Episode 69: Harvard Professor Niall Ferguson talks to GoldMoney’s Alasdair Macleod about global politics, with special emphasis on China’s prospects and challenges in the years ahead.
They discuss the political and economic situation in China, and the need for the Chinese government to start privatising state enterprises, reshape the country’s rule of law and globalise the renminbi. For Ferguson, the key question is whether or not Beijing will introduce reliable private property rights so that the rising middle class can feel secure.
China fears that its large dollar claims will be worth much less in the future. Besides complaining about this, they are looking for ways to diversify their wealth and revenue stream. Ferguson points out though that there are limits to their ability to secure hard assets. They also discuss China’s relationship with Russia and its role in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
Ferguson states that the gold flow from “the West to the Rest” is reflective of declining Western power. The world’s centre of gravity is shifting east – a shift that is going to continue, and that is taking place at an extremely fast pace when looked at in a historical context. Though China’s economic expansion could slow, Ferguson expects another 20 years of solid growth before demographic problems force the country’s economy to stall.
Finally they talk about Japan’s debt problems and the faulty design of the European currency union. Though Ferguson expects the eurozone to stay together, he expects a Japanese-style “lost decade” – and one sadly lacking in Japanese-style social harmony.
This podcast was recorded on 14 November 2012.