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ECONOMY & FINANCE

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 04:11:30 PM EST
Opinion: The West's Fatal Overdose - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
The G-20 has agreed on plans to fight the global downturn. But its approach will only lay the foundation for the next, bigger crisis. Instead of "stability, growth, jobs," the summit's real slogan should have been "debt, unemployment, inflation."


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 04:17:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Class War at the G-20: Summit Protests Turn into Street Party - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
London had been bracing itself for riots during the G-20 summit, with bankers being warned to leave their suits and ties at home. But, with a few exceptions, the demonstrations on "Financial Fools' Day" were light-hearted rather than violent.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 04:19:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Johann Hari: The protesters are the ones we should listen to at this summit - Johann Hari, Commentators - The Independent
When this hinge-point in human history is remembered, there will be far more sympathy for the people who took to the streets and rioted than for the people who stayed silently in their homes. Two global crises have collided, and we have a chance here, now, to solve them both with one mighty heave - but our leaders are letting this opportunity for greatness leach away. The protesters here in London were trying to sound an alarm now, at five minutes to ecological midnight.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 05:17:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does anyone ever interview the police standing there?  They're the ones who hold at least some of the keys to the future.  Will they club the guy in pink or turn on the politicians/bankers?

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 11:08:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Opinion: The West's Fatal Overdose - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
Since 2006, figures for the money supply -- in other words, the total number of dollars in circulation -- have no longer been published in the US. As a result, a statistic which is regarded by the European Central Bank as a key indicator is now treated as a state secret in the US.

This illustrates the fundamental economic misunderstanding under the whole edifice. This money being pumped out in the trillions is not circulating. It is static, tied up in secured loans which are qualitatively different to the credit or "time to pay" which mobilises goods and services.

The new money = credit now being poured in to replace toxic debt with quasi-cash will be static as well, because there are not enough creditworthy individuals or projects left for whom the banks will mobilise it.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 04:30:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did it change hands, or is Jerome writing under a pseudonym?

This person deserves a big thank you note from all of us and some publicity.

gabor_steingart@yahoo.com  

"Debt, unemployment, __flation" could fill several tribunes in each country.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 10:01:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Radio Prague - News
Czech trade unions plan mass protest on May 16

Czech trade unions have called upon their members to stage a mass protest against the impacts of the financial crisis upon the Czech labour market on May 16. On Friday, a spokesperson for the Bohemian-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions said that organizers were expecting tens of thousands of Czechs to attend the planned demonstration. According to the trade unions' confederation, the steps the government has taken to battle the financial crisis in the Czech Republic have not helped solve employees' problems. Union representatives said that thousands of lay-offs had been caused by the economic downturn, and the government was using the opportunity to amend the Labour Code in employers' favour.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 04:26:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | General strike disrupts transport | France 24
Strikers in Greece staged a 24-hour work stoppage on Thursday to protest government policies that they blame for rising unemployment. Olympic and Aegean airlines cancelled some 100 flights, and boats and land transport were suspended.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 04:50:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | Continental workers brace for drawn-out battle | France 24
As tension mounts at the Continental factory in the town of Clairoix, north of Paris, wary workers are prepared to go all the way to keep their factory, and their jobs, alive. FRANCE 24's Clea Caulcutt reports from the ground.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 05:03:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]

In France, the Bosses Can Become Hostages

PARIS -- Of the 22,000 workers Caterpillar Inc. plans to lay off this year, the French ones have perhaps the most radical tactic for negotiating their severance deals.

In an aggressive, and peculiarly French, negotiating strategy, they held their managers hostage. The workers detained the director of their plant and four other managers for about 24 hours this week. Workers released them only after the company agreed to resume talks with unions and a government mediator on how to improve compensation for workers who are being laid off.

Protest is "inscribed in the genes of French culture," said Maurice Lévy, chairman and CEO of advertising company Publicis Groupe. "In the past peasants protested against their lords. Today the difference is that the lords are chief executives."

But the article is slightly more balanced:


Jérôme Pélisse, a sociologist, surveyed 3,000 companies in 2004 and found that 18 of them had experienced an executive detention in the prior three years. "Kidnapping your boss is not legal," says Mr. Pélisse. "But it's a way workers have found to make their voices heard."

Taking the boss hostage is a way to stop the clock and reach out to those who made the decision to cut jobs -- especially when the decision comes from the remote headquarters of a foreign company, Mr. Pélisse said.

In the U.S. and most other countries, abducting a boss wouldn't be tolerated. In France, however, people have sympathy for those who take to the barricades -- as long as no one gets hurt. In the wake of the May 1968 cultural revolution, taking one's boss hostage became a popular form of protest.

One of the longest boss kidnappings in recent years took place at the Paris headquarters of bank Crédit Foncier de France in 1997. Even though he was detained for five days, Chairman Jérôme Meyssonier said there was "perfect respect" between him and employees.

(...)

"In the U.S., people accept getting fired on the spot, without complaining," says Michel Laboisseret, a CGT union delegate who took part in the Caterpillar protest. "We are more willing to pick a fight."

Even President Nicolas Sarkozy -- known for his pro-business views and policies -- said he supported the Caterpillar workers. "I will meet with the unions because they asked for my help, and I won't let them down," he said on the radio Wednesday.

Executive hostage-takings are deemed acceptable as long as some informal rules are obeyed. The workers must refrain from outright violence, and the executive must not be detained for more than a couple of days. Workers don't usually face criminal charges.

"Boss-napping falls into a particular category," says French police spokesman Laurent Bischoff. "Technically, it amounts to kidnapping, but it's not regarded as an offense." Police rarely intervene. "Our role is to stay within distance and let negotiations between unions and executives roll out quietly," Mr. Bischoff said. "Sending in troops would only help fan the flames."

Bossnaping, wheeeeee.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 05:50:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.  All ET fans are concerned that you will have to make layoffs in your division. ;-)

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 02:28:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Echoes of Argentina after corralito.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 06:12:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | Chavez inaugurates joint development bank in Tehran | France 24

...The Iran-Venezuela Joint Bank, based in Tehran, has an initial capital base of 200 million dollars, with each nation providing half of the funds, the state broadcaster said.

The Export Development Bank of Iran, which is under sanctions from the US Treasury, was tasked with creating the joint bank with the Venezuelans.

"The capital will be raised to 1.2 billion dollars with the aim of supporting joint economic, industrial and mining projects as well as speeding up the current projects," the report said.

...Chavez on Friday denounced a decision by the Group of 20 in London to commit one trillion dollars to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other global bodies to help struggling economies.

"They have decided to strengthen the main culprit, the IMF, while this fund should be eliminated," he was quoted as saying by the state broadcaster.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 04:40:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | Former defence minister arrested on graft charges | France 24
A leading opposition figure, former Defence Minister Raul Baduel has been arrested on corruption charges and is accused of having taken "a large amount of money" when he was minister in 2002-2007.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 04:42:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | Ex-Illinois Governor Blagojevich indicted on corruption charges | France 24
Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and five of his close associates have been charged with 16 felony counts including racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud, extortion conspiracy, and making false statements to federal agents.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 04:42:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | Lawmakers pass $3.41 trillion budget plan | France 24
The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives approved a fiscal 2010 budget plan that embraces the initiatives in President Barack Obama's $3.55 trillion proposal, but trims it to avoid exploding the federal deficit.

...Obama has disputed a grim Congressional Budget Office warning that the federal budget deficit could hit 1.845 trillion dollars this year under the Obama proposal, quadrupling the 2008 record shortfall and reaching to 13.1 percent of the total US economic output.

The House resolution would trim the deficit to 1.2 trillion dollars in 2010, compared to the president's figure of 1.4 trillion.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 04:45:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | FBI seizes Madoff's luxury property in Florida | France 24
The FBI has seized a multi-million dollar Palm Beach house and luxury goods belonging to disgraced US financier Bernard Madoff. Madoff, 70, is in a New York jail awaiting sentencing for running a multi-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 04:45:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | Switzerland rejects inclusion in OECD tax havens list | France 24
"President Hans-Rudolf Merz regrets this procedure. The list does not specify the criteria on the basis of which it was drawn up. Switzerland is not a tax haven," the finance ministry said in a statement late Thursday.
   
The three-tier list categorising tax havens and financial centres by their degree of cooperation was endorsed by the G20 leaders meeting in London Thursday.
   
Switzerland was placed in the middle tier of countries, which have adopted the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development's standards on exchanging tax information but not yet "substantially" implemented them.
   
The government formally decided on March 13 to ease the country's banking secrecy and fully adopt OECD tax standards.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 04:51:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Give me a break, Switzerland.
Bank secrecy was invented by the 1934 Swiss Banking Act following a public scandal in France, when MP Fabien Alberty denounced tax evasion by eminent French personalities, including politicians, judges, industrialists, church dignitaries and directors of newspapers, who were hiding their money in Switzerland.
No, Switzerland is not and has never been a tax haven, especially since 1934.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 04:27:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unemployment Rate Jumps to 8.5 Percent, 663K Jobs Lost in March
By Annys Shin, Washington Post

The nation's unemployment rate shot up from 8.1 to 8.5 percent last month, new figures out today show, as employers continued to slash jobs in the face of slumping demand.

The economy shed 663,000 jobs in March, the fourth straight month in which job losses have topped 600,000, according to Labor Department data.

A total of 5.1 million jobs have been lost since the recession began in December 2007, and more than 13 million people are unemployed.

The labor market is actually weaker than the official unemployment rate indicates. Groups excluded from the official count include people who are working part time but would rather be working full time, people who want to work but haven't looked for a job in the past month, and people who have become discouraged and given up looking. If those groups are included, the unemployment rate is 16.2 percent, up slightly from February.

by Magnifico on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 04:54:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The labor market is actually weaker than the official unemployment rate indicates. Groups excluded from the official count include people who are working part time but would rather be working full time, people who want to work but haven't looked for a job in the past month, and people who have become discouraged and given up looking.

The Washington Post admitting to this? What is the world coming to?

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 04:25:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Washington Post admitting to this? What is the world coming to?

A Democrat is in the White House. Therefore, maximize the bad.

by Magnifico on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 04:32:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Radicalization of Ben Bernanke - washingtonpost.com
Timothy Geithner and his predecessor Henry Paulson have been the public faces of the U.S. government's battle against the global economic crisis. But even as the secretaries of the Treasury have garnered the headlines -- as well as popular anger surrounding bank bailouts and corporate bonuses -- another official has quickly amassed great influence by committing trillions of dollars to keep markets afloat, radically redefining his institution and taking on serious risks as he seeks to rescue the American economy. Without a doubt, this crisis is now Ben Bernanke's war.


"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 05:08:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ECB divided as Trichet hints at plan to print money - Business News, Business - The Independent

Although the ECB Council disappointed markets by cutting rates by a less-than-expected quarter percentage point, to 1.25 per cent, focus centred on M. Trichet's remarks on the possibility of "unconventional measures" when rates eventually do find a floor, which he suggested would be relatively soon.

M. Trichet said during the regular press conference that follows every ECB decision that "I would say very candidly as regarding the main policy rate it is not the lowest limit. I do not exclude that we could in a very measured way go down from the present level". He said the ECB's Governing Council would decide whether to take further "non-standard" steps in its monetary policy at its next policy meeting in May.

"It's an important message that I tell you that the next decision-making rendezvous, we will tell you what has been decided for the non-standard measures."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 05:17:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European countries need fiscal expansion and issuing debt to the public doesn't work - it has to be bought by the ECB by issuing new currency. Will Germany allow this?

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 04:29:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Give it a couple of months.

The short-time employment subsidies for a lot of companies are due to run out over the course of the summer, with observers predicting an unemployment surge then. And the Bundestag elections are at the end of September.

If figure Merkel and Steinbrück are going to start getting Keynesainized round about June.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 05:13:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reading the papers in the plane today, I was struck by how critical the FT was ("it was mostly fluff") whil Libé (the French lefty daily) was a lot more enthusiastic.

What could it mean?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 05:46:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...that the Anglo financiers are starting to sober up (the hard way) while the French "caviar left" are still dazzled by the bling-bling lure of the liberal reform fantasy land?
Just a thougth...
by Bernard on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 04:05:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Libé was actually acknowledging the point that there was little substance to the announcements, but was choosing to underline the symbolic value of a summit (i) which inluded more countries than the G8 (ii) which agreed that unregulated finance was the problem and (iii) which called for public action.

Maybe it is the same reason the FT chose to downplay it...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 05:53:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I.B.M. Reportedly Will Buy Rival Sun for $7 Billion
By Ashlee Vance and Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times

I.B.M. appears on the verge of acquiring Sun Microsystems, a longtime rival in the computer server and software markets, for nearly $7 billion.

The two companies have been negotiating for weeks, ironing out terms of an agreement that would turn I.B.M. into the dominant supplier of high-profit Unix servers and related technology.

I.B.M. is offering $9.50 a share, down from a bid of $10 a share, said people familiar with the discussions who were not authorized to speak publicly. The new agreement would restrict I.B.M.'s ability to walk away from the deal, these people said.

Even at $9.50 a share, the deal would value Sun, based in Santa Clara, Calif., at close to $7 billion. It is close to a 100 percent premium based on Sun's value before rumors of an acquisition spread last month...

Although in a slump of nearly a decade, Sun is one of the largest sellers of server computers and is known for systems based on its Sparc chips. It has a vast software portfolio, including the Solaris operating system , the open-source MySQL database and the Java programming language.

by Magnifico on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 05:46:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The whole Bill Moyers interview of WilliamBlack on PBS is worth reading:

BILL MOYERS: So you're suggesting, saying that CEOs of some of these banks and mortgage firms in order to increase their own personal income, deliberately set out to make bad loans?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Yes.

BILL MOYERS: How do they get away with it? I mean, what about their own checks and balances in the company? What about their accounting divisions?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: All of those checks and balances report to the CEO, so if the CEO goes bad, all of the checks and balances are easily overcome. And the art form is not simply to defeat those internal controls, but to suborn them, to turn them into your greatest allies. And the bonus programs are exactly how you do that.
...
BILL MOYERS: To hear you say this is unusual because you supported Barack Obama, during the campaign. But you're seeming disillusioned now.

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Well, certainly in the financial sphere, I am. I think, first, the policies are substantively bad. Second, I think they completely lack integrity. Third, they violate the rule of law. This is being done just like Secretary Paulson did it. In violation of the law. We adopted a law after the Savings and Loan crisis, called the Prompt Corrective Action Law. And it requires them to close these institutions. And they're refusing to obey the law.

BILL MOYERS: In other words, they could have closed these banks without nationalizing them?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Well, you do a receivership. No one -- Ronald Reagan did receiverships. Nobody called it nationalization.

BILL MOYERS: And that's a law?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: That's the law.

BILL MOYERS: So, Paulson could have done this? Geithner could do this?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Not could. Was mandated--

BILL MOYERS: By the law.

WILLIAM K. BLACK: By the law.
...
BILL MOYERS: Yeah. Are you saying that Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of the Treasury, and others in the administration, with the banks, are engaged in a cover up to keep us from knowing what went wrong?

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Absolutely.

BILL MOYERS: You are.

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Absolutely, because they are scared to death. All right? They're scared to death of a collapse. They're afraid that if they admit the truth, that many of the large banks are insolvent. They think Americans are a bunch of cowards, and that we'll run screaming to the exits. And we won't rely on deposit insurance. And, by the way, you can rely on deposit insurance. And it's foolishness. All right? Now, it may be worse than that. You can impute more cynical motives. But I think they are sincerely just panicked about, "We just can't let the big banks fail." That's wrong.
...

Hat tip NBBooks

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 09:29:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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