Dec 30, 2014 11:37 UTC

UK faces risk of cold-weather blackouts

Photo

By Olaf Storbeck

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

Britain is dicing with darkness. The electricity system is ageing and the mix of generating technology – including renewable sources like wind power – is changing. Both factors increase the danger of power cuts at peak times. New capacity can’t come soon enough.

Dec 29, 2014 15:17 UTC

Bad ideas catching up with Latin America in 2015

Photo

By Martin Hutchinson

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

Bad economic ideas will start to catch up with Latin America in 2015. For four years, the region has seen growth rates below the world average. The IMF predicts that won’t change any time soon. Yet while most Pacific-facing countries will shine, Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela will suffer. With a couple of exceptions, misguided policies are finally coming home to roost.

COMMENT

What about Panama’s growth. It’s proyected to be one of the highest in the region for next year.

Posted by EnmanuelMC | Report as abusive
Dec 29, 2014 11:00 UTC

Ukraine crisis forced into suspended animation for 2015

Photo

By Pierre Briançon

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

putin.jpg

Western economic sanctions against Russia were expected to have no effect. Yet they have caused much pain. They were also meant to have a clear goal. So far, they don’t.

COMMENT

European countries need to take a hard look at the benefits and also the bad effects of the sanctions. Please do NOT “go along to get along” with the US and what that government wants. What is good – or so our US government says is good – for the US may not be in the best interests of other countries.

Many of us realize that countries closer to Russia face a different set of problems with Putin than we in the US do. Plus, we do not seem to realize that the Russian people have been through much worse that these sanctions and they are tough, having to sacrifice much in the past.

Posted by AZreb | Report as abusive
Dec 26, 2014 16:54 UTC

U.S. housing demand is building

Photo

By Daniel Indiviglio

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

The U.S. housing market is set for another leg up. Increasing household formation, job creation and easing credit look set to give the market a boost, despite rising interest rates and the headwind of sliding affordability.

Dec 26, 2014 16:49 UTC

Bitcoin’s defects will hasten its demise in 2015

Photo

By Martin Hutchinson

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

Bitcoin’s defects will hasten its demise in 2015. The leading crypto-currency’s economies of scale in mining and its transaction system’s vulnerability to subversion by a dominant miner make it unsound. As seignorage declines it will become cost-uncompetitive for transactions. These flaws will cause its price to lose further altitude.

COMMENT

The bitcoin price depends on people’s demand for holding bitcoins. When that goes up the price will go up. You’re completely ignoring that component of price formation.

Posted by EconomicsJunkie | Report as abusive
Dec 26, 2014 16:44 UTC

Review: Fixing the CIA – a novel approach

Photo

By Martin Langfield

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

Could an outsider best reform the CIA in the wake of torture revelations? In David Ignatius’ novel “The Director,” a pro-privacy tech CEO tries to drag an agency that has lost its way into a new world of tighter rules, leaky secrets and mounting cyberthreats. It’s a good idea, with uneven results for both Ignatius and his hero.

Dec 24, 2014 17:03 UTC

Uncle Sam stoked to hash out marijuana in 2015

Photo

By Daniel Indiviglio

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

It’s high time for Uncle Sam to hash out America’s marijuana situation. Now that four states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational cannabis better regulation is warranted for commerce and safety reasons alone. Without the federal government tweaking laws to consent to the will of the states, the fledgling industry will remain in the shadows of professionalization.

Dec 24, 2014 12:21 UTC

Euro zone will flit between crisis and catharsis

Photo

By Neil Unmack

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

The euro zone will flit between crisis and catharsis in 2015. Populist parties are on the rise, the economy is stalling and governments are paralyzed by their divisions. On the other hand, the euro zone has stronger banks and an activist European Central Bank. There is cause for hope, but it is tiny.

COMMENT

Populism isn’t the threat.

The threat is the cabal of bankers, IMF, ECB and EU who want bailouts for the rich to be paid for by austerity on everyone else.

Banks are not better than they were, stop believing in this illusion.

And countries that have limited to no population growth will have limited to no economic growth.

Please stop peddling obsolete economic theories based on perpetual economic growth (only possible with perpetual population growth and debt expansion. The system itself isn’t sustainable. Stop advocating bailouts for the rich.

Posted by marvri75 | Report as abusive
Dec 24, 2014 12:01 UTC
Edward Hadas

Inflation could make a surprise comeback

Photo

By Edward Hadas

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

Remember when inflation was a threat? In the 1970s, citizens of the developed world thought price-wage spirals would keep accelerating until they brought economic ruin. The average U.S. rate in that decade was 7 percent. More recently, other countries have had to deal with high inflation’s destabilising effects. But now, across the globe, one of the oldest economic bugbears shows few signs of life.

COMMENT

The author makes a good case. The central bankers are trying to prevent outright deflation in nearly all countries. Creating such large amounts of excess reserves is apt to result in high inflation if average people start borrowing again. Look for a crazy lending scheme for the average person to become ensnared in first. That should reduce excess reserves, increase money velocity and cause inflation surprises.

Posted by LowIncome | Report as abusive
Dec 24, 2014 05:08 UTC

Cheaper oil no friend to Asia’s households

Photo

By Andy Mukherjee

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

Cheaper fuel sounds like something no household would turn down. Yet falling energy prices are presenting Asia with a worrying prospect: wage growth may slump just when extra income is most needed.