Economist Feb 22nd 2014

《Putin’s inferno》

  • “Kiev is one of the few European cities where the European Union is synonymous with good government and the rule of law.”
  • Virtually all of Ukraine’s established politicians have discredited themselves: the protesters have no clear champion – one reason the violence may prove difficult to stop;

《Europe’s new battlefield》

  • Ukraine’s elites understood independence as right to pillage their country;
  • compounding the problem: Russian-speaking, industrialized east of the country and Crimea, and the nationalist-minded western Ukraine – the core of the protesters;
  • an issue of a free-trade agreement with the EU or a customs union with Russia suddenly becomes an existential choice between a corrupt and authoritarian post-Soviet system of governance and a European one;
  • Russia has long coveted Crimea.

《How to make the world $600 billion poorer》

  • Mr Obama now appears to be surrendering to protectionists within his own party
  • Congress must approve the trade agreements,  however, a fast-track vote before November seems unlikely;
  • Tea Party Republicans: loth to grant Mr Obama the authority to do anything;
  • Democrats: the idea that they will not do much to help the economy; brand themselves as the anti-inequality party;
  • Mr Obama could have explained more … mentioning that cheap imports help reduce inequality of consumption;
  • “America cannot turn inward,” the Obama of 2008 said in Berlin. The Obama of 2014 is now responding:” Yes we can.”

《Taking aim at imports》

  • America’s continent-spanning economy is more self-contained than many people realize – imports and exports amounts to 23% of GDP, compared with 26% for the EU or 46% for China;
  • last time was in 2002, even so, 183 Democrats voting no, and moreover, the deal was small;
  • Compared to mid-1990s NAFTA, the level of scepticism is probably higher – citing NAFTA as the lessons;
  • Opponents requires more policy-making transparency – 1,150 meetings on the Asia deal alone is apparently insufficient;
  • a large group that likes the trade in theory but not in practice – “recent presidents have seized Congress’s constitutional trade authority” and ask for it to be returned;
  • It is hard to oppose greater transparency without sounding sinister.

《The politics of little bricks》

  • fits the old stereotype of Hollywood peddling anti-capitalist propaganda to kids, but hold on, the film is also an hour-and-a-half-long commercial for costly toys made by a multinational, a commercial that people must pay to see;

《Bridging the fiscal chasm》

  • at the end of 2013, liabilities of local governments: $1.8 trillion, one third of China’s GDP;
  • Guizhou, biggest fiscal chasm, liabilities 80% of its GDP;
  • some of the backing is implicit: if these guarantees are booked at their expected cost, Gansu’s debt burden falls from 44% to 19% of GDP;
  • debts look heavy compared with taxes: Yunnan and Qinghai, 260% and 370% of their budget revenues; however, China’s provinces do not have to rely on revenues, other funds – transferred from central government, land sales;

《Getting the messages》

  • Two profound trends that are transforming the technology landscape: rapid growth of web-connected smartphones and dramatic decline in the cost of building start-ups;

《Here, there and everywhere》

  • Dutch advantage: balance power between management, the board and shareholders, no meeting required to approve resolutions, few requirements on compensation – Europe’s Delaware; ability to issue “loyalty” shares;
  • British advantage: tax.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.