LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - When western Europeans ask Americans about the difficulties of their lives, healthcare almost always comes up. Almost everyone, whether healthy or unwell, can go on for what feels like hours about bills, premiums, forms, plans and the latest complex negotiation with this insurer or that hospital.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - China’s newest virus demonstrates the ambiguities of globalisation and economic development. It is too early to know exactly how contagious, deadly and economically damaging the coronavirus or any of its mutant strains will prove to be. However, the outbreak that had claimed 427 lives as of Tuesday can already teach three basic lessons.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - “A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you're talking real money.” Everett Dirksen, the American politician credited with that saying, was thinking in terms of a large nation. For an individual, say Isabel dos Santos, being a millionaire a thousand times over means possessing real money – and Forbes magazine estimates her worth at $2.1 billion.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - The core of Davos-economics is pretty simple. Most of the powerful people hanging around at the World Economic Forum’s Swiss confab this week would agree that some mix of feisty private sectors, competent but limited governments and ample international trade are crucial ingredients for durable and increasing prosperity. The politics these days are challenging that simple consensus. Consider three important global puzzles – China, the United Kingdom and Ethiopia.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - “No man can lay down his right to save himself from death, wounds, and imprisonment”. It is highly doubtful that Carlos Ghosn was thinking about the words of Thomas Hobbes when he fled Japanese justice hidden in an audio equipment case. However, if the 17th century British philosopher was right, Ghosn could easily escape his non-prisoner’s dilemma.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - For aficionados of financial-political-economic crises, Greece’s near-exit from the euro zone in 2015 was a classic. Two journalists have told the story as a bureaucratic page-turner.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Not that long ago, most economists condemned anything more than modest government borrowing in normal times. They mostly did not trust governments, and they had theories to show that official debts would squeeze out private investment, spur inflation and depress economic sentiment. Now, deficits are A-OK – and that's mostly good.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Last week’s obituaries for Paul Volcker were effusive, lavishly praising the former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve for breaking inflation in the early 1980s and for criticising the behaviour of banks after the 2009 recession. The enthusiasm may be excessive.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Do you believe in magic? That might be the right first question for whoever succeeds Mark Carney as governor of the Bank of England. The newly mandated government of Boris Johnson is expected to name a successor to the Canadian in the next few days. The list of possible candidates is extensive enough, but with no obvious frontrunner.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - “When those who depend on a company have a say in running it, that company generally does better and lasts longer.” With that explanation, the British Labour party’s election manifesto promised to reserve one-third of board seats for elected worker-directors. It’s one of the reasons that capitalists fret about Jeremy Corbyn’s party winning Thursday’s general election. If a new study of German companies is any guide, though, those fears are misplaced.