I was recently in Palm Beach, Florida and had the opportunity to listen to three interesting speakers.
Sebastian Mallaby, journalist, author of More Money than God, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations – considered to be USA’s most influential foreign policy think tank. His areas of expertise range from globalisation, trade, foreign assistance and hedge funds. He spoke about China’s growth slowing down; the big spurt in growth was from farm workers moving to factories – agriculture to manufacturing. But the next growth cannot be as dramatic as manufacturing peaks. He did not see China facing the prospect of a hard landing; demographics will not be an issue and the prevalent belief that China is not innovative is a myth, he believes. According to him, the US would ease some of the pressure on itself by welcoming more reserve currencies – the first one being the Yuan. He described Chinese politics as ‘brittle’ and believes India to be a long-term story. James Carville, American political consultant and media personality (of Bill Clinton campaign fame), and Mary Matalin, Republican political consultant and assistant to President George Bush. They spoke about US politics, but most interesting were their comments and insights on President Obama; against Romney, the President scores high on likability but poorly on performance. Interestingly, people, quite willingly, make excuses for his poor performance. He favours a close knit circle of advisors and comes across as ‘insular’ and someone difficult to connect with. I met an equal number of captains of American industry who believe that Obama or Romney will win.

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