FROM PHOENIX, ARIZONA Topic: GLOBAL AFFAIRS
CENTRAL RUSSIA, Scene 1: A well dressed woman in her late twenties watched with a sad face as her toddler-size daughter slurped up the remains of a soup. The woman had given up her only meal ticket so her child could eat.
A scene from a Charles Dickens-style film about England in the early 19th century? No. Globalism at work in Central Russia. The scene was a part of an early December 1998 CNN news report filmed at a Red Cross kitchen in a small town about five hours by train east of Moscow. Like this woman and her child, tens of thousands of Russians, are facing starvation this winter, CNN said.
NEW YORK, Scene 2 Mr. "Big Shot," a Wall Street investment banking CEO, is on a conference call with his star overseas executive, at about the same time "What the hell do you mean that a $20 million annual bonus won't do?"
"You want $40 million? And you want me to talk to which Russian government SOB who can vouch for what you did?"
The executive gets up from behind his desk, and starts pacing angrily up and down his office, holding his mobile phone.
"Listen, Jack. You'll have to do better than that. Send me the documentation which backs up your claim, and we'll see. And I am not talking to any damn Harvard crimson communist professor, either."
And with that summation, the CEO hangs up, puts the cell phone back in his breast pocket, and leaves the room.
BUENOS AIRES, Scene 3 At the Wal-Mart in Buenos Aires, an Argentine flag flutters in the store with a sign reading, "Proudly in Argentina." Families stroll down the wide, bright aisles, past displays of Paul Newman's salad dressing. "What is clear is that it is changing the Argentine way of life families buy their bicycles here, sometimes using dollars; the corner bicycle store is no more," the New York Times reported earlier this year.
But, of course, Wal-Mart is not impervious to the risks of "divided societies," a New York Times term for Brazil, Argentina's bigger neighbor which has until recently mostly resisted the globalization pressures. In early 1998, five Wal-Mart stores in Brazil had been attacked and robbed by assailants operating in large groups armed with assault rifles.
Meanwhile, Wal-Mart's revenue is bigger than 161 countries' GDPs, including Poland, Israel and Greece, according to Maude Barlow, a Canadian activist who does not want to see her country's culture wiped out by, what we dubbed the "Princes of the 20th Century," the multinational giants.
SCOTTSDALE, Scene 4 Well dressed and better manicured shoppers mill around the Fashion Square, a fashionable indoor mall in an upscale Arizona district which has become so fashionable that even tourists flock to it to join the local "mall rats." Everywhere around the Fashion Square there is the smell of money. The "Almighty Dollar" fragrance is at its peak at Christmas, as the loaded customers - both literally (with gifts) and figuratively (with money) - struggle to overcome the psychological stress of spending. "How Do You Bust Holiday Stress?" - asked a Dec. 5 editorial headline in the Arizona Republic, the state's largest daily. Such hardships...
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The Princes and the Paupers
PHOENIX, Dec. 11 - So it's the "yin" and the "yang" thing. Globalism is both the Paupers and the Princes. The preceding four scenes show two faces of globalism. While impoverished masses, the Paupers, starve or riot in places like Russia, Indonesia, Brazil, Korea, and other developing countries infected by the globalism virus, the Princes are on a spending binge. And not just during the Christmas season.
Americans have been spending themselves out of house and home for most of the year. And in October, the last month for which officials statistics are available, Americans spent 0.2% more than they earned. The nation's personal savings at the end of 1997 were at a 63-year low of just 2.1%. Not since the Great Depression has the savings rate been lower. Yet the June 1998 savings dipped even further to a mere 0.2%, the lowest level since the government started tracking the savings on a monthly basis in 1959.
Meanwhile, consumer spending soared 5.8% in the second quarter; after rising 6.1% in the first. And since it represents about two-thirds of the GDP, consumer spending is creating a false sense of prosperity for the dumbed-down Baby-Boomers, who are splurging practically until exhaustion.
But booms are usually followed by busts. Our analysis of the 1998 United Nation's UNCTAD report showed that warning signs were present in the global economy even in the boom year 1996, well before Southeast Asia, Russia and Brazil exposed the cracks in the globalism armor for all to see.
True, on the "yang" side, the world's Top 100 largest industrial multinationals, the "Princes of the 20th Century," increased their foreign assets over 1995 by 6.5% to a record $1.8 trillion. They saw a rise in their total assets by 0.9% to $4.2 trillion. They boasted a foreign sales jump of 5.1% to $2.1 trillion.
But on the "yin" side, their total sales declined by 1.2% to $4.1 trillion. Their foreign employment dropped by 0.8%, while their total employment decreased by 2.5%.
So the Annex Research' overall Business Trend Index (BTI) - the aggregate annual change in the Top 100 multinationals' total global assets, sales and employment - was DOWN 1.5% from the year before. And our Top 50 BTI slumped by an even greater percentage (-6.1%).
In other words, even in the boom year of 1996, the global "yin" forces were stronger the "yang" ones. But few of the Princes seemed to care, as they kept increasing their foreign investments. Until the Southeast Asia bust in the second half of 1997, one would assume?
Wrong. Not even that calamity caused an abatement in the 1997 global investment picture. The Princes' Southeast Asia investments rose by 6% last year to $82.4 billion.
The Princes' total global investments increased by 19% in 1997, to a record $400 billion. Which means that the multinationals had spent over $2 trillion since the end of the Cold War (1990-1997) paving the world with gold and misery.
Well, not quite gold, as we know. But misery is real. The New World Order's "fools' gold" is minted in the computers of the Federal Reserve and other global central banks.
As the above examples show, don't look for common sense investment strategies in a business world ruled by a globalist IDEOLOGY. Anymore than the rule of reason and compassion was present in the Marxist dogma. Nor should one, therefore, expect to win many fair bets in a game played with a stacked deck and "fools' gold."
"Mergermania" and Layoffs
Coca-Cola, for example, one of the most visible symbols of globalism in the world, was ranked No. 82 in terms of its foreign assets on our 1996 Top 100 list. But it was No. 22 in terms of its "internationalism" (foreign over total assets index), and No.39 when it comes to foreign over total sales index. Yet even back in 1996, Coke already had a negative 6.6% overall Annex Research Business Trend Index.
Today (Dec. 11), Coca-Cola said that it expected poor foreign results in the fourth quarter. Undaunted by such warning signs from overseas markets, Coke also said today that it was spending another $1.85 billion on an overseas acquisition (Cadbury Schweppes). Go figure...
Of course, many of such mergers and acquisitions (M&As) are driven by the investment bankers' greed and self-interests, rather than their clients' welfare. Which is why so many global clients are downsizing their businesses while increasing their M&A activities.
In 1997, for example, $236 billion, or nearly three-fifths of all global investments by the multinationals, came through M&As. That's up from less than half of all cross-border capital inflows in 1996. Many of such M&As were large deals - 58 of them worth more than $1 billion. Not surprisingly, therefore, developed countries accounted for 90% of all worldwide M&As in 1997. "One outcome is a greater industrial concentration in the hands of w few firms in each industry," concluded the UNCTAD report.
In other words, more power to the Princes. The latest spree of "mega-mergers" in 1998 will only accelerate a transfer of power from the people to the corporations.
In the wake of such industrial "restructuring," millions of human beings are facing the fate of the Paupers. Even in the "good old days" of 1996, the Top 10 multinationals reduced their foreign work force by 18.3%, and their total worldwide employment by 9.2%. The Top 50 downsized to the tune of 1% and 8.4% respectively.
The job cuts in 1997 and 1998, which the above figures do not reflect, have been much more severe. During the first 11 months of 1998, the U.S. businesses have announced plans to cut 575,000 jobs in America alone. And the November 1998 layoffs represent the highest monthly total in five years, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago-based outplacement company.
Most of the cutting is being done by the multinationals, while most of the hiring is taking place by small and medium size companies. This reaffirms our long-standing contention that America is actually UPSIZING, but from the bottom of the business pyramid (see Annex Bulletin 98-12, 3/12/98). And that large companies, particularly the multinational Princes, are causing most of the damage to the U.S. economy. Just as they did in the 1980s, when the Fortune 500 companies shed three million American jobs, according to a September 1996 Wall Street Journal report.
Mother Russia Is Hungry
Every time a foreign enemy burst through her western door, three times in the last two centuries alone, Mother Russia kept her sons and daughters fed and watered on the front lines. But Mother Russia is herself hungry these days. And she can't even feed her sons and daughters in their own homes.
So what neither foreign enemy nor communism succeeded in doing, the New World Order's globalism is. It's slowly destroying one of the world's greatest nations. As the western leaders duplicitously spoke of friendship and "Partnership for Peace," they expanded NATO to the east, corrupted and plundered the Russian assets under the guise of "free market reforms," encouraged Islamic insurrections in southern Russia, and are now allowing mass starvation to take place in a country which still has enough nuclear power in its arsenals to incinerate much of the planet.
Talk about playing with fire! Literally.A PHOTO CAPTION: This sad, little Russian girl, crouching against a wall on a Moscow street in September 1998, is holding a handwritten sign which read "People of good will, please help out with a piece of bread, in the name of Jesus Christ."
It is both ironic and tragic that many Russians face starvation in the 1998 winter of despair, the year after the Princes finally put some serious money behind their prior empty promises. In 1997 alone, Russia received $6.2 billion in private foreign investments, more than in six previous years - combined! But there was a catch. Even there.
In 1997, Russia also EXPORTED $3.7 billion of capital, according to UNCTAD, implying that some foreigners had been already pulling their investments OUT of Russia well before the latest financial crisis hit in the summer of 1998. Which resulted in a failed IMF bailout, and the country's default on foreign debt.
In early November, the United States agreed to send 3.1 million tons of food aid - worth about $625 million - to "help Russians get through the winter" after their worst harvest in 45 years, according to the US News & World Report.
Actually, the preceding statement is BS. One reason the Clinton administration agreed to provide this food to Russia - for a price (!) - was to try to buy American farmers' votes. And it's doing it with the U.S. taxpayers' money!? The U.S. government is buying 1.5 million tons of EXCESS wheat from farmers.
The second reason for providing food to Russia was to beat out the European Union competition (in food giveaways) whose farmers had also accumulated vast amounts of surplus food. "We must not let the Americans help Russia alone," the head of the French wheat producers association told Reuters, according to a Nov. 4, 1998 New York Times report. The EU "must launch its own food program."
Actually, this was also BS. A German official complained to the Dow Jones Newswires that the European leaders attending the EU Vienna Summit on Dec. 11-12 spent a grand total of half an hour discussing the grave situation in Russia. By contrast, they devoted a full hour to haggling over the date the "duty free" shops will be abolished out in Europe.
Furthermore, CNN reported in early December that NO American food had as yet reached the hungry Russians, because of bureaucratic wrangling between the two governments.
Finally, the IMF chairman, Michel Camdessus, told the Russians during his Dec. 2 visit to Moscow that there will be no new funds available for Russia. The IMF has been holding up a $4.3 billion loan installment since September, demanding more evidence from the Russian government about its "fiscal discipline," and "commitment to reform."
So as Moscow, Brussels and Washington fiddle, and while the Russian people are starving and freezing to death (in Kamchatka, for example), signs of another revolution in the making are already discernible. Regional governors, fearing food shortages, are banning exports of food to other regions of Russia - in defiance of a federal law which explicitly prohibits it, according to a Dec. 12 story in the Moscow Times, an English-language newspaper.
In other words, Alexander Lebed, the recently elected governor of Krasnoyarsk, and Aman Tuleyev, governor of Kemerovo, are challenging Moscow's rule, while protecting their own people.
China Still Raking It In
China's communist government shot its own people in 1989 because they wanted democracy. The Russian government shot its own people in 1993 ostensibly in the name of democracy. So if "ET" dropped in on Planet Earth from outer space, he might have thought that the democratic leaders of the free world would have punished the Chinese and rewarded the Russians?
Sorry, "ET." But this is Planet Earth, not Planet Hollywood. This is where Greed, not Justice rules supreme. Since the Tiananmen Square massacre, China has received over $202 billion in foreign investments from the Princes. That's about $51 million per head of each Chinese pro-democracy victim.
In 1997, for example, China received another record infusion of foreign capital - $45.3 billion - the highest of any country in the world except for the U.S. And China continues to be a relatively calm island in the midst of Asia's financial typhoon. Why?
Because globalism and its "free trade" mantra are for the birds. China's relative stability has proven it.
But don't take our word for it. Take it from a respected magazine published by the U.S. globalist establishment's Council for Foreign Affairs. Here is, for example, what Nicholas Lardy, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, wrote in the July/August 1998 edition of the Foreign Affairs. His article was titled "China and the Asia Contagion"
In other words, what Lardy is basically saying is that protectionism pays. What Bill Clinton's June 1998 "triumphant" visit to China is telling us is that protectionism pays. What the failures of Southeast Asia, Russia and Brazil are telling us is that globalism is for suckers. And that the suckers are not the business leaders who made the bad investments. The suckers are the American and other western taxpayers who are sold down the river by their own governments through the IMF bailouts. It's the ultimate twist of the globalist perfidy: the Paupers end up bailing out the Princes. Enter Socialism International, epitomized by the IMF, the World Bank, and other globalist institutions, reincarnated mutants of the now defunct Communist International.
Other World Regions
As for the other world regions, the highest regional increase in the 1997 foreign investments took place in the Pacific area - Australia, New Zealand, Japan and some other smaller countries. The total inflow of capital to those countries was up by 50% to $14.3 billion.
Yet, this amount only underscores how relatively small the Pacific market is. Brazil alone, for example, picked up $16.3 billion in foreign investments last year, up 47% from 1996. Mexico received $12.1 billion, up 48% from the year before. Argentina got $6.3 billion, up 24% from l996.
Latin America as a whole, attracted $56.1 billion in foreign investments, up 28% from the prior year. Which is why there is so much capital now to bail out. It is ironic, therefore, that the UN report hailed Latin America because it "now tops developing regions (in inflow of capital)... due to economic stability, growth, liberalization and privatization."
Investment inflows into Western Europe rebounded in 1997 to $115 billion, after a decline in 1996 - from $123 billion in 1995, to $100 billion. The UK, Ireland and the Scandinavian countries were among those which benefited from increased investor confidence. France, Austria, Belgium and Spain, were some prominent losers.
But the biggest loser of all was the largest European economy - Germany. For the second year in a row, Germany experienced net withdrawals of capital. The flight of capital from Germany was accentuated by a rise of its own companies' investments abroad from $30 billion in 1996, to $34 billion in 1997.
Eastern Europe also experienced a rebound in investor confidence after a decline in 1996. Capital inflows surged by 49% to $18.4 billion, with Russia, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic being the biggest recipients.
In the Middle East, Israel was by far the largest beneficiary of foreign investments. In 1997, this country attracted $3.4 billion of foreign capital, up 40% from the $2.4 billion in 1996.
During the 1990s, Israel became one of the world's most attractive investment targets, having recorded a 55% compound annual growth in capital inflows. On a per capita basis, Israel received 22 times more money than Russia, for example, 11 times more than China, seven times more than Brazil, and three times more than Mexico.
Right now, most American, in fact most western business leaders, are brimming with confidence. And the western consumers are on a spending tear.
Just as were the people in the "roaring twenties," students of history will remind us.
Boom and bust go in cycles. Always have. Always will. Only locations, duration and amplitude of the swings vary. As do the names of the Princes and the Paupers who get caught up in global storms. Some sail through. Many don't.
Right now, we have a feeling that we are in for a doozer of a global storm. So batten down the hatches and shore up your hedges. Here come some reasons
Why are we bringing this up only now, in the summary? Because Goldman Sachs is a Wall Street investment banking "all star." The fact that it should be begging a Saudi prince for money - WITHOUT first telling their 13 bailout partners - is kind of like Michael Jordan asking Hillary Clinton for a dunking lesson.
In other words, the forces of "yin" seem stronger than those of "yang." Something is rotten in the global house of cards. These are desperate times on Wall Street despite the multi-million dollar year-end bonuses which some of its executives are collecting. It's just that the Casino has so far managed to contain the stench. For the most part, anyway.
Instead, the stench of the globalist ideology in various stages of decay is coming from places like Indonesia, Russia, Brazil...
So our advice for 1999 and beyond is: Try to forget the smell of money, such as that evident in Scottsdale's Fashion Square. Start thinking about the smell of blood, such as at the Tiananmen Square in 1989. Or that at the gates Saint Petersburg's Winter Palace in 1917. Or at the Bastille in 1789.
And even if you can't give up the illusion of our prosperity, for God's sake, quit spending and start saving for the sake of your children. And their children, too. For, even the "fools' gold" can only fool so many people only so often.
"A day of reckoning is coming," a well known U.S. politician and a media superstar wrote to us recently, while complimenting us on our analysis of global affairs. So why not heed his advice, if not ours? For, we'd hate to see the TiM readers among those still buying the "fools' gold" at a time of the "Yin Dynasty."
Also, check out... "What's a Trill Here, a Trill There...?", "Services-based Economy Means Cheaper Labor," "Natives Are Getting Restless," "Toward Nations of Obedient Mutts", "Klinton's Amerika: Israel's Tomahawk", "Two Faces of Globalism", "Canadian Banks Speculating Against Canadian Dollar", "Election '98: Much Ado About Nothing", "A Spoof on Goof: ABC Adds God to Its Editorial Lineup," "Taking a Little Bite Out of the 'Big Apple'", "Greenscam's Meriwether Bailout," "Wall Street's Conquest of America," "Yeltsin-IMF Deal: Feeding Drugs to Drug Addict", "Like Watergate, Cover-up Worse Than Original Crime," "Death Merchants 80; U.S. Taxpayers 19" , "The Great American Divide Widens", "Was Buchanan Robbed in Louisiana, Iowa, Arizona?"
Or Djurdjevic's WASHINGTON TIMES columns: "When Will Wall Street's Bubble Burst?", "Russia, IMF, and Global House of Cards", "Rekindling NATO to Fuel Cold War...", "The Great American Hoover", "Russia, IMF and Global House of Cards" , "Christianity Under Siege: Toward a One World Religion,"