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Friday, March 15

15th Mar - Weekender: Best of the Week

Best picks from my posts, since the previous Best of.

Previously on MoreLiver’s:

Hans-Werner Sinn, Akos Valentinyi: Periphery countries should devalue in order to regain competitiveness and reduce imbalances. As to whether they should pursue internal or external devaluation, the answer remains unclear. Overall, given that policymakers have excluded the option of exit, economic policymaking must focus on the possibilities for internal devaluations, despite some of the difficulties it may bring.

Book Review: A Europe Made of Money: The Emergence of the European Monetary Systemeuropp / LSE

Is the Netherlands heading for a referendum on Europe?Open Europe
A Dutch citizens' campaign to make it mandatory to hold a referendum on any new transfer of powers to the EU - reminiscent of the UK's referendum lock - has mustered 40,000 signatures, the threshold needed to force Dutch MP's to debate the issue and decide whether they agree with the proposal or not.

A “Politically Explosive” Secret: Italians Are Over Twice As Wealthy As GermansTestosterone Pit

Rise of the Eurosceptics in Germany; One in Four Would Vote for Anti-Euro PartyReuters
One in four Germans would be ready to vote in September's federal election for a party that wants to quit the euro, according to an opinion poll published on Monday that highlights German unease over the costs of the euro zone crisis.

Europe’s Accounting Rules Are Destroying Its BanksView / BB
The European Commission officials were sufficiently worried by the U.K. investors’ charge -- namely that because of EU accounting rules, banks may have systematically overstated their assets and distributed nonexistent profits as dividends and bonuses -- that they said they would open an inquiry. Last week, the board that administers the rules put forward its own proposals. These are likely to perpetuate, not fix, the problem.

Some more signs of financial market fragmentation in the eurozone?Open Europe
The European Repo Council of the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) released its bi-annual assessment of the European repo markets today.

Chart of the week: Is external adjustment working in the euro area?bruegel
If the euro area does not or cannot move to permanent current account surplus, then Germany should make a net contribution to demand by increasing imports more than exports. Given the demand deficiency in the euro area, there is a clear case for strengthening demand in Germany.

EU Fires Back In Austerity DebateWSJ
European commission economists fired back at their critics in nearly 3,000 eye-glazing words of economics jargon.

The Limits to ECB PolicyWSJ

Credit in the euro area: Still crunchingThe Economist

When Is A Promise Not A Promise?A Fistful of Euros
Mario Draghi is proving to be a man of his word. He said he would do whatever he needed to do to hold the Euro together, and – so far so good – he has…Last Thursday he openly and publicly turned a blind eye to a blatant example of monetary financing

Cyprus report 'not enough' to convince German oppositioneuobserver
The German Social-Democrats say one report on anti-money-laundering measures in Cyprus will not be enough to convince them to approve a bailout for the troubled island.

Cyprus: ‘European bailout without the IMF for Cypruspresseurop

Why Cyprus Matters – Macro and Markets CFR

Russia’s Cyprus problembeyondbrics / FT

Euro bailouts — one out, one inMacroScope / Reuters
Cyprus and Ireland.

Cyprus's Audit WhitewashWSJ
You don't go to the same doctor for a checkup unless you want the same answer.

To bail-in, or not to bail-in: that is the question (now for Cyprus)bruegel
There is an intense debate on the possibility of bailing-in bank shareholders and lenders of troubled financial institutions (ie forcing investors to take losses), or relying on taxpayers to take the hit.

La brutta figuraalphaville / FT
Italy has finally fallen out of the ‘A’ ratings and into the Bs, at Fitch Ratings. Here’s the explanation for cutting it to BBB+, outlook negative:

Is Spain using accounting tricks?Open Europe
El País suggests that the Spanish government could have decided to delay various tax refunds due in December 2012 and pay them in January 2013 instead, in order to close the year with a lower deficit figure.

Yes, We’re Confident, but Who Knows WhyNYT
Robert J. Shiller: The recovery in housing, the stock market and the overall economy has finally gained sustainable momentum — or so it is said.

Can we agree that...Free exchange / The Economist
I'll attempt to distill some fiscal policy truths that should be reasonably acceptable to most participants.

The Fed’s ExitThe Big Picture
The markets have begun to wonder whether the Fed (and other central banks) will ever be able to exit from its Quantitative Easing policy. We believe there is only one reasonable exit the Fed can take. Rather than sell its portfolio of bonds or allow them to mature naturally, we believe the Fed’s only practical exit will be to increase the size of all other balance sheets in relation to its own.

HFT-Limiting Experiment Underway in GermanyAll About Alpha
The Germans seem prepared to experiment with limits on high-frequency trading, as we see in a recent Bundestag vote that leaves the particulars to BaFin. I spoke recently to David Weild, a former vice chairman of NASDAQ, about this experiment and about related issues.

Meet the Most Indebted Man in the WorldThe Atlantic
Former Société Générale rogue trader Jérôme Kerviel owes the bank $6.3 billion. Here's what his case tells us about financial reform.

30 years of financial inefficiencyTriple Crisis
The claim that the financial sector has been ‘functionally inefficient’ was made 30 years ago by James Tobin, and it’s great to have a quantitative basis to make this sort of judgment.

Bridgewater May Be the Hottest Hedge Fund for Harvard Grads, but It’s Also the WeirdestThe Daily Beast
Bridgewater Associates is the $145 billion hedge fund elite college grads are clamoring to work for. Daniel Gross on the oddball firm’s special sauce.

Monthly Macro: Widening rift in the eurozone to haunt markets againHandelsbanken (pdf)
China: Slowdown coming earlier than expected * Eurozone: The German locomotive has decoupled * US: Optimism is back, despite persistent problems * Sweden: Brighter employment outlook, but sluggish GDP path * Bond markets: Long bond yields to rise at a moderate pace

How Disney Bought Lucasfilm—and Its Plans for 'Star Wars'Businessweek

Up All Night: The science of sleeplessnessThe New Yorker

How to punish robots when they inevitably turn against usWonkblog / WP
His new book, out next month, is “When Robots Kill: Artificial Intelligence under Criminal Law.”  We spoke Tuesday morning; a lightly edited transcript follows.

Global Email Patterns Reveal “Clash of Civilizations”MIT Technology Review
The global pattern of email communication reflects the cultural fault lines thought to determine future conflict, say computational social scientists 
EU:n virkamiesten pitäisi kertoa totuus taloudestaVieraskynä / HS
Tuoreiden kasvulukujen valossa on selvää, että säästötoimet ovat heikentäneet euroalueen taloutta. EU-komissaarit myötäilevät kuitenkin isoja jäsenmaita turvatakseen oman urakehityksensä.

"Euroopan tiukin" tukilinja onkin maailman löysinJan Hurri / TalSa
Valtiovarainministeri Jutta Urpilaisen mukaan Suomen tukilinja velkakriisissä on "Euroopan tiukin", ja hänet "tunnetaan Euroopassa Täti Tiukkana". Tunnetaan tai ei, kriisitoimet ja kansainväliset luottotilastot kertovat muuta: Suomen tukilinja ei ole Euroopan tai edes euroalueen tiukin vaan kautta maailman löysin.

Tällainen järjestö tutkii Kyprosta: "Maan valvonta on Euroopan eliittiä"TalSa
Moneyvalin puheenjohtajana toimii Vladimir Nechaev, joka tunnetaan myös entisenä Venäjän varapääministerinä vuosilta 2009-1012.

Löysä Hesari, tiukka Jutta, paha KyprosJuhani Huopainen / US Puheenvuoro

Kyproksen ValiokuntabingoJuhani Huopainen / US Puheenvuoro