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Our Founder

David Caploe
Hon AB Harvard/ PhD Princeton

Dr David Caploe Featured in Global Media

Singapore Straits Times

April 7 2009

Featured Op-Ed: "Economic Watch": Focus on US To Lead Global Recovery

On April 7, 2009, the Straits Times -- the national newspaper of Singapore -- published a featured Op-Ed piece by ACALAHA CEO Dr David Caploe in its Economic Watch column entitled "Focus Still on America To Lead Global Recovery".

In this piece, David begins by observing the somewhat unnerving remark by US President Barack Obama, in the run-up to the G20 London summit, that "if there is going to be renewed growth, it just can't be the US as the engine."

He explains that this idea runs counter to the fact that -- for the last 60 years -- the entire global economy has been US-centered: countries either sell to the US -- or they sell to countries that sell to the US.

This set-up has created both unprecedented prosperity for the entire world AND a situation where problems in a small part of the American economy have cascaded into a worldwide financial and economic crisis unseen since the Great Depression.

As a result, Obama's policy towards the crisis is of deep concern not just for the US but the entire world.

In this context, his apparent unwillingness to challenge the power of the banks is disturbingly reminiscent of Japan's similar "policy" during the 1990s -- whose results were the so-called "lost decade" and "zombie banks", technically alive but in fact bankrupt.

He then examines the argument for China as "engine" of the world economy, concluding that, while perhaps possible in decades to come, such an idea is inconceivable for the foreseeable future.

Consequently, a crisis that began in the US is -- Obama's apparent desire aside -- going to have to be solved there too.

Click HERE to view David's article (PDF File).

NTU Alumni Club, Singapore

February 12 2009

ACALAHA CEO Dr David Caploe on
"Understanding the Global Financial & Economic Crisis"

Distinguished Speaker Series Swings Back Into Action

On the evening of 12 February, the Club re-launched its Distinguished Speaker series with an enthralling talk by Dr David Caploe -- Hon BA Harvard / MA - PhD Princeton -- on the global financial and economic crisis.

A rapt audience listened with complete concentration for more than two hours as Dr. Caploe -- President of the Singapore-incorporated American Center for Applied Liberal Arts & Humanities in Asia [ ACALAHA ] -- outlined the key dynamics of the current problems now sweeping the world.

He began by describing how difficulties in a small sector of the American economy have somehow created massive financial and economic dislocation in places as seemingly unconnected as China / Iceland / the UK / Japan, and even here in Singapore.

In his view, there are two keys to understanding how this disaster has occurred.

The first is that, since 1947, the world has had a "US-centered" political economy, in which countries either sell to the US -- China / India / Japan / Canada -- or sell to countries that sell to the US -- Indonesia / Malaysia / Vietnam / Thailand / Brazil etc. etc. etc.

As long as the domestic American economy is working reasonably well, this system is capable of generating prosperity across the globe, making possible the spectacular rates of growth experienced by China & India, as well as much of the rest of Asia over the past several years.

Unfortunately, according to Dr. Caploe, the US is now in the midst of a structural crisis that began in the year 2000, and continues to affect not just America's financial and economic health -- and hence the rest of the world's -- but also its ideological and political, as well as intellectual and media, sectors as well -- a situation that, unfortunately, seems more than likely to persist into the foreseeable future.

During a spirited Q & A session, several NTU alumni had a chance to not only ask intelligent and pointed questions, but also offer their own views and comments about our current problems, as well as beginning, in lively conversation with Dr. Caploe, the process of exploring some possible ways out of this disturbing situation.

The feedback has been so positive that the Club is considering inviting Dr. Caploe again, so those who missed him the first time around can have the opportunity to experience for themselves exposure to his unique perspective.

Click HERE to view NTU Alumni Club's Website which featured Dr. Caploe's talk

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New York Times Magazine

August 31 2008

ACALAHA CEO Dr David Caploe on US Economic Disaster

On August 31, 2008 the New York Times Magazine published in both print and on-line editions a letter from ACALAHA's President & CEO, Dr David Caploe, analyzing the catastrophic state of the current American political economic scene.

The published comment is a response to the article, Dr Doom, one of the "Ten Most E-Mailed" pieces in the Times for three days running following its appearance on August 15.

Despite the immense attention this article received, the Times published only TWO letters -- of which David's was one, the other from a leading proponent of the "peak oil" theory.

Click HERE to view David's Letter to NYTimes (PDF File).

Asia Business Forum - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

December 2 2008

Keynote Speech: The Global Economic and Security Crisis

On December 2 2008, David gave a keynote speech to a conference held by the Asia Business Forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Supply Chain Management Today.

The speech was entitled "The Global Economic and Security Environment of SCM Today."

David began by laying out the dynamics of the US-centered world political economy, helping Asian business executives understand how this structure means that internal problems in the American economy have serious implications for Asia.

In that framework, he then talked about the multiple aspects of the current crisis in the United States - financial / economic / political / ideological / intellectual / and media - and why that portends an extended period of difficulty for not just the US but the entire world.

During the lively and extended Q & A session - which ran over 30 minutes - he also addressed such topics as the differences between the current situation and both the 1997 and 1973 economic crises, a discussion that continued in the hall after the next speaker began.

The conference was attended by representatives of companies including Oracle / Infor Global Solutions / Northport Malaysia / Johor Port Logistics / Kimberly-Clark, as well as the Asia Pacific University of Innovation & Technology.

Singapore Straits Times

November 18 2008

Featured Op-Ed on on US Auto Crisis & Need for Single Payer Health Care

On November 18, 2008, the Straits Times -- the national newspaper of Singapore -- published a featured Op-Ed piece by ACALAHA CEO Dr David Caploe entitled "US Car Industry Crisis: Ideal Time for Health Care Reform.".

In this piece, David begins by pointing out how the "bailout" plan for Wall Street has turned into a "no strings attached" hand-out for politically connected corporations, including, although not limited to, the chronically - rather than acutely - ailing US auto industry.

He points out how the real reasons for the car industry's problems are its militant rejection of environmental concerns that automakers in every other country have fully embraced as well as the consistently poor quality of Detroit's design and manufacturing.

In that context, he rejects the companies' argument that the real problem is the cost of health care for their current and, even more important, former employees.

Nevertheless, he says, this crisis DOES present an unusual opportunity to introduce long-overdue changes in the entire way in which health care has been financed in the US, and is, as the headline notes, an ideal time for major reform in the American health care system.

At the same time, he argues this change can also be tied to an ecologically-oriented transformation of the US transportation - not simply car - industry, and proposes Al Gore as the perfect person to oversee such a valuable and much-needed project.

Click HERE to view David's article (PDF File).

Singapore Straits Times

October 18 2008

Featured Op-Ed on Critique of Paulson Bailout "Plan"

On October 18, 2008, the Straits Times -- the national newspaper of Singapore -- published a featured Op-Ed piece by ACALAHA CEO Dr David Caploe entitled "Plugging the Leaks in the Paulson Bailout 'Plan'".

Here David lays out the many problematic elements of the Paulson plan, as originally proposed and "justified" to Congress: no clear definition of either the "problem" or how the buying toxic assets "solution" would help anyone but those who had created the problem in the first place.

He details the absurd melodrama -- and sterility of the "debate" -- surrounding the bill's "passage" through Congress, and its subsequent failure to make ANY discernible impact on stock or credit markets worldwide, defying the Paulson / Bernanke claim investors were "demanding" it.

In that context, he examines the open plans of Wall Street to get in on the "pricing toxic assets" action -- since Bush / Cheney had spent several years purging the Federal government of its most talented officials, meaning the work had to be outsourced to the very sector that had created the problems in the first place -- immediately creating huge potential for conflicts of interest.

Given that, he lays out the "plan's" central analytic confusion among three key levels of "interest:" the system interest in un-freezing blocked credit markets and supporting stock / share exchanges; the public interest of taxpayers in keeping both the initial and "final" bill as low as possible; and the private interest of Wall Street actors in position to shift public money to their own private clients.

He concludes Paulson seems to have realized his initial plan was a disaster, not-so-subtly supplanting it with a more banker-friendly version of the British / Warren Buffett approach of re-capitalizing banks in return for preferred shares -- a shift that seems to have ended at least this first phase of what is clearly going to be a long and enduring crisis.

Click HERE to view David's article (PDF File).

Yomiuri Shimbun Tokyo

October 16 2008

Featured Op-Ed: "For US, Crisis Is Intellectual Too"

On October 16, 2008, the English-language edition of the Yomiuri Shimbun -- the largest circulation newspaper in Japan -- published a featured Op-Ed piece by ACALAHA CEO Dr David Caploe entitled "For US, Crisis Is Intellectual Too"

David notes the key intellectual task facing those who manage and guide market economies is to balance what Joseph Schumpeter called the "animal spirits" of capitalism with order and transparency.

In this context, he argues the current crisis represents a major intellectual failure in all sectors of the American elite, beginning with the Bush administration's indulgence of Wall Street "innovations" that have now collapsed and constitute the root cause of the massive crisis in global stock and credit markets.

He pays particular attention to the decision of the Securities and Exchange Commission in April 2004 to accede to the insistence of the top investment banks -- none of whom exists today in the same form they did then -- to create an unregulated "shadow banking system" , featuring the infamous credit derivatives, whose size is now an astounding $62 trillion.

From there, he notes the intellectual emptiness of both the initial formulation of the Paulson "plan" and the "debate" in Congress where it was eventually passed, as well as the almost total lack of ideas coming from either conventional academic economists, or the large and loud but equally inept US business media.

He concludes the US needs to acknowledge its cumulative intellectual inadequacy to date, and be willing to listen to relevant ideas whatever their source -- as seems to be the case with Paulson's adoption of key elements of the British "bank re-capitalization in return for preferred shares" plan.

Click HERE to view David's article (PDF File).

Singapore Straits Times

October 2 2008

Featured Op-Ed: "Four Horsemen of the American Apocalypse"

On October 2, 2008, the Straits Times -- the national newspaper of Singapore -- published a featured Op-Ed piece by ACALAHA CEO Dr David Caploe entitled "The Four Horsemen of the American Apocalypse".

Taking off from the unexpected defeat in the US House of Representatives of the proposed $700 billion Wall Street bailout -- led, unexpectedly, by Republicans -- David argues there are four main aspects of the current crisis racking the US and the rest of the global economy.

The first is economic, where the key issue is not the losses of private individuals and corporations, but, rather, the disturbing credit freeze that has been part of a panic-laden response. David outlines the many flaws in the so-called Paulson plan, and points to alternative ways of restoring confidence to money markets, and hence the free flow of credit, most of which have been so far ignored.

This leads to the second aspect, the political, where problems arise from a combination of years of empty rhetoric from all sides, as well as the immense presence of Wall Street and other lobbyists in the campaign finance strategies and coffers of both Democrats and Republicans.

The third component is ideological -- notably, the evident bankruptcy of the "free-market fundamentalism" that has provided the set of assumptions guiding the dominant orthodoxy of all sectors of the American elite since the accession to power of Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Finally, David notes the almost complete lack of substance in a celebrity-obsessed media that has simultaneously shown itself unwilling to challenge in any significant way the statements of entrenched powers-that-be, even when, as with Iraq, they have been demonstrably false.

He concludes that the cumulative effect of all these components, not just for Americans, but Singaporeans / Asians and the rest of the world, is going to preclude any quick solution, and everyone should prepare instead for a long hard slog back to "normalcy."

Click HERE to view David's article (PDF File).

Yomiuri Shimbun Tokyo

September 20 2008

Featured Op-Ed on Ideological Roots of US Economic Meltdown

On September 20, 2008, the English-language edition of the Yomiuri Shimbun -- the largest circulation newspaper in Japan -- published a featured Op-Ed piece by ACALAHA CEO Dr David Caploe entitled "Unfettered Markets Cause of US Economic Chaos"

The article outlined the basic dynamics of the New Deal, which had saved the US the last time it confronted such grievous economic conditions, the Great Depression, focusing on the role of government in regulating markets to insure the safety of the system as a whole.

David then traced the origins in the changes to the New Deal system to the events leading up to the election of Ronald Reagan, who saw government as the cause of economic problems, rather than part of any solution.

He then showed how both Democrats and Republicans had eagerly participated in dismantling the New Deal safeguards in the late 1990s / early 2000s, and how that uncritical embrace of "free market" ideology constitutes the root cause of the current crisis --

one not likely to be solved any time soon, precisely because the problems lie not at the level of a quick policy fix, but, rather the deeper level of assumptions and world-view within which all concerned have been operating for several decades.

Click HERE to view David's article (PDF File).

Singapore Straits Times

September 16 2008

Featured Op-Ed on US Mortgage Mess & Campaign Finance System

On September 16, 2008, the Straits Times -- the national newspaper of Singapore -- published a featured Op-Ed piece by ACALAHA CEO Dr David Caploe entitled "He Who Pays the Piper Can Call For Silence"

The article noted how the Federal government bail-out of the "private/public" mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- one of the largest such taxpayer-funded rescues in American history -- has received so relatively little comment from both Barack Obama and John McCain.

He argues this is because BOTH candidates have top staff people and, more importantly, a huge financial dependence on campaign contributions from Fannie and Freddie.

This inability to address, let alone solve, the mortgage disaster, can be seen in a whole range of other key issues, including the catastrophic American health care system, for the exact same campaign finance-related reasons --

a failure that, given the centrality of the US to the global economy, represents a major problem for the rest of the world, but about which it can do very little.

Click HERE to view David's article (PDF File).

Singapore Straits Times

September 2 2008

Featured Op-Ed on US Budget / Trade Deficits

On September 2, 2008, the Straits Times -- the national newspaper of Singapore -- published a featured Op-Ed piece by ACALAHA CEO Dr David Caploe entitled "It's The Fiscal Deficit, Stupid!"

The article explained why the US has been able to run significant balance of payments deficits for nearly 50 years now without the adverse consequences now unfolding for the US economy as a whole.

These, David explained, are a result of the combination of the unprecedented Federal budget deficits -- created by Ronald Reagan, and massively multiplied by Bush / Cheney --

who also actively encouraged the high-tech financial manipulation and chicanery on Wall Street that is the other main cause of the current disastrous state of the US economy.

Click HERE to view David's article.

All contents of this website copyright David Caploe, Ph.D., 1986, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2008.

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