The Great Debate UK

from The Great Debate:

Clean energy investment needs greener light

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

paul-taylorInvestors in clean energy are like motorists stuck at broken traffic lights. The public policy light is green but the price and credit lights are deep red.

Investment in wind, wave and solar power should be booming after the European Union last year adopted an ambitious goal to draw 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 to help fight global warming, and U.S. President Barack Obama made green power a central plank of his government's policy.

But the credit crunch, economic recession, the spectacular fall in oil prices since last July and a record low European carbon price have cooled investors' ardour.

Consultants New Energy Finance forecast zero investment growth in climate-related companies this year, after a spectacular growth rate of 60 percent in 2006-7.

from The Great Debate:

Rising unemployment gravest threat to U.S. and UK

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

Rising unemployment is the now the largest single threat to attempts to stabilize the banking system through recapitalization and assets swaps designed to remove toxic assets from bank balance sheets.

It is also the main impediment to restarting bank lending, renewing output growth and preventing debt-deflation becoming entrenched.

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.

from Africa News blog:

Time to stop aid for Africa?

Far from being all bad news for Africa, the global financial crisis is a chance to break a dependence on development aid that has kept it in poverty, argues Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo, who has just published a new book “Dead Aid”.

Moyo’s book, her first, comes out at a time when Western campaigners, financial institutions and some African governments have been warning of the danger posed to Africa by the crisis and calling for more money from developed countries as a result. The former World Bank and Goldman Sachs economist spoke to Reuters in London.

from The Great Debate:

Executive pay caps: “stealth nationalization” or “political grandstanding”?

obama-geithner President Barack Obama set a $500,000 annual pay cap on Wednesday for executives at companies getting taxpayer bailouts as part of a wider process to clamp down on excessive corporate pay.

The new rules would require banks and other companies that get government funds in the future to abide by the new cap going forward, with any additional compensation being limited to restricted stock that does not vest until government funds are paid back.

from The Great Debate:

Rising tide of cyber-crime shows why we need Web regulation

Michael BarrettMichael Barrett is the Chief Information Security Officer at PayPal. He is on the advisory board of StopBadware.org, an anti-malware "neighborhood watch" led by Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

In less than five years, Internet crime has changed from an anomaly of teenage vandals into a multi-billion dollar industry. Just one form of cyber crime, "phishing," where criminals masquerade as trustworthy entities in e-mails and instant messages to steal private data, reportedly amassed $3.2 billion last year.  Another form, spyware, where software surreptitiously monitors a victim's online activity, prompted 850,000 U.S. households to replace their computers and inflicted damages totaling $1.7 billion, reported the Consumer Reports National Research Center State of the Net Survey.

from The Great Debate:

Facebook ruined my life

--- Linsey Fryatt is editor of stuff.tv. The views expressed are her own. --

linseyfryatt-stufftvIt's facebook's fifth birthday this week. And while I love every status-updating, picture-tagging, friend-stalking pixel of it, I often wish it had never been invented.

Its obvious time-thievery and propensity to turn me into an obsessive page refresher, jonesing for my next next notification fix aside, I find Facey-B was the first step in a downward spiral (if spirals can have steps) to my entire life being played out online in some form or other. And I'm exhausted.

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 (Commentary):

Redefining balance between state and free enterprise

ashrafghani31-Ashraf Ghani is Chairman of the Institute for State Effectiveness and co-author with Clare Lockhart of "Fixing Failed States: a Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured World". His opinions are his own. -

The current financial crisis has called into question our trust in globalization as a spontaneously generated order. Such orders, while of human making, are not of human design. The market can be seen as a force capable of generating solutions to the most difficult of economic problems.

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