The Great Debate UK

from The Great Debate:

Saving the economy from our brains

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

Our brains are wired for bubbles, it would appear, and regulation and tight external controls are the only way to save ourselves from ourselves.

Bankers, traders and investors effectively became addicted to the pleasure that comes from making money, while at the same time increasingly losing touch with just how much risk they were taking.

The result was a bubble in risk taking, debt and many financial assets and the inevitable crash and complete pull back in activity.

"The finance industry was adapting to the level of risk," said Gregory Berns, a professor of neuroeconomics at Emory University in Atlanta who uses brain scanning technologies to try and decode the decision-making systems of the brain.

from The Great Debate:

Play by the rules, close failing banks

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

Why not just play by the existing rules and rescue the economy, rather than the banks and their foolish shareholders and counterparties?

The choice for the Obama administration comes down to this: pay a subsidy to weak banks and reward failure and self-dealing or shut them down and start over again.

from The Great Debate:

Arms control to start U.S.-Russia thaw

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

Arms control is back and will thaw icy relations between the United States and Russia this year, but how far the new detente goes depends on the truculent mood in Moscow.

The potential exists for a grand bargain encompassing cooperation on the global financial crisis, Iran, Afghanistan, nuclear disarmament, missile defense, conventional armed forces and NATO enlargement.

from The Great Debate:

Obama and the Afghan narco-state

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

To understand why the war in Afghanistan, now in its eighth year, is not going well for the United States and its NATO allies, take a look at two statistics.

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Less social dialogue and more social change

stern_official_5x5a- Andy Stern is the president of the Service Employees International Union. His views are his own -

We are living through the third economic revolution. The first was the agricultural revolution, and it took nearly 3,000 years. The second was the industrial revolution, which took about 300 years. This revolution is going to take 30 years. As we move from an industrial economy based in factories to a knowledge and finance economy that lives on the Internet, no generation of people has ever witnessed so much change in a single lifetime.

from The Great Debate:

Is the executive pay bubble popping?

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

Signs are it won't just be the salaries of bankers coming under fire.

An unusual array of forces are combining to make it very likely that top tier pay may be structurally falling, rather than simply taking a cyclical dip during a downturn.

Take it for granted that pay in the financial sector will fall. A combination of increased government ownership and a shrinking businesses taking fewer risks with other people's money will see to that.

from The Great Debate:

Outsourcing faces new era of scrutiny

ericauchard1-- Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

Outsourcing, Indian-style, is challenged as never before by an erosion in business confidence that makes corporate spending, even to generate quick cost-savings, harder to justify.

"No New Investment" is the order of the day; cost avoidance, the mantra; zero percent, the growth target in the current era of uncertainty.

from The Great Debate:

First 100 Days: Obama and trade

Sean West-- Sean West is a Comparative Analytics analyst at the political risk consulting firm Eurasia Group. The views expressed are his own. --

Fear that President Barack Obama will backslide on America’s free trade commitments is misplaced—in fact, he may eventually expand America’s commitment to liberalization. His pledge to revisit the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) amidst an economic slump was one of his most widely discussed policy positions of the campaign season.

from The Great Debate:

First 100 Days: Fix the banks

morici-- Peter Morici is a professor at the University of Maryland School of Business and former Chief Economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission. The views expressed are his own. --

For every new president, campaign promises and inaugural idealism must give way to the hard choices that measure the mettle of their leadership.

from The Great Debate:

Nationalization: Terrible but inevitable

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

Nationalization of weak banks in Britain and the United States may be preferable to current plans for insurance and soft "bad banks" schemes which risk being swamped by future losses as assets, especially real estate, continue to crater.

An insurance program, getting banks to identify their riskiest assets to the government which will insure them for a fee, is one of the main planks of a UK plan to bail out banks unveiled this week.

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