Christine Lagarde’s international campaign to become the next head of the IMF is an attempt to maximize her credentials as the choice not only of Europe but of the rest of the world as well. The job is hers, at this point: once the US falls in behind Lagarde there’s no question that Lagarde will get the job, and with Hillary Clinton now waxing enthusiastic about how “we welcome women who are well qualified and experienced to head major organizations such as the IMF”, it’s going to be hard for the US to support anybody else. So Lagarde’s latest world tour should be seen as maneuvering to make her life as easy as possible when it comes to dealing with increasingly-powerful shareholders such as China and Brazil, after she starts in her new role.
If you want to keep your revolutionary payments system top secret, here’s a piece of advice: launch it in Arizona. That’s what Bank of America and Wells Fargo did in April, with their new clearXchange system; nobody noticed, until they put out a press release today.
I’m a little late to this, but Shanken News has the latest Bordeaux export league tables, and they’re quite astonishing. The US is now only Bordeaux’s sixth-largest export market, in both price and volume. Meanwhile, the top spot on the dollar league table — held since time immemorial by the UK — has now moved to Hong Kong.
Aditya Chakrabortty has an enjoyable take-down today of Lorenzo Bini Smaghi:
Two weeks ago he warned the struggling Greeks: “Default or debt restructuring is a dramatic economic and social event for the country which experiences it – I would call it political ‘suicide’– which leads many into poverty.”
Companies from General Motors to Coca-Cola have long had a complex relationship with their suppliers — it’s important for those vendors to do well, but at the same time no one likes getting ripped off to the point at which the vendors are doing spectacularly well and the big organization doing the buying is seeing its expenses rise dramatically year after year.