Private equity may owe Obama a debt of gratitude

May 30, 2012

Mitt Romney has weakly rebutted the president’s attacks on his Bain Capital tenure. But others who see the good side of buyouts are gradually speaking up. Election-year mud-slinging could end up boosting the industry, especially if LBO firms themselves seize the moment.

Asia offers Myanmar development do’s and don’ts

June 6, 2012

One advantage of 50 years of isolation is being able to learn from neighbours’ mistakes. Myanmar isn’t a blank slate, but has a rare chance to get right on corruption, property, infrastructure, education, foreign investment, trade, markets, and currency what others got so wrong.

Britain’s monarchy-fest shows power of sentiment

June 6, 2012

A four-day celebration for the queen’s diamond jubilee is eccentric, even as austerity rules the land. But it also demonstrates how crowds - not unlike markets - act on airy sentimentality as well as cold logic. Tiny things, if valued by enough people, are extraordinarily potent.

Wisconsin puts proactive policies back on the map

June 6, 2012

Governor Scott Walker’s victory in the Badger State’s recall election doesn’t just affirm his 2011 union-curbing budget reforms. It also suggests well-designed controversial policies are far from doomed. That’s good news for politicians of all hues battling Washington’s gridlock.

UK limbers up for next EU clash

June 8, 2012

As the British PM prepares to take his “make up or break up” message to Berlin, his finance minister is demanding safeguards if the zone forms a full banking union. Other countries won’t like either the UK’s lectures or special treatment for its lenders.

California shows way through tricky pension mess

June 8, 2012

San Jose and San Diego want current public workers to make sacrifices for their pensions, like contributing up to 16 percent more of salaries to fund retirement schemes. Backed by voters, the proposals look to be a sensible way forward in the thorny thicket of pension reform.

National breakups don’t work like corporate ones

June 13, 2012

Take the recent attempt by Malian rebels to divide their country. It’s not wrong in principle. With good will, some national splits - like company demergers - produce smaller, more prosperous nations. But military force makes such results exceptions and disasters the rule.

Investors fussing too much over Greek election

June 15, 2012

The financial world is in suspense because the vote in the euro zone’s most difficult member might trigger a disastrous chain reaction. A more cheerful result - muddling on, or even a breakthrough - is more likely. But either way, the world economy will remain troubled for years.

Mongolia’s task: avoid Nigerian resource curse

July 5, 2012

The country, which held elections last week, is growing at a blistering rate on the back of its Oyu Tolgoi mine. Nigeria shows what can go wrong when government and private fingers get sticky - the bonanza is wasted and non-resource activity is burdened and disincentivized.

Spain needs to get on with its to-do list

July 6, 2012

The current Spanish government, like its predecessor, always seems behind the curve. Only now is it talking about additional measures to really get the country’s finances under control. The hope is that it won’t fall short.