PUTIN RAPS WEST FOR NATIONALIZING ECONOMIES

"Whatever happened to open markets?"

Vladimir Putin is relishing his new-found fame. Since retirement from politics, he has become one of the top-paid business speakers with his angle on the demise of Western economies.

“Whatever happened to the promise of capitalism?” he asked at a UN-hosted conference in New York yesterday.

“Just have a look at the USA. They panicked during the ‘Credit Crunch’ and nationalized their mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

“They nationalized AIG, a massive part of their insurance industry. American Airlines, the largest United States airline, also had to be bailed out by government. Now General Motors has gone the same way – the pressure from Chinese manufacturers just proved too much.

“Have a look at the realities in Great Britain during the past few years. First Northern Rock was nationalized, then came the railway network and the energy companies.

“Whatever happened to the promise of free markets and unbounded capitalism?”

This is a question that is ringing true in the heads of many private investors in the West. Several countries now have firm plans to make personal communications a basic human right. The idea is for the state to provide everyone with free broadband mobile services to drive economic activity. Stock prices of mobile phone companies in China, the EU and the US crashed.

“How can you call this anything but nationalization?” said John Townsend, CEO of Vodafone-Kingfisher.

Putin clearly agrees with that sentiment: “Welcome back to a socialist world!” was his closing remark at the UN event.

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