This is a really scary report regarding Goldman Sachs' actions during the financial bust. But the fact that such an inquiry takes place gives us hope. Now, let's hope that some people will go to jail. A great read!
"A FEW times a year, Charlemagne has the luck to teach students at a European management school in Paris. It is an enlightening experience (for your columnist, at least). One popular question has been why some European Union policies are so contentious in places like France, notably the commitment to an internal market based on “free and undistorted competition”. After a while, the penny dropped. If you play word association, it turns out that for many in a Parisian classroom, the polar opposite of “competition” is “solidarity”: ie, the useful rigour imposed by competition is overshadowed by the pain caused as society divides into winners and losers. For Anglo-Saxon liberals, the instinctive opposite of “competition” is “monopoly”: ie, the pain of competition is justified by a quest for fairness, even before getting to arguments about efficiency and companies’ long-term fitness."
"Still not loved. Now not envied" - that's the tag line of this Article on the world's opinion on America (in the Economist, for a change a free-for-all). Interesting tidbit: America is the number one destination only for Indians - many more people would prefer to immigrate to Australia.
Sell your house, unless it stands in Germany. For a while now the Economist warned about the real estate bubble. Now they claim that it's about to burst, probably a year from now. Read their free leader - the detailed article (not free) is much more detailed and full of scary statistics. Here's the essence of their message:
"If weaker house prices push the economy towards recession, the awkward truth is that America's policymakers will have much less room to manoeuvre than they did after the stockmarket bubble burst. Short-term interest rates of only 3% leave less scope for cuts. In 2000, America had a budget surplus. Today it has a large deficit, ruling out big tax cuts.
The whole world economy is at risk. The IMF has warned that, just as the upswing in house prices has been a global phenomenon, so any downturn is likely to be synchronised, and thus the effects of it will be shared widely. The housing boom was fun while it lasted, but the biggest increase in wealth in history was largely an illusion."