In Germany the debate continues. What ever happened to the ‘reform agenda’ I wonder?

German chancellor Gerhard Schröder will next month call for a European initiative to promote public spending on research, set minimum social standards in companies and tighten controls on international financial flows, senior members of his Social Democratic party said on Tuesday.

The plan, discussed at a meeting with leftwing SPD members of parliament at the chancellery last Thursday, is the clearest indication yet that Mr Schr?der is reaching out to critics of capitalism within his party.

Meantime Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Josef Ackermann told a shareholders meeting today that the bank will press ahead with acquisitions and job cuts as it seeks to strengthen its global competitiveness,

With protesters picketing the meeting, Ackermann said the bank was going to stick with plans to cut around 5 percent of its work force ? roughly 1,920 jobs in Germany and 3,280 abroad. Deutsche Bank said in April its net profit rose by 17 percent in the first quarter to 1.1 billion euros ($1.42 billion).

In a clear reference to criticism from SPD chairman Franz M?ntefering, he said: “Niemand – zumindest niemand, den ich kenne – will einen “Kapitalismus pur? und schon gar keinen “Raubtier-Kapitalismus?” – No-one – at least no-one I know wants a ‘pure’ capitalism, and certainly no “robbery-animal capitalism”. Well there you have it, we’re all good men and true. Round II to follow.

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About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".