In India, Toilet Paper Becomes More Valuable Than the Rupee
Take a gander at this headline from 24/7 Wall Street. www.247wallst.com
He gets it partly right, but doesn’t go far enough. Since its independence, India has been a socialist, or socialist-leaning country. Even when they tried to ditch some of the socialist features of their economy, they could not. They spawned world-spanning companies in areas as far apart as information technology (Wipro, Tata Consulting) and steel (Tata Steel). But they continue to have a largely command-and-control, centrally-planned economy. They have huge numbers of poor peasants, plowing their tiny farm fields behind oxen, and living in city slums picking garbage. The only thing that can save India is adoption of a true market economy. Is that likely? Not at this stage. You have to feel sorry for all their wasted human capital.
I bought my first stock on my own account in early 2000. The company was called ARM Holdings, and they make software that runs embedded processors. My shares, then, cost $33.00 each. I thought that they had an excellent business model, licensing their software to companies that make computer chips for lots of different products.
Well, you know what happened late that year when the “tech bubble” burst-the stock market plunged, and many tech companies failed. My ARM stock plunged like many others, and I finally gave up and sold it when it was around $2.00. But I never gave up believing that they were a great company, with a product line that finds uses in many places in society. A few years ago, the tech world started to come back into favor, and I bought more shares of ARM for my “play money” Roth IRA account. Now, ARM is roaring back, and my shares are over $40! If you have a cell phone, tablet computer, washing machine, MP3 player, or other mobile gadget, ARM-enabled chips are in there. They are continually expanding their line of embedded software, licensing their “Cortex” line to most chip and device makers. There has even begun to be talk of their breaking into the Server market, heretofore dominated by Intel’s X86-type chips. Their business model still works well (they rarely have to worry about costs getting out of hand, since their expenses are pretty much labor and fancy computers for their software designers), and more companies are licensing their products than ever. And, they are located in Cambridge, England, one of the most beautiful places on Earth.