Indexing In A Globalized Era

July 19, 2007

Don't be so dour, Jim.  The history of globalization is a history of increased global prosperity, not just for developing nations but for the developed world as well. I'm not sure why that will change in the future.

The bigger problem historically has been wars that interrupt globalization --- see, for instance, WWI and WWII, which scuttled the great prosperity boom of the 1890s. And, of course, income disparities, which are a real threat to growth.

Speaking of globalization, did you see Kelly Haughton's op-ed in the Financial Times regarding indexing in the era of globalization? He points out that in today's global markets, indexing by country may not be appropriate. Why not index by company? Samsung, for instance, is one of the 70 largest companies in the world. But because it is based in South Korea, it's considered an emerging market stock and is excluded from major international indexes like MSCI EAFE.

"The most efficient approach to index creation ensures companies are added to indices when they become investable by global investors, not when some arbitrary rule comes into effect," he writes.

Well?

[I do agree with your thoughts about energy, btw:  the current situation is tenuous.  Again, I'm less concerned about the long-term issues: just look at all the money being thrown at alternative energy, shale oil, oil sands, etc., plus the nascent but very real steps towards conversation. The problem is that there are very long lead times involved, and until the current wave of investment starts to pay off, the balance of supply and demand will grow increasingly tenuous.]

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