The Great Debate UK

from The Great Debate:

First the stock market, now water

Jonas Minton-- Jonas Minton is Water Policy Advisor for the Planning and Conservation League, an environmental advocacy organization.  Previously he was deputy director of the California Department of Water Resources. The views expressed are his own. --

In many ways, water policy in the Western United States mirrors the economic policies which created our financial catastrophe. Here in the West we’ve seen a massive development boom fueled by unrealistic expectations of ever-increasing supply.

Water contracts have been issued for many times the amount of water that nature can reliably provide. Wildly optimistic appraisals of water availability are being used to justify long-term, otherwise infeasible projects. Long held cautionary principles are being overlooked or eliminated in the rush to fulfill promises and support dreams that are unsustainable. And the public is being actively encouraged to invest billions more in bonds to subsidize the very system that is driving us to the crisis point.

The result has been escalating conflict, unwieldy demands, environmental collapse and economic disaster. Fortunately, as with the economy, adjustments in expectations, greater efficiency, and implementation of new, smarter ways of doing business can reverse some of the damage we have done, allow the West to come to grips with water limits, and provide reliable water to meet our needs.

from The Great Debate:

The equity illusion

John Kemp Great Debate-- John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own --

Even after its recent decline, the U.S. equity market does not look especially "cheap" or "undervalued" when viewed over time; the bear market has simply brought valuations back into line with long-term trends.

At a fundamental level, equity is a claim on a corporation's residual cash flow after wages, interest, taxes and other costs have been paid.

from The Great Debate:

Here comes another set of dodgy U.S. loans

jimsaftcolumn1-- James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

Banks in the U.S. face a new source of write-downs and failures in the coming year as loans made to developers to finance residential and commercial property development rapidly go bad.

And as these loans are old-fashioned and concentrated in smaller banks, their fate is particularly interesting as it indicates that issues with the banking system go far deeper than the so-called "toxic assets" belonging to the largest lenders that have thus far gotten most of the attention and government aid.

from The Great Debate:

Buck-passing augurs ill for G20 summit

Paul Taylor Great Debate-- Paul Taylor is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

The foreplay to next month's G20 summit is degenerating into a buck-passing exercise rather than crafting a Grand Bargain to save the world economy and regulate capitalism.

The industrialized powers do not agree on how to arrest the steep slide in output, how to handle collapsing banks, how much market regulation is needed, how to reach a world trade deal and prevent protectionism, or how to redistribute power to emerging nations in exchange for their money.

Women as agents of change in Europe – nothing less

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image001- Brigitte Triems is president of the European Women’s Lobby, the largest non-governmental women’s organisation in the European Union, representing approximately 2000 organisations in 30 European Countries. Working with its members at national and European levels, the EWL’s main objective is to fight for gender equality and to ensure the integration of a gender perspective in all EU policy areas. The opinions expressed are her own. -

Some Europeans like to claim that we have achieved equality between women and men in Europe, and that the struggle for equality belongs to another, preferably faraway, region. Unfortunately there is little reality behind these claims.

from The Great Debate:

Should there be limits on commodity investment?

John Kemp Great Debate-- John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own --

The commodity boom and bust in the last 5 years suggests there is a natural limit on how much investment money these markets can absorb before price-setting mechanisms become distorted and prices unmoored from supply and demand fundamentals.

Exchange operators and dealers have a strong interest in increasing turnover and volume, since it boosts income from fees and commissions. But most also argue that increased turnover makes markets more efficient because it sharpens price discovery and makes them more liquid.

International Women’s Day and the global financial crisis

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sam_cook- Sam Cook is the director of the PeaceWomen Project – a project of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – the world’s oldest women’s peace organization founded in 1915 in the Hague. WILPF is an international non-governmental organization with national sections in 35 countries, covering all continents. Its international secretariat is based in Geneva with a New York United Nations office. The opinions expressed are her own. -

With the global financial crisis seemingly in every headline and a looming economic meltdown foremost on everyone’s minds, the observance of International Women’s Day on March 8 may not seem of immediate relevance. But it is.

from The Great Debate:

Let sleeping shadow banking systems lie

James Saft Great Debate -- James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

Rather than vainly trying to refloat the shadow banking system, the U.S. would be better off grappling with the inevitable ultimate solution -- debt destruction and inflation.

The common denominator of policies like the Term Asset-Backed Loan Facility (TALF) that was detailed on Tuesday, is that they try to solve fundamental problems with indebtedness by attempting to float asset prices high enough that they are back in proportion with the debt.

from The Great Debate:

Setback for America’s pro-Israel hawks

Bernd Debusmann - Great Debate-- Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. --

"The brutal oppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli occupation shows no sign of ending ... Israel no longer even pretends to seek peace with the Palestinians, it strives to pacify them ... American identification with Israel has become total."

Persistently over history God is seen as male

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head-and-shoulders-photo-2009- Reverend Dr. Miranda Threlfall-Holmes is Chaplain and Solway Fellow of University College, Durham. As a historian, she has published work on late medieval monastic history and the medieval economic history of the North East of England, notably “Monks and Markets” (Oxford University Press, 2005). Her current research interests are the history of the doctrine of the Trinity, and women’s issues in the contemporary church. She is a member of the General Synod of the Church of England, and a committee member for the group Women and the Church.

International Women’s Day on March 8, is an important opportunity for us to reflect on the fact that women are still taken less seriously than men all around the world. Even in supposedly equal cultures such as my own in the UK women continue, for example, to be paid less than men for the same work, and to suffer pregnancy-related discrimination in employment. Women are disproportionately under-represented in government and on the boards of large corporations. Women’s sport is generally less well funded and less popular than men’s, whilst women’s contribution to art and literature has a tendency to be marginalised – as “chick lit,” for example.

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