Reuters blog archive
from Global Investing:
The withering complexity of a four-year-old global financial crisis -- in the euro zone, United States or increasingly in China and across the faster-growing developing world -- is now stretching the minds and patience of even the most clued-in experts and commentators. Unsurprisingly, the average householder is perplexed, increasingly anxious and keen on a simpler narrative they can rally around or rail against. It's fast becoming a fertile environment for half-baked conspiracy theories, apocalypse preaching and no little political opportunism. And, as ever, a tempting electoral ploy is to convince the public there's some magic national solution to problems way beyond borders.
For a populace fearful of seemingly inextricable connections to a wider world they can't control, it's not difficult to see the lure of petty nationalism, protectionism and isolationism. Just witness national debates on the crisis in Britain, Germany, Greece or Ireland and they are all starting to tilt toward some idea that everyone may be better off on their own -- outside a flawed single currency in the case of Germany, Greece and Ireland and even outside the European Union in the case of some lobby groups in Britain. But it's not just a debate about a European future, the U.S. Senate next week plans to vote on legisation to crack down on Chinese trade due to currency pegging despite the interdependency of the two economies. And there's no shortage of voices saying China should somehow stand aloof from the Western financial crisis, even though its spectacular economic ascent over the past decade was gained largely on the back of U.S. and European demand.
Despite all the nationalist rumbling, the crisis illustrates one thing pretty clearly - the world is massively integrated and interdependent in a way never seen before in history. And globalised trade and finance drove much of that over the past 20 years. However desireable you may think it is in the long run, unwinding that now could well be catastrophic. A financial crisis in one small part of the globe will now quickly affect another through a blizzard of systematic banking and cross-border trade links systemic links.
Just take the euro zone for a start. HSBC economists on Friday said the costs of a euro zone breakup would be "a disaster, threatening another Great Depression" and far outweighed the costs of repairing the flawed fiscal backstops to the monetary union -- especially given the wealthier creditor countries within the union tend to ignore the benefits they've reaped from the euro over the past 12 years. Aided by the "entangling effects" of the euro, it showing that cross-border holdings of capital have exploded from about 20% of world GDP in 1980 to stand at more than 100% now (global GDP was estimated by the IMF to be about $62 trillion last year). By contrast, the first wave of globalisation in the late 19th and early 20th century saw cross-border holdings peak at 20% of world GDP before WW1 reversed everything.
from Left field:
Flicking through the television channels in Budapest, Hungary, last week, it took just five clicks before I stumbled across live coverage of the Minnesota Vikings playing the New England Patriots.
It was somewhat unexpected that a game which has very little following in Eastern Europe would be live on television but I should have known better. That day, the Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers had been playing in London and now that ESPN has a channel in the region, it is surely only natural they beam in live coverage of 'America's Game'.
from The Great Debate UK:
-- Mark Kobayashi-Hillary is the author of several books, including ‘Who Moved my Job?’ and ‘Global Services: Moving to a Level Playing Field’. The opinions expressed are his own --
After thirteen years, it’s all over. The New Labour project is dead. Or is it? Tony Blair brought British politics to the centre-ground and ensured that a single party could support free-market economic policies as well as social justice.
After scoring gains in local elections, Dutch anti-immigration politician Geert Wilders is now primed to make waves in a national poll in June by tapping into discontent over Islam and globalisation.
In the first test of public opinion since the collapse of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's coalition government last month, Wilders' Freedom Party (PVV) became the largest party in the city of Almere and came second in The Hague on Wednesday.
from India Insight:
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seems to have set the ball rolling for granting voting rights to Non Resident Indians.
"I recognise the legitimate desire of Indians living abroad to exercise their franchise and to have a say in who governs India," Singh said at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas meet in New Delhi.
from India Insight:
It has been a rather uneasy transition for Bangalore from "pensioner's paradise" or "garden city" to the information technology capital of India.
Longtime residents often complain of immigrants from other parts of the country ruining their paradise. Such complaints have been common in Mumbai, which has witnessed waves of immigration since the 1950s, but Bangalore old-timers tend to blame the city's problems on the "IT fellows".
When Pope Benedict issued his encyclical Caritas in Veritate (Love in Truth) in July, he addressed it to "the bishops, priests and deacons, men and women religious, the lay faithful and all people of good will". That list puts Catholics first, but it gets around to a wider audience by the end. Maybe because of that sequence, most of the discussion about the document has been in Catholic circles.
But in the pope's back yard, i.e. in Italy, the message has attracted a wider audience. In a rare reaction from a non-Christian organisation, the Italian Muslim association Comunità Religiosa Islamica (CO.RE.IS.) Italiana has welcomed the encyclical and drawn parallels between its outlook and that of Islamic economic and social thinking. CO.RE.IS presented its reaction on the occasion of the Ecumenical Day of Christian-Islamic Dialogue in Italy on Tuesday. Following are some excerpts:
from India Insight:
You may soon find India's first genetically modified vegetable, Bt brinjal, making its way to your vegetable market.
The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, which is responsible for approval of proposals relating to release of genetically engineered products, on Wednesday approved the environmental release of the vegetable but it still has to get a nod from the central government.
from Global News Journal:
Malaysia is a multicultural country of 27 million people in Southeast Asia. It has a majority Muslim population that of course is not allowed to drink by religion. Yet clearly some do as shown by the sentencing to caning for a young woman handed down recently
from Global News Journal:
Climate health costs: bug-borne ills, killer heat
Tree-munching beetles, malaria-carrying mosquitoes and deer ticks that spread Lyme disease are three living signs that climate change is likely to exact a heavy toll on human health. These pests and others are expanding their ranges in a warming world, which means people who never had to worry about them will have to start.
Moving a 17-metre high monument to Christopher Columbus 100 metres down the road is how the Spanish government is interpreting the advice of John Maynard Keynes. The economist once argued it would be preferable to pay workers to dig holes and fill them in again, rather than allowing them to stand idle and deprive the economy of the multiplier effect of their wages.