This is a special year in many respects. We have our own concerns at home. But those of us who find our work on financial terrain have our sights trained east, toward Europe, and west, toward China, more than in past years.
In the broader population, there is new apprehension for effects we don't know but must nevertheless judge. Will European states muster a defense to the behavioral contagion of financial panic? Will they find a way to use their inter-dependence to make Europe financially stronger? Or will they find that too many divergent interests must agree to save the European experiment? How will the U.S. be affected?
Looking toward China, many say that that nation's economic growth cannot continue without structural changes. Can China instill its new, investing middle-class with confidence that financial markets will provide for its future? From our larger companies to our smaller entrepreneurs, we are doing business in China. Can we have confidence that China isn't the latest iteration of — pick your era — the Tulip Scandal, the silver-mine frauds of the Old West, the S&L bust? And how should we deal with these risks in a global economy?
These are questions that require that admirable quality we often call vision. When we speak of vision, we speak of visionaries. That is, people who have stepped out from the crowd and revealed something that the rest of us could not see. There are false visionaries, who inspire us to act based on what we or they wish might be. But the true ones give us honesty, and invaluable leadership.read more