Dec 22, 2014 22:06 UTC

First case against algorithm could reboot U.S. law

Photo

By Reynolds Holding

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

A new test is coming for U.S. law: the first criminal case against an algorithm. The prosecution of an energy trader essentially turns on whether one computer program duped another. Proving intent seems futuristic at best where software is the de facto defendant.

Dec 22, 2014 21:53 UTC

China-U.S. shift will end Cold War peace dividend

Photo

By Daniel Indiviglio

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

China’s defense outlays may match those of the United States in 15 years. Meanwhile, America’s relative austerity paired with Russian aggression could force European military spending higher. Western makers of aircraft and other weaponry will face new global competition from Chinese companies, though revenue prospects may improve. Governments, meanwhile, may have to choose between just rearming and an all-out arms race.

Dec 22, 2014 06:16 UTC

China will make 2015 year of missed opportunities

Photo

By John Foley

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The penny is starting to drop for foreign investors in China. Two years into the leadership of President Xi Jinping, there’s little sign of the country opening, relaxing and rebalancing as outsiders expected. It’s likely that 2015 will be another year of missed opportunities.

COMMENT

Our European heritage that has us believe that all people other than Europeans are stupid sometimes makes us have unreasonable expectations. Every greedy investor thinks that everyone else in the world is simply a mark that can be manipulated to give them money for nothing. The penny hasn’t dropped. When US/Europeans realize that people are on to their scams, then the penny has dropped. I don’t know why China just doesn’t do as the white masters want. They must know that the white masters know everything.

Posted by brotherkenny4 | Report as abusive
Dec 17, 2014 21:42 UTC

M&A “clear day” defenses can cloud investor rights

Photo

By Reynolds Holding

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Corporate defenses can hurt investors, rain or shine. Anti-takeover measures adopted on so-called “clear days” – before threats arise – are more likely to weather legal scrutiny. It’s one reason Allergan was able to beat back Valeant’s unwanted $52 billion advance. When such protections are triggered in the heat of battle, though, they’re considered unfair surprises. Either way, shareholders usually get unneeded cover.

Dec 17, 2014 20:19 UTC

Sony email shareholders would like to see

Photo

By Rob Cox

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

The hacking scandal at Sony’s Hollywood studio isn’t just embarrassing. It’s a business problem for the $23 billion Japanese conglomerate already struggling to turn itself around. Herewith, a selection of internal messages Sony’s board and executives ought to be fielding this week.

Dec 17, 2014 16:58 UTC

Europe could edge past U.S. in race to courthouse

Photo

By Reynolds Holding

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Europe’s companies could edge past Uncle Sam’s in the race to the courthouse. New rules and bank scandals are boosting fraud and class-action filings in Britain. Patent combatants are flocking to German judges. And spats over failed investments are clogging courts across the EU.

Dec 16, 2014 19:52 UTC
Edward Hadas

Sorry, this is as good as the global recovery gets

Photo

graph.jpg
At the beginning of 2014, many people were optimistic about the world economy. For the fifth straight year, it had seemed safe to declare the lingering effects of the 2008 financial crisis over and done with. This time is different: 2015 is likely to begin in a merited atmosphere of gloom.

Investors are looking at the financial system with increasing dismay. Monetary policy has never been so loose for so long in developed economies, and yet lending, investments and consumer spending are still restrained. A beefed-up banking system is not yet funding rapid hiring or strong GDP growth. Abenomics – the stimulative policy package of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – seems to be losing its shine, commodity exporters have big problems and the United States may just be bumping along a bit better than the rest.

COMMENT

Let’s quit confusing the state of the economy with the job market and income distribution. While once strongly correlated, they are no longer coupled. The economy itself may be the only thing going well. The job market is a shambles because technological advances and offshoring have permanently eliminated most of the middle class factory jobs for the minimally educated. This and failure to regulate financial markets have resulted in massive problems in income distribution. External shocks such as Russian aggression and OPEC lowering prices to eliminate competition, could cause economic problems if politicians react according to partisan ideology.

Posted by QuietThinker | Report as abusive
Dec 16, 2014 16:58 UTC

EU insurers’ solvency is shakier than it looks

Photo

By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The capital strength of European insurers is shakier than it looks. Recent stress tests by the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority found that only 14 percent of insurers fell below a baseline level of capital strength under so-called “Solvency II” reforms. That’s not the end of the story, however.

Dec 16, 2014 16:50 UTC

Solar upstarts and utilities head for uneasy truce

Photo

By Kevin Allison

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Solar power upstarts and U.S. electric utilities may reach an uneasy truce in 2015. The soaring popularity of solar installations is helping to cut carbon emissions. But the trend upsets big electricity providers trying to make a return on grid investments. Utilities’ attempts to slap fees on solar users sparked uproar in 2014. Cost-sharing may take some heat out of the debate.

Dec 12, 2014 15:52 UTC
Guest Contributor

Review: “Forgotten Depression” worth remembering

Photo

By Edward Chancellor

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews Columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

“The central irony of financial crisis is that while it is caused by too much confidence, too much lending and too much spending, it can only be resolved with more confidence, more lending and more spending.” This post-crisis advice from Larry Summers – a former U.S. Treasury secretary, presidential economic advisor and president of Harvard – represents the conventional wisdom of the economic policymaking elite. This is the same elite, you may recall, that failed to see the global meltdown coming in the first place. Could it be that they’ve got things wrong yet again?

COMMENT

Grant keeps peddling his snake oil about a brief and painless 1921 depression. If wages would only collapse we could have growth and prosperity again! In fact, the pain of the 1921 Depression continued until the back end of the 1920′s. Overproduction, deflation and political chicanery by the New York Fed caused the 1924 and 1927 bond buying programs. The two programs were responsible for a great increase in credit that fueled the boom and bust of 1929. Old economic texts from that time provide examples of a great many firms just barely holding on and making little or no profits even in 1929. Today their solution is propagate the old scheme of much lower wages and skimpy benefits as the way to fuel a new economy of revived growth and prosperity for all. It is the old retreaded scheme of the 1800′s- boom and bust with depressions and wars as the main course. We have a good example of slashed wages today in the form of Iceland. Average people working for a small fraction of what they made before the Krona collapsed. This is the old model peddled by Austrian, Laissez-faire and Hoovernomics advocates. The old models are wrong in so many ways. The last act of the New Deal known as Lend-Lease, produced The Golden Age of America. So many decades have passed everyone has forgotten. I enjoy nearly all of James Grant’s writings but Neoliberal snake oil will make a bigger mess than we find ourselves in today.

Posted by snakeoilpeddler | Report as abusive