Monthly Archives: April 2013

Did the Euro Kill Governance in the Periphery?

Yves here. We’re a little EU-centric tonight as a result of a wealth of particularly good material, which is often a sign that stresses are rising (there was tons of good material in the runup to the crisis as well).

By Jesús Fernández-Villaverde, Professor of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Luis Garicano, Research Fellow with the Productivity and Innovation Programme, Centre for Economic Performance; Professor of Economics and Strategy, Departments of Management and of Economics. Cross posted from VoxEU

By the end of the 1990s, under the incentive of Eurozone entry, most peripheral European countries were busy undertaking structural reforms and putting their fiscal houses in order. This column argues that the arrival of the euro, and the subsequent interest-rate convergence, loosened a tide of cheap money that reversed the incentives for further reforms. As a result, by the end of the euro’s first decade, the institutions and governance in the Eurozone periphery were in worse shape than they were at the start of the decade.

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France Versus Reality

By Delusional Economics, who is determined to cleanse the daily flow of vested interests propaganda to produce a balanced counterpoint. Cross posted from MacroBusiness.

Yesterday I noticed an interesting paragraph over at efxnews about France and its parallels with what many see in the market today:

It’s a big surprise for some that France is high on the crisis susceptibility index…

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New Paper Links Food Price Inflation to the Power of “Agro-Trader Nexus” (ie, Monsantos + Cargills)

Joseph Baines’s new article, “Food Price Inflation as Redistribution: Towards a New Analysis of Corporate Power in the World Food System” is a must read if you care to understand how major corporations exercise hidden influence on our daily lives.

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Lynn Parramore: When Your Boss Steals Your Wages – The Invisible Epidemic That’s Sweeping America

Imagine you’ve just landed a job with a big-time retailer. Your task is to load and unload boxes from trucks and containers. It’s back-breaking work. You toil 12 to 16 hours a day, often without a lunch break. Sweat drenches your clothes in the 90-degree heat, but you keep going: your kids need their dinner. One day, your supervisor tells you that instead of being paid an hourly wage, you will now get paid for the number of containers you load or unload. This will be great for you, your supervisor says: More money!  But you open your next paycheck to find it shrunken to the point that you are no longer even making minimum wage. You complain to your supervisor, who promptly sends you home without pay for the day. If you pipe up again, you’ll be looking for another job.

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Mary Jo White About to Get Off to a Bad Start

Your humble blogger was surprised when Obama nominated Mary Jo White to head the SEC, since her reputation as a tough prosecutor is at odds with Obama’s well established pattern of catering to banks (the fact that he gives them only 97% of what they want is nevertheless offensive enough to their tender sensibilities). I surmised that there had to be an angle here…

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Bundesbank Looks to Undermine Italy

By Delusional Economics, who is determined to cleanse the daily flow of vested interests propaganda to produce a balanced counterpoint. Cross posted from http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2013/02/europe-waits-for-italy/“>MacroBusiness.

Another chapter in the Italy political story comes to a close as a government is formed, for how long who knows, but a familiar figure appears to be playing puppet master…

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OCC Misses Another Conflict of Interest: Foreclosure Review Outreach/Payment Processor Rust Consulting Owned By Residential Real Estate Player Apollo, Being Sold to VC Arm of Citigroup

It appears that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Fed dropped the ball yet again on vetting firms involved in the Orwellianly-named Independent Foreclosure Review (IFR) for conflicts of interest. Michael Olenick’s expose on Allonhill, one of the “independent consultants” hired by Wells Fargo, led to Allonhill’s role being curtailed considerably.

But there’s no way to curtail the role of Rust Consulting, a firm that has been central in the Independent Foreclosure Reviews virtually from their onset. And as we’ll see, Rust has ample conflicts of interest when it was engaged to handle mailings and outreach under the IFR, and is about to become even more conflicted.

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Yanis Varoufakis: Intransigent Bundesbank – Mr. Jens Weidmann’s Surreptitious Campaign to Bring Back the (Greater) Deutsch Mark

By Yanis Varoufakis, Professor of Economics at the University of Athens. Cross posted from his blog

Any fair minded reading of the Bundesbank’s latest Constitutional Court deposition must lead to one of two conclusions: Either the Bundesbank has failed to recognise the existentialist threat to the Eurozone (that was placed in suspended animation during the past eight months or so), or the Bundesbank has intentionally opted for a strategy that will, sooner or later, see the disbanding of the current Eurozone. Loath to assume naiveté on the Bundesbank’s part, I opt for the latter. Here is why:

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Reply to Reinhart and Rogoff’s NYT Response to Critics

One of the striking aspects of the furor over Thomas Herndon, Robert Pollin and Michael Ash’s dissection of the considerable flaws in the Carmen Reinhardt and Kenneth Rogoff austerity-justifying paper are the “the earth is still flat” efforts to salvage the theory.

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Rajiv Sethi: Macon Money, the Anti-Bitcoin

By Rajiv Sethi, Professor of Economics, Barnard College, Columbia University. Cross posted from his blog

One of Kati London’sprojects is Macon Money. This simple experiment, amazingly enough, sheds light on some fundamental questions in monetary economics, helps explain why conventional monetary policy via asset purchases has recently been so ineffective in stimulating the economy, suggests alternative approaches that might be substantially more effective, and speaks to the feasibility of the Chicago Plan (originally advanced by Henry Simons and Irving Fisher, and recently endorsed by a couple of IMF economists) to abolish privately issued money.

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