW111, there will be nothing left to fight over, no winners and no losers. The only thing left will just be radioactive dust.

Lost Citizen

Anonymous said...

YB you wrote:

Here we enter into another unknown. What is China's appetite for more US debt? If it starts to decline, or if China decides not to accumulate surpluses like before, preferring instead to reinvest domestically to boost its own economy through a bad patch, how will the US fund its budget deficit?

When you refer to China, which entity are you referring to? (a) The communist party? (b) The people on which they depend on exports to earn a living? (c) The consumers in China?

If (a), what incentives are there for the communist party to reduce the surplus? Just like the PAP Government, by being in control of such surplus give it the extra economic muscle to cow the citizen if necessary.

In any case, should it decide to invest domestically, where should it do so? Chances are it should do so, it will most likely be modelled along Singapore's GLCs. And they will be back to state own industries. If, by some miracle, it decides to give the money away to private enterprises, it risk breeding power centres outside the control of the communists party. In which case, it will end up with the US model!

If by China you mean (b), it will require a mindset change. Retooling is probably not an issue but a mindset change will be required. First, these companies will have to be convenience that there is money to be made from what is largely a poor consumer market. The question then becomes an chicken and egg scenario. Do these companies wait for the poverty level to raise, say reach the per capital GDP of Taiwan before they switch focus.

All this come back to the question of your China in the form of (c). Are they willing to be spend rather than save?

Anonymous said...

surprisingly, the good book agrees with much of what you had written so far.

well done mr yawning bread

Simon said...

Even though WW3 would not be good for mankind, it seems to be inevitable. Look at what brings the US out of recession in the 1920s? World War. When there are less consumer spending, how does business sustain? By supplying to a different demand, created by war.

As much as we would not want it to happen, it seems like men will be driven into this abyss through different motives and reasons.

One of them would be wealth, or the lack of it. Trillions of dollars are lost through this crisis, and when there is no hope, they got nothing to lose if someone starts a war. But they would stand to gain if they win. Even in countries where there is a great divides between the rich and poor, there will eventually be a time when those who are poor cannot take it anymore, and do the unthinkable like robbing the rich.

Nowadays, human are getting more and more impatience as technology evolve to provide them with up to date information and other comforts. If they do not get what they want, temper is going to flare. Previously it will take months for rumors to be spread, but nowadays, all it takes is to logon to the internet and you get the latest news and gossips available for all. Mood swings are very common, one day you may be happy on news that the economy is going to recover, the next moody when they announce that the worse is yet to come. I feel that this would indirectly affect the insanity of human, and make them do things out of impulse.

Even the weather can be attributing to the same cause. It can be bright and sunny in the morning and suddenly heavy downpour out of nowhere. Some countries even encounter drastic weather changes like Thailand recently, China, Europe, etc. All these can affect the way human thinks and behave.

There are a lot more other reasons, but I am too tired to type or think of it now. :)

I certainly hope that it will not happen, as if it does, I would think that it will be the end for Singapore.

Anonymous said...

"Even those who can pay are refusing to pay their installments. The US government has sent signals that resolution of the financial mess should include rewriting the loans to lower the principals to realistic levels. Expecting that the re-writes will favour them, borrowers are dragging their feet with paying their installments, once again hurting banks' cash flow, in turn reducing their ability or willingness to make new loans to businesses."

the government is responsible for the out of control economy and excessiveness of the bourgeois class that has taken a serious toll on ordinary people's life...world wide.

therefore, lowering the principle to realistic levels is exactly what they should do and should do it quickly.

since they have led the people into a debt driven economy, they should forgive their debts and hopefully, lead them into a NEW ECONOMY.

nothing kick start better than a heavy load off the people's back.

meiguoren in Spore said...

Thank you, Yawning Bread. Yes, the US will be buying less from everyone else, and for years to come. What that actually means in terms of US savings rates (the upcoming measure of national saintliness), who knows? Not the economists. The simple fact being that with credit tightened up everywhere, there's much less cash available to go around, so less wealth will be created. Besides, how often do we really need to upgrade our stuff?But it is a drag for all the people who've been raised to count on that gaping maw across the ocean.

I've gotten inured to castigation of the fat-assed SUV-hogging American consumer with his/her outsized carbon footprint, etc. ad nauseam. Why is the US the dominant economy and thus the biggest, most obnoxious, glutton for everything? The combination of its founders' political brilliance and the staggering wealth of its natural resources. Specifically, oil. The US started drilling the stuff and putting it to large-scale industrial use, and getting rich from it, before anyone else got into it. If you start out with a big lead, it's going to take awhile for the rest of the world to catch up. And in the meantime, your expanded appetite becomes an entitlement, with willing enablers lined up the world wide to satisfy it. It could've happened to anyone.

The brutal irony of the present age is that, now that billions of other people have gotten the first glimpse of it being their turn at last, the whole banquet is being cancelled by this mess, in perfect timing with out-of-control climate change. As an American citizen, I apologize to the rest of you for everything that seemed to be promised. Not that we're all so bad: I don't know anyone at home with a subprime mortgage, but I do know thousands (i.e., everyone I know) who've had their retirement savings slashed in half.

So, no, we're not going to be buying so many new computers or Toyotas or flatscreens. In return, we have no right to hope that you will keep buying our debt. That's another irony: how a feckless, spend-thrift boatload of bozos can at the same time be the economy of last resort for the rest of the planet. How did we manage to pull that off? Again, the brilliance of the founders. Mere deists they may have been, but God loved them, once.

miS said...

A fan's note: YB, I've just tripped across your spot here for the first time tonight (having started off wiki-ing 'Kwantung Army'!) I'm truly thrilled to make its acquaintance: mature political engagement, with a gay sensibility, in Singapore? For a moment one thinks: an agent provocateur? But nah. You're sincerely cool. --meiguoren in Spore