Monday, 6 May 2013

Micro Level Trends – European Economic Transition (Part 3) – Corporates as Pathway Creators for the Global Public Good.

Parts 1 and 2 of this three-part weblog set forth the idea that Europe may seek to rebuild its economic strength by undertaking a dual-aspect regional agenda. Setting forth a template which attempts to circumnavigate the expectant hyper-competitiveness of mid-value mass-manufacture between the USA and the BRIC nations.

European “Core Path...-

The primary aspect of Europe's much needed revitalisation of course relies upon necessary progression of its global competitive advantages - across the sciences, R&D, and high-value manufacturing and services. So as to continually create 'mid and far horizon' technologies and activities for both its own good, and that of EM powerhouse interests; thereby drafting 'tomorrow's world'.

...Plus “Peripheral Path”

However, investment-auto-motives also believes that this continental norm should be conjoined by a new focus on those nations that sit beyond the BRICs and CIVETS. So embracing those demographically, culturally and politically positive prospects amongst the plethora of remaining but yet far from fully matured 'bottom-tier' countries.

[NB see accompanying diagram]

The EU and a true “3-Speed” World -

Whilst it is ridiculous to think of core and periphery Europe as two distinctly separate regions, whilst there are still undoubted cultural differences between north and south, the fact is that since the early phase of the industrial age nations have been technically and economically intertwined: the auto-industry and the Euro prime examples.

Yet today, the consequences of the financial crash and the sovereign debt crisis have undoubtedly had a geo-economic effect, and has re-cast the previous status quo. This new era has obviously created critical questions regards policies for European growth. Some periphery nation governments appear to believe, or at least infer, that Germany wishes to create a teutonic supra-state using the EU mantle; the negative reaction to the austerity drive sought for German biased EU financing. In turn, the Germans seek a stable, value-adding Europe within the global context, within which the teutonic model, unlike many others, clearly shines.

The required solution to this challenge will inevitably require in its basic form a SWOT analysis of Europe 'as is' and 'as was', so as to appreciate how what is presently a 2-speed Europe can properly integrate beyond the (IMF's) 3-speed world. (US, prime EMs and EU) [yet recognising the trueism of a 4-Speed world which includes the worst performing 'bottom-tier' EM countries].

It has been ascertained that the US and BRICs will vie (and collaborate) over the massive global middle-ground in manufacturing, whilst obviously the former will seek to retain leadership in defence, the internet, bio-sciences, intelligent transport and 'earth sciences'.

Europe must therefore recognise where it can function as single entity with the remit of purveying the 'global public good', doing so en-mass and via its individual member states, acting individually or as similarly placed sub-groups.

To this end investment-auto-motives proposes that a policy format be examined, with specific focus on periphery countries, by which “member states be steered toward global gates”. That is to say that the strengths/competences of such countries, both today and specifically from their own historic pasts, be re-recognised and utilised.

Yesteryear's Progress...-

It is suggested by investment--auto-motives that the Post WW2 reconstruction era serve as an impetus for periphery countries' own modern-day reconstruction efforts, with past and new learning/solutions being exported to those high-potential 'bottom-tier' emerging countries. In effect a re-deployment of the European industrial lead gained over the last 70 years of so, perhaps the best of which was seen in the 'reconstructional spirit' during the late 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s.

Yet also recognising that aspects of that knowledge lead have indeed been diluted as the larger EM nations went through their own development process, the results of which empowered them to assist the bottom-tier nations, whether neighbours or far overseas.

Both the post WW2 period and the 1960s/70s saw an 'export or die' fervour, Britain's directed to the Commonwealth and newly entered European Common Market (as a new member), with Germany directed to the USA, general Latin America and Africa, and Italy focused upon Brazil. This was primarily regards the technology transfer of capital goods and consumer goods, those efforts partially replaced today by a new set of EM exporting and substantial FDI nations. Hence, the uni-directional export model has been replicated by those arguably better placed geo-politically (if not technically) and so must be evolved.

...With Entrepreneurial Twist -

This means creation of an alternative model that is equally hinged around the abilities, achievements and potential of those countries' human capital.

Since, as stated the capital markets of many (though not all) 'frontier countries have seen large inflows of western cash, with local investment managers presumably seeking to stream-line corporate operations and boost earnings; the time may be appropriate to consider a specific focus upon local entrepreneurs.

The sons and daughters of the local political, financial and corporate elite often pre-figure as local entrepreneur given their wealth and connections, power typically residing in the hands of specific families generation after generation which protect their interests.

Typically, such poor but ambitious people are usually observed by the local elite. First cajoled into false friendships, then operationally undermined (sabotage), then stated that the only access financing, market share and protection from 'accidents' only if “on side”. Truly socially repugnant, and damaging to the broader economy. After all, their purses may be far smaller, but their business acumen often far more pronounced.

[Of course a similar, often more psychologically biased, process is experienced in so called developed nations; outwardly decent people wholly disingenuous in their actions].

All of this has a broader the strangulation effect, unless cultural and regulatory reforms can be made.   
So in this instance, whilst the influence of the local elite is undeniable, it too should be convinced that the overall economy gains from the inclusion and support of small time 'ghetto entrepreneurs'. People though with few personal “gonnegtions” (to quote a character from The Great Gatsby), have built their business from scratch, through “blood,sweat and toil” (to quote Churchill).

A Closer Look at the 'Frontier Fringe' -

Once again the FT recently laid out a useful overview of how liquidity has been fed into many of the so called “frontier economy” nations by so-called sophisticated investors looking for improved yields in a generally low yield world. This small but increasingly influential investor base – typically a representing the accumulated small portions of larger funds - seeking strong value amid a low-growth West and recognising the affect of slowed BRIC economies on portfolio returns.

Thus it appears that record sums have been directed at the lower-risk end of 'exotic' targets; most typically the fixed-income instruments of government bonds given relative safety.

Equities likewise have seen massive popularity in certain countries, with the Philippines and Thailand bourses out-performing the broad MSCI index by significant levels, high p/e values driven by western liquidity seeking better returns.

Of real note has been the marked reduction in government borrowing rates seen by various 'frontier countries'. Many having shrugged-off past PESTEL malaise, then seen in high government borrowing costs, and today the most appealing not too far behind some of Europe's periphery nations. Seemingly the result from a combined effect of improved fundamentals (often assisted by the decade-long 'China-effect), a high supply of investor liquidity, and worsened ROI conditions across major countries.

[NB Whilst general macro trends tend to be on a regional basis, thus encompassing a similar array of close proximity countries, each and every country is obviously a specific case given specific local conditions].

However, if it is ascertained that truly new and sustainable foundations have been established in specific 'frontier' government debt markets, viewed via stable economic indicators, themselves typically derived from strong-hold domestic industries (ie agriculture, mining, processing, tourism and consumer staples), then (even at this low point of the global commodities cycle) it would appear that an economic framework has indeed been created to support a virtuous circle of growth.

Such growth providing the fertile conditions for small-scale business people – the 'ghetto entrepreneurs' - within what should be an emergent and burgeoning private enterprise realm.

Whilst over the past 5 years the western world has been focused upon the repair of its complex, inter-connected financial system and the reduction of over-leveraged public and private sectors, with efforts to create new economic fundamentals, a very different story of apparent commercial strength has emerged across (Sub-Saharan) Africa, the CIS, Asia and Central and Latin America.

Small, but densely populated Rwanda was recently used in an FT presentation to exemplify such an “African Tiger Economy”. Twenty years on from civil war, the last decade has seen an average growth rate of an impressive 9% per annum, on-par or out-pacing many of the far more renowned EM countries. For the reasons previously mentioned (apparent national stability, a trounced west and sea of liquidity seeking a home) Rwanda recently received order offerings of $3bn for its ten year bond, with a coupon of 6.875%; this not so far from Portugal's 5.7% coupon.

[NB However, investment-auto-motives is concerned that the massive $3bn subscription level (half the national GDP) may have the hallmarks of a bond-bubble].

Any similar story for 'frontier economies' means that investors must be convinced of their respective economic growth stories, which not only theorises a balance of public sector vs FDI vs private sector spending; but sees it in practical action.

The historical and trending stability, or not, of the local stock-market, and its innate rebound effect, should provide a typical guide to overall economic strength, yet it must be recognised that 'immature', sector weighted, bourses typical experience higher volumes of speculative trades which drive such markets]

The China Effect -

Nonetheless, with this proviso established, it was undeniably the arrival of China's 'quid pro quo' trade agreements with small EM states – itself often based upon an “commodities for infrastructure” exchange – by which the necessary physical foundations for improving many local economies were established. By way of much improved and new ports, roads, railways, telecoms, warehousing, trucking etc. This FDI accompanied by the usual offerings of official state aid, soft loans etc.

The exact quantity of Chinese trade and assistance to African nations appears questionable. One recent source states that $75bn was provided for formal projects over 2000 to 2011, yet unofficial projects amassed to $260bn over the period. Another academic source states that this is wholly inaccurate; exact figures rarely examined deeply given the time and effort required for true field research, especially when media deadlines loom.

Nevertheless, whatever the exacting reality, such Government-Sino project employment has put money in the pockets of locals, those new incomes creating an expanded arena of general local commerce, ranging from clothes to bars, from supermarkets to cars (themselves often 'grey imported' Japanese, European and American models).

It is also noted that a sense of free-market competition was also introduced whereby a small but significant ex-pat Chinese population sought to become local economic actors with interests ranging from chicken-rearing with market-stall sales to the sale of Chinese made goods, from toys to generators.

Western Catch-Up -

Obviously whilst the relations between such EM countries and China have been at times fractious given balance-of-power issues, the plethora of international couplings created by Sino-EM projects and resulting economic integration has presumably been concerning to a shrunken, and only recently regained, West.

With this recognised, and with an inferred expectation that Europe seeks not to be over-shadowed by the US, it should be necessarily keen to re-integrate with smaller nations.

This is perhaps why, in the footsteps of great Swedish statisticians, the free to browse 'fact-site' has been created, by the engaging yet modest Hans Rosling. Himself seeking to promote the applied statistics behind the theorum of a 're-balancing world' – where the East regains equality with (and possibly surpassing) the West (after a thousand year hiatus).

[NB He points out that some of those underling countries have better population health statistics than the West, such places seeing a balance of dietary intake versus calorie burning, this presumably predicated on greater physical exertion. Exactly whether such countries are able to avoid the over-weight and obesity as incomes rise to provide ever more physical convenience remains to be seen].

Led by the UK, cash strapped western nations are now seeking to reduce and remove increasing foreign aid monies. As regards South Africa (and no doubt with others) it is perhaps rightly argued that any country with proven wealth creation capabilities ought to take on greater responsibility for its own low and non income earners. This approach subtly yet publicly stated by Japan recently as it seeks more constructive relationships, with Africa especially, akin to that which has benefited China.

The timing of the triad countries seeking a 'better deal' appears strategic given the economic slowdown in China and the expected consequential effects upon the strength of Sino-African relations.

Re-Discovering and Exporting the Re-Construction Spirit -

Today 'austerity' has become the byword across Europe from Ireland to Greece, at a level perhaps not experienced since the privations of WW2 and its aftermath. It was then essentially a re-developing continent with a re-construction agenda, arguably stymied by the restrictions of the gold standard to pump-prime national economies. Though with more flexible monetary levers today, governments must still carefully balance cost-base relative to liquidity, critically creating a sound economic platform by which the two may generate true investor appeal.

However, as mentioned in previous posts, investment-auto-motives believes that Europe can re-learn the lessons of old, and in the 21st century re-apply them not simply within the region but across those places in the rest of the world that sit below the BRICs and various CIVETS.

Germany of course was forced to quickly re-invent itself, banned from military engineering the efforts of the day were directed toward affordable products; names like Messerschmitt and Heinkel adorning the micro-cars of the time which, like Italy's Vespa scooter and sibling Ape 3-wheeler, sought to provide mass mobility and revitalise a depleted economy.

In 1948 Britain's Rover Car Company provided the original Land Rover (today Defender), itself derived from the rugged simplicity of war-time Willys and Ford Jeeps, but with even greater utility applications for agriculture and construction projects worldwide. France was able to initiate mass production of the Deux Chevaux, a true 'town and country' car. Slightly later specialist manufacturers such as Austria's Steyr Daimler Puch were able to create for their own needs, thus the small multi-purpose 4x4 Haflinger emerged primarily for steep gradient agricultural and forest work.

Whilst these names have been enshrined in automotive history, similar efforts were apparent elsewhere across Europe, all assisting in regional, national and the European growth story. Yet of intrinsic interest was the manner in which the small and new enterprises of a far more financially starved Southern Europe was able to flourish through practicality and determination; best seen in the synergies of agricultural fields and local light industry.

Practical Low Cost Innovation -
1. Re-Deploying the Proven Past

Italy's BCS Agricultural Equipment (now BCS-Ferrari) [no relation to FIAT] is a good example of the pragmatic and evolutionary ingenuity those serving the farming folk.

The firm was founded by Luigi Castoldi to offer basic but robust small holder/small farm equipment. Thereafter, as is typical, success saw the firm's size grew and as it acquired other Southern European companies its products became more generically task dedicated. But perhaps its creative and socially relevant pinnacle came with the creation of its modular powered axle.

Similar one-person operator products had long been in existence since the turn of the 20th century, with answers to specific rotovating,cultivating and mowing needs. Yet BCS sought to amalgamate functionality by expanding the range of tasks its powered-axle could undertake, via the attachment of various ancillary items. In its basic form, operated by a walking person via handlebars in rutted ground, or by the attachment of a trailing seat for better comfort upon flat ground.

But at a time when even old small trucks and cars were either unavailable or too expensive (given rarity) and newly created vehicles very expensive, the beauty was that the drive axle could be attached to the rear a BCS 'truck bed' (or indeed a home-made platform) and driven from the front of the vehicle; its small size able to traverse hill paths and country lanes. In its vehicular entirety it was/is known as the Carolina and is a much admired and loved item to this day.

That basic two wheeled piece of machinery (akin to a traditional small tractor's rear axle, without 3-point hitch) has been mimicked by others in EM countries ever since, today many regional manufacturers offering similar items, with the exception that usually the power unit is placed at the front to ease direct steering and linked either directly or via an articulated swivel joint to the trailing platform; some even offering a coupled 4WD system.

Prior to WW2 agricultural equipment development had been slow, commerce more interested in mergers and acquisitions to obtain market share, and only truly boosted by Britain's Harry Ferguson inventing the 3-point hitch applied to the 'A' and TE20 models, itself a postwar phenomenon.

In effect, the BCS Carolina provided the kind of productivity advantage for Southern European small-holders, as the TE20 did for worldwide large farms.

Whilst we are many decades on from that time, and indeed agriculture in many larger EM countries is already on a massive scale demanding big machinery, there are still very many agricultural small-holder based societies that would benefit from affordable (cash or micro-credit procured) adaptable equipment.

So herein is a yesteryear solution that still has relevance and great appeal, either to full-time, market-garden growers, and perhaps especially so to those whose family members are themselves village to city and return migrant workers.

A proven solution awaiting contemporary re-applications

Practical Low Cost Innovation -
2. Evolving the Pragmatic Present

An ability to adapt and innovate has always been a matter of fact in low income 'bottom tier' societies. Everything has a value, whether it be functional or monetarily; the most prized being both. Unsurprisingly, the prevailing attitude is that “needs must”, “make do and mend”, “recycle” and obtaining “maximum value for minimum cost'.

Beyond the immediacy of food, shelter, clothing and cultural artifacts, the transportation of people and goods takes priority.

Vehicles of all types have, since the earliest horse-drawn times, conveyed a sense of personal pride to the owner. The more rarefied or socially meaningful the vehicle the more self-worth is attached. It comes as no surprise that their exclusivity in lower-tier nations means that invariably the vehicles themselves become 'canvases' upon which the owner/driver paints and decorates (usually) his personal interests and signifiers.

Given the primary roles of trucks and buses in transporting goods and peoples within emerging countries, the innate social cache and monetary value of vehicles, ever since the arrival of those first vehicles from the West, customisation has been endemic; especially so for the culturally superstitious.

Privately run 'independent' trucks and buses have for decades been adorned with good luck charms and socially relevant pictorials. Of the former, in near-eastern places the age-old 'evil eye' to ward off bad luck, and in middle and far-eastern climbs the original swastika (suastika) to enhance well-being, itself adopted from temples and homes.

The desire to customise – at whatever available level - has long traditions, and spans the world:

- Long distance hauliers of Pakistan, Afghanistan and N.India with 'Jingle Trucks'
- 'Dressed' Tractors hauling fruit and vegetables to market.
- Music blaring 'graffiti-art' public service Matuta mini-buses in Kenya
- Town and Rural hop-on/hop-off Jeepneys of the Philippines
- 1950s American cars as 'personal taxis' in Cuba
- Unregulated car-based taxi-cabs throughout many EM cities.
- Many regulated taxi-cabs across the EM world with not so subtle personalisation
- 3-wheeler Rickshaws and 'Tuk-Tuks' that buzz with loads and people
- Motorcycles with side-cars that perform the same role.
- Scooters pulling mini-trailers
- Bicycle rickshaws

[NB investment-auto-motives says “viva la difference” given the vehicle's contribution to local cultural iconography and the general street-scape. Why be '1st world' clinical with the homogeneous 'yellow-cab look' when the vehicles transmit so much local flavour. To all authorities that seek to regulate: enforce safety standards and good driver discipline, but retain the personality.

Remember, the desire for regulated yet idiosyncratic public and private hire transport also seen in the London Black Cab, London Routemaster Bus, previously the New York Cab, Brazil's 'missing seat' VW Beetle Taxis and Cuba's Havanna 'CoCo' shell shaped trike tourist taxi].

Thus we see that the pride of ownership and cultural norms invariably lead to personal customisation, the formula of which is generally a permutation of influences: interests, social reflections, belief systems, proverbs, heroic figures and aspirations.

Of course as people's incomes rise they seek to improve their lives with newer products and vehicles, and in Central America this has come to pass with the Colombian 'Yipao' (Jeepao) [Willys Jeep], which has in reality become little more than a heritage spectacle for independence day celebrations.

However, the endemic culture is still seen elsewhere.

Whilst municipal authorities seek to improve local transport networks with increasingly modern and contemporary looking officially liveried vehicles, and there is often mixed local opinion, such efforts are typical resisted by not only those with business interests, but many of the local folk who foresee inflationary pricing resulting from lost inter-competition.

For the present then the likes of the Kenyan 'Matuta' Mini-Bus, Haitian 'Tap Tap' Bus, Columbian 'Chiva' Bus and 'Chicken Bus' in Guatamala/Nicaragua/Honduras ply their trades.

Whilst of course the owners of the Indo-Asian 'Jingle Truck', though recognising the slow but increasing appearance of larger modern single identity fleets, also for the most part have the road to themselves. In stark contrast to Japan's money lavished and exuberantly decorated 'Dekotora Trucks', similar statements of owner independence, the Jingle Truck is the necessary product of practical, low cost decoration, adaption and innovation; applied to overall appearance, the challenges of what should be routine maintenance and repair, and the need to maximise the utility of the vehicle.

But perhaps the most singularly renowned and expressive vehicle that evolves the pragmatic present, and has shown the 'reconstructive spirit' of a country is the legendary Jeepney of The Philippines.

The story of the Jeepney's emergence and its success obviously begins with its roots in WW2 American surplus military equipment left on the Islands. During a period when motorized transport was precious, small-time entrepreneurs recognised the Jeep's innate value. Once acquired those early operators initially lengthening the rear overhang of a Jeep to accept more cargo and passengers.

It soon became obvious that improved economies of scale would be captured by lengthening the Jeep's wheelbase to double or more its passenger capacity; with the addition of roof-racks allowing for passenger goods storage above, instead of occupying the cabin space, and even external bars onto which external passengers could cling.

The genre evolved thanks to various entrepreneurs, most visible being Leonardo Salvador Sarao Senior, who on small borrowed funds founded Sarao Motors, a vertically integrated firm which effectively set the engineering and bodystyle standard, so becoming 'Mr Jeepney'.

To quote Wikipedia.....“He revolutionized a burgeoning industry and changed the life of generations of Filipinos...he was awarded The Outstanding Filipino Award in 1997 for Entrepreneurship Though he only attained low-level of education because of poverty he was able to make the company grow into a multimillion peso conglomerate”.

The vehicle type itself has periodically yet continually evolved, today there being various classes of Jeepney, from the truly original pure 'classic' from original Willys Jeep parts, to the 2nd generation type that uses reconditioned components, to a third generation which are not Jeep derived at all, instead a modified LCV truck chassis with standard or adapted wheelbase and Jeepney-like bodywork that allows for even greater passenger numbers.

Whilst original Jeepney manufacturer saw increasing competition, it was the 3rd generation type that evolved the business model, able to create a more expensive yet better income-earning vehicle.

So the Jeepney industry story is one of genetic evolution as overtaken firms went into liquidation resulting from both previous economic cycles and newer “son of Jeepney” products. This evolution continues across the Philippino archipelao as newer vehicles are either imported from elsewhere and simply decorated as Jeepneys or indeed new-era Jeepneys are created from the major adaption of other vehicle types ((pick-ups and vans) or created from the drawing board using proprietary vehicle frames and OEM components (engine, drivetrain, electrical, ancilleries), which themselves are aesthtically ever more remote from the Jeepney face.

Thus the effect of the Jeepney phenomina has been to not only create the original industrial sector thanks to Sarao and others, but in doing so creating a pilar of the Philippino economy that both lubricated the economy through the transportation of people and their goods, but also created a myriad of suppliers to service this 'auto-economy', that economy itself grown ever large by the introduction of new entrepreneurs and participants adding ever more technically and utility improved vehicles.

The lesson here is that a country that for so long was seen to be an economic backwater by the advanced nations, did indeed create for itself by utilising those resources immediately at hand, the surplus Jeeps, the pragmatic vision of hands-on entrepreneurs and the cultural importance of a poor but industrious and enthusiastic people.

Today the Jeepney industry is horizontally diverse and vertically deep, encompassing body-side painters, sheet-metal workers, materials suppliers, body-building technicians (in steel, aluminium and plastics), general mechanics for engines, drivetrain and chassis, component suppliers, vehicle importers, and ever more diverse transportational services, from the standard bus to tourist trails to celebrationary party buses.

As with any low-income nation the Philippines seeks economic and social advancement, which invariably includes greater official control of transportation modes and so increasing altenatives to the Jeepney, including standard busies, taxis and new tram projects.

But whilst seen to be in decline, the vehicle has been re-invented and for over 50 years the visionary and tenacious Jeepney manufacturers, despite facing competitve, technical and political hurdles, have been an integral contributor to the Philippino economy.

Conclusion -

This three-pat weblog has sought to highlight how Europe's own economic transition, itself reliant upon major structural reforms throughout the periphery nations, thereby increasing their global competitiveness, should also be a transformation that looks beyond its own backyard.

A philosophical shift that partly re-invents its regional self.

So a need to maintaining its established and leading stance in 'future-forward' activities, spanning much from nuclear fusion research to expanded human rights regulation; yet also able to recapture the best of its historical past, in doing so simultaneously able to assist the requirements of today's 'bottom tier' nations.

In effect re-creating the most advantageous aspects of the historical European rise through the world; in philosophical terms fusing the broad ideological aspirations of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant and Rabindranath Tagore, whilst also recognising their 'real-world' limitations.

The hypothesis of Europe following 'Core Path' and 'Periphery Path' routes, which marries the modern and historical capabilities of member states to different portions of a globally inetgrated European Agenda, is an overt simplification. It does not seek to untangle the complicated web of industrial, academic, social and political activity that has formed over the last 60 years; and does not seek to create a divided 'high-value' vs 'low-value' Europe - which seems an unintended but possible outcome of today's economic ruptures.

Instead, to simply portray a picture by which Europe – via its PLC, AG, SA, SpA and now SE companies – is able to recharge its economic self and plug into the presently small but quickly growing relative wealth trickle of 'frontier countries'.

As European corporates sit on large cash-piles and can access to record low borrowing rates, simultaneously viewng a more muted inward-facing China and an invariably globally re-expanding US, today appears the time to where possible merge the interests of olde worlde Europe and the entrepreneurial potential of today's underling countries.

As the small but indicative stock-markets of such places as the ASEAN 'Hi-Five' continue to simmer and eventually bubble-over, tomorrow's new era value-creation will be borne from those 'ghetto entrepreneurs' who can read the future.

Post Script -

A decade ago, having previously authored the book 'Investment Biker', the renowned Jim Rogers apparently spent 3 years upon the 'road less travelled', driving across the world in a radically converted Mercedes SLK upon a G-Wagon chassis towing a small trailer (along with support truck) so as to taste emerging nations first hand. (5-star hotels no doubt abound during the trek).

Today, Europe's corporate leaders need not call upon Daimler's Dr Zetsche for a similar contraption, nor are in a position to take 3 years out. But should swap either their expensive seat at DAVOS or their pricey vacation VIP beach chair – perhaps both – for the over-crowded seats of a rickety multi-coloured old vehicle, somewhere along the 'peripheral path'.