Another billion poor people arrived on earth today.

According to the Asian Development Bank, 1.5 billion people live below the poverty line, not the “official figure” of 0.5 billion., so the Asian poverty rate is 41.2% not 12.7%. The explanation is that the officially set poverty line of $1.25 a day is too low and by increasing it by 25 cents, to $1.50 …
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Change in The East too.

Japan has voted for change. After more than half a century of nearly unbroken rule the LDP was defeated in a landslide victory by the Democratic Party of Japan. Of course, it is not easy to win an election in the face of an economic recession – people are naturally unhappy with the status quo. …
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The mother of “people power”

One country – two systems, again?

It is encouraging to see the relationship between China and Taiwan improving.  Practical aspects like increased flights and trade will benefit both countries.  Maybe China is willing to engage because they envision another “one country – two systems” arrangement evolving which would allow both China and Taiwan to save face while continuing on their current …
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Is Thailand beginning to set a good example?

Thaksin Shinawatra is going on trial.  And it seems that judicial process might be getting institutional and popular backing.  That would be a very positive sign that Thailand is maturing into a sophisticated society and economy. My experience with the judicial process a decade ago was not encouraging.  And I doubt we’ll see a conviction.  …
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Art illuminates diplomacy in N.Korea

As usual, it has been art that shows the way social and cultural dynamics must evolve.  The New York Philharmonic Orchestra has performed a concert in North Korea, playing western and Korean pieces. It was an un-political event, but will most certainly enlighten hearts and minds in North Korea.

Is Japan joining the US as a global pariah?

Japan has started to fingerprint and photograph all foreigners when they arrive in the country, joining the United States in checking foreigners in this way. (Japan will require foreigners resident in Japan, as well as visitors, to be checked each time they enter.) This kind of checking is a sad comment on the way humanity …
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Oil, Asia, Asset Managers

McKinsey released this useful research on the world of money, pertinent to investors, asset managers and strategic planners. The New Power Brokers: How Oil, Asia, Hedge Funds, and Private Equity Are Shaping Global Capital Markets McKinsey reviews petrodollar investors, Asian central banks, hedge funds, and private equity and their increasingly important role in world financial …
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As the US slows, will Asia and the world follow?

While I expect China and India to weather the slow down in US consumption reasonably well, perhaps even benefiting from a relief of inflationary pressure, others are more sanguine about the central role the US economy still plays in the global economy. This linked article, A Subprime Outlook for the Global Economy, by Stephen Roach …
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Japanese leadership crisis – new PM

September has not been a good month for politics in Japan. At the beginning of September, Agriculture Minister Takehiko Endo resigned only a week after being appointed. He admitted that a private farm group he heads was involved in illegal dealings – it had been paid 1.15m Yen ($9,900) by the state after overstating crop …
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