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My guest for the 28th episode of the Hale Report is Dr. Marsha Vande Berg. I got to know Marsha when she was CEO of the Pacific Pension and Investment Institute, a thought-leadership organization for senior global institutional investors. The conferences she ran were legendary, a place where emerging issues were avidly discussed by market participants.
Since then, she has held a variety of advisory positions, with a special focus on India, and reflecting her long-time roots in the San Francisco area, data science. She is also a leading voice in the debate about sustainability. A former journalist, she earned her doctorate in German Studies at Vanderbilt. Her broad interests and keen intelligence illuminate the changes we are now seeing in globalization.
Marsha is an original EconVue expert, one of the first people I asked to join our network. She has a truly global macro outlook on the world, and the people who run it. She now heads her own consultancy, MJGlobal Insights. Her directorships have included Rand Corporation, the Asia Foundation, the Japan Society, and Tata Capital. She was also a fellow at Stanford University Distinguished Careers Institute.
This month will be eventful in Asia, a region Marsha knows very well. There is a new conservative president in South Korea, and the Quadrilateral Strategic Dialogue begins on May 24th with the US, Japan, India and Australia, which will bring President Biden to both Seoul and Tokyo. The US has urged Taiwan to strengthen its military arsenal, while China struggles with an unprecedented lockdown of some 400 million people. On Saturday, North Korea launched a submarine-based ballistic missile, which pierced the skies over the Sea of Japan. Does the Indo-Pacific really exist, or is it merely an aspirational policy?
It is hard to imagine someone more knowledgable to discuss all of this than Marsha Vande Berg. Some of my questions:
· Before we explore your global views, can you share with us what is going on in San Francisco and Silicon Valley? We’ve recently seen the former darlings of the tech world come under fire. Is the innovation flame still going strong?
· You were one of the first people to discuss sustainability and corporate governance. In a world that faces so many challenges, is ESG gaining or losing priority?
· The Cato Institute proposes that the Biden Administration should work with the WTO to remove all barriers to what they call “green goods” to promote sustainability and fight climate change. Should we be pursuing this?
· Germany seems to be in the middle of a policy transition, in terms of both defense and energy, the catalyst being the war with Russia. Do you think that this will stall efforts to utilize more sustainable energy?
· The Quad meetings will be held soon in Tokyo. In the face of China’s rise, Japan is becoming much more of a force in regional politics. What do you think about former Prime Minister Shintaro Abe’s pronouncements on Japan’s new role? What do you think the outcome of these meetings will be?
· You have deep experience in India, serving on the Tata Capital board. How do you see India’s somewhat tricky position given recent developments in Russia and Ukraine? Is the US taking the right steps in this relationship?
· So now to the really big picture, the US and China. How do you see things?
· Do our global institutions need a reset? The WTO, IMF, nothing exists for taxation, and the WHO has no enforcement arm.
I hope you enjoy our discussion as much as I did. For a full list of articles by Marsha Vande Berg, please visit her EconVue expert page and click on Posts: https://econvue.com/experts/marsha-vande-berg
Thank you to the people behind the scenes who make EconVue possible, our managing editor Ying Zhan, and our producer, Sam Fu. Please visit our website to sign up for alerts about our next podcast with the former prime minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd to discuss his new book, The Avoidable War.
With all best wishes,