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Eavesdropping on Dead Presidents

Author: Bill Barnett. Category: News Column - Property Report SEA. Posted: 5th Nov 2013

In a world gone mad it's becoming increasingly apparent that politicians remain intent on wrecking havoc on global property markets.

The most fitting example, of course, remains the smiling global poster child for countries that still think they rule the world yet can't even master the task of taking the top off a can of potato chips.

Imagine for a moment if the US President had the vision to refocus all of the might of the NSA, CIA and military away from a continual search for the next great war, and instead turned to real estate.

Forget listening in on Angela Merkel, get the unlisted numbers for Donald Trump or the Candy Brothers. Instead of the constant buzz of killer drones in the skies over Pakistan; what about airborne promotions for condos in Karachi? How about having the US Treasury provide long term zero-downpayment financing for that oversupply of one million vacant residential units in Spain?

Tap into the new markets - Palestinians, Rohingya - relocate entire populations from those sinking Pacific islands. There is no need to settle for retail sales to drive the global economy - tweak up to investment grade baby and maybe even offer some perks like a furniture package. These people have nothing, so imagine the economic upside of selling them everything? Now we're talking.

Down through the years, the US's two passions for war and getting rich have often collided and collaborated, but these days it's a one trick pony. Death, destruction, but with little thought over the next big deal. I'm not quite sure if Obama is a condo man or in the market for a fixer upper, but a real estate reality fix might bring him back from that eye in the sky.

Of course, it's not just the US. Everywhere you turn in Asia politicians continue to act irrationally with little interest in the prosperity of the people they are meant to serve. There's pork barrel talk in Manila, Jakarta's wayward liquor ban, Thailand's hell-bent amnesty push and Malaysia's conspicuous lack of an opposition. As for China, torch one more car in Tiananmen and all hell is going to break loose.

Despite a love hate affair with political personalities, most nations still mostly put dead politicians on their currencies. With hard cash being a symbol of capitalism and property sitting on one of the highest branches, this unsettles me. Forget the deal-killing political faces on paper money. Incorporate something more exotic that depicts our real aspirations - sexy girls, or guys, or both, whatever your inclination. Or cars, retail brands, luxury goods - even Steve Jobs.

My point is that politics and politicians are the real enemy of economics. It's not populations - people are generally too stupid. Consider Bieber Fever or K-Pop, or even Formula One. Germany should just replace Merkel with Sebastian Vettel and I can guarantee Obama would cease and desist all spying immediately. In a manner of speaking it would be like a collective sleeping pill. Calm, devoid of interest and so vanilla life-like it would make a Scandinavian blush.

Certainly the NSA has my number, but all they will hear is muttered conversations about dog grooming appointments and calls from telemarketers that start with "I'm not here to sell you something", followed by me hanging up the phone or blowing a whistle into the ear of the Filipino on the other end of the line.

Perhaps I have dug too deep? But next time you reach into your pocket, purse or punch up an ATM, just imagine what it would be like if all those dead presidents hadn't turned up at the party and only the shining face of Vettel was starting back at you from the crisp new note?

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C9 Hotelworks Founder and Managing Director Bill Barnett is a noted columnist, author and leading authority on travel trend, hotels and property.

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