Sunday, June 16, 2019

What Would Howard Roark Have Done?: UBS Puts Economist On Leave Over 'Chinese Pig' Comment

UBS has placed one of its economists, Paul Donovan, on leave after a Chinese financial group suspended business with the Swiss bank because of his remarks about swine fever in China, reports the Financial Times.

Donovan's problematic statement came as he discussed price inflation in China on Wednesday in his regular daily audio commentary emailed just before 8 a.m. London time

“Chinese consumer prices rose. This was mainly due to sick pigs. Does this matter? It matters if you are a Chinese pig. It matters if you like eating pork in China. It does not really matter to the rest of the world," the managing director and chief economist at UBS Global Wealth Management said.

This appears to be a fact and does not appear to be insulting to anyone but in this era of intersectionality and safe places, nothing said by a white banker can go unpunished even in Hong Kong.

According to the Financial Times, the charge against Donovan was led in part by Hao Hong, head of research at Bank of Communications International, the state-run Chinese bank’s Hong Kong unit.

Hong called the comments “distasteful and racist language” in a Twitter post.

Hong refused to explain what exactly about Donovan’s comments was racist or offensive when reached by the Financial Times.

The Global Times, a state-run Chinese tabloid, said on Thursday in a Twitter post that the comments had “sparked an uproar across Chinese social media.”

But there was sanity at the University of Hong Kong.

Contacted by the Financial Times, Stephen Matthews, a linguistics professor at the University of Hong Kong, said: “The perceived insult is derived either from a misreading of the English text by a non-native speaker, or from a poor Chinese translation. Either way, the author is not at fault.”

The bank and Donovan issued apologies but that did not satisfy the Chinese Securities Association of Hong Kong. It rejected the apologies and called for Donovan to be fired.

This is not the way Howard Roark would have handled this but Donovan went on Bloomberg to apologize.

That said there is a reason UBS should fire him. He is a crackpot economist.

According to Bloomberg, Donovan studied at Oxford University and the University of London.

He has published two books on environmental economics that signals trouble already but it gets much worse he has another book out on what drives inflation.

He is not exactly a hard money guy, In his inflation book, he discusses "the unhealthy veneration of gold as a means of protection against inflation."

And actually wrote this in the book:
[U]nder the right condition inflation of 1,000 per cent per year could be perfectly acceptable and cause no damage to the economy.
On the environmental front, he says both a credit crunch and an "environmental crunch" have "the same structure" and makes a Malthusian argument about coming food shortages.


No comments:

Post a Comment