Astute thoughts from Jim Chanos on Naked Capitalism:
“If we look at the events of 2016 — Brexit, the Italian referendum, Trump, and the rise of nationalist China — are these the harbingers of something bigger? Or are they just a coincidence? The ground seems to be fertile for things to change globally. If so, does this give rise to a more nationalistic, protectionist, statist scenario? Are labor prices going to go up again? Are we going to tax capital and emphasize wages?”
“If we’re in one of those periods now, if 2016 is like 1932 or 1979 — then you not only have to change your portfolio, you have to change your lifestyle. That’s one of the things we’ve been telling clients. If this is a major shift to populism, nationalism, greater state involvement, and less globalism, then you really have to rethink almost everything in your life.”
“I think Greece was sort of the Spanish Civil War to what’s about to be the EU’s WWII in that it was the opening preview of all of the problems that are going to come to the fore if Catalonia wants to become independent, if Italy wants to leave, if France wants to leave. The EU is being held together by chewing gum and string right now.
With this rise of nationalism — if that’s what it is and it continues — the EU is going to find itself increasingly a victim of people wanting self-determination in northern Europe. That’s the first thing. Second is something I’m much more concerned about which nobody’s paying attention to, and that’s the continued rise of Erdoan in Turkey. He has not only consolidated his power through a series of purges —thousands and thousands of journalists and academics have been thrown in prison since the aborted coup — but increasingly he is becoming more militant and Turkey is becoming a pro-Islamic state that is part of NATO. He’s throwing wild monkey wrenches into the whole Middle Eastern situation by making claims on land that was owned by the Ottomans, pre-WWI, like modern-day Iraq, modern-day Syria, and modern-day Greece and Bulgaria. He’s warned the EU that he will open Turkey’s borders to undocumented immigrants if EU membership talks are frozen. Like Xi Jinping, he’s putting out these old maps and saying: this is our real land.”
“Both Eric Holder and Lanny Breuer of Obama’s Justice Department said in TV interviews and testimony that they factored in non-judicial aspects as to whether to mount prosecutions. I think that this had political costs to the Democrats. The crony capitalism still bothers people — the idea that Wall Street got off scot-free and they are still struggling. That lack of justice applied equally under the law was corrosive, not necessarily for Obama personally, but certainly for the party following him.”
“In modern times, the only two presidents that I can think of who really got their ideas and platforms enacted wholesale were FDR and Reagan. Everybody else has gotten compromised, or has had events overwhelm them.”