Gordon Brown makes one of his rare post-prime ministerial appearances, arguing for globally coordinated economic policy, and especially, more stimulus. Here’s something I hadn’t heard of:
Prior to the G20 in the autumn of 2010, the Korean government, to its great credit, floated a compromise way forward. They proposed that each major economy set limits for its current account surpluses or deficits (China and, for example, Germany a surplus of no more than 4 percent; America a deficit of no more than 4 percent). Privately, China indicated its willingness to engage. U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner signaled public support for the plan. But after an unfortunate series of misunderstandings the Korean plan was stillborn…
German conservatives may have been thinking they’d passed the worst. After a long, long string of lost elections at the provincial level, they finished the year looking strong in the polls. And then they lost Niedersachsen to an SPD-Green coalition. Although the FDP falls out of government with them, it also got an unexpectedly good result.
Italian economist Luigi Zingales says Italy’s biggest problem is its ruling class. I’ve said as much – southern Europeans don’t actually work fewer hours than Germans, so surely management needs to bear some responsibility for dreadful productivity? I don’t speak Italian but I suspect I may not agree with his solutions.
Housing is the business cycle.
A prominent critic of austerity turns out to be pretending to be an economist. You can tell the real ones because their policy advice just sounds like they’re faking it.
Greece will not be asked for any more cuts for six months.