As the globe reels from the uprisings around the world, and the rulers of each country affected are accused of corruption and pilfering the country's treasury, the pattern is predictable that foreign investments are seized amid accusations of leaders having made themselves rich whilst impoverishing their country and people.
International laws and agreements are invoked, yet no change in activity or knowledge has taken place: only the international view of that regime.
It has become a predictable and fickle routine: for years the leaders of a country are hailed as friends and heroes for keeping the country stable and out of the hands of extremists and their investment around the world is openly welcomed and positively courted, then suddenly they are pariahs and accusations of having raped the country are made; their assets frozen and seized "to be returned to the people"!
In reality nothing has changed, only external political circumstance has changed, causing a change in the west's perceived view of the internal circumstances of these countries. The poverty in the investing regime's country has been there at the time of every investment made, it is not something which has developed later. If Western governments are going to seize assets then why do they not have the integrity to refuse that investment in the first place: - silly question!
Invariably some of that money is spent on luxury foreign homes, purchased at headline busting price tags. The superlatives abounding and record high prices being set are unnerving many, certainly many English and probably other, Westerners, too.
The luxury, the extravagance, once to be celebrated, suddenly is making people feel uneasy. It should not be so; success should be welcomed and the benefits for all of those who have it splashing it around should be a source of celebration for the jobs and widening prosperity it creates; - but that feeling is not there right now.
Whether you are Chinese or Arab, Russian , Ukrainian, or Indian, or whatever, there is concern that, much as we need it here; (boy, and we do!), that money should be helping the lot of your fellow countrymen. The ordinary fellah in your streets at home would truly appreciate what even a fraction of that money can do in a village. Buying a home in London or USA is a wonderful way to use and enjoy your wealth, but must it be the grandest, the most luxurious, most expensive home, setting yet another new high price?
I hate to see people, anyone, being ripped off: but the prices being paid for property is just not sustainable. The impression of irresponsible and reckless expenditure does you no favours, not in the eyes of people here, nor I suspect in your own countries - hence the current round of rebellions in North Africa and the Middle East. The Western economy is not strong enough to support the rents or re-sales that would be necessary to justify your expenditure. Furthermore, not only does it appear to be poor money management and an inappropriate use of funds when there are troubles and poverty around the world, - especially back home - but it is now adversely affecting the property market for the British ( or Americans, or French, or Maltese, or ... wherever) to buy in their own country. Such excesses have gone from being gratefully received and admired, to being resented both in the recipient country and in the source country of the funds. This profligacy and frowned upon excess, applies to Western movie stars and other celebrities too, but they don't have the perception that it is embezzled money they are using.
Governments - indeed all politicians - in the West are not even being responsible to their own citizens; to counsel them to stop paying the ridiculously high amounts changing hands. Less likely so then to foreign investors. Not one of them have I heard warning even ordinary people that they should not be buying property now at a time of exceptionally low interest rates, if they have not calculated that they can still afford to pay the mortgage should the bank rate increase ten-fold (yes, one thousand percent) or more as it could very easily very soon as is needed to curb inflation. For you to pay stratospheric prices for a property is fine if it is worth it but, frankly, all sectors of the property market are stupidly inflated and unsustainable.
Estate agents and advisers are gleefully persuading you to pay extortionate prices - and they get their fees as a percentage. Your vanity purchases of mansions and penthouses aside, even the 'investment' purchases are highly suspect. Many of those 'agents' benefiting most are the ones you have retained to act on your behalf but who are badly advising you to pay through the nose for a purchase! Western property companies are paying high prices to make it look like the property industry is booming, knowing full well that they can flip it quickly to you at an inflated price; there are no qualms there to refuse your money. Off-loading it onto you, funds their lifestyle very nicely thankyou but you will be left holding the white elephant. Investment purchases of blocks of flats, office buildings, and shopping centres and commercial units, your investment in any of those can only succeed if inflation in the West sky-rockets: and there is just not the money in the global economy to go round at that level. It cannot happen: short-term maybe but it will collapse.
I would urge caution and circumspection on any millionaires, oligarchs, milliardaires or (although as yet there are none, other than in American corruption of the language) budding billionaires: for the world is a very disturbed place at the moment.
Western governments, these days, do not have the integrity to advise you to spend your money wisely and frugally, or especially not to take it elsewhere! They will this morning push you to sign the contract and this afternoon push for your assets to be frozen. They are very short-sighted. Just be wary please: we need you to be around for a long time spending steadily and surely, not deposed, gaoled and bankrupted.
Cameron, Obama, Sarkozy, et al do not have the sense to say to you that apparently extravagant investing is not sensible right now.
Reckless and profligate, or wise and business-like, which adjective do you prefer to be accounted by? So do yourselves a favour, even if it removes a favour from us; just tone down your spending, to calm the calls that are ringing around the world for riches to be taken away by force. Be sensitive to what is going on around you: the French revolution was the most unjust horror and unnecessary blood-letting of modern Europe pre Hitler and Stalin, and the guillotine achieved nothing worthwhile, the effects of that unnecessary blood-thirstyness is still affecting the psyche of France to this day, but there are those today lusting for blood to be spilt today.
Bloody revolution is not good for anyone, and certainly not for the world. There is a stupid irresponsible 'romantic' view that somehow it is. This is encouraging bloodshed and taking us backwards through the centuries before the civilised norms of behaviour we have grown to love and appreciate. Encouraging revolution just encourages the same to happen again the next time people are disgruntled due to their lot not being good, their lucky star having deserted them, their having failed to get off their backside to work, or the global economy having gone bust - as now. It is not good for your country for you to be overthrown; stability is important; what is needed is for you to change your habits, your modus operandi. Profligate spending is giving people the excuse to call for your downfall, (falsely, as they already have an agenda, but it may just be the lever that is allowing them to act).
At the fall of the Ben Alis of Tunisia we immediately hear of immense wealth in foreign bank accounts to be seized. In Egypt there were figures of seventy thousand million pounds put on the Mubarak fortune in foreign realms. For the Ghadafis of Libya, similar sums. When these amounts are first quoted, they are immediately believed in the home country and the world at large to be true. Each has had the funds frozen, as has Khordokovsky in Russia, as has ex Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, as have many Chinese officials - who, generally, have also suffered execution for it too. There are calls for the funds of Berezovsky and others to be seized. As to how these funds were acquired in each case, here is not the place to judge, that should be by evidence and if needs be in courts of law. How the money is spent is a key to how it is viewed. Be sure it was fairly acquired.
Spend - and be seen to spend - that money where it is needed on development such as water supplies, schools and hospitals in the backstreets and byways of your heritage. I am not saying do not still make philanthropic gestures elsewhere too, including London as that has a ripple effect benefiting the wider world too, but it should be philanthropy not luxury and not assets that will not be able to perform as well as you have been led to believe. Sure, buy a flat in the world's capital cities but make sure it is modest by everyone's standards. What is it that each of the main Islamic religions say, whether Judaism, Christianity, or the followers of Mohammad, as they predominantly agree in principle?
Do not give your detractors the ammunition they need to bring you down. Maybe I should have written this as more timely during Ramadan, but now is just as good a time to start with philanthropy and agricultural improvements so that all are fed and clean. Thereby you promote brotherhood between all your peoples, including harmony between you and them.
Although not all of those with riches to invest in the West are involved in their home politics, the principle is the same; be seen to be doing charitable works in your home country first.
Pouring money into the property industry is not constructive. Huge price tags of millions of pounds are often not value for money, nor are the grandiose refurbishments that often follow the purchase. Exhorbitance in acquiring a property is more about ego to say "I can afford to have the most expensive", than about making a sensible acquisition. Spend modestly in property but generously in creating jobs for staff, by commissioning works of art - including landscaped gardens, etc, and buying luxury goods to boost industry and the artisan, and yes, sports teams: but here again not in the excesses of modern soccer player salaries and transfer fees. These are the traditional ways that the rich would be the engines of economic recovery and growth in times of economic trouble in history.