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Japan's Economy - Emerging From the Doldrums?

by TGeraghty Thu Dec 15th, 2005 at 05:17:17 PM EST

There was a flurry of good news about the Japanese economy earlier this week. It seems Japan's economy may finally be coming out of its decade-long hibernation:

New Optimism About the Japanese Economy After a Bleak Decade

College graduates face the best job market in a decade, and wages are rising again. The lead stock market index has doubled in value in two years. Corporate profits are the highest in recent memory. And for the first time since 1990, land prices in Tokyo are up.

Could it be that Japan, long the sick man among major global economies, has finally recovered?

Read more... (17 comments, 3092 words in story)

European Unemployment

by TGeraghty Fri Nov 25th, 2005 at 06:01:47 PM EST

A fine article from the front page ~ whataboutbob

There is an informative new paper on the unemployment problem in Europe by MIT economist Olivier Blanchard:

European Unemployment: The Evolution of Facts and Ideas

In summary, the author concludes that the European unemployment problem is far more complex than typical media and political discourse admit, and that there are still many things that we do not know.

Read more... (36 comments, 3202 words in story)

The Austrian Economic Model

by TGeraghty Thu Oct 20th, 2005 at 12:29:45 AM EST

From the front page ~ whataboutbob

Fran posted an interesting article in yesterday's European Sunday Brunch:

Germany should look to Austrian economic model

"What Germany needs is greater flexibility in its labour market, corporate tax reform, modernisation of its education system and a thorough reduction in bureaucracy." . . .

Measures favoured include lower corporate taxes to encourage inward investment, legal changes to weaken unions, elimination of red tape that hampers business start-ups and reform of pension and sickness insurance contributions that discourage expansion of the labour force.

Is that what German business leaders think the "Austrian economic model" is? Funny, because when I think of it, I think of something rather different.

I'll explain below the fold.

Read more... (41 comments, 969 words in story)

Economic "Reform" in the United States

by TGeraghty Mon Oct 17th, 2005 at 01:01:09 PM EST

Topic du jour: "Reform" - back from the frontpage ~ whataboutbob

With a little update at the bottom - TG

There is a very important diary on the recommended list over at Daily Kos that will be of interest to many people over here:

The goal IS to reduce the standard of living by Pellice.

The Washington Post ran a very revealing online chat yesterday with one of their business columnists, Steven Pearlstein. He was quite open that what the "economy" [business leaders, I guess] needed now is a working class with a reduced standard of living that will compete with third world labor.

He was using the Delphi, and the automotive industries' debacles, as his example.  The answer to all the problems is to knock back the workers' wages below "middle class" standards, and reduce their benefits, particularly health care.

To all comers who brought up the facts that Delphi managers had deliberately underfunded pensions, had stolen funds from the company, had managed it poorly, and, finally, had awarded themselves bonuses even as they demanded that workers take wage cuts, Pearlstein responded:  But that doesn't matter.  The basic truth is that the workers, all workers, must work for less pay so that their companies will still be competitive with overseas labor.

Sound familiar?

Read more... (52 comments, 1411 words in story)

Scandinavia among Most Competitive Economies

by TGeraghty Thu Sep 29th, 2005 at 03:28:37 AM EST

From the diaries ~ whataboutbob

GENEVA (AP) -- Northern Europe and key east Asian countries are the most competitive economies in the world, retaining their positions in the top 10 of a survey released Wednesday by the World Economic Forum.

For the third straight year, Finland has the most competitive economy, followed by the United States, according to a survey of almost 11,000 business leaders in the "Global Competitiveness Report." The poll was conducted for a 26th consecutive year.

Rounding out the top 10 in the survey -- expanded this year to include 117 countries -- were Sweden, Denmark, Taiwan, Singapore, Iceland, Switzerland, Norway and Australia.

Read more... (6 comments, 1926 words in story)

Germany's Surprising Economy Redux

by TGeraghty Sun Sep 11th, 2005 at 07:33:45 AM EST

Good in-depth discussion of issues, from the diaries ~ whataboutbob

The BBC is running a series of articles on Germany in anticipation of the upcoming election.

Whataboutbob diaried about the German reunification process yesterday.

There are also a couple of good articles on the German economy that reinforce some of the points made in the Economist's Germany's Surprising Economy cover story last month:

Read more... (6 comments, 1526 words in story)

A Turning Point in Japanese Politics?

by TGeraghty Tue Aug 30th, 2005 at 03:30:24 PM EST

Promoted from the diaries ~ whataboutbob

Germany is not the only big country having elections this fall. Exactly one week before the Germans go to the polls on September 18, Japanese voters will be electing a new 480-seat lower house.

There is talk that this election represents a "turning point" in modern Japanese political history:

The wavy-haired prime minister shocked the nation when he dissolved the lower house of parliament and called for new elections on Sept. 11. . . . [a] decision which the Japanese newspaper Gendai called nothing short of a "suicide bombing"

. . .

By holding new elections, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi hopes to get rid of opponents to reform within his party and, in doing so, finally lead the world's second-largest industrialized nation out of its economic malaise. The coup could signal the end of a political era.

The outcome ought to be of interest not only to the Japanese, but to the whole world:

Read more... (5 comments, 1156 words in story)

Sweden: In Defense of the Welfare State

by TGeraghty Fri Aug 26th, 2005 at 02:19:43 AM EST

Promoted from the diaries, with a few edits ~ whataboutbob

Good economic news from Sweden:

The statistics had arrived on the Swedish prime minister's desk that morning . . . It was good news. . . . the growth rate for this year will be near 3 percent and next year more than 3 percent . . . with low inflation, low interest rates, and with the economy finally moving from the export-dominated growth of previous years to domestic-driven growth, which promises rapid job creation.

. . . [good] enough . . . to maintain Sweden's trajectory of the last decade, which was "above the average for the European Union" and, in particular, "as good as the Anglo-Saxons, Britain and the U.S."

And this in a country with the highest taxes and most generous welfare state in the world. A country which a decade ago was said to be in a state of terminal crisis.

"Europe has a lack of confidence vis-- vis the U.S.," [Sweden's PM Goran Persson] said. "The U.S. is competitive, but not as competitive as we think. We are too self-critical in Europe, even though we have a much better social system and in Sweden are just as productive. On unemployment, it is overlooked that the U.S. has approaching two million people in jail and out of the labor market."

Read more... (14 comments, 604 words in story)

Germany's Surprising Economy

by TGeraghty Sat Aug 20th, 2005 at 02:36:56 AM EST

Excellent piece from this morning's diaries ~ whataboutbob

Well, look who's bullish (sub req'd) on the German economy!

(via Der Spiegel):

Maybe they've been reading the European Tribune?

Read more... (36 comments, 1105 words in story)

The European Economy: In Finland's Footsteps?

by TGeraghty Mon Aug 8th, 2005 at 05:06:10 AM EST

Promoted by Colman

It looks like the newest economic and social model for Europe has been discovered. . . it's Finland!  Apparently it's not just a country of beautiful landscapes.

Washington Post associate editor Robert J. Kaiser just completed a three-week trip to Finland. Among his findings:

Finland just might be the world's most interesting country that Americans know least about. It has the best school system in the world, some of the most liberated women (the president is female), more cell phones per capita than anyone else, one of the world's best high-tech companies (Nokia), remarkable information technology of many kinds, great music from rock and jazz to classical. The Finns are proud of their generous welfare state, which provides, among much else, free health care and free education at every level.

Read more... (8 comments, 518 words in story)

Krugman on: French Family (Friendly) Values

by TGeraghty Fri Jul 29th, 2005 at 09:32:03 AM EST

ED: From the diaries, with only a minor edit - the site gnomes

There is a must-read column by Paul Krugman in today's New York Times:

[A]re European economies really doing that badly?

The answer is no. . . . . a head-to-head comparison between the economies of the United States and Europe - France, in particular - shows that the big difference is in priorities, not performance. We're talking about two highly productive societies that have made a different tradeoff between work and family time. And there's a lot to be said for the French choice.

Krugman points out the many ways in which the French economy is more family-friendly than the US economy:

Read more... (21 comments, 498 words in story)

60 Years Ago - The British Turned Left

by TGeraghty Wed Jul 27th, 2005 at 11:06:58 AM EST

promoted from the diaries by the site gnomes (with one little edit)

60 years ago yesterday, 26 July 1945, the results of the first British general election in a decade were shocking -- the heroic wartime leader Winston Churchill was turned out of office as the socialist Labour Party, led by Clement Attlee, won a historic landslide victory. It was the first time in British history that a Labour government was swept into power with an absolute majority.

Clement Attlee, Prime Minister of Britain

Read more... (14 comments, 2194 words in story)

Germany's Industrial Relations System at Risk, Part II: The Coming Employer Offensive

by TGeraghty Tue Jul 19th, 2005 at 03:52:46 AM EST

Promoted by Colman

In part I of our ongoing saga, we learned that despite the long-term success of the German "codetermination" system of industrial relations, German business interests are using the combination of high unemployment, the current scandal at VW, and the upcoming German elections in an attempt to undermine the political foundations of social partnership.

Here in part II we will consider why German business wants to do this, and what effects this "employer offensive" is likely to have on the German economy if successful.

Read more... (3 comments, 1778 words in story)

Germany's Industrial Relations System at Risk?

by TGeraghty Mon Jul 18th, 2005 at 10:19:51 PM EST

Whataboutbob, in the Is the Euro Area Really Worse On Jobs Than the US? thread, has a key insight into the future political debate about the European economy:

We are seeing the beginning of the American neoconservative ideology being pushed on Europe...and I don't know if Europe is ready for it...

The next stage of this debate is currently being played out in Germany, where business interests are using the combination of high unemployment, the current scandal at VW, and the upcoming German elections in an attempt to undermine the political foundations of German social partnership.

Before discussing the current crisis in German industrial relations, however, let's consider the current system and how well it has worked.

Read more... (11 comments, 1023 words in story)

What's Really at the End of the Rainbow

by TGeraghty Tue Jul 5th, 2005 at 06:01:49 AM EST

Promoted from the diaries and horribly butchered by Colman.

As Colman's "Way of the Leprechaun" demonstrates, Tom Friedman's analysis ("The End of the Rainbow, "and "Follow the Leapin' Leprechaun") of Irish economic success is extremely misleading about both the nature of that success and the implications of that success story for countries like France and Germany.

There are good discussions of the factors behind the Irish economic miracle here and here (the comment, not necessarily the post to which it was attached). To summarize the main points:

  • Increased labor supply
  • Foreign Investment and EU Single Market
  • Deregulation and Competition Policy
  • Budget Policy
  • The Social Partnership
  • Education investments
  • EU Structural and Cohesion Funds

Read more... (18 comments, 1105 words in story)
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