The US presidential elections happen once in four years, but perhaps for the first time in its more than two century existence as a nation, the entire race to the job of the most powerful man in the world was an issue that impacted and concerned people from around the world. Whether it was hockey-mom in the US, citizens of Kenya or most of the people we meet here as part of our day to day life, everyone wanted to know what was happening and who, finally would get to the post.
This election also managed to polarise people around the world. You now officially know from a website called iftheworldcouldvote.com that whether the US citizen chose to vote democrat or republican, the world seems to vote overwhelmingly democrat. Good luck to the American people and a whole lot of it to the new president-elect Barack Obama, who shoulders an almost Herculean load with a 15 trillion dollar national debt, a financial system that seems like it will shudder to a halt any moment and the hopes and aspirations of millions of ordinary citizens adding to his woes.
One wonders why he would want the job in the first place?
The American automotive industry is definitely looking to their government and new President with more than a little hope for funding to tide over the current slump in demand and to allow for a reorganisation of their products and processes. They have a major plus point in their favour in that government has already stepped in to help the financial industry and may do the same in the case of auto, even if just to protect jobs and ensure that people can pay their mortgages in time.
It is in times like these that we realise how sensible the old way of doing things was, where access to markets was controlled and where the flow of money across borders was limited. In today’s world, when America sneezes, China catches a cold and we get splattered in our part of the globe. But with the free market, it isn’t just the American car industry that is trying to make the most of our region’s relative stability and affluence. This month, we were told by Proton’s genial MD that they too found the region to be of strategic importance in their export efforts. The interesting bit is that in their case they are looking at entry level offerings, while the American brands are busy selling us affordable SUVs and pickups that they aren’t able to sell in the US.