The Great Debate UK

from The Great Debate:

Michael Jackson’s troubled financial legacy

Alexander Smith-- Alexander Smith is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

Michael Jackson's will is bound to be as bizarre as the rest of the singer's turbulent life. But one thing is for sure, the arguments over his deeply flawed financial legacy will keep lawyers busy for years.

Top of the list will be sorting out Jackson's sell-out comeback tour, which was due to kick off next month. There are bound to be losses, insurance claims and the prospect of an empty London O2 Arena for 50 nights during the peak summer period.

Music industry bible Billboard reckons promoter AEG Live could lose as much as $40 million if its insurance is insufficient to cover what has already been spent on the production. That's assuming they have to give refunds to the 750,000 fans who have paid big money for tickets. And that doesn't count the cost of hotel reservations and flights from across the world.

Then there's the small issue of the $500 million in debts that Jackson is reported to have left behind.

from The Great Debate:

Obama, Iran and a meaningless phrase

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

It's time to kill the international community. The phrase, that is.

Usually shorthand for the governments of "the West," the phrase is over-used (a Google search produces 447 million hits) and under-thought. It is often misleading and sometimes plain wrong. As in President Barack Obama's news conference remarks this week on Iran's post-election crackdown on protest:

from The Great Debate:

First exit for the Fed

fed-- Agnes T. Crane is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are her own --

Call it a battle for beginnings and endings, and the Federal Reserve is smack in the middle.

As Fed policymakers convene for a two-day meeting starting on Tuesday, the lines are growing more defined between those who want the Fed to do more to stimulate a still fragile economy, and those who are calling for a defined exit strategy to prevent the global economy from going into an inflation-inducing overdrive.

from The Great Debate:

Regulation reform hints of “Old Europe”

bob-bench-- Robert R. Bench, a former Deputy Comptroller of the Currency in the Reagan administration, is a senior fellow at the Boston University School of Law’s Morin Center for Banking and Financial Law. The views expressed are his own. --

“Le laissey faire, c’est fini” – French President Nicolas Sarkozy

There indeed is a French flavor to the administration’s proposals for reforming the structure of regulation and supervision of financial institutions operating across the United States. In many ways the proposals resemble the “Commission Bancaire,” the French regime for financial oversight.

from The Great Debate:

Learning to love falling house prices

Christopher Swann-- Christopher Swann is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own --

Optimism has been all but extinguished from the U.S. housing market.

The number of Americans lining up for new home loans is shrinking again, according to Wednesday's release from the Mortgage Bankers Association, and the best that can be said of homebuilding is that it has stabilized at almost 80 percent below its peak.

With no end in sight to falling prices, perhaps we should look on the bright side. Indeed, there are three good reasons why sliding prices are not such a bad thing.

from The Great Debate:

Bet on small firms to lead China global foray

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

Chairman Mao used to say the truth is always kept by the minority.

A little-known private Chinese machinery company's bid for a GM marque has been sneered at by even the patriotic Chinese media, but the deal could succeed where mightier plays like Chinalco's for Rio Tinto have failed.

True that private sector firms face an uphill battle in China against more dominant state-backed firms, but it seems like double standards when Western observers, who extol the virtues of the private sector taking the driver's seat, praise Chinalco's deal but dismiss Tengzhong's bid for Hummer.

from The Great Debate:

Dell’s retail detour starts to look smart

Eric Auchard-- Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --
Dell Inc's move into retail sales might seem poorly-timed, discretionary spending being what it is. In fact, the world's No. 2 personal computer maker looks like it's making the right choices that can get its long-struggling consumer business rolling again.

Dell is gearing up to feature several refreshed lines of consumer PCs in 30,000 stores around the globe. The company's consumer retail chief Michael Tatelman has set aggressive growth targets for the business.

from The Great Debate:

Ahmadinejad won. Get over it


-- Flynt Leverett directs The New America Foundation’s Iran Project and teaches international affairs at Pennsylvania State university. Hillary Mann Leverett is CEO of STRATEGA, a political risk consultancy. Both worked for many years on Middle East issues for the U.S. government, including as members of the National Security Council staff. The views expressed are their own. --

This article originally appeared on

Without any evidence, many U.S. politicians and “Iran experts” have dismissed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reelection Friday, with 62.6 percent of the vote, as fraud.mousavi

from The Great Debate:

The Fed needs to get its wallet out

Christopher Swann-- Christopher Swann is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own --

The Federal Reserve is putting on a brave face about the rise in Treasury yields.

At the moment, the Fed can afford to put off bringing out the big cannons for a little while. If market optimism is overdone, a few weak economic releases would soon send interest rates plunging again. If the market is right, then higher rates are justified and the economy will cope.

from The Great Debate:

Bracing for black shoots in tech markets

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

Pundits have been talking endlessly about the possible green shoots of recovery in the ravaged world economy.

But early shoots are not always green. They might want to consider the problem of black shoots. These false starts are familiar to lily growers, when a temporary rise in soil temperature occurs after a cold period.