Success or failure: What’s the difference?

If you are thinking that this is going to be a self-help thing, not a chance. If you have reached adulthood and have not learned the “rules” for success, you are in trouble. OK, here is a refresher course, just because…

Get sleep. Eat healthy but enjoy your food. Be nice; don’t try to make enemies. Spend “healthy” but enjoy your money. Balance “work hard” with “work smart” and do both. Use common sense. Family first.

Don’t you feel more successful already?

The divide between “success” and “failure” is found by looking at economies around the world. In just a glance at a world map, you can pick out the winners and losers without much trouble.

Africa—given the benefit of the doubt and on its best day—is overall a garbage dump of poverty and pestilence. You name the problem, Africa has it in biblical
proportions: Government and private corruption? Check. Religious and tribal warfare? Check. Domestic political rivalry with dead supporters on all sides? Check. The blame-game for failure reaches back to colonization and forward to the wife of the last “president” who liked young boyfriends and designer clothes.

In most countries, the last 50 years has been spent finding generous lenders from the World Bank to the Chinese government now. In fact, unless these nations are going to wait several more generations, maybe the only solution is to declare, “We are a colony of China” and force Beijing to actually take over.

Speaking of China, this is a true success story. Look at the great strides in poverty reduction. Of course, no one wants to talk about the near-slave like conditions Chinese workers have endured making stuff for the “rich” Westerners. At least there is a “chicken in every wok” and many have two woks in their one or two new condos or apartments.

The Chinese government though has a magic secret weapon. The economy does almost anything the government wants it to do. For example, housing prices are falling and that is an economic problem. A government in Fujian—and other places—has banned price cuts. Developers of unsold properties have been told they cannot lower prices. The property developer cannot employ “malicious price cuts.”

Problem solved.

In the United States, politicians had problems making sure they always had enough votes at election time. The answer was simple. Make the best paying ordinary jobs be provided by local and state governments and make it mandatory that those jobs be unionized.

If the union wanted a raise or better pensions for its public-sector employees, they negotiated the contract with elected officials. The officials magically could count on the union employees voting for them. That worked for decades. But now unfunded pensions require huge tax increases or cutting future benefits. They even have a “better” solution.

If a city has an airport, for example, just give it to the union. All profits go to pay the pensions and if in 10 years the airport crumbles to dust, the city can borrow money and build a new one. That is what they are thinking of doing in the state of Illinois to make up a $130-billion pension shortfall.

Back to the map: Look at the area bounded by the Pacific and the Indian oceans. Most everyone gets along despite many religions, languages and cultures. Government bills and debts are paid on time. The standard of living is slowly but steadily rising across all economic groups.

There must be something in the collective waters creating success. Maybe it is common sense.

E-mail me at Visit my web site at Follow me on Twitter @mangunonmarkets. PSE stock-market information and technical analysis tools provided by the COL Financial Group Inc.


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