Economic Turnabout

Only a decade ago Americans were worried their country had gone on the block. Foreign business interests, notably Japanese, were buying up everything from Hollywood studios to New York's Rockefeller Center. American pride was taking a beating.

Now the hurt pride and battered nationalism is on the other side of the Pacific. American investors, flush with profits from a robust stock market, are on their own spending spree in Asia. Hotels, office towers, golf resorts are going fast, as banks in South Korea, Thailand, and, yes, Japan unload bad loans.

The dynamics have changed from the 1980s. Asia's depressed economy means US buyers are often paying a few cents on the dollar. Japanese investors last decade usually paid top dollar for their pieces of America. And most US investors are in this for the short term - ready to sell for a profit when Asia recovers.

National pride aside, this is a testament to the freer flow of capital in today's world. The money going into Asian real estate today may help pull that crucial part of the world out of its slump tomorrow.

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