December 12, 2013

Who will be the next EU?

It's a beautiful time to be alive. The global economy is in an inflated bubblicious state due to excessive money printing by central banks (US, UK, Europe, Japan). People think things are good due to irrational stock prices. Corporate profits are high due to governments giving zero percent interest loans to big businesses. What could be bad?

As a politician looking to shake things up, now is the time. There's instability. Putin, one of the greatest politicians of our generation, is ready to make some bold moves. Putin is trying to make a new EU to compete with Europe, the US and China. He plans to call it the Eurasian Union. The name is a bit silly. Although his goal is to pick up Central Asia, he will not be able to get either of the economic centers of Europe or Asia. The current Eurasian Customs Commission includes Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Candidates to join the Eurasian Union are Armenia, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan.

Significant land area
Two other European countries who have yet to join the EU are Georgia and Ukraine. Georgia is a country with incredibly free market ideals. The currency has some issues, but the banks are stable, with high capital to loan ratios. The last bastions of banking anonymity in Singapore have been destroyed by American lobbying, so Georgia, with its high interest rate USD accounts are a logical place for foreigners to secure some funds. With a free market and solid bank balance sheets, Georgia would be a good acquisition for Putin's Eurasian Union.

Ukraine is in protest mode regarding the Eurasian Union issue.

1 million protesters in Ukraine's capital Kiev
President Yanukovych had been moving toward the EU with his politics and in steps toward free trade with the EU. In November, he had a change of heart and instead is going in the direction of the Eurasian Customs Commission which is thought to be the precursor to the Eurasian Union. Ukrainian citizens are divided politically.

Political party affiliations of Ukraine based on 2012 election results
Protesters feel that joining the EU would be best for the future of the country. However, the Ukrainian capital Kiev was the birthplace of Russia (called Kievan Rus from 10th-12th Century). The country is essentially split politically. Central and western Ukraine are Ukrainian-speaking and do not have the same "Soviet identity" which is felt in the south and east where Russian is the predominant language. The south and east are economically tied to Russia and without Russian supplies, the factories would go dark. The views of protesters in Kiev are not shared by all of the people of Ukraine. The issue is contentious whether Ukraine should join Angela Merkel's EU or Putin's Eurasian Union.

I hope to get an EU passport in the next few years when I have a spare month to pop over to Europe. I could care less about which countries join the EU since European politics affect me very little. However, joining the Euro is horrible for individuals in Europe. What always happens is that wages change very little, but price inflation is an issue. Ukraine uses the Hryvnia (UAH) as their currency and in my view, whether Ukraine joins the EU or the Eurasian Union, she should think long and hard about changing to a new currency.

Certainly, the move towards taking down US economic supremacy is an issue of the day. China and Russia do not like the US and would like to take the US down. Culturally, the rich part of the EU sees America's less socialist policies as morally inferior. Southeast Asia, which is relatively inconsequential to the global economy generally has a positive view of the US and despite talks of SE Asian political unity, it won't happen in the foreseeable future.

Currency groupings are a fascinating topic with the following main ideas:
(1) Amero (Canada, US, Mexico)
(2) RMB (widespread usage once capital controls are lifted)
(3) Euro (how long until bankrupt nations go back to their old currency)
(4) SE Asia (moving toward the strong Singapore Dollar)
(5) New world reserve currency (probably won't change any time soon from the USD)

Thought experiment of a new map of the world
The Eurasian Union, if it comes to fruition and Russia picks up Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Georgia, will not be at all competitive GDP-wise compared to the EU, US, or China.

Sorry Putin, though you can pad your legacy resume by getting a bunch of new countries to join your union, you still won't matter. Well, that is, until you decide to start a war...


  1. The places that are led by leaders who are trying to "build their resume" or create regions that compete for hegemony with other regions are destined to failure; the secret of success is not command economies, but market economies, where the efforts of the producers are motivated by their self interest. Having said that, I like to follow the Economist table of economic and financial indicators, where I find that southeast Asia is currently the fastest growing region, and Argentina the fastest growing country in the world. I'm not sure why that is, but it's interesting.

    In the U.S., the economy is growing out of the doldrums, but slowly, and surprisingly, some are talking about a financial market bubble again. Europe seems anemic.

  2. Argentina is an economic basket case with capital controls and huge inflation. Argentinians are trying to get rid of their pesos as quickly as possible. Inflation is over 10% per year. High inflation is one way to ensure rapid consumer spending. Also, the official exchange rate is 6 pesos for 1 USD, but the black market rate is 9.5 pesos for 1 USD.

    Regarding the US, a slow economy and financial bubble are possible at the same time when you print money and it only goes to large corporations.