As often happens in these cases, the financial structure of the current Turkish crisis was quite simple initially: as is always the case during an electoral period, credit to businesses and families was “pumped” to such a point that, before the outbreak of the crisis, the Turkish inflation rate had already reached 16%.
Again during the campaign for the general election of June 24 last, President RecepTayyp Erdogan promised strong investment in infrastructure.
It is the usual, old theory of Napoleon III, quand le bâtimentva, tout va – but currently investment in infrastructure has a relatively low multiplier (1.9 on average) and is increasingly capital intensive rather than labour intensive.
Furthermore, the return on investment over time and the future average return, if any, become technically unpredictable.
Certainly the modern economic theory tells us that also higher infrastructure costs lead to net increases in sectors which are not directly dependent on infrastructure – such as the classic examples of the ferry cost and the restaurant owner’s profit on an island. Nevertheless the money borrowed for these operations is little or is such as to create short and relevant returns -and this can never happen.
President Erdogan’s electoral promises, however, were inevitable: according to the latest internal polls before June 24, 60% of the people who traditionally voted for AKP (Adaletve Kalkınma Partisi, the Justice and Development Party) were already loyal and stable, above all vis-à-vis the Party’s Leader. However, 30-40% of the old AKP voters were dissatisfied, to the point of calling their vote for President Erdogan into question, and 10-15% were fed up with the AKP and its Leader.
It would be the end if, God forbid, the United States sought President Erdogan’s economic destabilization to punish “the tyrant” – ideological nonsense in which it only believes – or if the European Union thought to destroy the “fascist” Erdogan to free the Turkish people, thus destabilizing a ‘huge and essential area for the European security. The uncontrolled migration would turn into an invasion and the direct contact between the EU strategic nothingness and the Middle East jihad would become lethal, but only for Europe.
During the campaign for the general elections of last June, President Erdogan had also promised public investment (and nowadays the globalized economy is such as not to allow to make promises on private investment, without funding State’s investment). He was faced with an unprecedented united front of the four opposition parties against the AKP, which did not augur well for the founder of the first Party in power.
Hence “international markets” need to become aware of it in time: without promises you can never win elections and without some electoral public spending there is no consensus. This holds true for both the West and the East. The Jordanian uprising of last spring is acase in point: nowadays springs are economic and destabilize a larger area than the purely political ones of 2011.
“Communication”, manipulative spin, and taking some extra erotic “liberties” are no longer enough to win elections – as still happens, but not for much longer, in some Western countries.
People want and will always want employment, security, infrastructure, wages and pensions, and above all stability.
The problem, which also applies to Italy, is that the current capital is post-national and pays taxes nowhere, while the average incomes have been falling for eleven years and cannot be further attacked by tax authorities.
Hence, since we cannot generate inflation – considering that the “markets” are only interested in it – we do no longer understand where we should find the resources, even limited, to give the masses what they have always asked from politicians since the times of Marcus Agrippa.
Hence there is also the Turkish leader’s electoral reference to the figure of Atatürk – that is strange even within a traditionally neo-Ottoman and Sunni project and narrative like the ones of President Erdogan’s Party – which would have been impossible years before. During the electoral campaign, President Erdogan also underlined the further Turkish engagement in Syria, another clearly nationalistic and even secular factor that no one would find in President Erdogan’s initial storytelling. Finally he also referred to the Turkish ties with the European Union.
Clearly the European Union currently becomes the natural strategic and economic counterpart, faced with the crisis with the United States, an old tension due to the presence of Fethüllah Gülen in the USA.
Gülen is a Turkish preacher and political scientist, allied with Erdogan until 2013, but since 1999 he has been living in the forests of Pennsylvania.
With his movement, namely Hizmit (“Service”), Fethullah Gülenis supposed to be the figure who traditionally inspired the strong penetration of the Turkish AKP bureaucracies’ into the intelligence services and Armed Forces, in particular, as well as the Turkish coup of July 15, 2016.
Probably, the United States has always looked to the Western political scientist and sapiential preacher it hosts as a sort of threat to Turkey, a sword of Damocles enabling America to prompt an “Arab spring” in Turkey or even a “colour revolution” where needed.
Islamic esoteric sects, sapiential and secret networks, halfway between coup and Revelation, often connected with the most refined Western culture and politics, as well as relations between politics, intelligence and esotericism.
Nil sub sole novi: when Italy still counted for something, even the Grand Orient of Italy was the only cover chosen by the “Young Turks”, who organized their political and military action within the ranks of the Italian Lodges of Alexandria of Egypt, Istanbul and Thessaloniki.
However, let us revert to the economy: in spite of everything, the debt-GDP ratio – the obsession of the poor-quality economists so fashionable today – is very low in Turkey (a mere 28%).
However, Turkey currently records a high trade deficit of current accounts, which amounts to 6%. Hence the private debt has risen to over 50% of GDP, thus obviously putting the currency in difficulties.
In early July, all foreign investors expected a sharp rise in the Turkish Lira interest rates- and it was a “rational expectation”.
But obviously Erdogan, who is above all a politician, a leader who, like everyone else, seeks re-election – as the political scientists of the Rational Choice school of thought maintain – blocked the interest rates downwards, with a view to avoiding impacts on domestic consumption and on the cost of loans.
Apart from Erdogan’s direct and institutional-family influence on the Turkish Central Bank, the idea is that the interest rate growth is generated by high inflation – as maintained by the neoclassical economic theories currently fashionable everywhere. And if the opposite were true? Here the arrow of time is of great importance.
The impact was predictably negative: inflation rose very rapidly, considering that many goods and services came from abroad. Investors got scared and only at that juncture President Trump’s new duties materialized, just to top it all off.
Furthermore, Turkish companies have always been asking for money, especially abroad, to be considered reliable, given that – like all the recent dangerous economic success stories – the AKP-led Turkey has configured itself as an almost exclusively export-oriented country.
Einaudi’s economic wisdom would recommend a balance between the internal market and the external market dimension. Today, however, everyone superficially read the fashionable manuals, where equations seem to be written for theoretical cases, not for real economies.
Apart from President Trump’s duties, which kill a dead man– as we will see later on – the critical structure of the Turkish economy is made up of the following issues, which are all still on the table: a) the free fall of the Turkish Lira, the primary index of foreign investors’ sentiment; the Turkish currency that fell for twelve days in a row as against the dollar; the longest “fall” of the Turkish lira since 1999, the year when Gülen took refuge in the United States and the International Monetary Fund had to intervene with a bailout in dollars.
Considering that Turkey lives on many strong currency imports as against an export-regulated economy, which must be based on a weak currency to have the size necessary for reaching equilibrium and break even. Hence always keeping the Turkish currency artificially “weak”, a Weimarian inflation rapidly emerged.
- b) The financial burdens which, as always happens in these cases, have risen more than inflation, because investors are asking for a guarantee both to offset inflation and to be hedged against the collapse of the currency.
- c) As to the current accounts – another structural problem – it is still obvious that, under these conditions, Turkey must attract capital from abroad with very high rates of return – only to balance the economy and break even.
This triggers an imbalance that is resolved as in the case of a drug addict: much foreign capital marginally ever harder to repay, even only for the interest share.
Later, as in a well-known Dürer’s print, the scourge of the greater incidence of foreign debt materializes, just when buying “good” currency only with the Turkish Lira has a higher cost. Other scourges materialize such as the growth of non-performing loans and the complete Turkish dependence on foreign oil and gas, which are sold in dollars and, incidentally, are increasing their unit price.
As already seen, apart from the current situation, the structure of the Turkish economy is strictly export-oriented, with domestic imports that depend directly on the oil and natural gas prices.
The steadily increasing prices of oil and natural gas rapidly led to a Turkish trade balance deficit equal to 57 billion US dollars in the period between March 2017 and March 2018.
There is virtually no propensity for domestic savings (whereas the high rate of domestic savings is exactly what is rescuing and will rescue Italy) and therefore the Turkish dependence on foreign loans has become chronic. This dependence feeds on the low value of the Turkish lira, which is however the main problem when debt must be repaid.
The foreign debt incurred in 2018 already amounts to 240 billion US dollars.
Obviously, under these conditions, the Turkish companies operating abroad do not repatriate their profits, which remain in the most profitable markets, while the solvency of Turkish banks is exacerbating.
Finally, however, the Turkish Central Bank reacted according to the too little too late classic rule, when the lira reached 4.9290 as against the dollar, thus restricting – only at that juncture – the monetary base and finally increasing interest rates.
Hence who is bearing the brunt of the crisis in Turkey? All the many people who have taken on debts in dollars or euros, but workers are certainly not better off.
Indirect taxation on employees’ incomes now accounts for 65% of their total salaries. Obviously unemployment (and hence the “cost of the politics”) increases and finally Turkish exports will also be devalued for a period covering at least the difference between the pre-crisis levels and those of the point in which markets will declare that the great Turkish inflation is over – inflation they have triggered off by taking advantage of Turkey’s mistakes.
Inflation resulting from the forced repayment of foreign debt, which was politically excessive. A precisely Weimarian structure.
The so-called Vision 2023, which Erdogan had made public in 2011, the year of the “Arab Springs”, will be probably put to an end.
Is it possible that after the stalemate in the Syrian crisis now won by Assad and Putin, the era of “Arab springs” has come, induced by the economic crisis rather than by the “democratic rebellions”, usually managed by the Muslim Brotherhood or by some fundamentalist group, with the agreement of the major Western democracies?
The Turkish crisis as if it were a sort of Egyptian, but only financial Tahrir Square, is a hypothesis not to be ruled out.
According to Erdogan’ statements, Vision 2023 aimed at a strong growth of average incomes and at an average per capita GDP of at least 25,000 US dollars, thus enabling Turkey to rank 10th in the world economy, to triple exports up to 500 billion dollars and create ten “global” Turkish brands (a good idea, which would apply also to Italy). Finally, the idea was to solve the long-standing issue of EU membership.
The Association Agreement between the EU and Turkey was signed in 1964.
The Final Stage of said agreement concerned a complete customs agreement between Turkey and the European Union. Later, in 1999, the “pre-accession policy” came, which imposed, inter alia, the constitutional change of relations between the Armed Forces and the political system, thus ensuring the rapid Islamization of the country. Was it a blind or silly strategy? We do not know the answer to this question.
In 2004 the EU still urged to open negotiations with Turkey – negotiations which are still underway. In 2016, a few days before the coup of July 15, there was a Declaration which “reaffirmed the commitment to implement the action plan as defined on November 29, 2015”, while the Parties agreed that the accession process should be “revitalized”.
Just lip service, as the opponents of the Soviet regime used to say, when they read the CPSU’s official statements.
Reverting to the economy, even the now unlikely Turkish plan for 2023 becomes possible only if a strong and long growth is recorded, or if we seriously increase – first and foremost – domestic savings. Investment and not consumption induced by strong currency regions must be generated, while the dependence of the Turkish lira on foreign capital must be reduced.
The shift between the dollar and the euro would be possible in Turkey, considering that now 70% of Foreign Direct Investment in the country comes from the EU, which is also a sort of legal, sociological and humanitarian minuet.
This will be possible if the Turkish economy is partially dedollarized and investment comes from areas such as the EU, in particular, as well as from the Russian Federation and its friends of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and hence from China.
However, for the NATO’s second Armed Force, this means a radical change of strategic planning.
For China, Turkey should stop supporting the Turkmen jihadists of Xinjiang – something which, however, it is doing ever less. It should also seriously favour Russian operations in Syria, with the guarantee of the territorial non-continuity of the future Kurdish Rojava between Northern Syria and the Anatolian territory – but currently the Kurds fight together with the Syrians in Idlib. Finally, for the future Turkey, it should buy oil and natural gas in roubles and renminbi from China and Russia, with “branded” investment to enter the Central Asian and Far East markets.
A clear link between economic reconstruction and strategic repositioning, a new vision of the Atlantic Pact to the East, which would find itself bare vis-à-vis the Persian Gulf and deprived of areas enabling it to control the Russian Federation to the South.
A fundamental defeat of NATO, faced with the increase of US duties for Turkish goods. Pure madness.
Currently, however, Erdogan has also other certainties. He knows that we need to rely ever less on the Sunni Arab world (even if Vision 2023 seems to be almost similar to the one – bearing almost the same name – drafted by the Saudi Prince, Mohammad bin Salman), considering that Saudi Arabia has other things to think about and is already welcome in the world of high public debt held by foreign investors.
Erdogan is still convinced that Russia remains an unreliable and – in any case, considering the size of its economy – unable to support Turkey, which is floundering in a crisis. He is also convinced that China has other strategic priorities in the Mediterranean and that Africa, where Erdogan invested significantly, is still a tiny market.
There would also be the EU 18th-century-style minuet, but we do not see a way out between a declaration of intent and the other.
Hence is this game worth the risk of President Trump’s increase in duties?
Let us analyse the situation. Pending the Turkish lira crisis, President Trump stated that the US import duties on the Turkish steel would increase by 50% and those on aluminium by 20%.
There is also the usual issue of Gülen in the tension between the USA and Turkey, as well as the new tension regarding the detention in Ankara of a North American Protestant pastor, Andrew Branson, accused by the Turkish Police and intelligence services of espionage in favour of the Kurds.
Considering the US intelligence services’ long tradition of use of their religious sects, this charge may be plausible.
Besides President Trump’s unpredictable tariff geoeconomics, there is also the FED’s action.
Since the 2008 Lehman crisis, the Federal Reserve has been buying and stabilizing with derivatives the sovereign and major banks’ bonds and securities issued or deposited in a phase on the verge of bankruptcy.
In 2017, however, the FED decided to “normalize” the budgets, thus leaving to the markets the already acquired securities of sovereign or non-sovereign entities, still in danger but stabilized and hence having a higher price. It sells them at a low price, but it earns more.
The FED’s portfolio of such bonds and securities is supposed to decrease by 315 billion US dollars in 2018 and by additional 437 billion US dollars in 2019.
A mass of paper that will revive short-term investment and markets’ “hit-and-run” transactions and operations.
Hence there are obvious effects prolonging the general crisis and the high absorption of capital by entities such as FED – capital that could instead be used for the economic recovery of the current peripheral areas of the world market.
What about the effects on the euro? There will be many effects, considering the presence of European economies in Turkey.
Hence a strong and stable pressure of the dollar on the euro cannot be ruled out, which will have geopolitical effects that are easy to predict.
The time needed to recover from the Turkish crisis will be measured as against the time needed for the Turkish domestic savings to recover and on the basis of the possible shift of the Turkish debt between the US currency and the currency of the EU, which is only partially a payer of last resort.
When Turkey has more money, there will be another inflationary squeeze caused by the leaders’ often inevitable political choices. And the carousel will start again.
A ride that is structurally ready, especially for the EU Southern economies.
Germany’s position on the Turkish crisis, which is fully strategic and obsessed with the migration issue, makes us lean towards this equation.
Germany will help Turkey, but with a view to opposing the USA (which will soon attack the German trade surplus with the “markets”) and, in any case, by severely restricting the Turkish exporting area, which shall anyway adapt to the German “value chains”.
New economic strategy of Armenia: What it offers and misses
Karabakh clan or Kocharyan and Sargsyan governments were able to protect itself from domestic pressure using victory in war in Nagorno-Karabakh and control over it as a source of legitimization. With this strategy they were able to eliminate people’s discontent on economic and social problems.
According to 2016 data Armenia’s annual emigration rate was 4-5% of the whole population which were the highest in the world. Average monthly pension at the time was $90 and 20% of children under five years had health problems because of undernourishment (Opendemocracy, 2016). Along with these problems illegalities and high level of corruption made economic condition in the country even worst.
However, after the “Four-Day War” in 2016 in which Azerbaijan was able to return some strategic heights along the front, legitimacy of Sargsyan government came under the question. According to Armenian side during the war their military’s casualties reached 64 military servicemen, 13 reservists and more than 120 wounded (civilnet.am, 2 April). The obvious superiority of Azerbaijan army in the war de-stabilized political situation in Armenia forming base for “Velvet revolution” of 2018 that lead to change in government.
With the existence of escalated security concerns and constitutional change in 2015, that had to allow Sargsyan to serve as Prime Minister in the new system, population did not tolerated socio-economic problems any more and went to streets to carry out the coup ( hir.harvard.edu, 2018).
Despite good economic development indicators in 2017 (7.5% growth of GDP) Armenia still had high unemployment and undernourishment rates which was the result of high inequality (hkdepo.am, 2018). Along with political issues these significant social-economic problems also played important role in “Velvet revolution”.
After coming to power in order to solve economic problems Pashinyan’s new government introduced “revolutionary economic program” and adopted by Parliament in February of 2019without support of two opposition parties. Armenian government plans to eliminate extreme poverty by 2023, to increase exports to 43-45% of GDP by 2024 and achieve economic growth at a rate of at least 5% annually(jam-news.net, February 15).
One of the provisions of the document was dedicated to formation of fair, transparent and free business environment. It this provision it was mentioned that one of the key factors impeding economic development is the existence of unfairness and impunity of a privileged class.
Program also puts high responsibility on Armenian citizens as the in discussions of the program Pashinyan declared that effectiveness of this program will depend on how citizens will respond to our call and how many will take advantage of new of opportunities that the revolutionary program proposes (eurasianet.org, February 15).
Despite purpose of revolutionize the economy addressing main economic problems document faced high criticism from different Armenian experts, politicians and activists. Most people criticize the document for not having concrete structure and steps and not outlining mechanisms and sufficient timelines to achieve proposed targets. During the parliament discussions some opposition politicians said that “Abstract concepts do not make an economic revolution” and citizens expect concrete actions which require political will, resistance, and knowledge (oc-media.org, March 2).
Another important criticism is about the approach of the government to put responsibility on citizens. It seems controversial that the people that fought for and elected new government will be responsible if the economic plan will not succeed. In the society where for many years responsibility of economic development and social security was mainly on the hands of government it is difficult to quickly adapt to new call of government. It is hard to imagine that without taking intermediate steps for making society and economic players ready for taking this responsibility the new economic plan will succeed.
New economic strategy also fails to address some of the main obstacles that businesses face in the country. First of all, high taxes prevents small businesses to operate efficiently and to compete with big businesses. Not coincidentally, during the parliament discussions of new economic strategy prime minister of Armenia asked businesses to print cash receipts in order to prevent formation of shadow economy (Arka.am, June 6). If all cash receipts will be printed then it will left most of small businesses without substantial earnings damaging business environment. It is better to decrease taxes before asking and expecting businesses to print receipts for all transactions.
Second unaddressed obstacle for businesses in Armenia is high interest rates of loans that play important role in financing businesses. Without providing necessary financial availability for small businesses it is meaningless to discuss any favorable business environment.
Taking in account that big businesses mostly belonged to Armenian oligarchs which have the opportunity to easily avoid high tax payments using their political power and are capable to pay loans with high interest rates new economic strategy mostly favors them (azatutyun.am, 2018). And within the existence of political problems in the country that threatens power of new government it is not realistic that government will go against these big businesses at least in short term.
Therefore, targets and directions determined in new “revolutionary economic program” are exaggerated and mostly serves for maintaining political stability in short term. If it will not meet expectations and determined targets in medium term it will create social discontent increasing pressure on new government. As the economic problems were one of the main drivers of “Velvet revolution” the effectiveness of new economic plan will play important role in securing political power of new government.
Are alpha dreamers changing the world?
The world of diplomacy needs very special skills to listen and understand the silent messages from the alpha dreamers. Today, a common person on any street of the world is very often more knowledgeable on grassroots issues and truth than their own governments; constant access to live information with accuracy deciphering truth from fakery is a new live and constant training for the new global-age generations Therefore, these well-connected five billion people of the world become alpha-dreamers. . This global interaction is superfast, free, live, and interactive and 24x7x365 global. This is ‘alpha dreamer’s university’. They are very capable of dreaming a better future, because they are willing to listen, discuss, improve and solve problems for humankind via collaborative synthesizim they are the largest body ever assembled in the history of mankind.
Only after crossing over the horizon, you may see the real new world, embrace diversity and accept collaboration and engage with grassroots prosperity
These dreamers are young and old, big or small; they represent us all. They are from different genders, races, cultures, nationalities and whether rich or poor, employed or unemployed, BUT they are all asking questions about grassroots prosperity. Surrounded by deep silence of the local powers they are asking for intelligent debates. They are creating new survival strategies and aggressively chasing the truth. They will dream of a better future, they know a bit more about each other, because never before has there ever existed such a large global mindshare. They are the world’s largest group of constantly connected; they are a silent mindshare and the silent voice of our future. Inaudible still to media and political leadership and they will be the most powerful influencers as the global age takes over. After two millenniums, it is time for the Third Millennia to dream better and create better realities.
the foundations for upcoming realities.
Dreams and decisions with execution become realities.
Dreamers with imaginations develop vision and ideas.
Dreamers see things that others miss.
Looking at today’s realities, how far will our civilization go when citizens have unlimited printed money to feel rich, a gun to play mighty, drugs to play zombie, and where perpetual chaos of bigotry is accepted as high-society fashionable living and dogmatic culture as new intellectualism.
Alpha dreamers can find better solutions and will build better sustainable models in order for the world to survive. They have two options; either just survive or emerge with commitment to build a better world. How will all this unfold?
The future of humankind is mental-power driven as muscle-power which will be transferred to machines and technology and as we advance, mental-power will be forced to improve and invent a new higher class of performance while muscle-power will be encouraged to be left for health improvement of the mental-power and overall body, machines will turn into robots and technology into constantly live virtual globally connected landscape.
Every person on earth has mental powers; simply trained by society and culture to not use them, forced to follow a special close and safe agenda-centric curriculum designed to make us deaf and blind with Babble, because mankind’s progress repeatedly rejected over quick gains and special interests.
We must learn to unlearn; we must learn to relearn, all in order to see with our minds and not just with our eyes; we must relearn to hear with our consciousness and not just with ears, and not laugh at the world as an obscene-comedy act but embrace it with our hearts and smile with our brains because its natural beauty and harmony will guide us.
The future is all about letting our ideas fly in cathedrals of our own conscious imagination where unlimited knowledge is only a click away, and unlimited global access to five billion Alpha dreamers making pathways to better prosperity surrounds us. The future is what we make of it today, while the rest is just fake news and fake agendas.
Dreamers can see this
The mind has proven its travel throughout mankind, from caves to Mars.
The journey of mind; a tireless, ageless, wanderer, mind is our number one and most precious asset in the world, and never let anybody tell you differently. Realization and mastery of our own craft will allow adventurous travels of our mind and enable it to cross the new global shifts towards new horizons, where a brighter and greener world waits for us. This journey will only be possible if our mind is our friend and ready to travel. Remember, the new world no longer needs our body to sit on chairs, elbows to lean on desks, eyes to watch the clock or fingers to type. Now, all is needed is our mind. What are needed now are smart global age friendly minds, to wander and roam. Create a better tomorrow.
Let’s ask some more difficult questions, let’s look at the big picture in precise details so other issues will all become clearer.
Self-Discovery; close your eyes and discover your hidden talents, create supreme performance and become a global age thinker. This will lead to;
Enterprising Journeys; open your eyes and study the global age and indulge at the enterprise level, build and create massive growth. Do something phenomenal. This will lead to;
Grassroots Prosperity; open your mind and lead by example, deploy and create grassroots prosperity, improve surroundings, help teams, share knowledge and create extreme value. This will lead to;
National Mobilization; open your heart and share your authoritative command and knowledge, mobilize and help your own nation and make sure it is moving in the right direction, assist in boosting the national economy. A better future arrives.
Super-power-nations now balanced against with micro-power-nations
When Super power nations start losing their powers to fix the entire world, micro power nations can start contributing to mankind problems. Success is not the overly hedged fake economy rather global harmony, diversity and human development. Can nations ever ignore the hidden talents of their citizenry? Can leadership ever fail to demonstrate their superior skills to help and mobilizes small and medium size business across the nation? Can political agenda ever fail to prioritize continuous self-learning as a way to foster occupational superiority for the nation?
Stop trade-wars and start skills-wars
Trade-wars are mostly failures and proof of poor quality exportability, but skills-wars create superior edge of exportability creating local grassroots prosperity. Nations should avoid declaring trade-wars on other countries and rather first look inside and declare internal skills-wars on their own working-citizenry to improve their performance and capability to stand up to global age trading challenges. In the race of exportability performance, today, no nation can escape internal skills-wars, either compete to win with superior skills and quality or just stay quiet. So, what are the new challenges and what’s holding back? On how to transform large scale working-citizenry to stand up to global productivity and competency standards Expothon is setting up series of national debates in selected regions to revive local midsize economies and bring national mobilization of entrepreneurialism as a new global standard.
Art of Incompetency:
In a hyper-accelerated world, understanding incompetency of working masses is an art; identification of this critical void is a new science, mobilization of citizenry to regain new skills is courage and bold national debates to openly face these challenges is global-age leadership. This reality is also about those hidden crossroads; where universities of the world failed the students, ask millions of indebted MBAs, this is where government bureaucracies failed the citizenry, ask billions of taxpayers, and this is where conflict-centric agenda stripped naked the global populace of any intelligent dialogue and this is also where divisive politics and populace thinking are finding fertile grounds. Every minute of the day, around the clock, on the main-streets of the world streaming live to billions are such failed procedures and outdated processes are now the daily topics. Nations must embrace internal skills-wars otherwise they may not be able to handle their own restless citizenry.
Smart nations are awakening. The silent majority is talking, and here assisting them expediently giving them the global-age skills and lifelong learning will enable them to build their own respectable future. The other option is to simply wait for an unfathomable chaos of the restless citizenry.
Advanced Study, available on Google
“Collaborative Synthesizim”- how
collaboration will defeat seek and destroy mentality?
“Alpha Dreamers” – how five billion connected dreamers will change the world?
“Technocalamity” – how free technologies will drown standstill enterprises?
“Micro-power Nations” – how will they outsmart super-power-nations on exportability?
“Population-Rich-Nations” – how will they take over established knowledge-rich nations?
State Capitalism: Fortune 500 and Chinese Companies
Authors: Tridivesh Singh Maini and Mahitha Lingala*
Fortune Magazine’s Global 500 list is noteworthy. For the first time, the number of Chinese companies in the list (119) nearly equals that of the US (121). If one were to add companies from Taiwan (10), the number of Chinese companies (129) comfortably surpasses that of China.
It would be pertinent to point out however, that the revenue of Chinese companies counts for a little over 25% (25.6%) of the 500 companies as opposed to that of the US which accounts for 28.8%.
In the top 5, there are three Chinese companies (all state owned); Sinopec group (ranked number 2), China National Petroleum (ranked number 4) and State Grid ranked number 5). The percentage of State Owned Enterprises in the list has risen from last year (over 80% in 2019 from 76.3% last year).
A number of Chinese banks like the Industrial and Commercial bank of China, followed by China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China were also on the list.
This list, once again reiterates the point, that China’s growth has been largely propelled by a model of ‘State Capitalism’, where state run enterprises have helped China increase its clout globally.
In recent years however, a large number of private enterprises have also emerged like Ali Baba, Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, Dashang Group, Ping An and legend holdings have emerged.
Ping An which is a tech giant as well which feeds its data algorithms with data harvested from its close to 200 million customers stood at the 29th place on the list with an annual revenue of $163.5 Billion.Huawei telecom jumped 11 spots from last year and was at 61st place,with revenue estimated at$ 109.03 Billion.Ali Baba witnessed fastest growth jumping 118 spots and was ranked at 182.
State Capitalism vs the model of liberal democracies
State Capitalism has been one of China’s major successes, because the Chinese government has no ambiguity in backing mega projects of its enterprises overseas like Twyford factory in the Kenyan Capital, Sunshine group’s mining activities in Tanzania, and many more infrastructural projects in the African Continent and other parts of the world. One of the most important investments is that of the Chinese Export-Import Bank provided 85 percent of the funding for the $475 million Addis Ababa Light Rail.
It would be important to point out, that even private companies, a prominent example being Huawei, are not free from Chinese interference. Australia has banned Huawei from rolling out 5G network. Trump who has dubbed Huawei as a national security threat had imposed a ‘government blacklist’. Recently, while trying to relax some of the restrictions, the US did state that Huawei was still on the entity list and would need a US government license to buy American technology.
Economic growth in democracies on the other hand is not solely dependent upon state enterprises. The number 1 company on the Fortune 500 list is Walmart. If one were to look at the case of Indian companies which are there on the list, there are two private sector companies while the rest are PSU’s. While Reliance is ranked at 99. Oil & Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) a PSU ranks 160, State Bank of India (SBI), Tata Motors, Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) ranked 275 and Rajesh Exports a private sector company is ranked at 495.
How Chinese companies are benefitting from BRI
A number of Chinese companies (a prominent example being shipping giant COSCO) are seeking to benefit through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) .
Beijing has injected massive amounts of capital into Chinese public financial institutions, which make borrowing costs very low as their bonds are treated like Chinese government debt, allowing them to lend cheaply to Chinese companies working on BRI projects. This enables the Chinese companies to outbid their counterparts to due to the inexpensive availability of funds. China’s state owned enterprises that suffered a drought for a while, due to the slowing of the domestic market, are getting a push due to BRI as they are now investing in over-sees infrastructural projects. Most of the BRI initiatives have thus far been implemented by Chinese Companies. Right now, 89% of BRI projects have been implemented by Chinese companies, with the main beneficiaries being construction and infrastructure sector companies.
Another Chinese Industry to gain from BRI, is the tech export industry. For example , Haier Electronics which is a Chinese appliance manufacturer has built six industrial parks in BRI countries.
Projects that initially started as merely China funded projects, they were later on leased or taken over by Chinese Companies, one such project is the Hambantota port. The port was built with 85% funding from the EXIM Bank of China, but in 2016, 80% of it was leased to a Chinese company called China Merchants Ports holding company (CMPort) for debt for equity swap.
Indo-Pacific and private sector
While US, Japan, India and Australia have been speaking about an alternative vision to the BRI , through the FOIP (Free and Open Indo Pacific). One of the distinguishing factors of the FOIP can be greater participation by Private players from these countries in connectivity and infrastructure projects.
The Trump administration has been supporting a greater role for the private sector in FOIP related connectivity initiatives.
Commenting on US involvement in the Indo-Pacific, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had stated:‘….. We want these to be commercially available projects led by the American private sector in a way that benefits the entire region and the world,”
The US Secretary of State during an address at the US Chamber of Commerce while outlining the US vision for the Indo-Pacific (which included 113 Million USD for areas such as Digital Economy, Energy and Infrastructure as well as ) while highlighting the important role of the private sector in the Indo-Pacific stated that US private companies.
The BUILD (Better Utilization of Investment leading to Development) act which received bipartisan support in the US Senate as well as House of Representatives, has helped in creating a new agency the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (USIDFC) to replace the earlier Overseas Private Investment Corporation (Corporation) which encouraged private companies to invest in Africa. USIDFC is different in a number of ways first its budget is 60 Billion USD as opposed to the earlier 29 Billion allocated for OPIC. Second, it can make deals and provide loans in local currency which makes it more attractive.
The Fortune 500 list brings to the fore many points, one of them being that liberal democracies such as US, Japan, Australia and India, need to come up with an alternative model to that of China’s State Capitalism. While the FOIP has lacked clarity, one area where it can improve is to come up with clear aims and objectives beyond countering China (the BUILD act is a positive step in this direction). This will also help counter ambiguity surrounding the versions of Japan and US’s FOIP versions. A first step could be roping in private players from US, Japan, India and Australia into infrastructural and connectivity projects and not merely depending on governments.
*Mahitha Lingala is a student at The Jindal School of International Affairs, OP Jindal Global University, Sonipat, India
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