Monday, December 24, 2007

Time's "Thing" of the Year: Like who cares?









There was a time – many years ago – when Time magazine was an “institution” (Henry Luce, etc.) and I used to read it from cover to cover. I even received an award from ex-editor Henry Grunwald when I graduated from the Columbia School of Journalism and was offered a job in their “Discover” magazine (didn’t take it). In any case, since those days Time was gradually transformed into the older and serious brother of People magazine, and now it has basically become the Lenin Mausoleum of American journalism. Which begs the question: who really cares which person or thing (remember “You”?) Time chooses at the end of the year? Time has decided to put Vladimir Putin on the cover this year. Wow! I don’t plan on reading the reasons for their choice. I guess that it’s something along the lines of Russia turning into a renewed “threat” to the West? Putin=Peter the Great=Stalin? Cold War II? My “thing” of 2007 is the move by Government of Singapore Investment Corp. and an “identified Middle East investor” to inject a few billions of dollars into the to the financially squeezed UBS, a leading Swiss bank and Europe’s fourth largest. It signals an historic process in which the balance of global economic power if beginning to shift. And apropos magazines: There was also a time when I enjoyed reading the Christmas season’s issue of the Economist which used to include very clever items about such issues as, say, why do midgets tend to vote for conservative parties. This year the issuelooks and reads like a recycled National Geographic

2 comments:

Dennis Dale said...

Watching sovereign wealth funds take stakes in various Wall Street firms (what are we up to now, four or five?) in return for desperately needed cash infusions gives me the sense that I'm watching a household being repossessed, or a shaky borrower doubling down by refinancing.
I'm hopelessly out of my element with this stuff, but it seems to me that the significance is either being missed or willfully played down in the media.

Global Paradigms said...

You make a good point. I think that we need to make a distinction between SWFs in, say, Norway amd Singapore that are basically nothing more than huge funds that operate based on market principles; they want to make money, and those that are under the control of, say, Russia and China some of the SWFs are basically arms of the government and where the national/political interest can overide the profit interest.