The emirate is rightly seen as extraordinary for its rapid growth in population and wealth. But it also brings into sharp focus the global inequality of income, the materialism of modern economies and the trend to trust an all-knowing, all-powerful government.
The hacking scandal at the Japanese conglomerate’s Hollywood studio isn’t just embarrassing. It’s a business problem for a company already struggling to turn itself around. Herewith, a fictional selection of internal messages Sony’s board ought to be fielding.
Athens has entered a period of political instability, which could lead to an election won by Syriza. This radical left group’s policies could prompt Greece’s exit from the euro if fully implemented. But this is unlikely, as Syriza will struggle to execute its plan.
Money is guaranteed by governments but is largely created by banks as a by-product of lending. It’s an inefficient and risky accident of history. More active supervision is required. States should take control of money creation. There needs to be less debt financing.
Uppity shareholders have so far avoided complex banks like Citi and JPMorgan. Regulatory pressure, middling performance and a dearth of large-cap options make them increasingly attractive for shakeup artists. That may put Fed Chair Janet Yellen in a new, uncomfortable position.
The West, especially Western Europe, may have entered an era of low economic growth. This could cause misery, especially if no solutions are found to joblessness, debt and poverty. That said, a changed mindset about what matters may help with finding the answers.
Pope Francis says Europe is “fearful” and “self-absorbed.” That’s about right, but he could have been talking about almost any rich country. As social idealism fades away, so do jobs, justice and ambition. The cure? An economics that prioritises the give over the take.
When the former U.S. Treasury boss made a surprise visit to a recent gathering of bank CEOs, the warm welcome he received could be misinterpreted as appreciation for an old softy. In fact, it was recognition that the current regime doesn’t have its heart in financial regulation.
A month ago, the UK prime minister was close to advocating quotas on EU migrants. That would have sharply increased the risk of a “Brexit.” But when Cameron actually made his speech, the focus was on stopping migrants getting access to benefits – a policy which looks deliverable.
The strength of downward price momentum has surprised most experts. Central bankers keep trying to fight the tide, as if in denial. It would be better to accept that the demographic forces which create disinflation are too strong to turn. Mild deflation isn’t so bad anyway.