NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - If history is any guide to the future, Citigroup will be in the middle of whatever financial crisis Wall Street manages to cook up next. Or so say James Freeman and Vern McKinley in “Borrowed Time: Two Centuries of Booms, Busts, and Bailouts at Citi,” a new book examining the $180 billion bank’s troubled past. The institution bailed out in 2008 has suffered repeated failures of over-aggression and lack of foresight, while Uncle Sam’s open wallet has blocked meaningful reform.
Rapid African growth is likely to continue. But too much spending and borrowing has led many countries into trade deficits. As lenders become more discriminating, the state of the balance of payments, along with freedom from Ebola, will become keys to continued growth.
The 1815 Congress of Vienna ended the Napoleonic Wars, and its participants worked together over the next decade to prevent destabilizing regime change. This principle could have reversed many bad intervention decisions over the last 40 years. Its lessons are worth studying.
For four years, the region has mostly lagged world economic growth. The IMF predicts another year of the same. While Pacific-oriented countries will shine, Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela will suffer. With a couple of exceptions, misguided policies are coming home to roost.
The leading crypto-currency’s economies of scale in mining and its transaction system’s vulnerability to subversion by a dominant miner make it unsound. As seignorage declines it will become cost-uncompetitive for transactions. Flaws may cause its price to lose further altitude.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Bitcoin's defects will
hasten its demise in 2015. The leading crypto-currency's
economies of scale in mining and its transaction system's
vulnerability to subversion by a dominant miner make it unsound.
As seignorage declines it will become cost-uncompetitive for
transactions. These flaws will cause its price to lose further
Henry Kissinger’s “World Order” bemoans the lack of one, as the West’s prevailing approach of nation states with limited conflict isn’t reflected in non-Western traditions. However the Vienna Congress innovation allowing intervention only to protect stability might work better.
Growth may yet survive the deadly epidemic. The last four years’ 28 pct pace isn’t realistic, but controlling the outbreak soon should at least preserve investment. That won’t be easy, given the virus has now spread to the U.S. In saving lives and the economy, every day counts.
Marina Silva, set to be the opposition presidential candidate after Eduardo Campos’ plane-crash death, is a fresh threat to Dilma Rousseff. Silva has long fought special interests. If she wins October’s election, a plausible outcome, Brazil could gain from less state meddling.
A price-to-earnings ratio under 20 is only moderately above average, but U.S. earnings are at a peak relative to GDP. Adjust them to the long-term norm and the U.S. benchmark would be a third lower. Cheap money is still buoying stocks, but such new paradigms usually don’t last.