I listened almost with one ear to BBC reporter and self-styled economist Jim O’Neill as he rhapsodised about the latest entries to the upcoming ‘Economic Giants’ race, labelling Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey as the MINTs, after the BRICs which he had labelled some years before. He had visited all four entrants, and was busy warbling on about how industrious they all were, and the horizons were endless, and it was just a matter of time before they all did a mini-China; and amazed us all with their massive rises in GDP, and advances in education, etc., etc.. As I said, he was rhapsodising about ‘Indonesia…this’ and Turkey….that, and of course ‘Mexico and Nigeria….the other’ without expanding or lifting his gaze away from the statistics he was warbling on about.
Now I may be wrong, but if Indonesia, for example, is about to take off and experience this huge rise in productivity, energy and wealth; why are there all those Indonesian people grabbing standing-room only on board any leaky scow heading towards Australia? They are jumping from a country where this huge promise is prophesied, and sailing towards a country which, these days, not only doesn’t want them, but isactively taking hard moves to repel the very boats which come sneaking over the waves towards the ’promised land’.
Let us move towards Turkey. Yes, that Nation has made some impressive steps towards industrialization and wealth creation; but have you had a look at the headlines coming out of Ankara, Izmir and Istanbul recently. They may be building the third bridge across the Bosphorus to take some of the excess traffic into Istanbul, but the riots, the water-cannon and the helmeted police are just getting some rest before moving back into action under the orders of the once-admired moderate Muslim hard man Prime Minister Erdogan. He’s just found out that, if given a little freedom, the plebs all want a great deal more, and since the word ‘freedom’ isn’t even printed in Islamic dictionaries, and is probably not even understood in Koran-land, the heavy mob is going to crush any dissent. Since western capital is so mobile, if the people who arrange the investments see a few more riots put down with precision, they aren’t going to stop long in a country which is moving towards a heavy-handed theocracy, along the lines of Iran.
Mexico, the third nation in the list; well, what would any global investor think if his advisors said ‘Let’s all head towards Mexico City’? If he had any sense, he’d find himself some new advisors. What with the endemic corruption in the politics, the endless ferocity of the drug cartels, and the endless river of the crime rates, anyone in Mexico is planning to get out, towards America and sanity.
And then there is Nigeria, blessed with huge oil and gas wealth. For anyone even thinking of investing more than a fiver in the land of the Niger and the Bonny, the list of deterrence is so large that its usually available online, but you need a good broadband connection to read it. The Best-known product of Nigeria is the scams, the thieves and the corruption, but coming up fast is the bloodshed between the muslim fanatics of the Boko-Haraam, and the Christians of the south.
MINTs? You’d be better off investing in some of Mr. Murray’s products; enjoyable, sweet, and you know exactly what you get when buying them.