2010

The EU’s win-win losers

The next acute crisis of a Eurozone country may happen sooner than EU leaders think. It is only then when we will see what their new celebrated compromise is worth in practice. [...]

Trivial Twitter

Now that Twitter has more than twice as many employees than the number of characters it allows per message, perhaps it’s time to reflect on this latest internet phenomenon. [...]

The same life in 140 characters

The hopes of tech aficionados that the new world of social media would completely change the way we think, talk and work turns out to be a mirage. People remain people. They are still interested in the same things, talk about the same subjects, and they still have breakfast. Technology may be easier to upgrade than human nature. [...]

Britain’s ‘bold’ debt detractors

The problem with Keynesians like Krugman and Stiglitz is that they are theoretically committed to balanced budgets, but only in the long run. But as no other than Keynes taught us, in the long run we are all dead. In the meantime, his disciples will never tire to explain why the right time to cut spending is never. [...]

Europe’s decline, Australia’s challenge

When we are looking at Australia today, we can be pleased that we have so far avoided many of Europe’s problems. Our debt still looks manageable. Our demography is still healthy. Our society is still united. But Australia could end up like Europe – under different stars, but with the same destiny. [...]

Sarkozy’s Ides of March

For months, the French republic has been shaken by growing resistance to president Nicolas Sarkozy and his plan to increase the retirement age from 60 to 62 years. Whether the new pension system is eventually implemented or not, the tumultuous scenes in the streets of Paris, Marseille and other big cities leave only one conclusion: France is an unreformable country. [...]

Germany proves clumsy with foreign matter

Germans are also learning the hard way that some groups are more willing to integrate into Western society than others. The debate is now about Islam for a reason. No integration issues are reported with respect to Danes, Poles or Vietnamese, all of whom live in Germany in great numbers. [...]

This year’s Nobel Prize: A case of market failure

The Nobel Prize in economics left me somewhat puzzled. To be sure, the recipients Peter Diamond, Dale Mortensen, and Christopher Pissarides are all highly respected economists. In another sense, too, the choice of the three labour market specialists is hardly revolutionary. Though their models are elegant, what they are actually saying is very much common sense. [...]

America’s warpath to Depression

In the beginning of the financial crisis, with all its G8, IMF and G20 meetings, there was a glimmer of hope that it would not lead to a replay of the distortions of the Great Depression. In hindsight, this was too optimistic. [...]

Game on in the states of Monopoly

Even tragedies like the Great Depression have their pluses. One of them is Monopoly. If a certain Charles Darrow had not lost his job at a sales company, he would never have had the time to develop the famous game that Parker Brothers started selling in 1935. Today, 75 years and a few economic crises after its original launch, it is time to update Monopoly to the new realities. [...]