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Test your EQ open thread-with poll

by Agnes a Paris Mon Apr 3rd, 2006 at 01:59:30 PM EST

Against the background of the unexpected foray of chaos into well-ordered economic reform projects we experienced in France, and after the groundbreaking news that earth is flat after all (Migeru, that one for April the 1st was really great!), debunking all our factual certitudes, I thought it would be fun to have a kind of open thread on the topic emotional intelligence (EI or EQ).

Having wikipedied a little, I found that lots of tests were supposed to provide you with an accurate view of your EQ level, so feel free to try
the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test
whose authors originally developed the MEIS (Multifactor Emotional Intelligence Scale).

More enjoyable and less brain-consuming, after all, this is about emotions, not grey cells <s> will be the poll below and all the stuff you will hopefully bring on board.
Relate a situation where you have displayed your EI at its best.
The thread is yours !

Comments >> (42 comments)

why facts and reality are dangerous concepts

by Agnes a Paris Wed Mar 29th, 2006 at 03:18:34 PM EST

For millenniums, humankind has demonstrated a persistent need to believe in something.
Where this necessity crystallizes in religion, it is easy to debunk, and the opportunities have not been scarce.
In the 19th century, the buzz created by another wave of industrial and scientific progress created a new belief, positivism, which unlike scientism is a neutral label.

Read more... (170 comments, 467 words in story)

Watch your back, America : PPPs gaining ground

by Agnes a Paris Tue Mar 28th, 2006 at 05:48:21 AM EST

The use of special-purpose public-private partnerships (PPPs) by U.S. government agencies and departments to meet their financing requirements started only recently, with a ten to fifteen year delay vs Europe.
The alleged flexibility provided by PPPs gives federal departments that have the authority to enter into these instruments an avenue to meet their expanding capital requirements.
NB : A PPP is a business entity--such as a corporation, partnership, limited liability company, or grantor trust--that is established by the private sector for a single specified purpose.

This diary specifically focuses on infrastructure transportation.
The recent sudden interest in PPP structures has resulted primarily from actions by specific state and municipal leaders, including Chicago Mayor Richard Daley (Chicago Skyway), Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana (Indiana Toll Road), Gov. Rick Perry of Texas (Trans-Texas Corridor), and Gov. Tim Kaine and former Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia (various projects).

Read more... (83 comments, 1058 words in story)

FT and S&P - conventional wisdom : why we should care

by Agnes a Paris Tue Mar 28th, 2006 at 05:27:32 AM EST

Update [2006-3-29 9:54:48 by AgnesaParis]:
It is worth mentioning that the FT would only score a silver medal in the CW category when it comes to the French economy and specifically the CPE contract. The renown and very well-regarded ratings agency Standard & Poors published yesterday a report with some really juicy bites

France has displayed disappointing economic growth over the past three years, with GDP expansion averaging only 1.5% annually, or just slightly more than the Eurozone average. One of the big factors involved in that lackluster performance has been the low rate of labor participation. With only 70% of the working-age population actually at work, boosting the French economy without putting more of its citizens in jobs will be difficult.

Employment among the middle-age cohort of the French labor force remains high because it is virtually impossible to fire civil servants, while those in the private sector have protections almost as strong. But because of those strenuous job-protection measures, employers are simply reluctant to hire anyone in the first place, and the unemployment rate among the young is, by U.S. standards, stratospheric.

Now this report by S&P is really serious trouble.
Rating agencies very seldom comment on current affairs. They will publish a report on Russia's defaulting on sovereign debt, not on French work law. And the audience they get is much more to be taken into account than that of a newspaper, no matter how widely the FT is circulated among top management.
S&P sets the sovereign rating of almost each country in the world, and a country that has no rating can hardly tap international finance markets. France, UK, the US, like most OECD countries, are AAA rated, which is the highest rating on a AAA to D scale.
If the rating of a country is downgraded by even one notch (for France it would be AAA-, this immediately triggers investor suspicion, money fleeing the country and increases cost of government debt raising. So yes, there is a cause for worry, much more than out of standard press twisted information.

Initial diary below the fold.

Read more... (27 comments, 734 words in story)

Taking some time off ET

by Agnes a Paris Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 11:26:10 AM EST

Update [2006-4-6 11:53:52 by AgnesaParis]: This was just to let you know that I am taking some time off ET, starting tonight.
One specific event today made me realise how demanding timewise (and also emotionnally involving) it is to remain up to the standards of posting being set here.
I am at risk of losing some of my friends because I prefer to post here rather than spend a ten minute's call time with them during the day.
I appreciate I should have that under control, but it is not the case and I got a warning signal today which made me think that a few weeks-break was necessary.

Bonne route everybody.


Comments >> (27 comments)

Bloggers are not reporters, FT says-Let's debate

by Agnes a Paris Wed Mar 22nd, 2006 at 04:23:52 AM EST

"The fallacy that bloggers have replaced real news hounds", writes John Gapper in the FT Business Column.
Worried, pal ? True, with on-line newspaper sites offering space for bloggers (like Le Monde) and the quality of some forums ---yes, I am thinking European Tribune here--no wonder traditional reporters believe they have troubled days ahead of them.
Isn't a reasonable degree of competition a guarantee of improved quality ?

Another critical question is whether there is a vacuum in the traditional newspress that bloggers manage to fill successfully. My answer is yes.

The internet has set off an explosion of opinion-writing, and news agregation. But it has not, so far, produced a lot of first-hand reporting by non-professionals.
Let's debunk that assertion !

Attemps to replicate reporting of national and international news wtih citizen journalsim in the US and Europe, such as Wikinews, have not fared particularly well.
Indeed ? They missed the existence of ET...

Comments >> (52 comments)

Gone with the windmill-chapter nine-part 2

by Agnes a Paris Tue Mar 21st, 2006 at 08:55:33 AM EST

One surprise per chapter ? Too happy to oblige.
Let's see what part 2 has in store for us...

Link to chapter nine-part 1

Read more... (28 comments, 545 words in story)

Gone with the windmill-chapter nine -part 1

by Agnes a Paris Tue Mar 21st, 2006 at 05:59:16 AM EST

Action was wanted, if I remember correctly :)
This chapter is dedicated to Melanchton, who rightly pointed out that the windmill was losing speed and to our favourite candidate-for-President, Jérôme.

Link to previous chapter

Read more... (14 comments, 559 words in story)

Mardi Gras in New Orleans : nurturing hopes for recovery ?

by Agnes a Paris Mon Mar 20th, 2006 at 11:21:10 AM EST

One of my friends has just returned from a trip to the US Gulf Coast and brought interesting material, which I thought was worth sharing with the ET community.

Six months after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the revelry of Mardi Gras was more than just a colorful respite from the Gulf Coast's agonizing slog toward normalcy. It was also an indicator of how the battered city of New Orleans and surrounding areas will fare as rebuilding proceeds.

The turnout for the pre-Lenten street bash--sparse by historical standards but otherwise successful--showed that the city, even in its shrunken state, can at least provide minimal support to its important tourist, visitor, and convention sector as hotels, restaurants, and police services seemed to be in place and working well.

But in the coming months much more will be needed if New Orleans and the other municipalities wracked by the hurricanes are to regain their financial footing. For the more pressing issues, dive below the fold.

Read more... (2 comments, 883 words in story)

Gone with the windmill-chapter eight

by Agnes a Paris Mon Mar 20th, 2006 at 10:06:13 AM EST

Appetiser was last Monday so I guess you must be starving by now :)
Here we go with chapter eight main course.
I appreciate you may have lost track of the plot so this chapter is a kind of reminder of the story cornerstones. Enjoy !

Link to previous chapter
Gone with the windmill : chapter eight appetiser

Read more... (9 comments, 718 words in story)

Housing-happy borrowers and rising debt in the US

by Agnes a Paris Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 10:45:59 AM EST

[editor's note, by AgnesaParis]An informative, data sampling diary (source : Standard&Poors) for those who love deconstructing figures. Just for your information, ABS stands for asset-backed securities. If more information on the subtleties of securitization is needed, I will be happy to oblige in another diary. Securitization is the latest sophistication in companies' fund raising and balance sheet optimisation.

The Federal Reserve's Flow of Funds data for the fourth quarter once again revealed sharp increases in both debt and assets. One would have to go back to 1986 to see debt growth surpass the 9.5% rise in total debt in 2005.
This year, household borrowing led the way, specifically mortgages since consumer credit actually declined in the fourth quarter. While household debt continued its upward climb, assets were a few steps ahead, also thanks to housing, setting another record for net worth.

Borrowers increased leverage, for the most part, despite the Federal Open Market Committee's 14 rate hikes already on the books. Though housing-happy borrowers led the way, all sectors apparently ignored what the Fed has in store for them.
Excluding consumer credit, sectors in the economy appear poised to take up borrowing where a slowing housing market leaves off.
Together, U.S. markets are very liquid and have held down long-term rates, despite more quarter-point baby steps by the Fed. While long-term rates are starting to rise, the fourth-quarter 2005 flow of funds still indicates that the Fed isn't done.

Read more... (11 comments, 1413 words in story)

Today's ET agony section : "I never manage to say NO"

by Agnes a Paris Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 09:35:31 AM EST

A quickly put together thread to develop the agony project.
I had a nice chat with a friend yesterday evening.  We had to scale down the dinner we had planned to spend together to a phone call as she was too tired to get out again having returned back home after work.

She was feeling frustrated and I also sensed a feeling of guilt as she had to cancel me even if I genuinely could not blame her for choosing to have, for once, some time for herself for a change instead of spending 24/7 non quality time trying to please everyone by saying yes.
Well, the first answer is : never get back home if you are headed for an evening out : go directly from the office to the dinner/party/concert.<s>
Let's be serious here and try and investigate why it may be so hard to say NO that our agenda gets overbooked without our knowledge until we find out we cannot cope.

Read more... (21 comments, 504 words in story)

Share it with us -new ET agony section

by Agnes a Paris Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 04:19:41 AM EST

No need to worry, there is no talk about turning ET into an on-line news magazine and I promise, the next step will not be a horoscope section :)
The idea of this post, to be construed as an open thread, sprang from the fact that, as in any other community, there is a natural trend to seeking advice and sharing issues here on ET.

This is not meant to be limited to "metaphysical" problems, and there are no matters labelled mundane -however I must claim myself totally incompetent in the IT sector, so I will happily host requests for advice in computer acquisition or solving connection problems, but will leave  solution bringing to others :)

This is totally non exclusive : the purpose is experience-sharing. In view of the age scope of ET membership, I trust it will be quite efficient if many of us bring up similar experiences to put the issue into perspective.

To see the genesis of the idea, link to my previous diary
The point in seeking advice

Now volunteers needed to bring up a first issue !

Comments >> (17 comments)

The point in seeking advice

by Agnes a Paris Wed Mar 15th, 2006 at 09:31:18 AM EST

There is an interesting humorous new section in the Financial Times "your workplace woes analysed by our new office agony aunt, Lucy Kellaway"
People send their queries or respond to someone else's problem.
Today a lawyer desperately wishing his job to be "meaningful" confides to Lucy.
I never wanted to be a lawyer but now I'm stuck
There is wisdom beneath the lightness of tone, and I thought it was worth a brief diary on the relevance and importance of sharing as we all experience moments in our work life when we find ourselves stuck and at a loss to carry on.

Read more... (38 comments, 385 words in story)

Gone with the windmill-chapter 8 appetiser

by Agnes a Paris Mon Mar 13th, 2006 at 11:52:35 AM EST

First thing I have to thank Alex as I now feel less lonely in my literary attempts.
This post is just an appetiser, but I trust it contains groundbreaking news.

Link to the previous chapter
Gone with the windmill

Read more... (66 comments, 377 words in story)

Merger flurry - who said protectionism ?

by Agnes a Paris Mon Mar 13th, 2006 at 06:26:06 AM EST

Today, the Financial Times heralds the latest wave of mergers/friendly or unsollicited bids --well call it the way you like-- spreading from one side of the Atlantic to the other.
Takeover talk boosts bourses

Three interesting points to be made :

  1. Despite the bemoaned protectionism of the narrow minded national governments (the subject of an intensive coverage by the very same newspaper), the M&A business has bright days ahead.
  2. This is sure to be a year of skyrocketing profits for investment banks. I happen to work for one of the companies which is currently in the merger scope and no less than three investment banks advise each of the parties.
  3. The hottest topic is the Nasdaq/LSE intercourse.

Interestingly enough, the stock market of the country hosting the FT head offices is a very picky bride. Having turned down Macquarie who proposed to her, she is now blushing in front of the NY stock exchange 64% higher bid, but still not giving herself away.

Protectionism using the financial argument is indeed the most efficient one as it does not suffer any contention.
Measuring the relevancy of a decision by the money it will bring to its instigators is the one best way. What do you think ?

From the diaries ~ whataboutbob

Comments >> (13 comments)

Gone with the windmill-chapter seven UPDATE !

by Agnes a Paris Sun Mar 12th, 2006 at 08:14:08 AM EST

Update [2006-3-12 13:44:40 by AgnesaParis]: A more consistent chunk of marshmallow for tonight. Enjoy a foray into the glamorous yet reckless world where dollars fill pillows and billionaires bathe in champagne. A world where love is the ultimate prize, for no money can buy N.'s feelings.

Read more... (14 comments, 949 words in story)

Growth in China and India : poverty alleviated at last ?

by Agnes a Paris Fri Mar 10th, 2006 at 09:15:33 AM EST

The Asian economies have suddenly emerged onto the world scene. China and India have rapidly become the world's most exciting economies, growing more rapidly than any other major economy over the last decade.
The Chinese growth started earlier, with real GDP rising an average 9.5% over the last 25 years. India is a more recent convert to growth, with the economy growing 6.8% a year for the last 10 years. Having just come back from India and having been in China recently, they are both culture shocks in their own way.

Can these economies continue to grow at this pace? The political and economic obstacles are large, but so--at this point--is the momentum behind growth. Although both economies have significant structural and political problems, my guess is that they can grow at or near these recent rates for a significant period.

Promoted by Colman

Read more... (50 comments, 767 words in story)

Willingness to accept change : a major strength of the US economy ?

by Agnes a Paris Thu Mar 9th, 2006 at 11:14:07 AM EST

Change is not always comfortable, but it is a necessity for progress. The pain inflicted on those who are on the destroyed end of Joseph Schumpeter's "creative destruction" can be great, but without it, the U.S. would not have progressed as quickly as it has, especially in moving away from an industrial economy.

The speed of the destruction process has become all too obvious in recent years, as new technologies have combined with globalization to create a period of near-total dislocation in the world economy.
The decimation of the U.S. industrial sector, as seen most recently in the problems faced by Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp., has dramatically changed patterns of employment and production.

Yet the overall economy has remained extremely resilient. The unemployment rate, on average, has been lower during the last 10 years (5.0%) than during any 10-year period since 1965-1974. Source: BIT(Geneva)
Growth in productivity has been strong as well, keeping real GDP rising strongly in spite of weaker labor-force growth. Average hourly earnings have continued to rise, though the recent Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances shows a slowing of growth and a continued widening of income differentials.

I was wondering whether we Europeans have something to learn from that ability to successfully sustain change, the pain and losses caused by donwsizing, corporations disappearing, new ones growing up and renewed hopes coming along.
Is that the flexibility our governments call for? May be. The thread is yours.

Read more... (46 comments, 759 words in story)

International Women's day : why we Western women are so lucky

by Agnes a Paris Wed Mar 8th, 2006 at 11:16:52 AM EST

International Women's Day (8 March) is an occasion marked by women's groups around the world. This date is also commemorated at the United Nations and is designated in many countries as a national holiday. When women on all continents, often divided by national boundaries and by ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political differences, come together to celebrate their Day, they can look back to a tradition that represents at least nine decades of struggle for equality, justice, peace and development.

International Women's Day is designed to celebrate "the centuries-old struggle of women to participate in society on an equal footing with men" as the UN puts it.

In ancient Greece, Lysistrata initiated a sexual strike against men in order to end war; during the French Revolution, Parisian women calling for "liberty, equality, fraternity" marched on Versailles to demand women's suffrage.

On 8 March 1857, women working in clothing and textile factories (called 'garment workers') in New York City, in the United States, staged a protest. They were fighting against inhumane working conditions and low wages. The police attacked the protestors and dispersed them. Two years later, again in March, these women formed their first labour union to try and protect themselves and gain some basic rights in the workplace.

On 8 March 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter work hours, better pay, voting rights and an end to child labour. They adopted the slogan "Bread and Roses", with bread symbolizing economic security and roses a better quality of life. In May, the Socialist Party of America designated the last Sunday in February for the observance of National Women's Day.

What I would like us to do today is give a thought to how lucky we, women living by Western standards, are compared to the overwhelming majority of the world female population. It is not only about economics and social status, more importantly this is about basic human rights such as the right to self determination in the key choices one has to make in life.

Promoted by Colman

Read more... (50 comments, 720 words in story)
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