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What We Read Today 04 March 2014

Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.

  • Russian troops to go home after war games: reports (Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch, The Wall Street Journal) The Defense Ministry declared military exercises of the past six days across Russia to have been a success and President Putin ordered troops back to their bases Tuesday morning (04 March). Presumably this does not apply to troops that are in Crimea.

Read Global Economic Intersection articles about Ukraine by GEI News (by Niall McCarthy) comparing military strength of Russia and Ukraine, Elliott Morss (economic perspectives) and Frank Li (political opinion).

There are 13 more articles discussed 'behind the wall', including 8 additional articles about Ukraine.

  • Crimea (Wikipedia) Crimea is officially the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, a parliamentary republic within Ukraine. Russia maintains a large military (naval) installation in Crimea under a long-term treaty agreement with Ukraine. The population is approximately 2 million (slowly declining) which is about 50% ethnic Russian, 20% Crimean Tatars (Muslims), 15% Ukrainian and 15% in several additional minority groups. The Crimea peninsula is located on the Black Sea, approximately 400 km (230 miles) northwest of Sochi, the site of the recently concluded Winter Olympic games.

Information added to map by Econintersect.

  • Ukraine Crisis: Crimea in the Crosshairs (Alessandro Bruno, Geopolitical Monitor) Projections on what will happen in the coming weeks leading up to a vote on Crimean independence, scheduled for 30 March, which will be held under Russian "protection".
  • Russian forces expand control of Crimea (William Booth and Will Englund, The Washington Post) Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday night (03 March) that Russian military presence was necessary to protect Russians living in Crimea. The Obama administration has stated that about 6,000 Russian troops are now in Crimea, locations shown on map below.


  • Can Ukraine avoid partition? (Daniel Hannan, The Telegraph) If the northern Ukrainian speaking part of the country were to become a new Western Ukraine, associated with the EU countries, and the remainder became Eastern Ukraine, associated with Russia, a new land-locked country would be formed, but one which presumably would have access to the Black Sea via the navigable Dnieper River. A geographic division using the Dneiper to define the east-west border makes geographic sense, but would it fly ethnically? Such a division would also create two countries with different economies: an industrialized east and an agricultural west.


  • What’s gone wrong with democracy (The Economist) The great winner in government philosophy of the 20th century has problems in the 2100s. The involvement in the democratic process is mostly on the decline.


  • Is the Stock Market Cheap? (Doug Short, Advisor Perspectives) It is certainly not cheap based of the trailing ten-year average P/E.


  • The Great Divide over Market Efficiency (Clifford Asness and John Liew, Institutional Investor) A long but very readable article about the divide between the risk view of markets (Eugene Fama) and the behavior side (Robert Shiller).
  • Why Housing Markets Are Heading South ... Again (Keith Jurow, Advisor Perspectives Keith Jurow contributes to Global Economic Intersection. One important piece of new data (of several in this article): 2/3 of all home owners planning to buy a home do not plan to sell their current residence before buying. That may be the result of high confidence that the market is going up. Or it may reflect that people who are underwater can't sell and can't move to a new home so they are forced to rent.


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