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16 May 2012

Comments

Mister Bijou

Mr Eldon, many thanks fo your commentary, Reading it, however, I was led to ask myself if you have read the magisterial "The Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World" by Liaquat Ahamed? Published in 2009, but written well before then, it is examines the events and circumstances prior to and during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Reading it recently, I found to be an unnerving experience. Are the people in charge today, like those who were in charge 70 years ago, stuck in a mindset and have solutions that are inappropriate for the problems at hand?

David Eldon

I confess, not a book I have read. However, the book I refer to most frequently is an out of print work called The Country Banker, which amongst other things describes in great detail the causes of the most recent financial crash - although the book was written in 1885!
It leads to confirmation of your very valid question - do we ever learn? In terms of the financial industry, sadly it seems the answer is "no"! Muddling through appears to be the name of the game - and rather than remembering previous crises, time tends to cloud the memory.

Henry

The great Mrs. T used to compare running her household with running the economy. I guess I find it really hard to equate the two. Buying carrots down the supermarket isn't really the same as investing in infrastructure, jobs, the future. You above all will know that most decent corporations run on some level of debt and it makes great sense to do so.

Mr. Hollande only received just over half the votes? I recall Mr. Cameron, that great proponent of austerity, received only about 30% of the UK votes. Mr. Hollandes win is a landslide by comparison. Anyway, you are right, most people do get it. (Barely) left wing and centrist politicians all around Europe understand the need to reduce and manage expenditure, but also critically the need to balance that with making the sorts of investments that will secure the future. Most right wing politicians seems to see this as a matter of ideology, and are prepared to reduce tax rates for the very richest at the expense of everyone else.

Xiaolong

You are absolutely right. The potential for greater Chinese-Arab ties is a no brainer.

Yet, does Muslim Xinjiang's uneasy place in the Chinese empire place a limit how close China can get with the Middle East?

From the perspective of many Uighurs I spoke to when I was there last year, Xinjiang is a country under foreign occupation.

David Eldon

An interesting comment, Xiaolong, but the short answer from my perspective is that Xinjiang province will not provide an obstacle to the increase of business between the Middle East and China. In fact a Saudi gentleman of my acquaintance already has substantial business in the province, for a start.
I would not disagree with your comments in general, but at the end of the day - and as it has always been - business is business, and it is by definition two way.

Xiaolong

Good to hear that, David. Incidentally, on a trip to Qatar earlier this year, I was hosted by an Arab-Kashgari family (Arab husband, Uighur wife). Apparently there's a sizeable community of Uighurs in the Middle East already so there's some interactions between Xinjiang and the Middle East, not that we ever get to read about it.

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