New York, sunshine, the President in town at the hotel next door, the Governor looking for work and a plea bargain to keep him out of jail. You have to love this country but you wonder for just how long it will remain the #1 seed in the geo-political grand slam.
Twenty five years ago at the begin of the economic cycle that is now teetering on the age America and Britain were characterized as the lands of the Yuppies – the young upwardly mobile professionals. Sadly they are being replaced by a generation of SITCOMS – single income, two children, overwhelming mortgages.
The rise of Asia is not exactly new news but you sense that this is now no longer a conversation about potential but about the degree to which the plates will shift. America and the West are cursed by a social and physical infrastructure that they can no longer afford to maintain and by a political infrastructure that mitigates against resolving these issues.
Asia is not compromised by any of these factors and is building for now and tomorrow rather than trying to maintain the edifice of the past. Technology is just one part of the problem, why build a fixed infrastructure when mobile is available? Why deploy copper when you can have fiber? The West has the age old problem of ‘you wouldn’t start from here’.
From my perspective the systems and institutions of the West need a radical overhaul. For example the exchequers of its constituent countries need to review taxation and social policy to reward real innovation that creates demand and reduces the costs of consumption by reducing sales taxes on appopriate goods, reducing corporate taxes on value creating industries and increasing them on sectors that make the problem worse or that merely manipulate the flows of capital.
In social policy it is equally clear that the state should encourage individuals that help themselves, get tough on irresponsible lending and borrowing, and move the healthcare agenda to incentivise prevention rather than fund acute conditions that can be avoided. The playing field is not level. Asia is full of countries that are unencumbered by our political niceties and we just have to take action that may hurt in the short term but that will ultimately protect the lifestyle many of us enjoy and the freedoms that go with it.