Why Go Global?

The arguments for global investing are reasonably familiar to everyone—they proceed from the undoubted rapid integration of the world's economies and financial markets since the collapse of the Soviet Union (and with it, collectivist economic ideas)—but perhaps they bear repeating briefly. Here are the main points.

The world has become a very small place. Today we can e-mail someone halfway around the world, call him to let him know we need a quick response, conduct final discussions through instant messaging, text-message over a final comment, then fax over the signed contract, all as simply as doing business with the fellow down the street. And when the initial prototype is ready for review, our supplier in Bangalore can FedEx it to us and we'll have it the next morning. Instantaneous communications push the idea of global investing in many ways large and small, but the main thrust of modern telecommunications is that our fear of things foreign dies out quickly in the glare of familiarity and habit.
Everyone's a capitalist. For those of us who were already in midcareer when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989, it seemed as though one day half the economies in the world were centrally managed and the next day none of them were. That's an exaggeration, of course—witness Cuba, Venezuela, parts of the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, and even China, to a larger extent than its boosters want to acknowledge. But it is certainly true that the demise of the Soviet ...

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