The Great Debate UK

When firms “Too Big to Fail” fall

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Amid the turmoil of the 2008 financial crisis a myriad of events unfolded that the general public knew nothing about, writes New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin in a new book titled “Too Big to Fail.”

Wall Street fell from the dizzying heights of good fortune to calamity in a matter of months. To a large degree it’s still to early to tell whether financiers and politicians involved made the right choices.

“At its core ‘Too Big to Fail’ is a chronicle of failure — a failure that brought the world to its knees and raised questions about the very nature of capitalism,” writes Sorkin in his behind-the-scenes account.

He spoke with Reuters before giving a lecture at the London School of Economics on Thursday.

Bank hedges bets with QE expansion

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BRITAIN-BANK/RATESWhen the Bank of England decided to expand its quantitative easing policy by 25 billion pounds to 200 billion on Thursday, it was essentially hedging its bets.

After Britain’s economy shrank unexpectedly in the third quarter, and with two thirds of the City expecting an expansion to the QE programme, simply shutting off the tap of government bond purchases would risk being more of a shock than the economy could bear.

Why is the UK still in recession when the U.S. isn’t?

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Recent U.S.  gross domestic product data show the world’s biggest economy emerged from recession in the third quarter, while in the UK data show that in the same period Britain’s economy contracted.

British economist and author John Kay theorizes that Britain is mired in its worst recession on record in part because government support has not been evenly distributed across sectors.

Can emissions be tackled without Copenhagen deal?

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Even if a deal is reached among political delegates at the upcoming United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen, it is unlikely to set out specific emission targets, says Mike Hulme, author of “Why We Disagree About Climate Change” and a professor at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.

“What we’ve done with climate change is to attach so many pressing environmental concerns to the climate change agenda that trying to secure a negotiated multilateral agreement between 190 nations is actually beyond the reach of what we can achieve,” he argues.

Worst is over for U.S. job losses

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Kurt Karl-Kurt Karl is chief U.S. economist for Swiss Re. The opinions expressed are his own.-

Ongoing job losses pose a severe threat to the nascent U.S. recovery because they weaken consumers confidence and their ability to spend.

You never know when rates will rise

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David Kuo-David Kuo, Director at the financial website The Motley Fool. The opinions expressed are his own.-

Go on. Admit it. You didn’t see it coming, did you? You never thought a member of the G20 nations would dare to break ranks and raise interest rates this soon.

from UK News:

BAE, the SFO and time travel

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rtxp5uiProsecute over bribes allegedly paid in far-flung lands years before you banned such practices?

That’s the bluff from Britain’s Serious Fraud Office and its biggest defence firm, BAE Systems, is having none of it.

from UK News:

Roger Bootle throws capitalism a life preserver

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Problems sparked by the financial crisis have not gone away, but have been transferred to the public sector, economist Roger Bootle posits in his new book.In "The Trouble With Markets: Saving Capitalism from Itself" Bootle argues that in large measure, the underlying cause of the financial crisis was the result of an idea that markets work, and that governments do not."Despite the trillions of dollars lost, and despite the worries of millions of people, more than this -- much, much more -- is at stake," Bootle writes. "For this crisis has delivered the killer blow to an idea that has underpinned the structure of society, framed the political debate, and moulded international relations for decades."Bootle, director of Capital Economics and an economic advisor to business accountancy firm Deloitte, reflects on the pitfalls of the corporate system and puts forth his ideas on the future of capitalism.He discussed his book and his economic predictions with Reuters at his London office.

from The Great Debate:

Imagine when China runs a trade deficit

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WeiGucrop.jpg-- Wei Gu is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own --

If current trends continue, China might swing to a trade deficit in the not-too-distant future. Given that China has enjoyed more than a decade of strong exports, this may sound a bit far-fetched. But even if it happens, this would not necessarily be something for the world to worry about.

Some economists have recently sounded alarm bells about the possibility of a Chinese trade deficit. They argue that if the Chinese current account surplus shrinks, it would leave Beijing with less spare cash to buy U.S. Treasury bonds. Then who would fund the U.S. budget deficit -- and, by implication, U.S. consumers?

What happened to bird flu?

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bm- Bernard Murphy is investigations editor at Clinica World Medical Technology News. The opinions expressed are his own -

Bernard Murphy has been following the spread of avian and swine flu across the globe and is an expert in medical diagnostics and regulation. He explains how the threat of bird flu is still present and discusses the latest developments in diagnosing and combating the viruses and the threat they pose to the global economy.

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