Saturday, April 04, 2009

Thoughts on the Crisis, in an email to a Friend

...If you're not familiar with the details of Political Risk Analysis, there is a good background piece here. I don't trust politicians in the least, which is why there will always be a need for political risk analysis. I hope to specialize in the Latin American markets, though with the current Obama administration in the USA, one could argue that investors here would be wise to consider political risk b/c of this new government's penchant for voiding contracts (AIG) and forcing-out CEO's from public companies (GM). It is a strange time we live in.

Here [Pittsburgh] the effects of the econ-fin. crisis are not as apparent as in other parts of the USA. For example, there was little speculative action in the housing market in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, unlike California or Florida, so there are relatively few foreclosures compared to those areas. Pittsburgh was previously dependent on its manufacturing base (steel) but in the early 1980's had to completely reinvent itself to survive economically...we're now a regional leader in the field of health care and university research.

In time, though, the recession will become more significant in its effects. Unfortunately, the people - both the citizens and the elected officials - want to pretend that everything is OK, rather than preparing for the inevitable crisis. SO that is why I buy this pen now, while I can still kind of "afford" it, because I believe that the worst is yet to come. My friend has lost 40% of the value of his retirement account, and is every day worried about his position...but he is in a different part of the country. He works for the firm xxxx and they are seeing a NOTICEABLE slow-down in business. :(

Not good times.

I am scared for the country, and for the global economic system in general. I am very moderate in my political beliefs, and I am an economic liberal (meaning that I support capitalism with few interventions by the state and certainly not in the form we're now seeing), but I fear that there will be a POPULIST BACKLASH and the government will regulate and regulate and tax and tax to the point that they strangle the economy and impede world trade. A great crisis is brewing.

What are your thoughts and experiences on this?

best,

Joe

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