In the chatter about emerging markets, it is fashionable to focus on the new hot country that is about to be discovered. It's best of all when that country is positively menacing, with lurking, Uzi-toting teenagers and nubile girls in chadors fanatically committed to some middle-aged, potbellied Marxist sheik who still rages about the syphilis that Cortés's men spread or about the massacre by the Redcoats in some dusty village square centuries ago. These are the turnarounds that an emerging market investor dreams of.
—Barton Biggs, July 19, 1993
Barton Biggs is widely credited as one of the first global investment strategists and a man ahead of his time. When Biggs first started traveling internationally to seek out and write about foreign investment opportunities, the world economy was in a binary orbit dominated by two superpowers, the Soviet Union and the United States. The term emerging markets had yet to be coined. Countries that didn't align neatly with either NATO or the Warsaw Pact were tongue-tyingly labeled LEDCs (less economically developed countries) or, more colloquially and pejoratively, the Third World.
At the time, China barely made the list of top-10 economies. If not for Nixon's historic and unexpected trip to Beijing in 1972, most Americans would have considered the bamboo curtain an impenetrable barrier shrouding an ancient, vaguely ...