Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracle Hardcover – May 1, 2012
|New from||Used from|
|Hardcover, May 1, 2012||
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
In lucid prose Sharma overturns conventional wisdom, highlights new trends, and discovers new sources of growth. This is the most interesting book on the new economic landscape that I have read in years. -- Fareed Zakaria A fascinating gallop through the countries at the edges of the developed world. Not only does he challenge the accepted wisdom - that China and India will motor on, ad infinitum - but he comes up with some surprising candidates for the next decade's economic stars. Sunday Times This is a great road-map to the new and better-balanced world in which we will all live, and an encouraging one. Independent This is a book of fascinating analyses which argues that the growth nations of the future will emerge from the margins of the world economy. It will tell you the price of a cocktail in Rio and bases one fruitful line of argument on the cost of a bedroom in the Four Seasons hotel chain around the world. The Scotsman Breakout Nations works best as a compilation of highly illuminating country vignettes - similar, say, to Michael Lewis' Boomerang (2011) - rather than an overarching analysis. But this is hardly an affront. As with Mr. Lewis' work on the European crisis, for sheer readability and insight on the various parts of the ongoing developing world drama, [...] you won't find a better choice... Jon Anderson, Wall Street Journal
About the Author
Ruchir Sharma is head of emerging markets at Morgan Stanley, a position which lends him a truly global perspective and first-hand experience of the world he is describing, as well as affording him unique access to top CEOs, key finance ministers and heads of state. He is an occasional television commentator, on CNBC and in India, and a regular columnist for Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal and the Economic Times of India.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
Sharma is bearish on Thailand (too much political instability – this was written before the recent coup), Malaysia (the government is increasingly hostile to market mechanisms), Taiwan (the economy is centered on the export of a few products, like computer components, in which companies don’t have a lot of market power), Mexico (the economy is in the hand of just a few businessmen, more interested in gaining rents than in generating genuine growth), Brazil (there is still a lot of macroeconomic instability and the country has not invested in the infrastructure needed for future growth), Russia (based on natural resources and dominated by oligarchs) and South Africa (the economy is too regulated, and too much of its wealth is concentrated in too few white hands). In the emerging markets of Eastern Europe, he likes the future prospects of Poland and the Czech Republic over that of Hungary. He thinks China has already consumed all the low hanging fruit and will be growing at more normal rates in the future. Regarding Vietnam, while admitting the recent years have seen large economic growth, he doubts the country will be able to turn into a second China (its education system is poor and its politicians are less able than the Chinese). India needs to tackle crony capitalism if it wants to pursue a sustained path of high economic growth.
He is optimistic about South Korea (almost the only country, except some oil producers, that have graduated from a poor to a rich economy in the recent decades), Turkey (he praises president Erdogan for leaving behind the long conflict between the secular military and the Islamic masses), Philippines (he believes the new government will be able to put forward reform), Indonesia (among the best run nations of Southeast Asia) and Sri Lanka (now that the long civil war is finally over, he believes the economy will be able to grow).
Sharma believes that as the decade-long commodities boom winds down, the big winner will be the Western world, who will have to pay less for the commodities it buys and especially the United States, who remains at the frontier of new technological products. If you read regularly the world economic news, you won’t be reading here something terribly new, but it is an interesting read nonetheless.
Two caveats on my rating. First, much of the analysis and framework in the book is presented as being "fact". I would do the same in writing a book (people are, after all, looking for your view). But as a reader I think it is important to keep in mind this is the process followed by one very experienced individual. A careful read shows that even he is saying things can change immediately and many other things will matter. But in much of the book it would be easy to drift into thinking he is providing "the answer".
Second, I felt the book was a little unstructured at times. It would have helped to have more of the structure laid out in the front of the book so that as I read I had some idea where we are headed. I think there is a very nice structure there in many parts of the book - he starts with a few well known countries and then uses them as benchmarks as we explore much more of the world - but it is only after reading it that I see the structure. It reads a little like a bunch of individual analyses that he then put together (and given his acknowledgements thank an editor for a magazine he publishes in, that may be the basis).
Neither of these detract so much that I dropped a star. Rather, I think they would be helpful for readers to know so they can get the most out of what is a very interesting book.
Being responsible for important asset allocation at a major wealth management firm naturally means the author will have to take views and make decisions based on their beliefs and given their knowledge. The author believes that much is at risk in Brazil, India, China, Mexico and Russia. For him, he favours Korea which has managed to move very much into the category of innovative countries focusing on consumer demand, which the author makes the point of showing that consumer goods is where the long term growth is. He focuses on distribution of wealth, where retained profits are being invested, what the governments are doing and the nature of their trade and reform agendas. These commentaries are very straightforward to read and much information is included in a concise fashion. The author discusses what has been working for economies and spends time considering what might go wrong for them in the future.
Despite enjoying much of what was written, there is a fair amount of opinion that is marketed as fact and there are many points he makes that the author's own commentary discredit. In particular the author has been making the argument that easy monerary policy is just fuelling speculative commodity demand and has been very detrimental in the recovery. That is speculation, not fact and there is no counterfactual we can point to. Commodity speculation might have been increasing but there has been fundamental demand growth in commodities due to Chinas focus on FAI growth. Monetary policy no doubt can impact the price but the degree is not in the least bit obvious. Another example of reasoning the can be discredited is the observation that growth in post war periods is higher than average (this is obvious isnt it?) and then makes the comment that markets dont price that growth aspect properly, several pages later there is another statement concerning the probability a nation goes back to war having recently emerged as being 40%. That would explain why people find if hard to buy equity in countries recently emerging from war wouldnt it? The author's narratives are fun to read and he debunks much that people talk about when it comes to emerging markets. The economic commentary is suspect and much of what the author states with confidence is just his opinion for which many with much evidence strongly disagree. Consider the example of Turkey, a country the author very much is a fan of which has recently been the target of the economist (after this publication) as well as the subject of a comprehensive GS piece in which on robust statistical measures it has significant risks or consider Korea which has large demographic issues which it faces and high personal debt levels which the author casually mentions. Which is right, who knows, but the authors views are definitely not unbiased and one should not invest in his favorites without doing more research.