By J Mulraj
Dec 16-22, 2023

Thus ending strife and promoting growth?

Jingoistic political leaders don’t seem to be willing to end conflicts, those which cause needless deaths, injuries and emigration, but also prevent trade (witness Yemeni firing of rockets at commercial vessels going to the Suez Canal) and hence economic growth. Investors should, perhaps, sing a wish to Santa, thus, with thanks to Lou Bega’s Mambo no. 5:

 A little bit of harmony in my life,

A little bit of empathy by my side,

A little bit of peace is all I need,

A little bit of cooperation is what I seek.


The conflict in Ukraine seems to be, thankfully, in its terminal stage, though not because global leaders showed sagacity to end it. Instead, it’s because the Republicans in USA are using a continuation of Ukraine war funding as a lever to compel the Democrats to shut the open US border, through which all sorts of illegal immigrants are pouring in.

This Faustian bargain is beyond lunacy! It challenges the adage ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’. In USA the wrong policy of an open border, allowing thousands of unchecked immigrants entry into the US (the Democrats are hoping that illegal immigrants will vote for them in 224), is a tool for perpetuating another wrong, that of funding a war that should never have begun, one that the US, with a $32 trillion debt burden, can’t afford and one that, if continued, kills thousands of Ukrainians, in a war they can’t ever win.

Somehow, though, the two wrongs turned out to be right, inasmuch as it will probably lead to a negotiated settlement of the Ukraine conflict. And thus to the saving of thousands of young Ukranian lives.  A little bit of harmony in my life.

So, Santa, can you please put some common sense into the hate filled, vacuous, minds of global leaders, so that other conflicts can end? Let the Yuletide spirit prevail this Christmas.

Santa, please tell them, the flibertygibbet leaders, of the irreparable harm done to the environment by wars, by the amount of fossil fuel used to move tanks and artillery guns. By the incalculable harm caused by the deliberate blowing up of the Nordstream pipelines, meant to weaken Russia. This resulted in a huge amount of methane gas escaping into the atmosphere. Methane is far worse for the environment than carbon dioxide, a fact known to everyone except those who planned exploding the pipelines.

Tell them, Santa, to take the view, as COP28 did, recently in Dubai, that fossil fuels are a necessity until alternatives are available (with nuclear fusion seemingly the best option, though a decade away) so its best to contain the environmental damage best we can. That the money wasted on unnecessary wars would be better spent on the necessary carbon capture technologies. That the funds promised in the Paris COP by developed countries, to help emerging economies transition, should be honored and not merely be an empty promise, as it has been.  A little bit of empathy by my side.

So, Santa, continuation of wars, besides wasting money, can damage the environment, including your home in the North

Pole! Perhaps it may even reach a stage when you won’t even  find rain, dear Santa!

Dear Santa, weapons of mass destruction, accumulated by some countries, have become a huge danger, if the governing regime of those countries fall and these dangerous weapons fall in the wrong hands. If you have Wi-Fi in the North Pole, please watch this video about the dangers of weapons of mass destruction falling into the wrong hands, if, say the regime in North Korea, one of the largest holders of chemical weapons, were to fall. Watch this video, around 18:05 where he points out that if North Korea were to dump its stock of serin gas on Seoul, 2.5 m people would die instantly and 7.5 m. would be injured. Bio weapons are worse. A 100 kgs of anthrax would be enough to kill 3 m. people! A little bit of peace is all I need.

 In my previous column I mentioned a McKinsey study which pointed out that the amount invested by financia institutions and companies in global financial assets was over $ 1000 trillion! This mountain of money sloshing around is ignoring the geopolitical threats. At least till they manifest as a ‘black swan event’. To prevent this, global leaders need to sit together and jaw-jaw. Instead they stand apart and war-war. A little bit of cooperation is what I seek.

Last week the BSE Sensex closed at 71106, down 277 over the week.

Other than the geopolitical risks outlined above, economically, too, several countries aren’t doing well. Moody’s has downgraded China’s outlook, as its local Government debt is too high and poses a risk. This would raise financing costs for China.

In USA a 25% surge in bankruptcy filings is leading to fears of a harder landing than expected. Politically too, the US is stumbling. President Biden is at risk of being impeached and President Trump has been disqualified from Presidency by the Colorado Supreme Court. This political slugfest might tempt Xi to a misadventure over Taiwan.

The new year, 2024 will see crucial elections in Jan in Taiwan, in

India in May and in US in November. Let’s pray that Santa grants the world a gift of common sense to the polity.

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