Dec 2, 2014 13:58 UTC

India may boast world’s steepest rate cuts in 2015

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

India has decided against cutting its interest rates. But that only means next year might see it slashing them more than any other major economy. There is both the scope and the need.

Nov 28, 2014 16:34 UTC

Review: The shirk ethic – a user’s guide

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By Martin Langfield

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

Work can be seen as a blessing or a curse. In his book “Empty Labor: Idleness and Workplace Resistance,” Swedish sociologist Roland Paulsen examines people who take mostly the latter view, asking how and why they shirk, and whether it’s always a bad thing. His study of idleness on the job is enlightening, amusing and sad.

COMMENT

No mention of many people who are often or regularly on standby for some busy or peak work period? To me, unrealistic to expect 100% daily time focused on “billable” hours, to various jobs, and how is this addressed? Those bathroom or other breaks, and indeed even the web surfing or cross-functional talk with other team members can be good for the company too, right?

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Nov 26, 2014 12:37 UTC

Remember the UK housing bubble?

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By Ian Campbell

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

Just months ago a new house price bubble was seen by many as the great danger for the UK. A chorus built for rate rises and special intervention in the mortgage market. Now the alarm calls are fading. A foreign capital flood has receded in London, home-loan approvals are down and house price inflation is easing. Bubble fears were premature.

Nov 25, 2014 16:54 UTC

American banking has its own Tea Party

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By Rob Cox

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

Like the anti-establishment wing of the Republican Party, the American banking business has its own version of a Tea Party: the Independent Community Bankers of America. In just the past week, the trade group has vociferously opposed the nomination of a Wall Street banker to the Treasury and hailed a bill that would increase congressional oversight of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. These are the plaintive cries of a dying breed of banker.

COMMENT

Readers of this commentary need to ignore Mr. Cox’s obvious community bank animosity and focus on the facts. Mr. Cox admits that “community banks didn’t receive bailouts from the federal government” and that the big banks’ lower cost of funds “implies a belief that the biggest banks won’t be allowed to fail.” So, Mr. Cox admits that the market is rigged in favor of big banks, yet apparently community bankers are bad sports for lobbying for an even playing field. One of the reasons that economies of scale matter so much these days is that community banks have been subjected to ever more restrictive regulations that were passed in response to big bank abuses, such as redlining, abuse of the payment system, and loan production offices rewarded for volume and not prudence. The fact that big banks control a larger DOLLAR share of the loan and deposit markets is irrelevant. One would expect banks in major financial markets to serve their customers, such as the Fortune Five Hundred companies. But these banks have no interest, nor should they necessarily, in serving the thousands of small communities where tens of millions of Americans live and work. What’s surprising or antiquated about this market phenomenon? Nothing. To scoff at the thousands of responsible banks and hundreds of thousands of responsible people who do serve this market displays real urban provincialism that one would not expect from such a sophisticated news source.

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Nov 24, 2014 21:56 UTC

Brazil’s epic water crisis a global wake-up call

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By Kevin Allison and Antony Currie

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own. 

One of the world’s biggest cities is running out of water. Sao Paulo, a city of 20 million people, could run dry within weeks. The humanitarian and economic cost would be immense. The fiasco should be a global wake-up call for other metropolises.

Nov 24, 2014 13:40 UTC

Boris should pay up but not shut up over U.S. tax

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By George Hay

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

Boris Johnson has a point about his U.S. tax bill, but he should still cough up. The London mayor objects to the fact that his dual UK and U.S. citizenship means he has been issued with an American tax bill, and he says he won’t pay. Though many U.S. expats will share his frustration, it does not warrant civil disobedience.

COMMENT

Rather naïve, campaigning to change anything through the US legislative system is utterly futile.

He may well need to eventually tow the line because of his ambitions but not to protest is to accept a system that is fundamentally wrong.

Posted by Alisdair | Report as abusive
Nov 21, 2014 19:32 UTC
kateduguid

Review: Congo’s problems run deeper than oil

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By Kate Duguid

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

Save the gorillas and save the Democratic Republic of Congo, urges “Virunga,” a new documentary from Netflix and enviro-mensches Leonardo DiCaprio and Howard Buffett. The film chronicles the machinations of British oil firm Soco International’s exploratory venture in Congo’s Virunga National Park, while park rangers struggle to thwart them.

Nov 20, 2014 20:01 UTC

Dizzying revolving door risks overdone response

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By Daniel Indiviglio

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

The dizzying revolving door between Wall Street and the U.S. government risks an overdone response. Going from a job as an overseer to the private sector, or moving in the other direction, can raise conflicts. Such shifts warrant clear rules, but cross-fertilization has value.

Nov 20, 2014 14:24 UTC

London gets closer to harsh bonus cap reality

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By Dominic Elliott

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

London is nearing the stark reality of banker bonus caps. An adviser to the European Court of Justice on Nov. 20 struck down the UK’s legal arguments against a European Union law restricting variable compensation to a maximum of two-thirds of overall pay. If the court agrees with him, the practical consequence will be that banks will hike fixed salaries, and overall industry remuneration may stay higher than it should.

Nov 19, 2014 18:05 UTC

Uber is one startup that needs to grow up fast

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By Robert Cyran

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

Uber is one startup that needs to grow up fast. The Silicon Valley taxi app’s disregard for rules has spurred it toward a $30 billion valuation. But executives who threaten to “dig up dirt” on critics, use unsavory tactics against rivals, and post statistics on customers’ one-night stands present an existential business risk and hurt its fledgling brand. Uber needs to rein in its laddish impulses.