Blog: Dave LeggettWind of change

Dave Leggett | 30 April 2007

Remember that hit by German rock band The Scorpions, called 'Wind of Change'? It caught the mood when the Cold War ended, the 'Iron Curtain' lifted and Europe changed irrevocably in the early 1990s. I heard it again recently and it took me back. Nice tune. Boris Yeltsin's funeral in Moscow last week acted as another reminder of just how far things have changed over the past seventeen years or so.

It took a while, but eventually automotive companies realised that the dangers of not being in places like Russia and China outweighed the risks that go with being there. Indeed, emerging markets have become something of a lifeline. GM may be struggling at home, but look how well it's doing in Asia. If you're not getting your act together in emerging markets, the shareholders want to know why.

But is the world becoming a better place as a result of this transfer of wealth from developed world to developing? If pushed for a yes or no, I'd go with yes. But that doesn't mean it's all good. There's global CO2 for one thing. (Did Bilderberg ever consider 'pulling the ladder up' I wonder?) And are Russia and China developing in a good way politically? Do people care about that?

All I'll say is that it is something to think about. Maybe Western concepts of liberal democracy aren't universally applicable, but there's a political dimension to these countries' development that is relevant to their long-term economic and political stability and the well-being of their people. And that's something in the interests of the firms leading the FDI wave too. Heck no, it's in all of our interests.


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