Cutting through the accounting jargon

I found a really useful site today which explains all the terms used in Company Accounts. It’s called Investor Words and has definitions of pretty much anything you can think of. I was looking for a definition of Working capital.

Business and Politics – mix it up!

A guy called Dan Briody has just written a new book called “The Iron Triangle: Inside the Secret World of the Carlyle Group” that purports to lift the lid on the well known investor group that includes former secretary of defense and CIA deputy director Frank Carlucci, former secretary of state James Baker III, former President George Bush, former UK Prime Minister John Major, and former chairman of the SEC Arthur Levitt among it’s executives.

This is quite a well-trodden path – I remember reading Briody’s Red Herring article “Carlyle’s Way” that broke the story in the first place back in 2001 just a few months after September 11. (Topical at that time since the Bin Laden family have, at various times, invested in the Carlyle Group.)

I don’t agree with the author’s starting premise though – that business and politics must be completely separate. I met a senior investment banker at a breakfast recently who attributed Germany’s woes to the fact that there is no interchange whatsoever between business and politics in Germany. Specifically he noted that you never hear of German businessmen going into politics (or vice versa); in fact the two groups are completely independent of each other. Perhaps ultimately that is why America is so successful – they actively cultivate business influence in politics.

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