Tuesday, 22 May 2012

This is not the Age of Reason

Business Mirror

THE Age of Reason was a cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe and America. A new way of thinking was developed with the idea that you needed to fully understand an idea and think it through entirely and carefully.
The 21st century is becoming the Age of Non-Reason where ideas are promoted and plans formulated and implemented without any attempt at complete consideration.

The euro currency system is collapsing. It was created in 1992 and finally came into practice in 2002. All the countries have the same currency; monetary union. All the countries have different spending; fiscal policy.

I wonder if there were any fathers on the countless high-level and high-paying committees that put the euro together.

First rule of being the father of teenage sons. You do not give them unlimited access to the credit card unless their spending habits are as mature as yours. And you monitor every transaction. Greece, Spain, Italy and Ireland were not responsible European Union credit-card users.

We are constantly bombarded by nonreasonable and nonsensical statements. It seems like every high-level elected official, not just in the Philippines, takes credit when the stock market goes up. The reason they can take credit they say is their administration’s economic policies.

But when the stock market takes a fall like the Philippine market is doing now, the leaders are deathly silent. To speak out during falling stock prices would be to have to admit that, just maybe, their policies also deserve the credit on the way down. The truth is, neither is true.

Markets go up and down on the flow of investment money into and out of a market. When the PSE hit 5,300, that was supposed to be a short-term top and selling point and that is what happened, elected leaders notwithstanding.

I think the dispute that the Philippines has with China is a great example of the new Non-Reason Age of the 21st century.

There is clear division on the worthiness of the recent protest at the Chinese embassy in the Philippines. The intellectuals behind the Age of Reason wanted content and substance to be equally important as form and ceremony.

The protests might have made more of an impact had the protesters decided to throw their Chinese-made cell phones at the embassy walls rather than planning to burn a Chinese flag made in the Philippines.

Some are calling for an economic boycott of Chinese goods. I have been doing that whenever possible for years. Most of the stuff that China makes is junk. You can only hope it breaks before it kills you like the toys made with leaded paint. The exception is, of course, products made in multinational-owned or -controlled factories…maybe.

Chinese food products are the same. I do not read Chinese but I wonder if you turn the characters for “Export Quality” upside down, it means “Not Fit for Human Consumption.”

But to think that a Philippine boycott of Chinese products means anything is unreasonable.

In 2011 China exported $1.898 billion worth of goods or $5.2 million every day. Last year PHL bought $5.34 million worth of Chinese products. PHL accounts for one day of Chinese exports. Yeah, a Philippine boycott will bring China to its economic knees.

The country is running out of power, prompting important discussions. Now PHL is talking nuclear power. Here again, there is very little depth. Nuclear power costs twice as much per kilowatt generating capacity to build, as a coal-fired plant. A nuclear plant takes five years to complete. Coal takes one year. Why are we discussing a five-year solution to a one-year problem?

It is not the Age of Reason.

On a personal note, have you lost money in the stock market these last two weeks? There is no reason for it to have happened. I invite you to MangunOnMarkets.com to see why.

E-mail to mangun@gmail.com, Web site is www.mangunonmarkets.com, and Twitter @mangunonmarkets. PSE stock market information and technical analysis tools provided by COL Financial Group Inc.

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