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A winter of discontent in Europe

 
 
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2009 04:17 am
http://i41.tinypic.com/9bf82d.jpg

The big question: how serious is the poltitical unrest on the continent and can it be calmed?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 8 • Views: 2,246 • Replies: 21
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OGIONIK
 
  0  
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2009 04:19 am
@Walter Hinteler,
i hoep anarchy prevails. seriously.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2009 05:24 am
@Walter Hinteler,
WHy did the ploice insist on shooting a dead student?
AND,
If police in Lithuania wish to protest tax increses, why must they be stoned by a mob?

Im so glad that we are more civilized here in the USA.
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2009 06:00 am
@farmerman,
Excellent points, fm. I'd been wondering much the same thing.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2009 06:03 am
The problem with Europeans is that they are so culturally backward . . . they simply are unable to deal with unforeseen consequences of their own bumbling, and take to shooting corpses and burning museums at the drop of a hat . . .
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2009 06:10 am
@Walter Hinteler,
At least Official Buildings in Bulgaria care about corruption. No one else seems to care.
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hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2009 12:22 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
the article's writer states :

Quote:
Where is all this going?

Nowhere good, is the broad consensus. Those who have long been sceptical about the validity of European Monetary Union are chortling with schadenfreude as the Eurozone's weaker members, sometimes offensively known as the Pigs " Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain " struggle to make ends meet inside the (relatively) strengthening currency, with weakening competitiveness and ballooning deficits exposing what the sceptics see as the innate contradictions of yoking economies as different as Germany's and Greece's in a single currency.


the writer is not offering any evidence that if the european countries still had their own currencies there would not be any demonstrations or riots .
"unrest" has broken out periodically in many countries around the world - why should the european countries be any different ?
journalists have to look for "news" - and shocking/disturbing news usually get much better coverage than "ordinary" life .
after all who wants to read that such-and-such a country has no shocking /disturbing news - the writer wouldn't hold his job for long .
the frontpage of any newspaper or newsmagazine usually has to portray something that will arouse the interest of readers - not everyone wants to read "good housekeeping" or "O" all the time .

http://girlfriendology.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/o-magazine-cover.jpg

even STAR offers its readers some enticing and juicy headlines .

http://amygrant.offramp.org/info/articles/mar/starcover.jpg

it so happened that yesterday i listened to an interview with a professor of journalism . he said that newspapers are on deathrow and likely will not be given a reprieve .
many newspapers in north-america have already given up and more will follow .

"the newspaper industry is dying before our very eyes"

see :
http://www.alternet.org/mediaculture/113759/the_newspaper_industry_is_dying_before_our_very_eyes/

Quote:
The Tribune Co., which owns the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun and other dailies, the Chicago Cubs and 23 television stations, has filed for bankruptcy. The New York Times has said it will sell or mortgage its headquarters building. The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press, a joint publishing operation, announced that they will limit newspaper home delivery to Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays while selling printed copies at newsstands seven days a week. They said their Web sites will expand news coverage.

Finally, Editor & Publisher reported that Fitch Ratings, the credit rating firm, issued a report declaring it "believes more newspapers and newspaper groups will default, be shut down and be liquidated in 2009 and several cities could go without a daily print newspaper by 2010."


about the only hope for actual (printed) newspapers to survive is to find a super-rich publisher who would like to have his own mouthpiece .
a/t the professor , one british newspaper has already been taken over by a russian oligarch who likes the prestige of owning his own newspaper .

see :
http://www.dw-world.de/dw/function/0,,12215_cid_3966024,00.html

Quote:
| 21.01.2009 | 14:00 UTC
Ex-KGB Russian oligarch buys British newspaper

A Russian billionaire businessman has bought a controlling share in London's Evening Standard newspaper. The former KGB agent Alexander Lebedev will acquire more than 75 percent in one of Britain's oldest newspapers for a nominal sum. The Evening Standard has suffered sliding sales due to increased competition from free newspapers. Lord Jonathan Rothermere, chairman of parent company Daily Mail and General Trust, said he was conviced that Lebedev would continue to invest in the Evening Standard.


and "the new york times" has accepted a large cash infusion by a mexicaan millionaire :

see :
http://www.marketingnews.co.uk/2009/01/mexican-millionaire-bails-out-the-ny-time/

Quote:
Mexican Millionaire Bails Out the New York Times
Posted on 22 January 2009
Tags: Financial Climate, Millionaire, Money News, New York Times
It has been confirmed that the Mexican millionaire, Carlos Slim will be lending the New York times $250 million in an attempt to refinance their existing debt. The company will be paying 14% interest on this loan which will in turn increase the millionaires share from 6.9% to 17% in the future.


they ar deeply in trouble already and are taking out a loan at 14 % - do they really think they'll be able to repay the "loan" ?

there is an old newspaper slogan : "publish or perish" and it's never more true than now , i believe .
btw has anyone noticed how quickly the numbers of pages published by newpapers and magazines are shrinking ?

i'd hate to see "printed" newspapers disappear completely - but i wonder if the trend can be stopped ?
hbg

0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2009 02:32 pm
I'm not sure to what degree Farmerman, Setanta and Andrew are being ironic here, however the apparently greater proclivity of Europeans to look to government for solutions and to quickly politicize economic hard times is itself interesting. We, of course, are not immune to this and, very likely the new political era here will likely increase both in this country as well.

However, the truth is that economic conditions will remain dynamic, and adaptation will always be necessary - for everyone. Unfortunately governmental or authoritarian solutions only rarely permit the smooth adaptations to changing conditions that are simply a fact of life.
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2009 02:40 pm
@georgeob1,
Given the recent results of your adored ultra liberalism, George, one would think you would put some restraint in your comments..

Tell me what adaptations free market would have provided for the consequences of the sub-prime crisis?

Let's not to talk about evolution theory.
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2009 03:11 pm
@Francis,
francis wrote :

Quote:
Tell me what adaptations free market would have provided for the consequences of the sub-prime crisis?


perhaps a repeat of "the great depression " (called : great dpression II " for clarification) would have provided suitable "adaptations (by the) free market ... ... for the consequences of the sub-prime crisis " .
that might not be a lot of fun for all people , but not everyone suffered during the great depression , some got quite rich during that time (it's called "free market" , i understand ) .
no doubt some people would actually favour another great depression - it would present some great opportunities to get rich .
hbg

a very interesting article and some discussions/comments about the great depression ...

http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2008/09/the-great-depre.html

sample :
Quote:
Well, that's where you see who is a winner and who is a loser: the winners positioned themselves right, the losers did not.

The argument is that as long as there are *some* winners, there must be *some* reason why a particular loser is personally responsible for not being one of those winners.

And in American culture the devil takes the hindmost: nobody cares about losers (except perhaps dark skinned losers), even the losers.

0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2009 03:12 pm
@Francis,
Francis wrote:

Given the recent results of your adored ultra liberalism, George, one would think you would put some restraint in your comments..

Tell me what adaptations free market would have provided for the consequences of the sub-prime crisis?

Let's not to talk about evolution theory.


What pray tell are the comparable results of the Social Democracies or moderated liberalism (or whatever you prefer to call it) that is your favored alternative? While the policies of some European countries (France notably) have moderated the effects of the recent economic bubble, they have not immunized themselves from them.

The liquididy/confidence crisis that besets the economic world today is a far more fundamental and pervasive thing than the "sub-prime issue that was the triggering event. Economic bubbles will always be with us and there is little evidence suggesting that the European model will immunize the world from them.

The rises in unemployment and downturn in economic activity that apparently initiated the events that are the subject of this thread are at least as bad here as in Greece, Spain and France.
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2009 03:21 pm
http://i471.photobucket.com/albums/rr73/djjd1962/sc0092f57e.jpg
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2009 03:30 pm
@georgeob1,
See, George, why I don't engage too often in political battles?

Your answer is a jesuitic exercise of rethorics, not even a brilliant one..

You didn't address my question, instead you tried to focus on different kinds of economic policies endorsed by European governments, as if it would exempt you from answering.

In addition, you imply that I would support one of this forms of government, which you don't know at all, even though you think you do..
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2009 03:36 pm
@djjd62,
That's funny, dj!

However, talking about stereotypes, it always makes laugh when I'm in the US, and people say "I work hard".

What they think it means, I wonder...
OGIONIK
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2009 04:28 pm
@Francis,
well, i guess they should think twice before increasing taxes, shouldn't they?


O_o

or before they destroy their entire countries economy.

or before they shoot kids.

or before they go against the will of the people in any way.


huh, imagine that... quite a concept.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2009 05:50 pm
@Francis,
Francis wrote:

See, George, why I don't engage too often in political battles?

Your answer is a jesuitic exercise of rethorics, not even a brilliant one..

You didn't address my question, instead you tried to focus on different kinds of economic policies endorsed by European governments, as if it would exempt you from answering.

In addition, you imply that I would support one of this forms of government, which you don't know at all, even though you think you do..


Well you also assumed I am an advocate of "ultra liberal" economic policy.

With respect to your question (What adaptations would liberal economics provide for the sub prime crisis? ), it seemed to me the answer was so obvious that it didn't require an answer. In the first place it was government insured and quasi operated companies (Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac) that led the effort to create mass securitizations of mortgages (and thereby attract more imported capital) directing them explicitly to people who wouldn't otherwise qualify for such credit. Worse, recent legislation required banks to prove to the government that they were issuing mortgages in proportions determined by brueaucrats to be "appropriate" to designated "socially disadvantaged" groups (a noble goal but one that left no one accountable for the outcome). A liberal economic system acting alone wouldn't do that at all - it required an authoritarian government structure acting with specific social outcomes in mind. The second key element, the issuance of insurance policies for these securities was however a natural (if destructive) action of an unregulated free market. In effect the issuers of credit default insurance or CDO's enabled the insurer to act like an unregulated bank, effectively creating new money to feed the bubble.

Similar forces were at work in the housing bubbles in the UK, Ireland and Spain - perhaps others too.

I fear that most of the government spending we are doing to "remedy" the crisis is merely government acting to take care of itself and distract a frightened public with ineffective palliatives that will be a long-term drag on future economic activity.

I did ask what alternatives you might have in mind, and how they might deliver a net better outcome over time. You didn't answer that.

Mostly though, I find the relative difference in public inclinations to riots and other like disorders as a result of such economic reverses itself quite interesting.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2009 05:52 pm
I believe that the only liberal policy in which O'George ever indulges is the application of shredded cheese to his pizza before baking it . . .
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2009 06:01 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

I believe that the only liberal policy in which O'George ever indulges is the application of shredded cheese to his pizza before baking it . . .


Well I think Francis had the conventional (or European) definition of 'liberal economics' in mind here, so perhaps I do sometimes qualify.

I am not however the unreconstructed dogmatist you infer. I have had to question and revise several of my interpretations of political events over the past few years, and while I don't rush out to acknowledge error, I do think hard about it.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2009 06:04 pm
Actually, my only interest was in your use of dairy products in faux Italian cuisine . . .
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2009 06:09 pm
Tries to find what Set is referring to..

ah, never mind, nods.
0 Replies
 
 

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