BRIC

 
  • Bill Browder and Hermitage Fund by Peter Ireland

    Bill Browder of the Hermitage Fund tells the story of how he got started as a deal-maker right after college as well as how he came close to losing it all in 1990s post-Soviet Russia.   I’ll provide a bit of background so that you understand the video better.   Looking for Growth Opportunities in The Sale of the Century   This is a story for your “If it sounds too good to be true” file.   After the collapse of the USSR in 1991, the greatest theft in history unfolded as Russian president Boris Yeltsin raced to “privatize” the country’s wealth. Rather than going with a gradual and orderly privatization, which would allow overseers to spot and learn from mistakes, he recklessly chose to put everything on the auction block at once. If this wasn’t bad enough, at the time Russian natural and industrial assets were typically valued at 1% to 10% of their counterparts in the west.   What made an already bad process worse is that Yeltsin and other government officials then manipulated affairs so that a small group of opportunists could seize control of the jewels of Russia’s economy: oil & gas companies, industrials, and media companies, literally for pennies on the dollar. Yeltsin was driven in part out of a need to build a powerful alliance of wealthy businessmen who would then pay him back by supporting his second run for the presidency. Yeltsin’s first term was such an unmitigated disaster that the hated communists looked as if they might be voted back into power by the masses.   This small group of men, who became billionaires almost overnight, came to be known as The Oligarchs because they ruled Russia as a committee along with the inept and drunkardly Yeltsin. By the later 1990s, the damage was done. Practically all of Russia’s wealth was concentrated in the hands of two dozen, or so, oligarchs, while the rest of the population suffered greatly from the total economic collapse. At that point Russia had sunk to Third World status in terms of economic and living conditions.   In contrast, the oligarchs used transfer pricing scams to export natural resources, such as oil & gas and minerals, out of the country at Russian prices and then sell them at prevailing world prices for a quick 900% profit.Most of the profits then disappeared into Swiss bank accounts which paid for villas in Monaco and yachts.   Over the past month or so I have read two fascinating books about what happened in Russia after the collapse of communism. The first book was The Oligarchs: Wealth And Power In The New Russia by David Hoffman. I am just now finishing off the final chapter of Godfather of the Kremlin: The Decline of Russia in the Age of Gangster Capitalism by the late Paul Klebnikov. I say “late” because an unknown party executed him in 2004 in Moscow, as he was leaving his employer’s (Forbes) offices.   During the 1990s western bankers, businessmen, and investors tried […]

     
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  • Dambisa Moyo: Is China the new idol for emerging economies?

    Dambisa Moyo: Is China the new idol for emerging economies?   The developed world holds up the ideals of capitalism, democracy and political rights for all. Those in emerging markets often don’t have that luxury. In this powerful talk, economist Dambisa Moyo makes the case that the west can’t afford to rest on its laurels and imagine others will blindly follow. Instead, a different model, embodied by China, is increasingly appealing. A call for open-minded political and economic cooperation in the name of transforming the world. Dambisa Moyo is an international economist who analyzes the macroeconomy and global affairs.   WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HER?   Dambisa Moyo’s work examines the interplay between rapidly developing countries, international business, and the global economy — while highlighting opportunities for investment. She has travelled to more than 60 countries over the past decade, studying the political, economic and financial workings of emerging economies, in particular the BRICs and the frontier economies in Asia, South America, Africa and the Middle East. Her latest book,Winner Take All: China’s Race for Resources and What It Means for the World, looks at how commodities markets influence much more than the global economy — and examines the possible consequences of China’s unprecedented rush for commodities such as oil, minerals, water, and food, including the looming specter of commodity-driven conflict.   She is the author of the brilliantly argued Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa and How the West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly and the Stark Choices Ahead. Previously, she was an economist at Goldman Sachs, where she worked for nearly a decade, and was a consultant to the World Bank in Washington.  

     
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  • On The Money: Eying Russia’s Economy

    On The Money: Eying Russia’s Economy As the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum approaches, economists are assessing Russia’s prospects. Does Russia have an optimum growth strategy?  

     
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  • Billions of Entrepreneurs: How China and India are Reshaping Their Futures and Yours

    “Billions of Entrepreneurs: How China and India are Reshaping Their Futures and Yours” Removing half a billion people from poverty and into the productive workforce will profoundly affect on the world economy. India and China are doing just that with insane growth rates and lots of what used to be American jobs: China is the factory floor and India the back-office, software shop. China is top-down party driven. India is a messy, vibrant democracy. This may be the complementary duo that changes the world. Including your world. Come hear Professor Tarun Khanna in a discussion about his book, Billions of Entrepreneurs: How China and India are Reshaping Their Futures and Yours. Called well worth reading by The Economist and entertaining by the Financial Times, Khanna’s book shows how Chinese and Indian entrepreneurs are creating change through new business models. Speaker: Tarun Khanna Tarun Khanna is the Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at the Harvard Business School, where he has studied and worked with multinational and indigenous companies and investors in emerging markets worldwide. He joined the faculty in 1993, after obtaining an engineering degree from Princeton University (1988) and a Ph.D. from Harvard (1993), and an interim stint on Wall Street. During this time, he has served as the head of several courses on strategy and international business targeted to MBA students and senior executives at Harvard. His new book, Billions of Entrepreneurs: How China and India are Reshaping Their Futures and Yours, was published in February 2008 by Harvard Business School Press (Penguin in South Asia), with translations into several languages underway. It focuses on the drivers of entrepreneurship in China and India and builds on over a decade of work with companies, investors and non-profits in developing countries worldwide. His scholarly work has been published in a range of economics and management journals, several of which he also serves in an editorial capacity. Articles in the Harvard Business Review (e.g. China + India: The Power of Two, 2007; Emerging Giants: Building World Class Companies in Emerging Markets, 2006) and Foreign Policy (e.g. Can India Overtake China?, 2003) distill the implications of this research for practicing managers. His work is frequently featured in global news magazines as well as on TV and radio. He serves on the boards and advisory boards of several companies in the financial services, automotive, life sciences and agribusiness sectors. He actively invests in and mentors startups in Asia, and volunteers time with non-profits in India, e.g. the Parliamentary Research Services in New Delhi, which seeks to provide non-partisan research input to Indias Members of Parliament in advance of legislative sessions with a view to enhancing the quality of democratic discourse. In 2007, he was nominated to be a Young Global Leader (under 40) by the World Economic Forum. He makes his home in Newton, MA, with his wife, daughter and son.  

     
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