“Narendra Modi’s amazing victory gives India its best chance ever of prosperity.”
I took an extensive tour last April through Asia, visiting Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan. I noticed that while their economies were booming, their stock markets have been lackluster since the Great Recession of 2008. Only Thailand has advanced significantly, but then the country suffered a military coup and its market fell sharply.
Even Chile, the shining light of market liberalism in Latin America, has seen its stock market gradually decline during the past five years. It hasn’t helped that Chile’s government is considering increasing its corporate income tax sharply to 25% to pay for public education. I hope Chile doesn’t join Argentina and Venezuela in a shift toward socialism.
I was happy to read that Eduardo Galeano, the radical author of “The Open Veins of Latin America,” the bible of “liberation theology,” recently renounced his book. He finally realized that the United States and capitalist imperialism is no excuse for poverty in the Americas. As one critic complained, “He should feel really guilty for the damage he caused.”
But there is one bright light in free-enterprise capitalism: India. It has made huge strides since the early 1990s, but it underperformed China recently because of high inflation, bureaucracy and protectionist measures. Now that could all change with the election of Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which gained a sizeable majority rule last month. He was elected by young, urban and educated Indians on his promise to get the economy going again. His biggest challenge is the corruption of the bureaucrats in the individual states, but he may have the clout to clean it up.
How to profit? We’re recommending that you buy the India Fund (IFN).
You Blew It! Who’s Missing from Fortune’s 50 Greatest Leaders?
Americans love lists — they’ve come up with the Forbes 400 Richest Americans, the 100 Most Influential People in the World and the Top Ten Best Dressed Americans. The lists go on and on.
Last month, Fortune magazine introduced “The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” list, and it includes such people as Pope Francis (#1), Warren Buffett (#4), Bill Clinton (#5), Bono (#8) and the Dalai Lama (#9), as well as sports and entertainment figures like Derek Jeter (#11), Wyston Marsalis (#39) and Angelina Jolie; and virtual unknowns like Maria Klawe, the president of the Harvey Mudd College (#17), or Nancy Lublin, CEO of “Do Something” (anything!).
It appears that this list was a private wish list of leaders of individual editors at Fortune, and not based on any scientific method of demonstrating influence in the world.
If I were making up such a list, I would certainly include people such as Muhammad Yunus, the founder of the Gramean Bank and micro credit revolution — and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. Foreign Policy magazine listed Yunus as #2 in its list of “Top 100 Global Thinkers,” but oddly Fortune magazine omitted him completely.
The Fortune list includes a lot of business leaders such as Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Fred Smith (Fedex) and Howard Schultz (Starbucks), but ignores John Mackey, the co-CEO and founder of Whole Foods Market. John is in the forefront of creating a whole new business branding approach called “Conscious Capitalism.” Shouldn’t he be listed?
Or how about Steve Forbes, editor in chief of Forbes magazine, who probably has more influence in the business world than almost anyone, especially with his conferences and famous lists of billionaires?
John Mackey and Steve Forbes are co-ambassadors to my FreedomFest conference, so I’m prejudiced. You can find out yourself by coming to my big show, July 9-12, in Las Vegas. Steve and John are there for all four days. Go to www.freedomfest.com, and sign up.
In case you missed it, I encourage you to read my e-letter column from last week about why my favorite private equity sector is under selling pressure. I also invite you to comment in the space provided below.