The Great Debate UK

from The Great Debate:

U.S. fights fire, Germans fear flood

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

The United States is fighting a fire in the world economy, but Germany and some other European countries fear a flood of inflation as a result.

That clash of cultures is at the heart of transatlantic debate over whether Europe should spend more and ease monetary policy to revive growth, with a deep economic contraction certain this year and an end to the recession not yet in sight.

The perception gap could cause lingering resentment among Americans and Germans on the way out of the crisis.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick sees concern on both sides of the Atlantic, not just in Europe, at the risk of inflation down the road from the massive additional liquidity created by the U.S. Federal Reserve and soaring public debt.

from The Great Debate:

First 100 Days: What not to do in public diplomacy

Kristin Lord-- Kristin Lord is a fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of the recent report, “Voices of America: U.S. Public Diplomacy for the 21st Century.” The views expressed are her own. --

As Senate confirmation hearings approach, America’s next public diplomacy leaders will get abundant advice about how to improve America’s standing in the world. The Obama administration’s nominees (an under secretary and at least two assistant secretaries in the State Department alone) would be wise to listen.

from The Great Debate:

New rules won’t end London’s golden lure

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

alex-smithNew regulations may be cooked up to curb the excesses of its bankers but London will always attract those who believe its streets are paved with gold.

Some predict that the financial crisis spells the end for London as a major global financial centre, arguing it has thrived on lax regulation and a quasi-tax haven status and that the regulatory backlash which inevitably follows such a catastrophic economic debacle will suffocate the innovation and the financial incentives which have driven the growth of services in the British capital.

from The Great Debate:

Time to rethink inflation targeting

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

It is time to add another victim to the ever-growing list of institutions (Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers) and theories (value at risk, fair value accounting and originate to distribute) which have been tested by the financial crisis and found wanting. The central bank practice of inflation targeting -- the jewel in the crown of modern monetary economics -- has palpably failed.

Over the last two decades, inflation targeting has emerged as the most popular strategy for monetary policy among the world's major central banks, and become something of a state-of-the-art choice among theorists and central bankers.

from The Great Debate:

No safe haven for artful tax dodgers

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

Big countries have got the world's tax havens running scared. They must now press home their advantage to stop such countries providing oases for tax dodgers and money launderers.

Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and Andorra have all responded to a global crackdown on tax evasion by offering to relax strict bank secrecy laws. This is an important victory for campaigners to put tax havens on the straight and narrow. Until their recent climbdown, Liechtenstein and Andorra were two-thirds of a trio of hardliners that refused to commit to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) standards on transparency and the exchange of information, earning them a place alongside Monaco on the OECD's blacklist of uncooperative tax havens.

from The Great Debate:

Wen’s U.S. posturing doesn’t matter – yet

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

What is more remarkable, that the premier of America's largest creditor publicly raised concerns about U.S. creditworthiness or that the market took the news so easily in its stride?

"We have lent a massive amount of capital to the United States, and of course we are concerned about the security of our assets," Chinese premier Wen Jiabao said on Friday at a news conference to close the annual session of parliament.

from The Great Debate:

“Truman doctrine” could boost IMF firepower

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

The day before he returned to the U.S. Treasury for six weeks to help the understaffed Obama administration, Edwin Truman published a proposal to give the International Monetary Fund more firepower to fight the financial crisis.

Truman's idea -- a one-off $250 billion allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to IMF member states -- looks like the quickest way to put a safety net under developing countries and avert financial contagion. The Group of 20 world leaders should embrace it at the meeting in London on April 2.

from The Great Debate:

Divorce marked to market

MARKETS-GLOBAL /-- Margaret Doyle is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own --

The Myerson divorce case in Britain makes compelling reading, as all rich bust-ups do. Regardless of whether the judges make Ingrid Myerson hand back 3.2 million pounds of her 11.1 million pound payout to compensate for the decline in her ex-husband's shares, she is a lucky woman.

Thanks to her divorce last year from fund manager Bryan who, as one half of Active Value Advisers, was the scourge of corporate UK, she is independently wealthy. Had the marriage survived, she would probably be -- like him -- worthless.

from UK News:

Raising the price of alcohol

Chief Medical Officer Liam Donaldson has recommended that the government should sharply raise the price of alcohol  to try to combat Britain's chronic drinking problem.

His annual report calls for a minimum price of 50 pence per unit of alcohol sold, which would nearly double the price of some discount beer and wine. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have also shown interest in minimum pricing.

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