Sunday, December 07, 2008

Bill Clinton Lecture - Q&A

This would be my 2nd blog article on Clinton's talk. The earlier one was on his speech and this one is on the Q&A part. For the earlier part, do read it here .

Clinton's response on the Q&As are:-

There have been some subprime during his administration, where people get mortgage even though they have no money and slowly have to pay back more. But what caused today's problem is mainly due to the institution that started to buy the sub prime in 2004-06, and the rating agency hasn't been doing its job. Institution leveraged it till about 33:1, instead of the ideal 10:1.

Clinton reminded that as Malaysia gets more successful, we would get more integrated into the world, and we would need to have new source of jobs every 5-8 years. And US have failed to have its new source of jobs for the last decade and it does not have good job strategy.

Within the recent Bush administration, it has 5 tax cuts, and 43% of American insurance are paid by government, and the government funded it through borrowing from China and Saudi Arabia. Clinton felt that US shouldn't have tax cut. During Clinton's administration, it was his hope to pay back all the debt to 0.

What currently Obama should do is to bring in more deficit, to create liquidity in the market and then when economy moves, only try to reduce the debt. He should try to create a floor on asset and get economy going. This situation is similar to 1930. Today, millions of Americans have loan amount that is more than the value of their property. Last year, 1.5 Million Americans face foreclosure, and this year is estimated to have 2 Million people, and if each of this cost about USD250,000. That's almost the amount of the entire stimulus. The stimulus would be dragged down by the foreclosure. Today, US banks still have USD600 Billion with Federal Reserves, but they are not willing to use it, as they do not want to lend.

When Clinton took over the administration, the debt was very high and interest rate was very high. Americans save too little.

Globally, we have economic instability, and the system might collapse. Today, 130 Million of children do not go to school, and we need to do something in it.

The current global response to reduce green house gas is not sufficient. For it to be effective, we need to cut by 80%, when the world population is going up from 6.5 Billion to 9 Billion.

One way is to try to put as many girls to work, so that we can slow down the number of new born and this would be an indirect family planning.

World Bank has also recently admitted that it has not been doing enough in the last 30 years to build up agricultural capacity.

Clinton also highlighted that if US, China, India and Russia can increase their energy efficiency to the level that Japan has, it would cut down 25% of green house gas. That would be a major booster. All these would need a global response.

When Clinton being asked about the biggest challenge for his Clinton Global Initiatives, he said that when they started in 2003, very few Aids patients have access to medical aids. Most of those who got aid are those from Brazil and Thailand, as their government could afford. What Clinton did was to negotiate a bulk purchase contract to push down the prices. The company still make money, but now through volune, rather than huge margin. This allowed more people the access. The cost of medical aid per patient per year is now about USD60-100. This has shed about 90% of the original price 5 years ago. Today, 4 Million people get medical aids for AIDS, including 1.4 Million through Clinton Global Initiatives.

Clinton argued repeatedly that those traders need to make money and his job is to create a sustainable business model. And the main challenge is that there is lack of clinics and medical staff to test the patients.

He highlighted in a rural village, where 2 orphans lived. A girl aged 12, have to raise her brother who is age 8. Their total living space is about 4 times that TV that Clinton was watching. After this Clinton Global Initiative saved him, he went to Grade 3 when he is 15 years old. Clinton said to him that "Make sure you stay in school." and his reply was "Absolutely. I want to be a doctor in the future to help others.". And this is certainly amazing and give hope to us on the world population. And this boy was rescued by an uneducated women who was trained to conduct the medical test.

Clinton highlighted that oil/coal may not be the most efficient energy. Landfill is not the right solution either, as it is an eyesore and produce a lot of green house gas, which is 23 times more than CO2. If we can process this waste, we can reduce this green house gas and create job and this waste can be created into biofuel.

Clinton Initiatives also helped to retrofit buildings, which help it to reduce energy wastage and reduce utility bill.

For US, actually, there is enough wind power to electrify entire US, but there is no incentive to invest in it.

For Denmark, it has 0% increase in energy usage and it generated 25% of energy through wind power. Philippines generate 24% of energy through geothermal.

Clinton ended with saying that we now have the biggest economic opportunity, and we should start thinking on seeing the world of what it could be.

Hope you guys enjoy reading this sharing of Bill Clinton's lecture.

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Would encourage any of my blog readers to share with me any event that you come across. As long as the event/activity/initiative is education/charity/youth oriented and is not-for-profit, I would be more than happy to post it to share!

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