Category : G20

(Economist Erasmus Blog) The euro, theology and values–The meaning of redemption

When big questions, like the future of Europe, hang in the balance, it can be tempting to toy with grand theories about the ways in which religion affects culture and economics. A famous one was put forward by Max Weber (pictured), who posited a link between capitalism and Protestant ideas of guilt and salvation. Such theories usually contain a grain of truth, but religious determinism shouldn’t be pushed too far because there are always exceptions.

Still, as religious-determinist theories go, an interesting one was put forward by Giles Fraser, a well-known left-wing priest of the Church of England, in a recent radio broadcast. He suggested that behind the financial standoff between Greece and Germany, there was a theological difference (between western and eastern Christians) in the understanding of how humans are reconciled with God.

As Mr Fraser recalled, traditional Protestant and Catholic teaching has presented the self-sacrifice of Christ as the payment of a debt to God the Father. In this view, human sinfulness created a debt which simply had to be settled, but could not be repaid by humanity because of its fallen state; so the Son of God stepped in and took care of that vast obligation. For Orthodox theologians, this wrongly portrays God the Father as a sort of heavenly debt-collector who is himself constrained by some iron necessity; they prefer to see the passion story as an act of mercy by a God who is free. Over-simplifying only a little, Mr Fraser observed: “the idea that the cross is some sort of cosmic pay-back for human sin [reflects] a no-pain-no-gain obsession with suffering,” from an eastern Christian viewpoint.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Christology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, G20, Germany, Greece, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Soteriology, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(Economist) Only a matter of time before the next recession strikes+the rich world is not ready

Inevitably fragilities remain. Europe is deep in debt and dependent on exports. Japan cannot get inflation to take hold. Wage growth could quickly dent corporate earnings and valuations in America. Emerging economies, which accounted for the bulk of growth in the post-crisis years, have seen better days. The economies of both Brazil and Russia are expected to shrink this year. Poor trade data suggest that Chinese growth may be slowing faster than the government wishes.

If any of these worries causes a downturn the world will be in a rotten position to do much about it. Rarely have so many large economies been so ill-equipped to manage a recession, whatever its provenance, as our “wriggle-room” ranking makes clear…. Rich countries’ average debt-to-GDP ratio has risen by about 50% since 2007. In Britain and Spain debt has more than doubled. Nobody knows where the ceiling is, but governments that want to splurge will have to win over jumpy electorates as well as nervous creditors. Countries with only tenuous access to bond markets, as in the euro zone’s periphery, may be unable to launch a big fiscal stimulus.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, European Central Bank, Federal Reserve, Foreign Relations, G20, Globalization, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The U.S. Government, Theology

(BBC) China tells US to avoid debt crisis for sake of global economy

A senior Chinese official has warned that the “clock is ticking” to avoid a US default that could hurt China’s interests and the global economy.

China, the US’s largest creditor, is “naturally concerned about developments in the US fiscal cliff”, vice finance minister Zhu Guangyao said.

Washington must agree a deal to raise its borrowing limit by 17 October, or risk being unable to pay its bills.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Budget, China, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, G20, Globalization, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Stock Market, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

(Reuters) G20 Finance Chiefs Ring Alarm Bells Over US Fiscal Cliff

Finance chiefs of the world’s 20 leading economies are ringing alarm bells over the U.S. fiscal cliff and Europe’s debt woes at a meeting in Mexico this weekend as they look to push back deficit reduction targets to help boost growth.

Unless a fractious U.S. Congress can reach a deal, about $600 billion in government spending cuts and higher taxes are set to kick in on January 1, threatening to push the American economy back into recession and hit world growth.

“The Americans themselves acknowledge that this is a problem,” a G20 official said on condition of anonymity. “The U.S. administration says it doesn’t want to fall off the fiscal cliff, but right now it can’t tell us how exactly it will address it because that issue is on ice ahead of the election.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, G20, House of Representatives, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Senate, Stock Market, Taxes, The Banking System/Sector, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, US Presidential Election 2012

(Reuters) Anatole Kaletsky–Can the rest of Europe stand up to Germany?

As financial markets slide toward disaster, scarcely pausing to celebrate the “success” of the Greek election or the deal to recapitalize Spanish banks, the euro project is finally revealing its fatal flaw. One country poses an existential threat to Europe ”“ and it is not Greece, Italy or Spain. Every serious proposal to resolve the euro crisis since 2009 ”“ haircuts for bank bondholders, more realistic fiscal consolidation targets, jointly guaranteed eurobonds, a pan-European bailout fund, quantitative easing by the European Central Bank ”“ has been vetoed by Germany, and this pattern looks likely to be repeated next week.

Nobody should be surprised that Germany has become the greatest threat to Europe. After all, this has happened twice before since 1914. To state this unmentionable fact is not to impugn Germans with original sin, but merely to note Germany’s unusual geopolitical situation….

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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, G20, Germany, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Bloomberg) Euro Crisis Shifts To Spain As Merkel Faces G-20 Pressure

Group of 20 leaders focused their response to Europe’s financial crisis on stabilizing the region’s banks, raising pressure on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to expand rescue measures as contagion engulfed Spain.

As U.S. President Barack Obama called after-dinner talks with euro-area leaders at the G-20 summit in Mexico, the Treasury department’s top international negotiator, Lael Brainard, said Europe is making an effort to “break the feedback loop” between banks and government debt, the link that is worsening Spain’s woes.

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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, G20, Politics in General, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(WSJ) Sour Mood of Greeks Makes Vote a Cliffhanger

The mainstream parties “looted Greece, and afterward they took the Greek flag and they offered it to Angela Merkel,” the German chancellor, Mr. [Alexis] Tsipras said in a campaign rally in Athens Thursday.

Though Syriza’s message has caught on, not all of the disaffected are ready to embrace the party. Anna Konstantoulaki, a third-year Spanish-literature student at the University of Athens, voted in May for a tiny party. She doesn’t know what to do now. She is upset with mainstream parties but not sure Mr. Tsipras is capable of running the country.

“I am very confused,” she says. “The last few days, I can’t stop thinking about what is going to happen.” She adds: “I’m scared, actually.”

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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, G20, Greece, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Downgrade of Debt Ratings Underscores Europe’s Woes

Standard & Poor’s downgraded the credit ratings of France, Italy and seven other European countries on Friday, a move that may have more symbolic than fundamental financial impact but served as a reminder that Europe’s economic woes were far from over.

Another memory jog came Friday from Greece, the original source of Europe’s debt troubles. Talks hit a snag between the new Greek government and the banks and other private investors that Athens hopes will agree to take losses on their debt so that Greece can avoid a default.

Together, those developments underscore that even as Europe’s debt turmoil enters its third year, no clear solutions are yet in sight ”” despite recent signs that a new lending program by the European Central Bank might be easing financial market pressures.

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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, G20, Globalization, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

(FT) G-20's high ambitions deliver meagre results

Self-styled as “the premier forum for our international economic co-operation”, the Group of 20’s latest summit failed to live up to its central ambition to create “strong, stable and balanced” global economic growth.

As they arrived in Cannes, the leaders of countries representing 85 per cent of global output found the agenda dominated by political turmoil in Greece and a eurozone crisis too hot for the G20 to handle. They had little success in making progress on their medium-term goals.

The G20 all but admitted that the so-called “Doha round” of trade talks, launched in December 2001, was dead; it produced an action plan for growth and jobs that committed countries to almost nothing they were not already pursuing; and left the international monetary system almost unchanged.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Europe, France, G20, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(CNS) At audience, Pope prays G-20 summit will help world's poor

Pope Benedict XVI prayed that a summit of the leaders of countries with the world’s largest economies would find ways to overcome the current economic crisis and promote real development.

At the end of his weekly general audience Nov. 2, the pope issued a special appeal to the leaders of the G-20 nations scheduled to meet Nov. 3-4 in Cannes, France.

“I hope the meeting will help overcome the difficulties, which — on a global level — block the promotion of an authentically human and integral development,” the pope said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, Europe, France, G20, Globalization, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(WSJ) Gerald O'Driscoll–Why We Can't Escape the Eurocrisis

Americans must not be smug about the suffering of Europeans””our financial system is thoroughly integrated with theirs. Moreover, the International Monetary Fund will most likely be involved in the event of future bailouts and will likely need large funds from its members, which ultimately means the taxpayers.

And, of course, the U.S. has its own large and growing public debt burden. We have not gone as far down the road to entitlements, but we are catching up. If you want to know how the debt crisis will play out here, watch the downward spiral in the EU.

Meanwhile, expect more volatility in financial markets. U.S. traders in particular simply have not grasped the enormity of the EU debt crisis.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, America/U.S.A., Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Federal Reserve, Foreign Relations, France, G20, Germany, Greece, Politics in General, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

Austerity Faces Test as Greeks Question Their Ties to Euro

The crisis of the euro zone has finally hit the potholed road of real politics, with the Greeks now openly questioning whether their commitment to Europe and its single currency still matters more to them than control over their own future and economic well-being.

During the two-year financial crisis, the wealthier countries of northern Europe, led by Germany, have insisted that their heavily indebted brethren in the south radically cut spending in return for emergency loans. They have stuck to that prescription even though austerity has undermined growth and increased unemployment in Greece, Spain, Portugal and now Italy, betting that people in those countries will swallow the harsh medicine because their only alternative is to default and possibly leave the euro zone altogether.

The turmoil in the government of Prime Minister George A. Papandreou means that Greece is about to call that bet. Many Greek politicians appear to be calculating, at this late stage, that they have more to lose by sticking to Germany’s terms than by risking a messy default, and even going it alone with their old currency, the drachma, outside the euro zone.

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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, Federal Reserve, Foreign Relations, France, G20, Germany, Greece, Politics in General, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc), Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

(Reuters) Fury in Germany after Greek referendum call

Germans expressed fury and frustration at Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou’s shock decision to call a referendum on the latest aid package, with some saying the gamble would push Greece out of the euro zone.

“You can’t help thinking that they should be grateful as Europe is trying to help,” said Konstanze Pilge, a 26-year old student, walking near the Brandenburg Gate in central Berlin. “Now it looks like they are going to mess things up.”

Papandreou dropped his bombshell on Monday evening, less than a week after European leaders agreed the outlines of a second bailout for Athens.

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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, France, G20, Germany, Greece, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(BBC) Leaders Agree on Eurozone debt deal after late-night talks

European leaders have reached a “three-pronged” agreement described as vital to solve the region’s huge debt crisis.

They said banks holding Greek debt accepted a 50% loss, the eurozone bailout fund will be boosted and banks will have to raise more capital.

Shares on European markets rose sharply on news of the deal.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Asia, Brazil, China, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, France, G20, Germany, Globalization, Greece, Politics in General, South America, Stock Market, 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--