Category : Portugal

(AP) Portugal considers allowing euthanasia, assisted suicide

After legalizing abortion and same-sex marriage in recent times, Portuguese lawmakers will decide Tuesday on another issue that has brought a confrontation between faith and politics in this predominantly Catholic country: whether to allow euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide.

The outcome of the vote is uncertain and is likely to be close, but Portugal could become one of just a handful of countries in the world to permit euthanasia under certain circumstances.

Euthanasia — when a doctor kills patients at their request — is legal in Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. In Switzerland, and some U.S. states, assisted suicide — where patients administer the lethal drug themselves, under medical supervision — is permitted.

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Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Portugal, Religion & Culture

(Local Paper) South Carolina historian Joseph McGill wants to observe the 1619 start of slavery in America

They were kidnapped from towns in Ndongo, given Christian names such as Isabella and Anthony, chained onto cramped bunks aboard a Portuguese slave ship for an 8,000-mile trip to Mexico. The ship didn’t make it.

It was plundered at sea by English pirates sailing under a Dutch flag. The pirates brought “20 and odd” of the African captives to the Jamestowne colony, where they were sold as “victualls,” or supplies.

The date was August 1619, and the sale is considered the beginning of slavery as an institution in what would become the United States.

Joseph McGill doesn’t think that should be forgotten.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Africa, America/U.S.A., England / UK, History, Mexico, Portugal, Race/Race Relations

Congratulations to the Euro2016 Winner Portugal

No excuses for France, they were the home team and there was no Ronaldo after about 20 minutes in and they just weren’t good enough. An ugly win is still a win but congrats to Portugal

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, France, Men, Portugal, Sports

(CNN) Champions League: Advantage Barcelona and Porto

Eight goals, a big upset and two wonder strikes from Luis Suarez highlighted a pulsating night of Champions League quarterfinal action Wednesday.

Both first leg ties ended 3-1, but Porto’s home win over 2013 champion Bayern Munich was predicted by few, while Barcelona is a warm favorite to progress with a two-goal cushion after its away leg victory against depleted Paris Saint Germain.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, France, Germany, Men, Portugal, Spain, Sports

(FIFA) Memories of revivals past buoy wounded Portugal in World Cup 2014

Beaten 4-0 by Germany on their Group G debut and deprived of the services of some of their first-choice players through injury and suspension, Portugal have made an inauspicious start to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. Nevertheless, a look at the history books shows that they need not despair. After slow starts at UEFA EURO 2004 and 2012, A Selecção das Quinas went far on both occasions.

Sunday’s meeting with USA is a crucial one for Paulo Bento’s men, and victory would certainly give them a timely lift, especially with Fabio Coentrao having gone back to Lisbon, with his World Cup having come to a premature, injury-enforced end, and Pepe serving a one-match suspension. To make matters worse, Rui Patricio and Hugo Almeida have both picked up knocks that will keep them sidelined until after the group phase, while Bruno Alves is also an injury doubt. All five started against the Germans and their absences ”“ temporary or otherwise ”“ have given coach Bento plenty to ponder as he assesses his options for the USA game.

The Portuguese need not feel too downcast, however, not when they have shown an ability to recover from similar situations in the past.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Brazil, Europe, History, Men, Portugal, South America, Sports

Congratulations to Real Madrid for Winning the Champion's League Final

Ángel di María the best player today he deserves the most credit for the win.

By the way, di María will be playing w/ Lionel Messi in the world cup–Argentina will be dangerous

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Portugal, Spain, Sports

(SI) Ben Lyttleton–Ronaldo captures Ballon d'Or, a prestigious, yet checkered prize

The last time Cristiano Ronaldo won the Ballon D’Or, back in December 2008, it was a rather sedate affair. For starters, the prize came to him; the golden trophy was dispatched to his house in Manchester, where he posed with it and gave a long interview to the competition organizers from France Football magazine.

Back then, he had scored 42 goals and helped Manchester United win the Premier League, the Champions League and the Club World Cup. He had studied the history of the Ballon D’Or, voted on by journalists from 52 European countries, and told France Football at the time: “I’ve now made a place in history and that’s not something everyone can do. But it does not mean I have reached the top. I want more. I’m going back to square one. I’m starting my career again now.”

Six years, five trophies and 283 goals later, at a glittering ceremony Monday in Zurich, broadcast live to 180 countries, a tearful, emotional Ronaldo reacquainted himself with the Ballon D’Or. The player was no longer the callow 23-year-old of 2008, but a global star; the award, too, had changed. This Ballon D’Or is not just a France Football production, but since 2010 has been called the FIFA Ballon D’Or, combining FIFA’s former World Player of the Year award with the Ballon D’Or. So as well as the journalists’ vote, FIFA also collects the votes of international coaches and captains.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Men, Portugal, Sports

(Reuters) Portugal political crisis deepens as bond yields soar

Two more Portuguese ministers from the junior ruling coalition party were ready to resign on Wednesday, local media said, deepening turmoil that could trigger a snap election and derail Lisbon’s exit from an EU/IMF bailout.

Multiple newspaper radio and television reports said Agriculture Minister Assuncao Cristas and Social Security Minister Pedro Mota Soares will follow their CDS-PP party leader Paulo Portas who tendered his resignation on Tuesday. Party officials were not available to comment as the party’s executive commission was in a meeting.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General, Portugal, Stock Market

From the Do Not Try this at Home Dept.–Garrett McNamara 'surfs record 100ft wave' in Portugal

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Men, Portugal, Sports

([London] Times) Alan Posener–Germany reaches its Eurosceptic Moment

The anger within the three parties of the ruling coalition is understandable. These are the parties of the German taxpayer, after all, and ever since the sovereign debt crisis began they have been reciting the mantra that the eurozone is not and will not become a “transfer union”; that there will be no mutualisation of debt; that Mediterranean sloth and tax evasion will not be rewarded by payments from hardworking, honest Nordic Germany.

If this sounds racist, it’s because the debate is tinged on all sides by nationalist stereotypes. The German middle class feels it has been had and the country is digesting Moody’s downgrading of its credit rating. “Is this what we get for saving the Greeks?” asks the tabloid Bild. Good question….

It is impossible to explain to a German who has had her retirement age upped to 67, or an unemployed German whose benefits have been cut to balance the budget, why billions of euros should go south to support governments that didn’t have the guts to slash social spending or who let their citizens retire to the beach at 55.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Politics in General, Portugal, Psychology, Spain

Ronaldo puts Portugal into Euro semis with win over Czechs

All too often, Cristiano Ronaldo stuns the world with his fine footwork. On Thursday, the Portugal superstar used the determination of a raging bull to make the difference.

Ronaldo used his head to score the lone goal against the Czech Republic and send his team into the European Championship semifinals with a 1-0 victory.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Czech Republic, Europe, Men, Portugal, Sports

Germany and Portugal advance to the Euro 2012 quarterfinals

I tried to watch both at the same time (which was a challenge). These two teams deserved to go through; nice to see Ronaldo have a good game.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Germany, Men, Portugal, Sports

(NY Times) Euro Zone Nears Moment of Truth on Staying Together

On consecutive days last week, two of the most powerful figures in Europe ”” Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, and Olli Rehn, the most senior economic official in Brussels ”” warned that the future of the euro zone was in doubt. In the words of Mr. Rehn, the union might well disintegrate unless policy makers took steps to bind the euro’s 17 nations closer together.

Coming as they did from two men at the very soul of the European project, the reprimands were a stark reminder of just how much the Spanish financial meltdown had shaken the confidence of the European brain trust, to say nothing of investors from New York to Beijing.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, France, Germany, Globalization, Greece, Politics in General, Portugal, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

The Economist on the Eurozone Crisis–limited federalism is a less miserable solution than break-up

What will become of the European Union? One road leads to the full break-up of the euro, with all its economic and political repercussions. The other involves an unprecedented transfer of wealth across Europe’s borders and, in return, a corresponding surrender of sovereignty. Separate or superstate: those seem to be the alternatives now.

For two crisis-plagued years Europe’s leaders have run away from this choice. They say that they want to keep the euro intact””except, perhaps, for Greece. But northern European creditors, led by Germany, will not pay out enough to assure the euro’s survival, and southern European debtors increasingly resent foreigners telling them how to run their lives.

This has become a test of over 60 years of European integration….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, France, Germany, Greece, History, Italy, Politics in General, Portugal, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(NY Times) Eduardo Porter–Leaving the Euro May Be Better Than the Alternative

Like the single market before, …[the Euro] was conceived primarily as glue to bind Europe more closely together, tie Germany’s prosperity to that of its neighbors and prevent a third world war from the Continent, which had brought us two. A few engineering flaws wouldn’t be allowed to get in the way of such an important project.

A little over a decade since the first euro bills hit the shops in Madrid and Berlin, the euro’s design flaws have pushed much of the European Union into a deep economic pit. And political imperative is again being deployed as a major reason to stick to the common currency. “This enormously important motivation is often underestimated by outsiders,” argued the Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf, the most sober analyst of Europe’s economic maelstrom….
The main problem is that while leaders eagerly embraced the monetary bond, they rejected its necessary complement: a central budget that would transfer money from successful regions to underperforming ones, as the United States government sends tax dollars collected in Massachusetts to pay for unemployment benefits in Nevada.

The euro fed the illusion that Greece, Spain and Italy were as creditworthy as Germany or the Netherlands, propelling a decade-long credit boom in Europe’s less-developed periphery. And it was spectacularly ill-designed to deal with the shock when capital flows to those nations suddenly stopped. Weak countries not only had to rely on their own devices; they had to do so without a currency or a monetary policy of their own to absorb the blow….

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Politics in General, Portugal, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Telegraph) Roger Bootle–The final death throes of the euro?

The euro crisis is entering its final stages. Economic pain is now interacting with political resistance to produce intense financial pressure. I expect Greece to leave the euro ”“ and perhaps very soon.

It could happen voluntarily, but both the Greek people and Greek politicians are still clinging to the idea that they can put an end to austerity yet still stay in the euro. In order to try to achieve that, a new government may call the eurozone’s bluff.

At that point, the other eurozone members would face an awkward choice. Doubtless there would be voices in favour of providing the money, willy nilly. That might well be the French position. But if the eurozone gives way on this, what chance would there be of painful austerity being continued, not just in Greece but also in Portugal, Spain, Italy and Ireland? The northern countries would face the prospect of pouring money into a bottomless pit.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Politics in General, Portugal, Spain

(Economist Leader) Unless Germany and the ECB move quickly, the Euro's collapse is looming

Even as the euro zone hurtles towards a crash, most people are assuming that, in the end, European leaders will do whatever it takes to save the single currency. That is because the consequences of the euro’s destruction are so catastrophic that no sensible policymaker could stand by and let it happen.

A euro break-up would cause a global bust worse even than the one in 2008-09. The world’s most financially integrated region would be ripped apart by defaults, bank failures and the imposition of capital controls….The euro zone could shatter into different pieces, or a large block in the north and a fragmented south. Amid the recriminations and broken treaties after the failure of the European Union’s biggest economic project, wild currency swings between those in the core and those in the periphery would almost certainly bring the single market to a shuddering halt. The survival of the EU itself would be in doubt.

Yet the threat of a disaster does not always stop it from happening. The chances of the euro zone being smashed apart have risen alarmingly, thanks to financial panic, a rapidly weakening economic outlook and pigheaded brinkmanship. The odds of a safe landing are dwindling fast.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, France, Germany, Globalization, Greece, History, Ireland, Italy, Politics in General, Portugal, Psychology, Spain, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

European Banks Seek More Cash From Central Bank

Banks clamored for emergency funds from the European Central Bank on Tuesday, borrowing the most since early 2009 in a clear sign that the euro region’s financial institutions are having trouble obtaining credit at reasonable rates on the open market.

Indebted governments among the 17 members of the European Union that use the euro are also finding it harder to borrow at affordable rates as investors lose confidence in their creditworthiness.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Der Spiegel) Euro Zone Considers Solution of Last Resort

Obama, at any rate, felt that they would have little value. Instead, he confronted the Germans in Cannes with a suggestion so radical that it alarmed both Merkel and Schäuble. To save the common currency, Obama proposed that the Europeans follow the example of the American Federal Reserve, which buys up almost unlimited amounts of US treasury bonds when necessary.

The Germans pointed out feebly that the ECB operates within a completely different tradition than the Fed, and that it also pursues a different mission. But it is becoming increasingly clear to Merkel and her finance minister that, in the end, only the ECB will be able to save the euro if the crisis continues to escalate. It is the only European fiscal policy institution capable of taking action, and it also comes equipped with unlimited firepower. It can never run out of money, because it can simply print new money when needed.

This is an approach Germany’s representatives in the ECB council have strongly resisted….But how long can the Germans resist the pressure from other members?

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Politics in General, Portugal, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Bloomberg) Europe Struggles for Crisis Cure Ahead of Summit

The 14th crisis summit in 21 months starts with a meeting of all 27 European Union leaders at 6 p.m. The real business gets under way at 7:15 p.m. when chiefs of the 10 non-euro nations depart, leaving the rest to hash out a strategy that they already say requires more work.

The cancellation of a finance ministers’ meeting to precede the summit underscored the holes in the plan. The finance chiefs will now meet at an as-yet undetermined time after the summit to complete its main elements, including safeguarding banks and writing down Greek debt, according to an EU official.

Global exasperation with Europe’s response is deepening, with politicians from Australia to North America prodding the euro area to get ahead of the crisis before it infects the world economy.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, G20, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Politics in General, Portugal, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Eurozone summit – despair and backbiting in the corridors of power

Just when the eurozone governments thought it could not get worse for Europe’s single currency, it did.

Shell-shocked EU finance ministers meeting in Brussels on Saturday were already reeling from the worst Franco-German rift for over 20 years and a fractious failure to resolve the problems that have brought Greece, and the euro, close to the brink.

But then a new bombshell hit as a joint report by the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that, without a default, the Greek debt crisis alone could swallow the eurozone’s entire €440 billion bailout fund – leaving nothing to spare to help the affected banks of Italy, Spain or France….

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Politics in General, Portugal, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Reuters) EU countries wrangle over recapitalising banks

EU ministers were wrangling on Saturday over bolstering their banks, with some officials saying broad agreement was nearing but others warning that Spain, Italy and Portugal were objecting because of concerns over the costs involved.

“There is 24 against three – Italy, Spain and Portugal,” said one euro zone diplomat. “They think it’s too expensive. They don’t want to pay it.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Greece, Italy, Politics in General, Portugal, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Washington Post) In Europe, bonds deemed risk-free fueled debt crisis, analysts say

Before the euro zone, individual countries issued bonds in their local currency and could print more of it, whether it be francs, lire or drachmas, if a crisis was making it difficult to pay off the loans.

Today, with the European Central Bank in charge of euros, governments in Athens, Rome and elsewhere no longer control the “printing press.” Yet even as individual governments lost the power to pay off debts by printing money, the politics and regulations of the euro zone encouraged banks, insurance companies and other financial firms to load up on government bonds ”” and countries to issue them.

The “persistence in sustaining risk-free status .”‰.”‰. has, in our view, directly contributed to the development and severity of recent market turmoil,” Achim Kassow, a member of the board of managing directors of Germany’s Commerzbank, wrote in a recent study of the bank rule for the European Parliament. “Both the course and the severity of the crisis can clearly be tied to incentives set by current regulation.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard–Global Economic Fear gauge enters the red zone

Key indicators of credit stress have reached the danger levels seen before the Lehman Brothers failure three years ago, with Markit’s iTraxx Crossover index ”“ or “fear gauge” ”“ of corporate bonds surging 56 basis points to 857 on Thursday….

The yield spread between Italian 10-year bonds and Bunds reached a fresh record of 408 basis points before the European Central Bank (ECB) intervened in late trading. It is near the level at which LCH.Clearnet raises margin requirements, the trigger that forced Greece, Portugal and Ireland to request bail-outs.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, France, G20, Germany, Globalization, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(NY Times) German Leader Faces Key Choices on Rescuing Euro

Mrs. [Angela] Merkel, 57, faces far-reaching decisions about how to deal definitively with the debt crisis in Europe and, more immediately, whether to allow Greece to default or even to leave the currency union. American officials fear that if she does not act more decisively, bank lending could freeze up and the result would be another sharp financial downturn on both sides of the Atlantic.

Fears of a worsening debt crisis slammed European stocks on Monday, especially shares of French banks, forcing the French government to declare its support for its three largest financial institutions. The turmoil added to worries that the Greek crisis would prove difficult to contain without more robust action from Germany and, ultimately, its taxpayers.

The project of European integration, which began in the difficult years after World War II, is also on the line. If Greece were forced to abandon the euro, as more and more voices on the German right are demanding, it would be a jarring setback for solidarity on the Continent.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Politics in General, Portugal, Spain, The Banking System/Sector

(WSJ) The Need for Resolve in Europe

A half-hearted approach by the EBC will achieve little. Even full-blown “shock and awe” will only buy time. That’s because the real instability stems from fears euro-zone governments will impose losses on those holding individual country bonds if debts prove unsustainable. Those fears are mounting as the growth outlook deteriorates. Italy’s announcement of new austerity measures Friday may help address concerns over the deficit but could actually worsen the short-term challenge of growth.

That’s why the second part of the crisis resolution requires a vast expansion of the euro zone’s bailout facilities and most likely a move by European countries to guarantee European Financial Stability Facility’s bonds, effectively turning them into genuine euro-zone bonds.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Globalization, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, The Banking System/Sector

Stocks Down Over 4% in Global Sell-Off

Mohamed El-Erian, chief executive of the bond giant Pimco, said investors were selling risky assets like stocks “globally prompted by concerns about the weakening economic outlook, spreading contagion in Europe and insufficient policy responses.”

With Thursday’s dive, the three major American indexes had erased all of the gains made so far in 2011, with the S.&P. and Nasdaq markedly below the start of the year.

Read it all and take a look at this graph picture which says it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(FT) Philip Stephens–Spasm or spiral? The West’s choice

Behind the paralysis in Washington and prevarication in Berlin lies a troubling thought. Political systems in thrall to 24-hour rolling news have lost the capacity to make difficult choices. Globalisation imposes wrenching change and simultaneously saps the ability of governments to adapt. Politicians find it easier to argue about taxing the rich or cutting Medicare and about central bank bond purchases versus default than to confront the consequences for western societies of the profound upheaval in the global economy.

So it is tempting to say all is lost ”“ that a political and economic model built on western primacy is cracking under the strain of the shifting balance of international advantage. The American dream and European welfare state are bending to the competitive winds of globalisation.

Tempting but premature. It is too early to despair. What makes the crises in Washington and Europe so infuriating is the fact that, for all they demand hard decisions, they are susceptible to political solution. The missing ingredient is leadership.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Budget, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, France, Germany, Greece, History, House of Representatives, Italy, Office of the President, Politics in General, Portugal, President Barack Obama, Senate, Spain, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, Theology

(FT) Wolfgang Münchau–Plan D stands for default and death of euro

Five years ago, I was among those who argued that the probability of a collapse of the eurozone was close to zero. Last year, I wrote it was no longer trivial, but small. The odds have risen steadily since, not because of the crisis itself, but the political response. I now would put the odds of a break-up of the eurozone at 50:50. This is not because I doubt the pledge by the European Council to do whatever it takes to save the euro but because I fear it has left things too late. The council may be willing but it will not be able to deliver. As I argued last week, a eurozone bond is the only solution to the crisis. But this gets progressively more expensive, and politically less realistic, once bond spreads of large countries widen.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Politics in General, Portugal, Spain, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

John Redwood: Greece cannot borrow its way of this debt crisis

The reason a currency union needs a political union is simple. The centre has to have some way of stopping parts of the union from borrowing too much in the common currency at the common interest rate. If some borrow too much they are free riders on the backs of the more prudent areas.

If they go on borrowing too much they undermine the credit rating of the whole area, and force up the cost of borrowing for the prudent parts. To achieve discipline, the centre also needs to send subsidies and payments to the poorer parts, to compensate them for their inability to devalue to price themselves back into a competitive position.

Today the single currency system is suffering from the double stresses of too much borrowing by countries such as Greece and Portugal, who have spent too much and raised too little in tax, and from the need of countries like Ireland to bail out their overstretched banking systems….

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Politics in General, Portugal, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--