The Gentleman

Many people are trying to understand Secretary Geithner. The answer is in the text.

He grew up overseas and went to high school in Bangkok. He focused on Asian Studies at Dartmouth and Johns Hopkins, and speaks Chinese and Japanese. He worked for the State Department in Tokyo, and was Bob Rubin’s point man on the Asian Financial Crisis of the late `90s. In sum, Mr. Geithner has been a student of the East.

And what do we learn from this? In the heart of The Analects, Confucius notes: “In his dealings with the world, a gentleman is not for or against anything. He is on the side of what is moral.” Tim Geithner’s tenure at Treasury will be pragmatic, non-idealogical, and adaptive. The Confucian ideal is not leadership, but analysis.

So what should we expect? Continual conflict with a partisan Congress that’s looking for a grand plan. Geithner will give them piecemeal approaches to specific problems and will adjust as circumstances change. Will it work? Beats me. But I think we can bank on a rough ride.

Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Chief Investment Officer
Hit reply if you have any questions—I read them all!

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