PRC SWF Official: European Welfare Undid Europe

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in ,, at 11/12/2011 03:09:00 PM
In the past, I have poked fun at poor investments the China Investment Corporation (CIC) has made as the PRC's sovereign wealth fund. If there ever was an example of a buy at peak price strategy, then CIC would have it: Blackstone, Morgan Stanley...the list goes on and on.

Now, however, its Chairman Jin Liqun offers an assessment that partly gets at the rather mixed performance of some of CIC's Western investments. Having reportedly been approached by European powers-that-be to invest in European debt--again, it beats me why an SWF whose normal purpose is to diversify away from sovereign debt of reserve currency issuers should buy more of that--he also needs to explain his newfound reluctance. As many Asians believe, the culprit for Western budgetary woes is the unsustainable welfare state as per a recent Al Jazeera interview:
If you look at the troubles which happened in European countries, this is purely because of the accumulated troubles of the worn out welfare society. I think the labour laws are outdated. The labour laws induce sloth, indolence, rather than hardworking. The incentive system, is totally out of whack.

Why should, for instance, within [the] eurozone some member's people have to work to 65, even longer, whereas in some other countries they are happily retiring at 55, languishing on the beach? This is unfair. The welfare system is good for any society to reduce the gap, to help those who happen to have disadvantages, to enjoy a good life, but a welfare society should not induce people not to work hard.
It's the oldest explanation in the book--they fail because they're lazy. While Jin's opinions are not necessarily those of current PRC leadership, they do hint at continuing Chinese reluctance to become the world's new lender of last resort as every country running into trouble nowadays--various European states, Pakistan, and so forth--are inevitably linked to PRC bailouts.