Amid the threat of a Greek debt default and a recession in Europe, Carlos Slim Helú has some words of advice for political leaders: You’re doing it wrong. end 1st quote.
Given this history, it’s not surprising that privatization of state-owned assets is Slim’s first suggestion for struggling European economies. “Let’s talk about Spain. It has a lot of highways, and they are all free,” he says. “They should charge users and sell [the highways] to the private sector.” The government can use the money from selling the highways to avoid making big cuts in social programs, Slim advises.
Unemployment must also be addressed, he says. “The problem is that people have no jobs and no hope.” When I suggest that creating jobs takes time, he disagrees. “Some investments create a lot of jobs and other investments don’t.” His counsel: Invest in small and medium-size businesses, the engines of job creation, in labor-intensive industries such as tourism, health care, education and entertainment.
Turning to the U.S., Slim sees a pressing need for better regulation of the banking system, including the requirement that risky derivatives be carried on financial institutions’ books. He reminds me that he founded his financial group, Inbursa, as a brokerage in 1965. It has since expanded to include a bank and an insurance company, and sports a market capitalization of $14 billion. “We’ve had growth for 47 years. We have never lost money, even in the worst times of our country,” he boasts, noting that Inbursa never needed the government’s help. “We don’t look for size. We look for quality.” Take that, Citigroup.
Carlos Slim appears to be the Warren Buffet of Mexico and the world because of his wealth.