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Posts Tagged ‘Friedman’

Autocracy With Chinese Characteristics: Beijing’s Behind-the-Scenes Reforms

Posted by hkarner - 27. April 2018

A very thorough base analysis, worth reading! (hfk)

Date: 26-04-2018
Source: Foreign Affairs By Yuen Yuen Ang

Sooner or later this economy will slow,” the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman declared of China in 1998. He continued: “That’s when China will need a government that is legitimate. . . . When China’s 900 million villagers get phones, and start calling each other, this will inevitably become a more open country.” At the time, just a few years after the fall of the Soviet Union, Friedman’s certainty was broadly shared. China’s economic ascent under authoritarian rule could not last; eventually, and inescapably, further economic development would bring about democratization.

Twenty years after Friedman’s prophecy, China has morphed into the world’s second-largest economy. Growth has slowed, but only because it leveled off when China reached middle-income status (not, as Friedman worried, because of a lack of “real regulatory systems”). Communications technology rapidly spread—today, 600 million Chinese citizens own smartphones and 750 million use the Internet—but the much-anticipated tsunami of political liberalization has not arrived. If anything, under the current regime of President Xi Jinping, the Chinese government appears more authoritarian, not less. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Middle of an Era

Posted by hkarner - 1. März 2018

By George Friedman, Mauldin Outside the Box, Feb. 28, 2018

I have written in several places about a paradox. On the one hand, if you take a snapshot of the world every 20 years or so, the reality of how the world works and what matters will have shifted dramatically compared with the previous snapshot. On the other hand, at any point in time there is a general belief that the world as it is at this moment will remain in place for a long time. It is not just the public but also experts and those who govern who tend to fail to see how transitory the present reality is. As a result – and this is what makes it important – as the geopolitical system shifts, there is a tendency to see the shifts as transitory, a temporary disruption caused by unfortunate events, until they are well entrenched, and so we tend to align ourselves with the shift far too late.

In 1900, Europe was peaceful and prosperous, and it dominated the world. It was assumed that this was a permanent reality. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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How China Benefits from African Debt

Posted by hkarner - 30. Januar 2018

January 29, 2018, By George Friedman and Xander Snyder

The level of debt owed by African governments in countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, and Tanzania has increased markedly since the 2008 financial crisis. Problematic though sub-Saharan African debt may be, debt levels vary country by country and therefore mitigate the possibility of a continent-wide crisis. Still, widespread default could create opportunities for outside powers that covet the region’s natural resources.

How It Happened

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, global interest rates were low, and money was cheap. Investors who sought greater returns turned to riskier investments, including African sovereign debt. Countries across the continent took on debt to fund infrastructure and other development projects. Countries such as Nigeria and Botswana still have debt burdens of under 50 percent of GDP—the level at which debt is generally considered high for developing countries. Other countries such as Mozambique and South Africa have debt burdens of more than 100 percent of GDP. Median public-sector debt in sub-Saharan Africa was 48 percent in 2016. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Europe’s Era of Harmony Is Over

Posted by hkarner - 23. Dezember 2017

No one else I know can muster as much deep experience and insight into the sprawling, incendiary world of geopolitics as my good friend George Friedman, founder and chairman of Geopolitical Futures; and in today’s Outside the Box – part 2 of my 8-part SIC Speaker Series – George brings all his powers to bear to issue quite a declamatory statement on the present and future of the European Union.

George’s argument can be summarized as “the center cannot hold.” With Brexiteers on its western front and unruly right-wingers on its eastern wing in Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, the EU is sore beset. But as George notes, the center is quietly debating whether that might not be a good thing:

There has been some talk in the central region of either creating a separate union consisting of Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, or creating a bloc within the existing bloc. The point would be for these countries to stop being responsible for countries not ready to operate at the center’s level of performance. It would mean that southern Europe, with its economic problems, and Eastern Europe, with its distinctly different political culture, could go their own way. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Shale Oil: Another Layer of US Power

Posted by hkarner - 30. Juni 2017

June 15, 2017 George Friedman, Mauldin’s Outside the Box

Summary

There’s scarcely a reason to point out how geopolitically important energy is. Energy, particularly oil, is a source of geopolitical power. Every country needs it, but only some countries have the resources to procure it themselves. Some countries have enough of it that they can profit from its export, and others have so much that they rely on it almost exclusively to fuel their economies.

Saudi Arabia and Russia are two such countries. They spend a lot of money on social services, and they can afford to do so as long as oil revenue keeps flowing in. In times of prosperity, they can, through OPEC, bully other countries into doing their bidding and even dictate the direction of markets. But when oil prices are low, as they are now, they simply don’t have as much money to pacify their populations or exert influence abroad. Pressure on their governments builds.

Simple supply and demand helps to explain why prices are low. When prices bottomed out a few years ago, most oil producers, including Saudi Arabia and Russia, were expected to cut production to normalize prices. Instead, they kept production high to increase their market share, thinking (incorrectly) that they would capitalize when prices rebounded. But perhaps a more important reason supply is so high, despite recent efforts by OPEC and Russia to cut production, is that the United States has exceeded expectations on how much oil it could bring to market. With the continued use of hydraulic fracturing and other related technologies, the United States is now believed to have more recoverable oil reserves than any other country in the world, and it is reaping the benefits of its newfound status.

Geopolitical Futures doesn’t forecast commodity prices, so we make no attempt to do so here. But the following report will outline a trend that has emerged over the past several years, one that will maintain downward pressure on prices and thus alter the global geopolitical landscape: affordable shale oil drilling in the United States. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Is the EU dying? Watch George Friedman’s take in this video

Posted by hkarner - 26. Januar 2017

Europe matters. As John Mauldin said recently, in the not-too-distant future Europe, will likely be hit by a “very severe recession, which could push the US into recession if it happens too quickly.”

That’s why I sat down with Geopolitical Futures founder George Friedman to discuss his outlook for Europe in his just-released report, The World in 2017—his wall-to-wall forecast on global events we can expect this year.

Click below to see George’s take on a sickly European Union… the rot sneaking into two of its founding members… why Brussels bureaucrats are like bad teachers trying to control unruly students… and more.

friedman-video-europe

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Forecasting Russia in 2017

Posted by hkarner - 15. Dezember 2016

Dec 14, 2016, Mauldin Economics

By George Friedman and Jacob L. Shapiro

One of the biggest challenges in writing forecasts is clearly communicating our predications for the coming year. There is a certain level of background and analysis that goes into forecasting geopolitics, but often, that background and analysis can serve as either an intellectual crutch or a way of using a lot of words without actually making a call one way or another.

That’s why our annual forecasts go through multiple phases of editing. Our forecast for 2017 was published just this week. But our work on the forecast began in early October, with a massive 50-page document filled with questions, research, and findings. This master document was then scrutinized, debated, and whittled down, sharper and sharper… until what was left (hopefully) was a concise description of the world in 2017, as we see it.

We aim for accuracy, and as you can see from previous report cards on our work, we are pretty good at what we do. Our full report card for 2016 will be published next week, but in the meantime, subscribers can check out our mid-year evaluation here. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Can Global Capitalism Be Saved?

Posted by hkarner - 13. November 2016

Photo of Alexander Friedman

Alexander Friedman

Alexander Friedman is Chief Executive Officer of GAM. He has also served as Global Chief Investment Officer of UBS, Chief Financial Officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and a White House fellow during the Clinton Administration.

NOV 11, 2016 Project Syndicate

LONDON – The politics of economic anxiety has now driven the electorates of the United Kingdom and the United States into the hands of populists. If only, so the received wisdom goes, economies could get back to a more “normal” rate of GDP and productivity growth, life would improve for more people, anti-establishment sentiment would wane, and politics would return to “normal” as well. Then, capitalism, globalization, and democracy could continue their forward march.

But such thinking reflects an extrapolation from one largely aberrant period in history. That period is over, and the forces that sustained it are unlikely to align again anytime soon. Technological innovation and demographics are now a headwind, not a tailwind, for growth, and financial engineering can’t save the day.

The aberrant period in history is the hundred or so years after the US Civil War, during which breakthroughs in energy, electrification, telecommunications, and transportation fundamentally reshaped societies. Human lives became markedly more productive, and life expectancies rose dramatically. The global population grew over 50% between 1800 and 1900, and then more than doubled over the following 50 years, with economies growing much faster than in previous centuries. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Surprise at Brexit and the Social Crisis Behind It

Posted by hkarner - 28. Juni 2016

By George Friedman, 28/6Friedman George Stratfor CC

In looking at Friday’s market decline, it is clear that the investment community was surprised at the outcome of the referendum in the U.K. What is most surprising is that they were surprised. There were two competing views of the EU. One view regarded the European Union as essential to British economic well-being. The other saw the European Union as a failing institution, and saw Britain being pulled down if it remained.

The European Union has been caught in long-term stagnation. Eight years after the financial crisis it is still unable to break out of it. In addition, a large swath of Europe, especially in the south, is in depression with extremely high unemployment numbers. An argument could be made that these problems will be solved in the long run and that Britain should be part of the solution for its own sake. The counterargument is that if the problems had been soluble they would have been solved years ago.

For a financial community, there is a built-in desire for predictability. It can make money in good or bad markets and economies. It has trouble making money in uncertainty. Therefore, the financial community was inherently biased toward Britain remaining in the EU because it gave them predictability. There was a subconscious assumption that everyone had the same bias toward maintaining the status quo. This was not just the view of the global financial community. It was one shared with other elites – political, journalistic, academic and the rest. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Is Brexit the End of the EU?

Posted by hkarner - 28. Juni 2016

Dank an R.B. 

Jun 27, 2016, George Friedman. This Week in Geopolitics.Friedman George Stratfor CC

The vote has come and gone. A major European nation has chosen to leave the EU. The markets have had their obligatory decline. A weekend has passed. It is time to think about what exactly has happened… and what it means, if anything.

The real drive to leave had little to do with economics. It had a great deal to do with immigration. The EU’s economy has been in wretched condition since 2008.

The EU has been unable to forge a plan that would fix dire unemployment in southern Europe and revive the stagnant economy. The EU’s founding treaty promised prosperity. It has failed. Germany has the healthiest economy in Europe, but even it struggles to grow.

The case for staying in the EU was that leaving would ruin the British economy. This assumed, of course, that staying in a broken union would help the economy. The logic of that escaped me. It is hard to see any economic benefits that would be lost. As I put it in my book Flashpoints, “Britain will avoid the destabilization in Europe by pulling away from the EU and closer to the United States.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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