Weber & Nader

An unusual combination, but a persuasive argument. Over at Daily Kos.

Given that I was asked about Nader on German radio yesterday, it’s worth a look at this left-of-the-aisle site to see why he won’t have an impact on this year’s presidential election in the US. If Europe has to put up with a second Bush term, it won’t be Nader’s doing.

Macedonian Crash

Throughout the recent Balkan wars, Macedonia was the shoe that stubbornly refused to fall. Wars in Bosnia, in Kosovo did not spread to Macedonia. The blockade imposed by Greece in the early years of independence did not rise to open conflict. Latent Bulgarian claims were amicable resolved. Chaos in Albania did not become contagion. Many reasons account for Macedonia’s relative good fortune, and capable leadership is certainly one of them. Now the country’s president has crashed into a hillside in Bosnia.

At present, Macedonia is doing something that no state in Western Europe has managed: running a state while accommodating a minority population that is (estimates vary) between one quarter and one third of the total. Good luck to them, and I hope that Trajkovski’s successor can stay the course.

Interestingly, the fallen president was a convert to Methodism and a former theology student. It’s an interesting twist on questions of church, state and laicism.

Italy’s No-Growth Update

OK I’m on a roll, so I’m going to stick my neck out. This slide in the Italian confidence index apparently surprised the ‘experts’. Well it shouldn’t have surprised Fistful readers who have been following what I have been saying. Clearly these confidence indexes are not the last word in sliced bread. But they do mean something, and Germany’s Ifo index just turned in another bad reading too.

Ever since Parmalat, I have been asking one simple question: will Italy ever grow again? Of course, the simple answer is possibly it will: never say never. But will it ever get back to vigorous growth: this I doubt. I am even half asking myself if we will see positive numbers in more than say 50% of the forthcoming quaters. Remember, if my demographic thesis has any predictive power it should be precisely here in Italy that the Titanic starts to take in water. Parmalat was simply the iceberg. Of course my thesis could always be wrong. Any takers?
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