“Instead of being the warm center of the world, the Middle West now seemed like the ragged edge of the universe,” as Midwest native Nick Carraway put it in The Great Gatsby, “so I decided to go East and learn the bond business.”

“The Great American Novel,” or so I’m told. That quote is as applicable now as it was then. With the Wild East (China/HK/Sing/Taiwan) leading the way, the world might be shaking off the rust of this recession. The Hang Seng is hitting new 6 month highs and sustained volume is now commonplace in Hong Kong, or so we’re led to believe.

Frankly there are a ton of indicators that this rally won’t be sustained. The recent profits, especially in China have come about because of significant government efforts. The banks have increased lending according to government orders. Many of the loans stand very little chance of being paid back. Non-performing loans are almost guaranteed to wreak havoc to banks’ balance sheets over the next 18-36 months. That being said, China is making its move to become the premier economic power in Asia, if not the world.

The recent monetary policies and criticisms of the U.S. can only mean just that. Combined with the recent reintroduction of the Mainland and Taiwanese economies, Asian economies stand to gain significant ground against their western counterparts over 2009 and the first half of 2010.

I only worry that we won’t remember where this whole thing started. bear-stearns-210308_20848t

On another note, I’m starting to feel like I’m at home here in Shanghai. Its become apparent to me that the key to acclimating oneself to a new place is to make the place one’s own. I’ve found my restaurants, Chinese and Western. I’ve found my job. I’ve found my grocery stores. I’ve bought my BBQ (and thrown a good old BBQ last Saturday night). I’ve started to decorate my room and apartment (what’s a good price to pay for framing?). Friends are obviously important, but having a place to go HOME to, makes all the difference in the world.

Ratatat: May 21
Manchester U: July 27

Also follow Chinavest on Twitter!

Quick post today. Realized I never thanked Familia Goldman for making it up to my graduation. I’m glad that you guys had as much fun as I did in seeing you at the bottom of the hill!
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Two things that make me happy today, “The Wire,” go buy it now. and Charles Christopher.

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Its been a long time, I shouldn’t have left you, but I’ve been busy as all hell!
So my stay in Shanghai has been extended, at least for six more months, probably for a full year and change.

I’ve dived right into my new job, can it still be a job if you’re not getting paid though? I wonder… If you want to see any of my work, they can all be read here. The Shanghaiist (Shanghai’s Most Read English-Language Blog!) has been a good experience for me so far, helped me improve my writing skills, and given me a couple of really cool opportunities.

As of two weeks ago (or seventeen days ago) I have been to two Shanghai Shenhua soccer matches, one John Legend concert, interviewed two DJs, been to a DJ Dexter show, been to a DJ-Showcase, been to a non-profit alternative art exhibition, and have still had the time to write two articles a day. The Shanghaiist quite simply has forced me to be on top of my shiite. Furthermore I’ve gotten to realize how much cool stuff goes on in a city this size on the average day. There’s a reason people like the BIG CITY LIFE.

On to the links of the day:
If you ever get bored and feel like improving that brain power a little bit: TED is the word.

I’ll make this one disclaimer though, most of the presenters on TED are a bit full of themselves, so don’t drink too much of the Kool-Aid.

Really?

Interesting take on Customer Experience Surveys, how hard is it to provide pleasant, accurate, and helpful customer service?

Also, I’m looking for good leads in Shanghai, restaurants, bars, interviews, stories. If you hook it up, maybe I put you in the article. Make you famous.

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Anything featuring Mike Tyson is quality in my book.

A Great Take on Lucy’s Classic Booth. Gotta Love It.
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I’ve said it a few times on this blog and have mentioned specifically in the “Words to Live by” posts, the financial system and the current economic crisis that we find ourselves in is the work of a variety of factors, not the least of which was the inefficient manner in which regulators and big government operated. That is not to say that I believe we would’ve benefited from more government involvement, but rather that the “accountability standards” (my term) that the markets operated by were not enforced stringently enough.

I’ve spent the day perusing a variety of finance, economic, and business related websites, as well as continuing to read

    The Bubble that Broke the World

. It has become clear to me that even now some 8-12 months since the beginning of the financial crisis, nobody has a true grasp on the issues at hand. Finance is only representative of a fraction of the problem in the United States, it is the proverbial tip of the ice berg. As is evidenced in this letter from an AIG financial products employee, the company operated much like a ship without a captain. While deals were made, they were made in line with the protocol these men and women were accustomed to. The same can be said for the failing auto companies in Detroit. These companies operated in the atmosphere provided them by the U.S. government. Had the U.S. government installed legitimate programs to try and ween ourselves off of fossil fuels or at least fallen in line with the Kyoto Protocols, perhaps the Big-3 would have made a concerted effort to focus on gas/mileage and hybrid vehicles earlier.

Clearly the issues in Detroit surpass simple questions of competitiveness (the United Auto Workers’ Union comes to mind), but even the UAW’s increased power comes back to the government’s ineptitude. Representatives and Senators operate on an election-to-election basis, making promises that they will in all honesty have a hard time keeping. That being said, they must pander to the little man, to the “Forgotten Man” mentioned in the last “Words to Live By.”

I guess what I’m generally trying to say is that the major issue lies with the U.S. government. The inconsistencies in their approach to dealing with the economic crisis has been nothing short of despicable. The shift from Bush to Obama should have been made with some sort of emergency economic council to ensure a steady transfer in policy making.

The fact that the IMF is even considering involvement in the U.S. is reason enough for the government to reevaluate its role and realize that any remaining political capital the Obama administration has cannot be wasted in name-calling and witch-hunts (or bonus-hunts) and needs to be focused on re-opening credit markets in a manner other than providing liquidity. The government needs to focus on
restoring confidence and that will take a restructuring of financial debt as well as a break up of the leadership of the financial oligarchy.

Keep your head up.

How can Liebz miss his own day?!? Come on! Wouldn’t it be epic to have him walk on stage and announce the headlining band? Seems like an uncharacteristic mistake from the Liebowitz Day boys.

http://blogs.middlebury.edu/rononmiddlebury/2009/03/31/missing-liebowitz-day/

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“Young Man, you will make a lot of money by not losing any.” Michel David Weill, Lazard Freres & Co. NYC 1991. as told to my Father.

“Who, then, is he who provides it all? Go and find him, and you have once more before you The Forgotten Man… The Forgotten Mas is delving away in patient industry, supporting his family, paying his taxes, casting his vote, supporting the school, reading his newspaper, and cheering for the politician of his admiration, but he is the only one for whom there is no provision in the great scramble and the big divide.” William Graham Sumner

I am of the opinion that he does not need others’ provisions. If he is living that clean and simple life, he should inevitably be able to provide his own happiness and guarantee the well being of those that he cares for.