The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Does the GFC presage the rise of Pax-Sinologica?

One of the hardest things to do is to conceive of a world that does not exist today. That is the essence of innovation: thinking of something that has never been before. I wonder how historians will look back on the events of the past few years. I question whether they will be focussing on sub-prime loans, securitisation, market failure, globalisation and the role and regulation of banks, which are the signal issues of today. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Great Recession, or GFC as it is known in the Antipodes, will become much more about the rise of China, the end of US hegemony, and the shift to a more fraught, multi-polar world. Without sounding too pessimistic, the GFC may have sown the seeds of the next transformative global conflict. I think the biggest mitigant against this is globalisation itself. To my mind, non-conflict between the major powers must be the base-case. While global war is an arguably low probability event, it is, in my judgment, made more likely by the emergence of the highly non-transparent and capricious Chinese autocracy, which alongside India is rapidly becoming the global centre of economic gravity...