Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Europeans back Obama, Asians like McCain

The Japan Times published an op-ed written by Dominique Moisi on October 28, 2008. In that article, Moisi argued that Europeans supported Barack Obama while Asians supported John McCain. The Bush administration was not popular in Europe. That administration had made Europe somewhat leery of Republicans. By contrast, the countries of Asia did not have the same negative feelings towards the Bush administration. Many of those nations did quite well during that administration.

“A majority of Asian elites are awaiting the growing possibility of an Obama victory with some bewilderment and even apprehension,” said Moisi.

According to him, Europeans supported Obama because they wanted him to transform the image of the West.

“It is a noble hope, but also a dangerous one, for dreams can easily turn into nightmares,” said Moisi. “That might very well happen if America’s next president fails to redress the financial and economic threats facing his country.”

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Financial Crisis Spreads to Emerging Nations

“International banks, because of their own problems, won’t lend to us,” said Jung Hyun-jin, an official at a South Korean bank. “We don't face a solvency problem. We face a liquidity problem.”

“We are collateral damage in a crisis that is not our doing,” said Park Yung-chul, a professor at Korea University. “We live in an unfair world.”

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Reading is hard

The Japanese language is written using the Chinese character system which, in Japan, is called kanji. In order to read a Japanese newspaper, you need to have memorized at least 2,000 different Chinese characters. Some people have a hard time doing this. Apparently, Taro Aso is one of these people. On October 12, 2008, Taro Aso gave a speech at Gakushuin University. It did not go well. Aso mispronounced several words during the speech.

Instead of saying, “It is unprecedented that Japanese and Chinese leaders have visited each other so frequently,” Taro Aso said, “It is unprecedented that Japanese and Chinese leaders have visited each other in a ‘cumbersome’ manner like this.”

Once again, the media pilloried Aso.

“Prime Minister Taro Aso may want to set aside his comic books and cut down on the bar-hopping in exchange for some kanji tutoring,” said the Japan Times.

“The phrase ‘kanji test’ should scare Prime Minister Taro Aso,” said the Yomiuri Shimbun.

People started referring to Aso as KY. In the past, the initials KY stood for kuki yomenai, which literally means “can’t read the air” and is used to describe someone who doesn’t understand what is going on around them. But now, after kanji-gate, people started using the initials KY to represent kanji yomenai – can’t read kanji – and they slapped that label on Taro Aso.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Shoichi Nakagawa goes off

“I said what the IMF did 10 years ago was not welcomed,” said Shoichi Nakagawa, the Japanese Finance Minister. “I think my comments were well-received.”

Ten years ago, during the Asian Financial Crisis, the IMF made the countries of Southeast Asia raise their interest rates and lower their government spending. You can guess what happened to their economies after they took those actions.

This time around, with a financial crisis in Europe and America, do you think the West would take the advice it gave East Asia a decade ago?


Did I mention that the defining characteristic of the West is hypocrisy? Oh, not yet, huh? Well, I will.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Look out below

“The panic and the fear we’re seeing is mind-blowing,” said Matt McCall, the president of Penn Financial Group. “It looks like the market is pricing in a depression.”

Monday, October 6, 2008

Whatever you do, don't panic!

Jim Cramer tells his listeners not to panic. Oh, and one more thing – the Dow might fall to 7,700. But don’t panic. Really.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

An exclusive conversation with Warren Buffett

On October 1, 2008, Charlie Rose interviewed Warren Buffett.

“This really is an economic Pearl Harbor,” said Buffett. “That sounds melodramatic but I've never used that phrase before and this really is one.”

Looks like someone was trying to send a message to Japan.