Expert Zone

Straight from the Specialists

There is no place like home

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(Paul Donovan is a Managing Director and Global Economist at UBS. The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Most economists believe that nearly everything in this life can be reduced to an economic explanation.

This even applies to popular culture. The Wizard of Oz has been explained as a parable of late 19th century economics, as a veiled commentary on the gold standard versus the use of silver that dominated the 1896 presidential election in America. The yellow brick road is gold, the cowardly lion was William Jennings Bryan (a pro-silver politician). The wicked witches represented Wall Street (east) and railroad interests (west). Dorothy had to put on silver shoes to make her way to the Wizard of Oz (the U.S. President). She then learned that she could escape the bizarre, fantasy world of Oz and get back to reality by clicking her heels and repeating “I want to go home”.

Confronted by the bizarre, fantastic world of the Euro today, investors could learn from the Wizard of Oz. Global investors may well want to click their heels and mutter “I want to go home”. After two decades of globalising capital flows, investors may once again feel the urge to have their money at home, or at least closer to home than has been the case hitherto.

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