11 Lobby Lane (the sequel)

Don’t you think a successful investment strategy in emerging markets has to factor in Veblen’s theory of ‘conspicuous consumption’, as well as take into account the undying nationalistic tendencies which are reviving protectionist sentiments in an increasingly intertwined global political economy?

You’re right. One only needs to look at the APAC region’s consumer activity. On the one hand, the buying behaviours are mirroring those of the West more and more that it could even be argued there’s an element of unintelligible emulation…

That assumption however would suggest those in developing economies are intellectually unfit to properly interpret symbols, which is not at all what I’m alluding to.

Well, you didn’t let me finish. I was going to say that on the other hand is the issue of pride or the so-called ‘patriot’s paradox’ which is what you were referring to by nationalistic tendencies, correct?

Right, yes. Because if you carefully observe, you’ll discover that the majority of those who are now part of that middle income bracket are still morally and ethically trying to grapple with the notions which seek to affirm that excess and waste are a standard feature of the developmental equation.

Of course, it clashes with their cultural reasoning.

Exactly, but then again, sooner or later the need for satisfaction always turns into a desire for status, which creates conditions perfect for indulgence. All this makes consumer behaviour unpredictable. So in order to be truly profit driven, a strategy needs to be responsive and allow a degree of flex…

Leave room for volatility – that unsettling mystery which all investors ultimately have to face. God save us!

Oh well, I guess the higher the risk the greater the return. So a clever investor would thoroughly assess the opportunities, threats, and every aspect of each venture before hedging in different sectors. And it all starts with understanding desire within the context of identity.

I see. A people’s mentality moves the market you mean?

Oh yes, so one has to certainly direct investment through changing market sentiments, true indeed!


Heath Muchena, 2017


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