The Financial Crisis: Perspectives from China and India

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James Fallows' interview with China's Gao Xiqing, president of the China Investment Corporation is an eye-opener:

- "People, especially Americans, started believing that they can live on other people’s money. And more and more so. First other people’s money in your own country. And then the savings rate comes down, and you start living on other people’s money from outside. At first it was the Japanese. Now the Chinese and the Middle Easterners.

- "If you look at every one of these [derivative] products, they make sense. But in aggregate, they are bullshit. They are crap. They serve to cheat people.

- "I have to say it: you have to do something about pay in the financial system. People in this field have way too much money. And this is not right.

- "Today when we look at all the markets, the U.S. still is probably the most viable, the most predictable. I was trained as a lawyer, and predictability is always very important for me.

- "Americans are not sensitive in that regard. I mean, as a whole. The simple truth today is that your economy is built on the global economy. And it’s built on the support, the gratuitous support, of a lot of countries. So why don’t you come over and … I won’t say kowtow [with a laugh], but at least, be nice to the countries that lend you money.

- "Talk to the Chinese! Talk to the Middle Easterners! And pull your troops back! Take the troops back, demobilize many of the troops, so that you can save some money rather than spending $2 billion every day on them. And then tell your people that you need to save, and come out with a long-term, sustainable financial policy."

and then there's the Indian perspective:

- “In India, we never had anything close to the subprime loan,” said Chandra Kochhar, the chief financial officer of India’s largest private bank, Icici. (A few days after I spoke to her, Ms. Kochhar was named the bank’s new chief executive, in a move that had long been anticipated.) “All lending to individuals is based on their income. That is a big difference between your banking system and ours.” She continued: “Indian banks are not levered like American banks. Capital ratios are 12 and 13 percent, instead of 7 or 8 percent. All those exotic structures like C.D.O. and securitizations are a very tiny part of our banking system. So a lot of the temptations didn’t exist.”

- " “We recognize it as a problem of plenty. It was perpetuated by greedy bankers, whether investment bankers or commercial bankers. The greed to make money is the impression it has made here. Anytime they wanted a loan, people just dipped into their home A.T.M. It was like money was on call.”

Serious business this.

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This page contains a single entry by Christian Sarkar published on December 21, 2008 10:45 PM.

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