Imagine a world without bankers. That thought either rattles you to the core of your being, or it brings on the kind of ecstasy heretofore only available in a Southeast Asian massage parlor.
If you are a Congressman, addicted to the effluent from the wallets of your owners on Wall Street and their lobbyists in Washington, if you are a real estate developer who believes no amount of office space and no amount of luxury condominiums is too much, or if you summer in the Hamptons and Nantucket, then you are clearly in the first camp. If you are a typical ZH’er, spending your weekends at the range with your Beretta or sharpening the tines on your pitchfork, then welcome to SE Asia and the world of your wildest fantasy.
Yes, there is a country without banks as we know them, where no one knows the meaning of subprime, Alt-A, securitization, HFT, prop desks, insurance—portfolio or otherwise—CDS’, CDO’s, CDO^2’s, CLO’s or Too Big to Fail. There is a country where the financial crisis went almost unnoticed, where no bank assets went toxic because there are no bank assets. No depositors faced loss because there are few depositors. Mortgages did not take a hit because there are no mortgages. No car loans, student loans, or HELOC’s went bad. The country is the Union of Myanmar, known to many in the West as Burma. It is also called the Golden Land, which is entirely apropos given its wealth of natural resources.
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