The Great Debate UK
- Richard Wellings is Deputy Editorial Director at the Institute of Economic Affairs. The opinions expressed are his own.-
Argentina should be an object lesson for the U.S.
A century ago, it was one of the richest countries in the world. Today, it has fallen far behind Europe and North America, after a hundred years marked by long periods of recession.
Faced with economic crisis, for example during World War I and the Great Depression, Argentina’s politicians turned to socialism. Lame-duck industries were subsidised and protected from competition, and policy was often driven by powerful vested interests such as the trade unions.
Profligate government spending was initially financed by borrowing, and then by printing money. The result was rampant inflation, which damaged investment and growth by making it almost impossible for businesses to plan ahead.
Political leaders gathered in Dublin to debate both sides of the controversial Lisbon Treaty and the implications it could have on the future of Europe.
The panel consisted of Micheál Martin, Ireland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nigel Farage MEP, leader of UKIP, Mary-Lou McDonald, Deputy President of Sinn Fein and David Begg, General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
Sir Win Bischoff appears to relish a challenge. His brief spell as chairman of Citigroup was spent resisting regulators who wanted to break up the bank. If the veteran banker takes over as chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, his first fight will be with competition authorities in Brussels. This is one battle where it would be better if Sir Win did not live up to his name.
So far, Europe has left it up to the United States, Russia and China to send people into space. But almost 50 years after Russia's Yuri Gagarin made his first orbit around the earth, it's about time that Europe finally enter the playing field, some say.
"Europe cannot stay out of manned (space) flight forever," EADS unit Astrium Space Transportation's CEO Alain Charmeau said at the Paris Air Show. Europe has its own space agency, ESA; it has its own module on the International Space Station; and it has sent its astronauts into space as passengers on the spacecraft of others.
When the going got tough, banks were quick to bring down the shutters and cut off loans to European companies, forcing them to seek other sources of funding. The result — a dramatic shift to the bond markets, where corporates borrow directly from investors.
This failure of the banks to be there when borrowers needed them most could spell the end of the European syndicated loan market as the powerhouse of corporate finance activity in the region, marking a longer-term shift in the funding mix for European companies from loans to bonds.
–Vincent Cable is Deputy Leader of Britain’s Liberal Democrats. He is a former economist who is also the party’s spokesman on economics and finance. The views expressed are his own. –
Most of Britain’s moments of high economic drama in the 20th century centred on sterling: the Gold Standard in the inter war period; the various balance of payments crises of 1949 and 1967; Black Monday and the ERM. It is perhaps understandable that commentators should reach for these folk memories and attach the word “crisis” to the current fall of sterling against the main trading currencies particularly the Euro. Understandable; but wrong.