Sunday, September 8, 2013

Olympics 2020 in Tokyo - What a Shame

So we had 3 final contenders for the 2020 Olympics i.e. Turkey, Japan n Spain. End result was that Japan was chosen to be host. The decision to leave out Turkey is understandable - it is still an emerging nation and it won't be able to gear up to infrastructure requirements over the next 5 to 7 years - fair point.

What is incredible is that Japan was chosen over Spain and that is quite a disaster. There seems to be a marked pattern in the way venues are being chosen for such big ticket events. UK was chosen to host the previous round [because BoE keeps printing money] and now Japan [because BoJ has gotten aggressive with Abenomics] Even during the UK Olympics, one of the PIIGS would have been a good choice - it would help turn around at least 1 economy. However, UK prevailed. Lots of infrastructure developments done for the event and a few weeks later, most of these developments are biting the dust!

First of all, we need to understand the demographics and situation between Spain and Japan; Japan too is an economy struggling with stagflation but a large chunk of Japanese are senior citizens. Some of them are in such bad shape that they have to live in the outskirts of Tokyo in shady and dingy dormitories because there is both space crunch and high real estate cost in Tokyo. Japanese corporations have such high number of headcounts who are being stuffed into 'boring rooms' so that they eventually resign and leave.

On the other hand, Spain is a relatively younger economy with almost 25% of youth under the age of 25 unemployed. Spanish infrastructure is fantastic and they would rise to the occassion. The real estate prices in Spain have rationalized substantially and thus, this one single move of Spain hosting 2020 Olympics would have boosted Spanish economy. It would help Spain at least partially turn around the economy with minimal financial aid from ECB. A golden opportunity lost from Spain and Europe's perspective.

On the other hand, the highly inflated real estate prices in Japan will further fuel an asset bubble and most of the Japanese tax payers will further reel under pressure. BoJ will have to further print money to set the house in order and that IMHO is a criminal waste of economic resources.

As I said earlier, it is remarkably co-incidental that countries that are aggressively printing money are the ones that are getting access to such big ticket events [Brazil and Qatar also have big ticket events coming up. The property bubble in Brazil is already quite hot and once the FIFA and Olympics are done, they will be in bad shape as well; Qatar is on a set path to become the next Dubai but they have oil to bail them out]

To summarize, the world leaders are not in favour of economic prosperity of their citizens. All that they want to do is suck out the blood of tax payers and keep the rich where they are and keep the poor where they are. Japan Olympics 2020 will be short-term gain and long-term pain. Well done IOC!

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