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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
An interesting book by Indian born economist Ruchir Sharma, the head of emerging markets at Morgan Stanley on which emerging countries he believes will be able to break out on the new few years.

Sharma is bearish on Thailand (too much political instability – this was written before the recent coup), Malaysia (the government is increasingly hostile to...
Published 1 month ago by Andres C. Salama

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars some insights but too short term
Some useful insights.

However the analysis of the Chinese situation is not accurate and this is the only one I know a little about and wish to comment on. China's government is in the process of continuing reforms. New road and railway construction can continue as there are 160 cities with a population of one million and over. A comparison with Japan 20 years...
Published 6 months ago by john akwils


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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 19 Sep 2014
By 
Andres C. Salama (Buenos Aires, Argentina) - See all my reviews
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An interesting book by Indian born economist Ruchir Sharma, the head of emerging markets at Morgan Stanley on which emerging countries he believes will be able to break out on the new few years.

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 those of Hungary and Bulgaria. 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.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TALKING TURKEY, 9 May 2012
By 
DAVID BRYSON (Glossop Derbyshire England) - See all my reviews
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One small consolation for the current economic pantaraxia is that many very helpful, intelligible and readable books on economics are being written and, it even appears, read. Whether or not you agree with me that we the democratic public have an outright duty to try to understand the economic issues we are invited to vote on, there is no denying that we are being given the opportunity. Ruchir Sharma comes with impressive credentials as the head of Emerging Market Equities at Morgan Stanley. That makes him knowledgeable, in addition to which he is a practising journalist, most publicly in Newsweek, and that has made his writing a model of clarity. What this book is about is economic growth. It is not about the question whether such growth is a good idea, although I suppose it is assumed to be some kind of good thing for the most part. Spurts of growth funded with easy money are not commended, but Brazilian-style constipation with growth opportunities neglected and postponed gets the thumbs-down as well. Subject to rational limits like these, the nations that Sharma inspects are assessed by their growth potential. Growth is also never asked to justify itself as an alternative to, say, freedom or social justice, and this approach at least makes for simplicity.

This is not to say that Sharma makes the mistake of trying to view economics in isolation from politics. For me, economics is a form of sociology - the study of how people behave en masse in the financial sphere. I can't foist this view on Sharma, but he says nothing that leads me to change it. Indeed, his political attitudes are a breath of fresh air in that stifling miasma of prejudice. You can see what I mean from the economies that get the best ratings from him. South Korea comes off best, and I suppose that is nothing surprising. China is another of his prizewinners, and before you say that that is nothing surprising either please be aware that Sharma repeatedly refuses to give any dutiful bonus-marks to democratic forms of government. On the contrary, he says that China proves that a command economy can do the economic thing just as well as democracy can. In this he is not airing some personal political prejudice - Vietnam by contrast is paraded as a miserable instance of how not to do things in a statist and authoritarian way. Back to China for a moment, let me say again that Sharma keeps his blinkers on, and in my opinion rightly. He is strictly talking about economic growth. China has not got round to a welfare state for one thing, which is a basic requirement of western democratic socialism. Deng's priority was - get the economic growth bit right first. That gets him high marks from Mr Sharma, and human rights are not even mentioned.

Of the emerging markets discussed, China happens to be one of the three that I have visited. Three weeks there in 2009, even in three widely different environments, only left me wishing I had world enough and time to know China better but grateful that I had been spared to see it at all. However on my way there I stopped off for a couple of days in Dubai, and I have a story about that which might interest you. This was late May 2009, and I had no wish to gawp at a bunch of hotels in Dubai City but rather to see the country, which after all is only about 100 miles wide. Bear in mind Sharma's context here, which is the role of rumour and (dis)information in creating economic reality, even temporarily. (All economic reality is only temporary, and that is another theme running through this book). My hotel driver's route out of Dubai City was via the `back door' and the sight I saw took my breath away, especially after the ruling sheikh had just assured us that all was well. It was like a scene out of The Day the World Stood Still. The overhead power cables were the biggest I ever saw, and so were the construction vehicles. Except that the vehicles were drawn up in inert lines along the roadside. We passed villages with rows of shops obviously put up to cater for the construction crews, and these were deserted. How I might have affected the world's stock exchanges if I had actually taken the photos I wanted to take and given them to the press I shall never know. Caution reminded me that my driver might report me to heaven knows whom, but I knew the truth about Dubai a few days before the world in general did.

The discussion of Brazil is thoughtful but I missed one element in it. I have family there these days and I can certainly endorse what Sharma says about the rise in living costs since 2006. The story comes down to - Brazil is uniquely self-sufficient in commodities but lacks a proper transport infrastructure. Even a visitor knows that, but what will be the effect of the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016? They have to do SOMETHING to improve mobility, but even if it is not all it might be, will it unstop the Brazilian Blockage?

The other interesting discussion concerns Turkey. Erdogan's government is slowly unpicking the secular constitution and recognising the plain fact that they have an Islamic population. Cue panic in certain western quarters, and this chapter, even more than the one on China with its placid recognition that democracy is not some be-all or end-all, is a major contribution to rational thought and debate that should be compulsory reading.

Just one oddity: is Sharma really crediting American growth between 1929 and 1950 to Hayek? I thought there had been some New Deal and a World War in that time. Nor was I aware that Japan's support for tottering firms was Keynesian. Perhaps I misread those sentences. Otherwise great stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars some insights but too short term, 4 April 2014
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This review is from: Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles (Kindle Edition)
Some useful insights.

However the analysis of the Chinese situation is not accurate and this is the only one I know a little about and wish to comment on. China's government is in the process of continuing reforms. New road and railway construction can continue as there are 160 cities with a population of one million and over. A comparison with Japan 20 years ago is flawed. Contrary to Japan which is shrinking (population -0.2%), China has still many steps to catch up and its population is still growing (+0.5%) without even taking account of the recent two child policy. There is still a huge under consuming class and in the next ten years another 200-250 million will move from the country to the cities. So, yes, China's growth will naturally slow down as it reaches a larger more mature economy but still growing at a considerable pace. Even 6% would be quite remarkable for an economy that has reached that size.

AS for the rest there are too many obsolete analysis that makes it worthy of a journalistic publication but not of a book. China has abandoned the one child policy; Thailand reverted to a well expected military regime; Turkey is becoming an Islamist dictatorship under Erdogan not worthy of the author's indiscriminate praise (no full disclosure here on the author connection with that country) and India so called democracy is limited to elections with rape becoming an ugly habit condoned by too many politicians. All that was certainly not forecast-ed in this book but not even imagined as a possibility that would disrupt its optimistic or pessimistic options.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every economist should read this, 16 Oct 2013
By 
RJP the Book Boy "Book boy" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Breakout Nations by Ruchir Sharma

The aim of the book.

This book is about the changing World economics and what may happen in the future balance of World trade.
The present situation.

There is so much going on in the World of business and economics at the moment that it is hard to keep up. New economies are emerging and growing while some Western ones are contracting at a rapid rate. At the time of reading this book the USA has huge debt problems and the Obama administration seems hard pressed to control the economy. Here in the UK it's cuts and more cuts. To some this is doom and gloom but read this book will show you how economies ebb and flow like the tide. The book looks at now and develops how the economic World maybe in the future.

Book structure.

Ruchir Sharama takes us on a journey around the World and shows where the smart money may need to go to buck the trend and grow. In the book there are some great insights into what may happen in the future and how the economic world may look in a decade or two.

In our global economy one mans loss is anothers gain and that is what I read from this book. Keep moving rather than fixing to find the new markets and be the first there to capitalise on the new fresh growing economy is the message. Another message woven into the book is wake up and change the way you do business as the World is changing very quickly and will wait for no one. That seems to be pointed at western economies and rightly so.
My overall view of the book.

In my opinion this is a sensible and controlled rather than sensationalist look at what we have now and where we are probably going from an author who has certainly experienced it all first hand. Read and take note is my advice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Power houses of the future, 22 July 2012
By 
Amazon Customer "Sussman" (London CA) - See all my reviews
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Does not have much economics jargon but covers cultural and traditional beliefs, and that coupled with few humorous stories and lessons that history teaches; make it an interesting read. This book is fun, but takes some of the claims with a pinch of salt. When I read something I keep the person's position in mind and make appropriate analysis from the claims made. Remember the author is a major investment banker! Therefore do not take their claims just on face value of these guys, but it just makes better sense to keep people's ideological positions in mind when reading their work. As is said there are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics. We can crank up numbers to prove anything but if we have an idea of where the person is coming from it makes it easier to take a more balanced view of things on hand. In general I liked the analysis the reasoning behind the predictions being made summary of various emerging nations.

What it reveals about countries like China and India is nothing new but is presented in a manner that it appears to be undoubted. Only time will tell whether what has been forecast will come true.
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4.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 17 April 2014
By 
RJW - See all my reviews
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Very surprising. A great read and thoroughly enjoyable. I will definitely be looking out for more work by the same author.
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5.0 out of 5 stars More than economics, 16 Mar 2014
By 
Ian Shine (England) - See all my reviews
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I fear the word "economic" in the title might put off a lot of people who would potentially be interested in this book. Written by a Newsweek contributing editor, the book is begins with 11 chapters dedicated to 11 different countries - 11 of the most important countries today, including Russia, China, India, Brazil and Turkey. The author provides a brief political and economic history, infused with anecdotes and insights gathered on the ground, rather than via textbooks or news stories, and gives the reader a sense of why each country has developed in the way it has, and how it is likely to face up to the changing economic realities of the world. It's almost like a sort of photo album capturing a group of the world's nations growing up, getting ready to leave high school, and profiling each one of them.
Sharma's style is very readable, but does not lack for insights. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Crystal clear economic analysis of emerging economies, 4 Feb 2014
By 
Ripple (uk) - See all my reviews
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Ruchir Sharma’s “Breakout Nations” is engrossing and fascinating for several reasons. Sharma is head of Emerging Market Equities and Global Macro (catchy job title) at Morgan Stanley Investment Management and here sets out to identify what the next emerging economy to develop will be. What makes this interesting is both the insightful rigour that he applies to his analysis but also the slightly chilling and cold analysis that an amoral, disengaged economic approach can have. It would be easy to add this to the current trend of “banker bashing” but in fact this is as much down to the economic approach of following the money. So while his analysis is invariably pretty spot on, it won’t please too many who read this with a social or environmental conscious. Until these “externalities” are factored into costs, they are effectively ignored.

Either way, it is fascinating reading both from a “where is the emerging economic development coming from?” and from a “how do banks think?” point of view. His writing style is clearly argued and he goes through the main emerging markets one by one, starting with the BRICs, with some sometimes surprising conclusions and always with well argued analysis. What I particularly liked was that too much writing on emerging markets seems to treat them all as if they are some homogeneous group and of course they are not. Sharma gets to the heart of the economic and political challenges they face. Anyone with an interest in macro economics, banking, or development and possibly history would get a lot of insight from this book. I found it endlessly fascinating.

I did have two slight niggles though. Firstly Sharma does like a name drop. He makes Tom Jones on “The Voice” seem like an amateur at the art. It’s all a bit mystifying because he writes with such authority and insight that he doesn’t need to mention that his was chatting with Putin to gain authority and, in fact, it almost makes you question his authority at other times. Perhaps this is a US/UK cultural thing. But it irritated the heck out of me.

The second issue is that his analysis is always backed up by statistics and yet the book is almost wholly devoid of charts and tables. There are some in the appendices but these are not really that useful. A simple table of the key metrics of the nations, possibly against those of say the US, UK and Japan for example would have gone a long way to putting some of this into greater context. It’s as if he is plucking numbers from a spreadsheet but he won’t let us look at it. If ever a book was crying out for the odd comparative table of data, this is it.

To balance my slightly petty gripes, I’ll add a petty plus - each chapter has a black and white photo of the country. Now, true enough they don’t add much and I’d rather have had the graph or table mentioned, but almost all black and white photographs are poorly reproduced in book form. Not this time. They are all clear with the correct contrast. It’s a small point but kudos to Allen Lane books for getting this right.

The bottom line though is that this is one of the best and clearly argued books on developing country macroeconomics that I have read and I would strongly recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in development. You might not like all the conclusions but I strongly suspect his is right on almost all counts.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An analytical treatise about emerging economies., 16 Jan 2014
By 
Jack Chakotay "Ender Brazil" (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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I enjoyed this highly readable, easily understandable book that reflects the author knowing his stuff. Rather than spout some jargon or rehash the content readily available in the financial sections of most weekend spreadsheets, Mr Sharma actually is quite exact in his analysis.

He leaves very little unturned in his global jaunts- from recognised regional powerhouses to ocountries to watch. Better still, he strips away the veneer that many boom markets have and many sources repeat.

I am a layman in these matters but this book has certainly gripped the attention. I am looking at the financial sections with a bit more fervour now and comparing their analysis on an emerging market with what Mr Sharma has to say.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Economic Development: What Works and What Doesn't, 21 Dec 2013
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Its difficult to exaggerate the quality of this book. Ruchir Sharma searches for the real keys to national development which are often not so obvious or easy to identify.

His whole analysis deals with probabilities rather than the pseudo-scientific laws, formulas and equations that have reduced post-war economics to a turgid mess. If the situation is probabilistic then his "Rules of the Road" are perfect guides to policy, pointing countries in the right direction without claiming to understand exactly how the mechanisms work.

His detailed look at development by country quickly disposes of misleading generalizations like BRICS. For example, India and Brazil prove incapable of building infrastructure (unlike China), guaranteeing growth = inflation in both cases, and Russia has yet to manufacture anything that the world wants to buy.

Equally the book is very revealing of the qualitative differences between successful developing nations.

A good example is the contrast on P.166 between South Korea and Taiwan. He says, "Though South Korean has a significantly larger manufacturing sector than Taiwan, it employs a much smaller factory workforce (about 15% of total labour, compared to 25% in Taiwan). It also has one of the most dense robot populations in the world. That means South Korea is doing a lot more with fewer workers and is much more productive than Taiwan."

Unexpected countries such as Turkey, Sri Lanka and Indonesia are following successful development paths and Sharma is quite happy to evaluate the sociological background to their policies.

In 1948 Sri Lanka received a British ex colonial favoured Tamil immigrant minority elite dominating the Sinhalese majority. This divided country slid into civil war with the Sinhalese eventually recovering power in their own country. Events such as these are ignored by approved economic "science" but Sharma convincingly shows unity in national recovery allowed Sri Lanka to exploit its long standing strengths of a highly literate population and a location on the key shipping routes to India and China.

He quickly disposes of the orchestrated western media view that Turkey is sliding into militant Islam. As he says, "There is almost no support for this worldview in Turkey where - even under the AKP - the state enforces a single moderate interpretation of Islam in schools and through the Religious Affairs Directorate. The vast majority of Turks see religion as a strictly personal matter ..."

The last part of the book looks at the poorest countries and the rich world in an equally enlightening way. As he says, "The boundaries of the Fourth World are defined not by poverty but by the rule of law, or the lack of it", and he evaluates the way that the flood of liquidity into the rich world forces speculation through taxing savings (interest rates lower than inflation).

Even Rupert Sheldrake gets a mention although Sharma doesn't give this reviewer's favourite Sheldrake Sheep Rolling story.
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