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 (and sometimes longer ones) 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.
The overall Eurozone has not grown at all since the austerity zealots went to work in early 2011 and in overall size of the economy it is back to around 2006 levels.
It stretches belief that the policy mix is correct. The Germans and their mouthpieces in Brussels keep harping on about structural reform being the cue for growth. But one can hardly say there was massive structural change around 2008 which precipitated the collapse and subsequent stagnation.
What happened was obvious - a major macroeconomic collapse in spending occurred and spread across the Eurozone nations in accordance with their exposure to private debt and the housing market. A generalised malaise then set in once any notion of fiscal stimulus was ruled out by the Groupthink. There is nothing structural about it.
Prof. Admati, Your Plan Wonít Work (Tom Brown, Bankstocks.com) Hat tip to Robert Millman. Over a week ago we had a link to an article by Prof. Anat Admati of Stanford University in which she called for much higher capital requirements for banks. Brown thinks this is a terrible idea and would make banks much less profitable. Perhaps that is as it should be for enterprises backed by a government guarantee. If the banks don't want to restrict profit to what can be obtained with lower risk then they should forgo Uncle Sugar's backing. FDIC insured deposits should only be for banks that are not gambling but only lending against valid security. The comment stream for this article tends toward being critical of Brown's position and the government guarantee issue was brought up more than once.
GDP Per Head, 2011 (Cohesion Policy Data, European Commission) Note that after 25 years the shadow of the Iron Curtain persists across Europe.
Garlic (The Produce News) If your store is out of garlic this may be the reason.
Solar Boom Driving First Global Panel Shortage Since 2006 (Ehren Goossens, Bloomberg) Not only are garlic cloves in short supply but solar panels have become too popular for producers to be able to keep up. This follows a two-year slump for the solar panel industry triggered by a global glut. Solar installations are up 7-fold in the past five years.
Vietnam's Ticking Debt Bomb (Elisabeth Rosen, The Diplomat) Even relatively new developing economies are bogged down with bad debt. Accounting control fraud is part of the problem, Econintersect is told by "boots on the ground" sources who prefer to remain nameless. Official numbers have 4.84% non-performing loans at the end of June. Other sources say it is much higher. For example says it is at least in the 10% to 15% range.
Blame Employers, Not Workers, for Any Skills Gap, Economist Says (Josh Zumbrun, The Wall Street Journal) A study by Peter Cappelli, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, comes to the conclusion that employers are choosing not to undertake training programs as they have been in the past. Cappelli thinks this reflects a lack of initiative by employers to fill skilled positions. He cites as evidence of the loss of interest in training the sharp decline in apprentice positions between 2002 (following the 2001 recession) and 2012. Cappelli suggests the employer agenda is to lower labor costs and drive down the amount of money spent to build employee skills.
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