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Depression-Proof Banking and Monetary Mayhem in Myanmar w/Chris Mayer!

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Published on Oct 15, 2012

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Welcome to Capital Account. Finance Chiefs from around the world are concerned about another global recession, the eurozone crisis, the US fiscal cliff and a slowdown in major emerging economies. They can't seem to agree on what to do about these concerns however. This is according to accounts from the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg citing news from the IMF's gathering over the weekend. Now, news from the IMF is naturally a "Big Picture" deal, but it's easy to lose sight of the nuances in the global economy when one focuses on multi-national corporations or global policy institutions. This brings us to a topic that we cover today with our guest Chris Mayer, author of Capital & Crisis. Chris travels the world looking for investment opportunities, and his travels recently had him visiting a country that most americans know about mainly through stories of self-emolating monks or sectarian tensions. This country is Myanmar, and it presents some interesting opportunities for investing, as well as one very interesting feature of "monetary mayhem," as Chris Mayer puts it. Apparently, the only foreign currency the people of Myanmar accept is the US dollar, despite all of its problems with only one caveat. The dollars must be in mint condition, and we do mean mint...not even creased dollars are accepted!

And, is the CEO of Morgan Stanley a "reformer" relative to his too big to fail peers, as he is reportedly trying to get the bank to run a less risky, less complex bank model? That's how he's been cast by some in the mainstream press, but what about banks that have stuck to conservative, vanilla banking even during the boom times? Some of these banks have survived despite losing major market share to financial sausage factories like JP Morgan for example. How does this work, and are there investment opportunities for what our guest Chris Mayer calls, Depression-Proof banks? Chris Mayer, author of "World Right Side Up: Investing Across Six Continents," joins us for the show to discuss all of these topics and more!

And last but not least, in today's "Loose Change," Lauren and Demetri tackle the latest absurd comments uttered by Federal Reserve Chief Ben Bernanke, who recently spoke out against "the benefits of currency management." He slammed emerging economies like China and Brazil, which are resisting pressures on their appreciating currencies by soaking up the excess dollars printed by Bernanke and his ilk through their own money printing. Is this a case of do as I say not as I do? Or is Bernanke really this clueless? And what about Europe? The latest news from the continent that bore the greatest tales of feudalism is that we may actually be witnessing the birth of feudalism 2.0. Demetri explains how the death of bankruptcy law and sovereign default has moved the world closer to what we lived under during the middle ages.

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