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Jan 3, 2009

The Year in Retrospection

As another year passes by, one often wonders and mulls over the events that have transpired over the last 12 months, at times wishing some things were different or would have ended up in a way other than what they actually have.

As I mull over 2008 there are a lot of pluses that one comes across along with the negatives. The booming markets of the Middle East with construction at full swing, showing a development that few in their lifetime would have the chance to see, the finishing of some of the new wonders of the world, the Burj Dubai, the Palm's, oil touching at record prices, with markets all around the world breaking barriers by the day, the finishing of a Presidency term of a man, often described as the worst President of the United states, the winning of the first Black man to the most powerful position in the world, the amount of money people started talking about.. no hundreds of thousands or a millions, but only multi millions or simply in billions.. All going one faster than the other, leaving many people far behind in the race, wondering where all of this came from, wondering were they left behind?

As it came, so it went.. one brokerage house, that will be remembered for time as the one that brought the world down.. Ironically it was not the construction industry that slowed down, or the shortage of demand.. but simply bad financial management policies and the lack of transparency that was the cause of the crash. One would think that the US who has such high standards for financial management would have been the last place from where the problem would have generated, but not surprisingly that has been the place most hit..

The sub prime crisis, wiping out billions in profits, the failure of the Investment banks, bringing the mighty to their feet, oil prices getting wiped out by more than three quarters of their price, countries going bankrupt, destruction of stock markets all around the world, money disappearing in minutes, the job losses around the world, drop in demand and in economic growth, the millions dead in Iraq and Afghanistan, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the ascendancy of an incompetent to the post of the Presidency, the debt of the greatest nation on earth, the terror attacks in the heart of Bombay, and finally the impounding of the Gaza strip by Israel..

It does appear like the wheel of the cycle, what goes up must come down or the faster you rise, the much faster you fall.. It also shows how small the world economy has become, no matter what one thinks, we are all linked to each other. One gets a cold, others do too, some slowly, some faster. It took ten years for the growth, it probably took ten weeks to wipe it all out.. Are we wiser, are we smarter or would we have learnt any thing from this? I am not sure.. Things will pick up no doubt, the sun will rise again and there will be a silver lining once more.

How many will be there to see it, I don't know, but when it does, and if we do not learn, history definitely has a way of reminding people. It took 70 years since the last Great depression.. The next one may take half the time.

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