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Motley Fool Global Gains / GGM: Global Gains Philosophy
|Subject: The Rush To Invest In Frontier Markets||Date: 8/20/2012 5:06 AM|
|Author: Starrob||Number: 5121 of 5162|
"If any event could illustrate the fragility of the BRICS conceit, it is the recent blackout in India, which left as many as 600 million people without power for up to two days. More than anything else, it reveals the sorry state of India's governance. Yes, there are some extenuating circumstances: an unusually hot and dry monsoon season, which has reduced the available flow in hydroelectric plants while also causing the wealthy to use more power to run their air conditioners, while at the same time, farmers are using more power to run pumps bringing up irrigation water from deep wells.
But the real story is under-investment in power generation, in coal production, and in transmission and distribution infrastructure, which in turn are attributable to monopoly pricing, hugely inefficient subsidies, endemic corruption, and political stagnation. The power outage was unique only in its extent and duration. Businesses, households, and public institutions all rely on diesel generators, which to a large extent have gone from a backup to the primary source of electricity, as "load shedding" - the system of rolling blackouts that utilities impose to reduce the strain on an overtaxed network, which often deprive whole areas of a city of power for as much as 14 hours a day. The event, and the global publicity it has attracted, has put a dent in India's self-image as a nascent superpower. India has nuclear weapons and a space program—it launched a lunar probe in 2008 and has announced plans to send an orbiter to Mars next year—but it can't keep the lights on.
In Brazil, meanwhile, forecast GDP growth of 2%, sclerotic state enterprises, mounting inflation, a slumping stock market—the iShares MSCI Brazil ETF (EWZ) is down 11.3% so far this year—and an overall business environment ranked in the bottom third of countries by the World Bank have taken some of the bloom off that particular rose."
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