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Friday, February 22

22nd Feb - Weekender: Best of the Week

Picks from my posts since the previous 'Best of'.

Previously on MoreLiver’s:

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The Eurozone needs a grand political bargainre-define
All in all, if you look at the combination of the political, financial, economic and social factors, the Eurozone remains in deep trouble. The optimism in the markets is just not justified on the basis of these developments on the ground and in the real economy so cannot continue without further political action, more measures by the ECB and a long-overdue change in strategy.

The Saver’s DilemmaProject Syndicate
Michael Pettis: For nearly a decade prior to the eurozone crisis, capital from high-savings countries like Germany flowed to low-savings countries like Spain. If the rebalancing that is now necessary occurs only in Spain and other low-savings countries, the result, as John Maynard Keynes warned 80 years ago, must be much higher unemployment.

The Collateral Damage of Europe’s RescueProject Syndicate
Hans-Werner Sinn: Europe’s rescue policy has stabilized government finances and delivered lower interest rates for the over-indebted economies. But it has also led to currency appreciation, and thus to lower competitiveness for all eurozone countries, which may yet turn into a debacle for the southern eurozone and France – and for the euro itself.

The technical competence of economic
The appointments of Papademos in Greece and Monti in Italy in 2011 are examples of leadership changes meant to bring more competent people into government. This column aims at understanding why governments sometimes appoint economic policymakers with economics training but often do not. It suggests that levels of economics education among finance ministers are substantially higher in new democracies than in old ones and that the appointment of an economics PhD as a central bank president is 22% more likely during a banking crisis.

Why aren't more countries run by economists?Wonkblog / WP

Whatever It TakesJohn Mauldin / The Big Picture
Who’s Got the Map? * Monetization – A Rose by Any Other Name * Super Mario: Whatever It Takes * The New Policy Implications of the Irish Deal * Currency Skirmishes * Toxic Debt Scare

Bulgaria succumbs to euro deflation curseThe Telegraph
Bulgarian prime minister Boiko Borisov resigned this morning after days of mass protests against austerity across the country. “I will not participate in a government under which police are beating people. Every drop of blood is a shame for us,” he said. “Our power was handed to us by the people, today we are handing it back to them.”

No debate please, we're EuropeansNot The Treasury View
But of course the really surprising thing is that Mr Rehn should be writing to Finance Ministers, and the IMF Managing Director, complaining that an academic paper on a very policy-relevant, but highly technical issue of empirical macroeconomics, represented "debate which has not been helpful".

Panic-driven austerity in the Eurozone and its
Eurozone policy seems driven by market sentiment. This column argues that fear and panic led to excessive, and possibly self-defeating, austerity in the south while failing to induce offsetting stimulus in the north. The resulting deflation bias produced the double-dip recession and perhaps more dire consequences. As it becomes obvious that austerity produces unnecessary suffering, millions may seek liberation from ‘euro shackles’.

The EU's self-defeating approach must end now re-define
What we need at this point is a grand political bargain, and that is one that only Mrs Merkel can offer. We will require a period of five to ten years of adjustment in the European economies which needs to happen both in deficit countries as well as surplus ones not suffering from the immediate crisis. During the course of this adjustment, financial support needs to be made available at reasonable cost to the economies to provide political and economic space for structural reforms and medium-term fiscal adjustment.

Europe’s internal adjustmentThe Current Moment
Some countries within the Eurozone are achieving what many thought they could not: an internal devaluation via wages and other production costs.

Deficits: good marketing in a time of austerity?alphaville / FT
Let's take a moment for a high level overview of public debt-to-GDP ratios in the eurozone. If that's not your idea of fun, well, you probably wouldn't be reading FT Alphaville. Courtesy of a note by Lasse Holboell W. Nielsen of the Economics Research team at Goldman Sachs

Draghi dismisses talk of currency war, but watching euroReuters
Draghi sought to take the heat out of a debate about currency wars on Monday but said the ECB would still have to assess the economic impact of the euro's strength.

Of fish, flowers, AKs, offshore banking, and now horsemeatFistful of Euros
Big depositors, you say? And who might they be? I think it is fair to say that nobody is particularly keen to bail out Viktor Bout or Horsemeat Guy. As a result, it’s politically very possible that the whole idea of a bail-in might get tested. And whether it does, and the exact terms, are increasingly linked to things like “how far into the maze the journalists get” and “whether Richard Chichakli starts singing in jail”.

Cyprus: new face, much the same problemalphaville / FT
As JP Morgan’s Alex White argues, Cyprus’ real problems lie in Berlin (and elsewhere in the European north). While a change of Government in Nicosia removes a near-term excuse for German inaction, it is unlikely to trigger an immediate resolution of the problem.

Has Spain’s Economic Contraction Now Become Self Perpetuating?Fistful of Euros
Italian elections could bring uncertainty back to the eurozoneOpen Europe

A eurozone safe against, or is it safe for, sovereign holdouts? Part onealphaville / FT
A eurozone safe against, or is it safe for, sovereign holdouts? Part twoalphaville / FT

Ifo Business Climate Index Rises SharplyCESifo

Winter forecast 2013European Commission
The EU economy: gradually overcoming headwinds

Markit PMIs: Recession in Europe continuesTradingFloor
Juhani Huopainen: The February Purchasing Manager Indices for Europe confirm that the recession is not over. EURUSD news flow is now as bad as it can get, so time to go against the tide?

Three Ways Out of the SequesterCFR

FOMC Minutes: Fear of quantitative easingTradingFloor
The minutes from the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee’s January meeting suggest that the it is preparing itself and the markets for decreasing asset purchases.

Lots of talk on bond-buying, no firm conclusions on what's nextWonkblog / WP

Message muddied alphaville / FT

Monthly Macro Update: Eurozone still a global headacheNordea (pdf)
China: Overheating concerns resurfacing. Eurozone: No room for ECB rate hikes before 2016-17. US: Fed to hike in mid-2014, not in mid-2015 as it states. Sweden: Rebound expected after marked drop in Q4 GDP

The Chicago Plan - are you ready for the real helicopter money?TradingFloor
Steen Jakobsen: Here's what you need to know about The Chicago Plan - which is likely to be the next monetary experiment once QE to infinity fails to do the trick and in the absence of structural reform.

Blogs review: Asset prices and monetary policy reduxbruegel
Federal Reserve Governor Jeremy Stein gave serious consideration to the idea that monetary policy has a role to play in managing financial stability (read asset prices) in a speech titled “Overheating in Credit Markets: Origins, Measurement, and Policy Responses” given last week at a conference hosted by the St. Louis Fed. Governor Stein provided evidence that risk was building in certain segments of financial markets and discussed policy tools that go beyond countercyclical macroprudential regulation or the simple use of the Federal Funds rate to address these risks.

A monetary policy target can only be defeated by a better monetary policy targetWorthwhile
A monetary policy is not just the central bank doing something right now. A monetary policy is some sort of rule that tells the central bank the different things it should be doing under all sorts of different circumstances in the past, present, and future.

Monetary Policy: From There to Here to Where?The Big Picture
Drawing from his long experience participating in the policymaking process at the Federal Reserve, chief policy officer Mark Sniderman shares his views on how the Federal Reserve’s framework for conducting monetary policy has evolved over the past decade. He explains how changes in economic theory have helped shaped this new framework and how lessons learned from the Great Depression and Japan’s recent struggle with deflation have contributed.

G20 Communiqué TranslatedMacro Man

Food and FinanceMagic, Maths and Money
In the past, investors did the equivalent of buying tomatoes, onions, meat and pasta.  Today financial engineers sell investors ready made lasagne.  Risk managers make sure it is correctly labelled (the traffic lights/no horsemeat instead of beef) while financial mathematicians put a price on the lasagne. This got me thinking about the failures of food regulation and financial regulation.

Thorp and Buffett on beating the market, from Quantitative ValueAbnormal Returns
Q&A with Wesley Gray, co-author of Quantitative ValueAbnormal Returns

Happy Birthday, Galileobrain pickings
In 1615, as the Roman Inquisition was beginning to investigate his heretical heliocentric model of the universe, Galileo — who knew how to flatter his way to support — wrote to Christina of Lorraine, the Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany.

Is This Where The Secret JP Morgan London Gold Vault Is Located?ZH

In the Picture: comets, craters and crash landingsThe World / FT

The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden... Is ScrewedEsquire
For the first time, the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden tells his story — speaking not just about the raid and the three shots that changed history, but about the personal aftermath for himself and his family. And the startling failure of the United States government to help its most experienced and skilled warriors carry on with their lives.

Our Man in Iranreason
How the CIA and MI6 installed the Shah.

Cinema Tarantino: The making of Pulp FictionVanity Fair

Näin EU höynäyttää hyväuskoisia hölmöläisiäJan Hurri / TalSa
Suomen EU-maksut kasvavat, vaikka koko EU:n menot hieman supistuvat. Tämä on kuitenkin pieni tappio sen rinnalla, että koko EU-budjetti perustuu suurelta osin tilastovääristelyyn ja hyväuskoisten höynäytykseen. Suomi kuuluu EU:n hyväuskoisiin – ja maksaa roppakaupalla muiden viuluja.

Minne Suomea viedään?Kalle Isokallio / IL

Sisäpiiriläinen kertoo: Miljoonien rahavirrat puolueilleIL
Vaalirahoituksen salat tulivat tutuiksi Jorma Heikkiselle jo 1970-luvulla.

Säästöt uhkaavat kilpailukykyäRisto Pennanen / TalSa
Vyön kiristäminen syö kilpailukyvyn, jos uuden kehittäminen pysähtyy.

Urpilainen ja Euroopan sosiaalinen kriisi Hannu Visti
Pampaksen nero Jutta Urpilainen on kiinnittänyt huomiota siihen, että Euroopassa saattaa “syntyä” sosiaalinen kriisi kun velkakriisi ei helpota. Ei se tietenkään helpota, koska mitään oleellista ei ole tehty, ainoastaan vääriä asioita.

Paul Krugman lyttää tylysti Olli RehninJuha Lehtinen / US Puheenvuoro

Komissaari Rehnin erehdys?Akateeminen talousblogi

Lukekaa se Rehnin paperi ennen kuin väitätte siitä kummallisuuksiaMikko Nummelin / US Puheenvuoro

Tätä Olli Rehn pelkääJuha Lehtinen / US Puheenvuoro