Jan 18, 2013 20:49 UTC

Review: Latin America needs more Uribes

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

Latin America needs more leaders like Alvaro Uribe. “No Lost Causes,” the former Colombian president’s account of his administration, may at times be self-serving. But it shows how he helped turn a war-torn Colombia from a near-failed state to a top investment destination. Uribe’s security gains remain frail, but his successes dwarf those of his leftist peers in Latin America.

Jan 11, 2013 14:14 UTC

Review: Haiti’s unreconstructed disaster story

It is three years since a massive earthquake devastated Haiti. A new book by Jonathan Katz suggests that the ensuing international aid effort gave the stricken the Caribbean country all possible assistance, short of actual help. He suggests, indeed, that the outsiders did more harm than good.

Haiti’s crisis plucked at the world’s heart strings. Bill Clinton, Sean Penn and Angelina Jolie were among the famous names who stepped up as advocates for the dispossessed. Katz reports that $16.3 billion, much from the United States, was donated. But the effort fell woefully short. “The world came to save Haiti and left behind a disaster”, he writes.

Dec 28, 2012 16:37 UTC

Review: China’s red capitalism needs retooling

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

China’s authoritarian capitalism may be a victim of its own success. It is getting harder to satisfy a population that is devoid of ideology and which demands non-stop lifestyle improvements. Powerful state-owned companies are consuming the fruits of reform. Moreover, the system’s lack of checks and balances has led to widespread corruption. For China to thrive, it needs change its one-of-a-kind development model. That is the persuasive argument made by journalist-turned businessman James McGregor in his new book, “No Ancient Wisdom, No Followers”.

COMMENT

Adapt or become irrelevant. This is a lesson their government leaders must learn to maintain social stability. The post-post cultural revolution generation will no longer be content with the lack of freedoms. They will increadsingly want more access to the outside world and a voice in the poluitcal and economic future of their country. If they do not receive it then the economic miracle of China will eventually cease.

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Dec 14, 2012 16:49 UTC

Review: Every monetary system needs a Paul Volcker

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

William Silber’s biography of Paul Volcker is rightly sympathetic to the man whose determination and integrity conquered U.S. inflation. When needed, he overcame opposition from politicians and academic economists. Yet once his work was done, policy slid back and his abilities were wasted.

Nov 30, 2012 19:31 UTC

Review: How a maverick CEO exposed a scandal at Olympus

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By Quentin Webb

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

Society and markets need whistle-blowers. But it’s hard, lonely work. Michael Woodford’s “Exposure” details first-hand how the maverick executive blew the whistle on a $1.7 billion accounting scandal at Olympus, the company he ran. His integrity makes him a welcome outlier in an age of financial scandal.

Nov 16, 2012 16:37 UTC

Review: Why Polaroid faded away

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

Polaroid reinvented photography, but faded away. Christopher Bonanos’s “Instant: The Story of Polaroid” is a pacey history of the Apple of the analogue age.

Nov 9, 2012 17:37 UTC

Review: Embracing the psychopath within

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

If you’ve ever thought your boss is a psychopath, you may be right, according to psychologist Kevin Dutton. And if you’re a top-flight markets trader, captain of industry, surgeon or soldier, you may well be one yourself. But that’s OK, says Dutton. It may even be optimal.

Oct 26, 2012 15:27 UTC

Review: A practical guide to writing in Chinese

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By Katrina Hamlin

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

Mo Yan may have won the Nobel, but in China celebrity blogger Han Han rules online. More than half a billion readers have visited his irreverent blog. He’s also a hit on Sina Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter, where his first post attracted 750,000 followers.

Oct 20, 2012 19:28 UTC

Review: The danger of trading machines

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By Martin Hutchinson

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

It’s a quarter-century since computerized program trading led to Black Monday on the U.S. stock market. A new and more advanced generation of arcane algorithms now threatens capital markets. That is the lesson of “Dark Pools,” a new book on machine-based equity trading by the Wall Street Journal’s Scott Patterson. The book is a great read – and raises an important question: could the trading machines destroy the capital markets?

Oct 12, 2012 18:34 UTC

Review: Bairing the strain of failed regulation

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

There is one clear and simple message from “Bull by the Horns,” Sheila Bair’s account of her five years in charge of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp: financial regulators still need a good kick up the backside. Bair is not one to pull her punches – she delivers her poor opinion of several financial CEOs in the first couple of pages of her tell-all, and doesn’t stop there in her critiques of America’s banking system.