ON OBAMA AND HIS ECONOMIC TEAM

The announcement of the economic team by President Elect Obama, in a way was quite impressive (at least from my perspective). It is a team of wide ranging views, with highly qualified academic and practitioners’ background. Tim Giethner, is from the Central Banking and financial policies background – given the banking crisis in America and Western World; Larry Summers – for his brilliance and ideas, as well knowledge and experience in the global economic matters; Christine Romer – an economist with deep knowledge about economic depression, recession as well as recovery (She and her husband, David Romer – are well known academician in the field of business cycle); Paul Volcker – one of the person that was the architect of pulling America away from the recession of post 1970s oil crisis;

These figures are “non-conformist” individuals, and in many ways have a very high integrity and selfless persons – meaning that they are not there to be Obama’s “yes” person. They are there to do the business of steering America and the world away from the threat of the biggest recession in the modern day history. What they are trying to do is to “restructure” American economy right from top down, as well from bottom up. This is the message that I got from hearing what have been said by Obama and this team. For this, many economists do concur with what they are trying to do. Off course, what is yet to be seen is how they are going to do it.

The first thing on their agenda is to carry out a massive fiscal stimulus to the economy – which are of long term in terms of its objectives. In another word – not just pure economic cosmetics: they are trying to rebuild American education system, health care system, infrastructure, and so on – which will make America to be competitive as a nation. These approaches are very much laudable.

Perhaps there are many things they will announce and implement as the time comes. It will be quite interesting things to watch and learn. Obama – knowing well that his job is to get the best advice, set the right goals and objectives – and lead the country where it need to be – seems to be the right leader for the occasion.

In this regards, can we Malaysians and our leaders learn the same lessons: get the best and most sincere brains to help us plan our economy and set the right policies for the long term prosperity of our nation? Malaysians do have many people with such brain and credibility. Many of them are abroad and even shy away from coming back to serve. As long as we practice the politics of arrogance and servitude, no one with such capability would like to serve and be intellectually insulted.

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