The Great Debate UK

from The Great Debate:

A stimulating energy policy

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- Robert Engle is the Michael Armellino Professor of Finance at New York University Stern School of Business and a Nobel Laureate. His views are his own. -

We have faced energy crises before. The last energy crisis was about running out of oil. This one is about the fear that we might not. The future health of our planet is jeopardized by the greenhouse gases emitted by our industrial society. But can we afford an expensive energy policy in this time of economic distress?

The simplest and best solution to reducing emissions is thought by most economists to be a comprehensive tax on the emission of greenhouse gases. Only in this way will individuals and businesses that avoid the tax be doing what is socially desirable. Only in this way will it become profitable to find substitute energy sources; no longer would it be necessary to subsidize alternatives. The price of oil will rise naturally when we begin to run out, but in this proposal, the price would rise before we reach the bitter end. It is only a matter of timing.

However, a tax is generally considered politically impossible and in this time of deepening recession, it is especially unpalatable. But what about the money - what happens to the money that is raised by this tax? This revenue could be divided evenly among all U.S. residents and sent out in a periodic cheque. This check could even be sent before the tax revenue was received. A substantial emission tax would generate a substantial check. This could be used for anything but might well be used to buy a more fuel efficient car, insulate a house, move closer to work or otherwise reduce the impact of the impending tax.

from The Great Debate:

Global crisis politics – A Davos debate with Nouriel Roubini and Ian Bremmer

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As governments grapple with the global crisis, politics has taken on central importance in determining the course of the world economy -- and political risk is more significant than ever.

Two leading experts on the financial crisis and its political dimensions -- Nouriel Roubini and Ian Bremmer -- gave exclusive answers this week to Reuters questions on the key risks for 2009 and beyond, and the countries to watch.

from The Great Debate:

Is the executive pay bubble popping?

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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:

Turning the tables: Can you help Davos leaders?

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Klaus SchwabDavos is a well-rehearsed event and everyone knows the part they should play. Business and political leaders gather each year to tackle the major challenges of a global economy while the rest of the world, or those of its citizens who are interested, look on from afar. But this year, for obvious reasons, things are different. The notion of leadership has been coupled in the public mind with that of responsibility. The tone here is a little more humble and the attitude more open-minded. There's a recognition that new thinking is required.  A suitable time, perhaps, to turn the tables on convention and have Davos delegates ask the questions they can't answer and for global citizens to offer solutions.

Gamefully opening the discourse is Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and President of the World Economic Forum.

from The Great Debate:

Outsourcing faces new era of scrutiny

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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:

Davos debate: How to fix finance?

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The credit crunch has left little of the globe unaffected and few sectors of the world economy untouched. The interlinkages between economics and finance are at the core of discussions at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Reuters News asked delegates for their analysis of the roots of the problem and prescriptions for recovery.

from The Great Debate:

Davos debate: What can be done for the global economy?

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wefpic2With business and consumer confidence fading, the prospects for the global economy appear the worst for a generation. Amid the gathering gloom, are things really that bad? And can nothing be done to give the global growth engine a kick-start?

Reuters asked delegates at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos for their views.

from The Great Debate:

Credit control will be much more intrusive in future

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

The international system of bank regulation, epitomised by the Basle II process and the light-touch principles-based regulation of Britain's Financial Services Authority (FSA) has comprehensively failed.

In too many instances, light-touch principles-based regulation with an emphasis on banks' internal risk controls turned out to be no effective regulation at all.

from The Great Debate:

A new direction in global financial regulation

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

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown's call today for a new G20 charter of principles on financial regulation  reflects an emerging consensus among policymakers that, once the immediate crisis has passed, the regulatory framework must be fundamentally redesigned.

In particular, policymakers are concerned with how to correct the basic moral hazard problem in which bankers have an incentive to extend too much credit, while private firms and households have an incentive to take on too much debt.

from UK News:

BBC – taking a stand on Gaza

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The BBC has been roundly condemned at home for its refusal to broadcast an emergency appeal for Gaza on behalf of the Disasters Emergency Committee, a coalition of 13 aid agencies.

It says it does not want to be seen to be taking sides in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute and that broadcasting the appeal could jeopardise its carefully cultivated position of impartiality. Sky News has followed suit.

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