by Justin Rowlatt BBC
The question on a lot of people’s minds is the state of the global economy. Some are predicting a return to recession and at best others believe we will see a period of stagnation.
With global stock markets taking massive hits in the last few months over fears about the eurozone and American economies, what can be done to ease these concerns?
The American investor and financial commentator Jim Rogers says the world is going through a historic shift that will see a period of slow growth. However, he is not worried.
On the BBC World Service’s Business Daily, Justin Rowlatt began by asking Mr Rogers how long he expected the US economy, the engine of global growth, to stagnate for?
Transcript of the interview:
Jim Rogers: I hope it’s only one decade of loss that we lose in America. Japan has had two lost decades now, as you probably know, and America is in much, much, much worse shape than Japan.
America is the largest debtor nation not just in the world, Justin, in the history of the world. We have serious problems. They are not addressing the problems in America. So I hope it’s only one or two decades we lose. It may be three or four.
Justin Rowlatt: So what do American politicians need to do?
Jim Rogers: First they need to get a little education about the rest of the world and about their own economic situation and then we have to change our tax code dramatically. We have to cut spending with a chainsaw; not with an axe, with a chainsaw.
We got troops stationed in over 120 countries around the world. I mean the politicians have sent them there you know, and those military establishments are making things worse for America, not better. We got to change our total way of thinking just as the British did when the British started facing reality.
Justin Rowlatt: When you say face reality, you seem to be suggesting that the age of American supremacy is over?
Jim Rogers: Absolutely, aren’t you? Listen to the BBC and you will hear what’s going on in the world. The 19th century was the century of the UK, the 20th century was the century of the US, the 21st century is the century of China, of Asia, Justin.
I mean, here is a simple fact. The largest creditor nations in the world now, Justin, are China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore. Those are all Asian countries. This is where the assets are. This is where the energy is, the dynamism is. You know who the debtors are and where they are.
Justin Rowlatt: I mean the Chinese economy, for example, just to take one Asian economy, isn’t looking so healthy itself, is it? I mean, yes, it’s still growing, but there are these real concerns about inflationary pressures within the economy, which could derail Chinese growth, couldn’t they?
Jim Rogers: Extremely insightful of you. Yes, China has got some problems and they will continue to have problems. Fortunately, they realised the problem. They are trying to cut back on the inflation.
They have made some mistakes too. They should have opened their currency to make it a convertible currency. The fact that it’s not convertible and all that money trapped in China is just adding to the inflation. So yeah, they are making mistakes too. Still, I’d rather be with the creditors than with the debtors any day.
Jim Rogers has taught finance at Columbia University’s business school and is a media commentator worldwide. He is the author of Adventure Capitalist, Investment Biker, Hot Commodities, A Gift to My Children, and A Bull in China. See his website.