Been six days since I blogged. Was travelling again on May 30-31. Backlog of blogging builds up. So, this one is a potpourry.
Almost done with reading ‘Final hour’ Sir Martin Rees. Recommend it.
Of course, ‘Adults in the Room’ by Yanis Varoufakis remains the highlight of the year in terms of readings completed. He has a fairly sober piece on Germany (Merkel, in particular) being at the heart of the problems confronting Europe. In his attempt to be politically correct, I think, he has finessed his lines.
Paul Krugman has three tweets on the Italian President denying the Italian election winners the right to form the government by denying them their Finance Minister nominee.
But, Yanis makes this interesting point:
Trump understands one thing well: Germany and the eurozone are at his mercy, owing to their increasing dependence on large net exports to the US and the rest of the world. And this dependence has grown inexorably as a result of the austerity policies that were first tried out in Greece and then implemented in Italy and elsewhere.
Today, I heard Raghuram Rajan in Singapore saying that, one of the reasons behind the austerity policies in the UK was (or, could be) that their banks were too big relative to their economies and that the austerity was an accommodation of the demands of such a big banking sector on the government’s fiscal resources. Same goes for Europe. He was not defending this, however. Rajan was delivering the 9th MAS lecture today in Singapore.
Nonetheless, I am not advancing this either as an explanation or justification for the ‘Troika’ to impose austerity – and that too with utter hypocrisy (I am yet to write a full review of ‘Adults in the Room’) – on Greece. Simply recording something I heard today related to the word, ‘austerity’.
Inter alia, UK Government sold some of its stake in the Royal Bank of Scotland at a hefty loss today.
The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has such a massive conflict of interest with what he is doing at the ‘Evening Standard’ that I do not know where to begin. Read this to figure it out yourself. Equally, I am not surprised that Google took up his offer. They should be embarrassed but will they be?
The implications of this story are staggering and overwhelm me. How is India, for example, going to find employment for its youth with or without formal education? Is technology such a holy grail that it should be pursued, no matter what? That is where I find Sir Martin Rees thoughtful and humane. See the beginning of the post.
Prof. Atif Mian at Princeton has a series of fourteen tweets on development, the vicious poverty trap and how public policy and prejudices make it more vicious. First tweet here.
Australia charges Citi and Deutsche Bank for cartel-like behaviour in their underwriting of ANZ shares a decade ago. The authorities have made a criminal charge and that is serious stuff. Banks will be banks, I suppose.
A damning verdict on American universities by Rana Foroohar. They are now hedge funds, she says. Ed Luce wishes she were not right. He concurs.
A powerful way to understand what we (humans) have wrought to the climate. Found it via the twitter handle of Atif Mian.
Gulzar shared this pithy and perceptive blog post by Tyler Cowen on how Trump’s foreign policy might outlast him in America.
This should tell us why Europe has not earned Trump’s respect.
A good summary of Pakistan’s acute ‘Balance of Payments’ situation.