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Lisboa, Portugal
Nasci no dia 11 de Junho de 1964 na cidade da Beira, MOÇAMBIQUE.

A Estação dos CFM, Beira

A Estação dos CFM, Beira
Ex-libris da cidade, 1966

The Euro, as a single currency, should be abolished

Another black and white motion statement leaving me no option but to choose No.
While I agree to the first part I am not prepared to contemplate the idea that the Euro should get abolished.
Abolished? Then what?
All 17 countries now sharing the single currency would revert back to their old monies?
Or a new version of yesteryear's currencies?

Simplistic as I made it out to be packed in a few odd questions, every single serious economic, financial and social consequence is inextricably wrapped up within each.
That is where the stakes are high enough to ensure that the Euro is given a new lease on life.
It calls for closer European integration.
What form and shape this will take is for policymakers and far-sighted politicians to grasp and propose.

It would seem to me that the Euro has many underlying strengths but will not - contrary to the founder's beliefs - assure convergence between all the economies it services. How could it?
The divide has been felt acutely lately (1-2 years) the logical consequence of relevant economic under-performance among member-countries.

There has obviously got to be a political solution rooted in realistic economic fundamentals.
The road traveled so far proved artificially smooth during the first 10 years I dare say but unsurprisingly very bumpy in the last 1-2.
It could not have been otherwise given the structural differences setting these countries apart. And excessive spending pursued mostly by a few Southern European States who could not see beyond the present.
Adherence to the Maastricht criteria never again seemed to be taken seriously once countries landed themselves inside the Euro club. Not to mention Greece that never fulfilled the criteria in the first place or ever bothered to balance its books.

Very disappointing to admit but the Euro Zone is indeed right in the middle of a storm testing its main crews to the limit.
The latest summit decisions seem to indicate that where there is a will there is a way.
It may have just been one first small step in the right direction.

The specifics are very hard to work on.
Yet it would seem to me that the 17-member Euro Zone and the larger EU can hardly afford shooting down the Euro.
The broader picture needs to come into full view.
An hypothetical demise of the single currency would deal another severe blow to Europe's economic fortunes.
Its relative decline vis-a-vis the rest of the world would get a further boost.

I do not like misplaced calls for solidarity from Southerners but would rather see the stronger half of the dividing line realize where their medium-to-long interest lies.
To that end many balances across the Euro Zone need to be restored at the earliest.

Europe agrees a "shock and awe" bailout for Greece

A rescue package of epic proportions, epic challenges for the Greek government and people, epic uncertainties and epic stakes for the single-currency.

It was the Euro's defence that ultimately forced politicians from Germany to Malta to perform a hard balancing act whose overall success is far from assured.Each finance minister has enough reasons to fret and grumble about.It being the Euro as a common currency, because of Greece despite Greece.
Up to now every 'least damaging' approach failed miserably to cool down the financial markets that remained as unimpressed as ever throughout.
For its part Greece is effectively the main winner in this high-finance gamble.The country bought time the markets were not willing to give it once confidence vanished.Precious time desperately needed to restore credibility and good governance at home.
A daunting internal fix with daunting external implications.
Three full years is what the government and Greek society top-down and bottom-up now have to set the record straight in so many ways.
Literally and figuratively.

For the other 15 Eurozone countries - each facing own troubles to varying degrees - keeping fingers crossed would be mild to describe the monitoring of Greece's performance over the coming 36 months.Potentially they are all losers, starting out by losing simply to avoid bigger losses!
There are so many relevant questions that might be asked to which full answers ought to be provided.
They won't get asked or get answered.
Tellingly, each and every single one of them would now seem rhetorical or at best an exercise for academia.

The spectre that haunts Europe

I am still hopeful that Greece will not require a bail-out in whatever form pinning my hopes on the PM's own words.

He did sound very bold and brave in the face of such overwhelming odds but until a deal is actually in place I would rather believe the Greeks can and will take care of themselves.

My stance is wholly based not on immediate needs triggered by the Western financial meltdown that led to the economic downturn.This in turn led to a collapse in tax revenues across countries caused by economies shrinking badly.

To a large extent Greece is indeed a one-off case-study for the worst reasons, its latest fiscal deficit the sum total of profligate spending, widespread cultural-rooted tax evasion, underbudgeting, creative accounting, weak notion of public service and duty, etc - all conspiring over decades to bring the country to the brink of bankruptcy.

I am sure many Greeks will have seen it coming and warned their governments in years past.To no avail as even the present government was elected as recently as late 2009 on a platform to increase spending.

According to EMU rules public finances were clearly to remain national responsibilities.A considerable chunk of sovereignty for States to manage through their democratically-elected governments of the day.
Would the Greeks have liked their Finance Ministry to be ruled or dictated to from Brussels or Frankfurt just so the Maastricht-agreed criteria could not have been so despondently ignored?

Current turmoil is the Euro's hardest test ever but one that will also represent a defining moment in the single-currency's future.

It is a fact that Southern European countries are faced with similar issues though not on the same scale and urgency.Others in Northern Europe, the US and Japan also recorded their biggest fiscal deficits and added up noticeably to their debts in 2009.
Each one has its own track-record, however.
This is exactly what sets Greece apart from the rest.
Each country is unique in its own way, there being obviously overlapping between them.

International rating agencies must make the effort to closely monitor and register those differences and then advise financial markets.

After all it is sovereign countries and sovereign debt one is dealing with.

There is much more at stake than strictly soulless bundling of nations.

Arquivo do blogue

quinta-feira, 27 de dezembro de 2012

TEc - Chinese growth - Upward bound

China's economy is now comfortably in the second spot behind the USA.
It must be reminded that its origins are very modest to, over three decades of relentless crescendo, overtake every single G7 but the US.
For the time being, that is.

A remarkable feat that has impacted the world in no small measure.
One consequence of an already huge economy is that it is ever harder to achieve high growth-rates.
As such anything above 5-7% is robust by most reckonings.
China's potential is far from exhausted yet its ratcheting up has been so real, consistent and quick that the economy could overheat at any time in the years ahead.
Or the leadership succeeds in keeping the economy running cool at manageable rates thus avoiding bubbles in the making.
Time will tell but Chinese leadership has demonstrated remarkable control dealing with economic issues.
From results delivered that may only be considered stellar.

segunda-feira, 24 de dezembro de 2012

TEc - Halfway to paradise - The allure of Mumbai

A must-read to all who care for Mumbai/Bombay.
As ever the city that never sleeps remains full of promise and challenge.
For all its renowned enduring energy Mumbai struggles on daily to cope with requirements that have long surpassed the ability of multiple systems to deliver.

But hope never fades away in such an environment. It is embedded in the genetic code of hustling and bustling metropolises not to give up regardless of how overwhelming the odds may be.
If the sleek design of this 8-laned bridge-over-the-water-viaduct is anything to go by the future should see many more modern infrastructure projects brought into service: sections of urban highway, the metro line, monorail line, new airport terminal, etc.
Much of it will fall far short of pent-up demand or needs that have built up over many decades.
Nonetheless, a bold start has been made;
Sea-Link underpinning it much more than merely symbolically.

sábado, 15 de dezembro de 2012

TEc - Broken hearted - On yet another mass shooting in the US

It is too late for the children whose lives were cut down early enough for them to begin to comprehend the ways of the adult world.
Just so for every other who survived the latest outrage. These will have a memory to live with.
The latest outrage indeed, on top of every other. There have been countless many before that grown-ups should feel ashamed of themselves for their objective inaction.
Not equally ashamed as only a few bear far more responsibility than the rest of us.

In America regardless of constitutional rights, cultural tradition, individual freedoms (to buy guns) dating back to the country's foundation, the time is Yesterday for a majority resolve on this particular issue.
To my mind there is a clear mix-up between the individual and the collective.
The rights of individuals and potential consequences to a group of individuals who each, theoretically, has the right to hold a gun in self-defence.
If only one of the children at that school had a gun - grabbed from a parent - and were at the right place at the right time, or a teacher, or a staff member and the outcome might have been different.
That's exactly the crux of the matter.

Should each American possess a gun - man, woman or (child) - such outrages could be prevented!!!!
Could they? Would self-appointed killers who premeditated their act take a hit before opening fire on others?

Ridiculous that I should even be writing on the subject.
Gun-control ultimately leading to the lawful ban of gun sales to civilians is a matter of utmost urgency for the lasting well-being of American society.
Statistics say so. Comparative analysis with other societies prove it. Mainly, the depths of our own-selves should be able to reason it out without an opinion being forced on us by whoever.

Lastly, this is random terrorism on the loose. The worst type.
No one is safe in a society where there are reportedly 300m guns in the hands of ordinary citizens.
It only takes being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
No type of terrorism - acts of sheer terror aimed at innocent civilians - is ever acceptable.
This is how American society should start viewing these episodes as.

sexta-feira, 14 de dezembro de 2012

TEc - The London effect - About the change to Britain's population mix

The colouring of Britain would be a suitable title to the article.
From a London that sets the example for the rest of the country to follow.
Volumes of new settlers and offsprings are now sizeable which makes it a welcome development that there's a better spread across the land thus alleviating excessive concentrations.

But a legitimate question must be asked as to what Britain will look like 10, 20 years ahead going by the past decade now tallied up.
At the end of the day the real issue is about numbers and volumes.
It is not indifferent to have minorities of 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%, 25%, 30%, 35% or more as a percentage of total indigenous population.

30 years ago Mrs. Thatcher publicly aired her concerns over entire communities being swamped by immigrants in the heartland of English cities. She was attacked by many but her point had to be made.
It has already happened and none should feel hesitant to openly discuss it.

For Boris Johnson London's ethnic diversity represents a competitive edge on top of every other plus. A cosmopolitan city drawing talent from all over.
Fair enough if this is the future of an increasingly intermingled borderless world.
Will he still hold the same view say if 10-20 years down the line - assuming current trends stick - there is a complete upset of London's population make-up?
If, for instance, today's white majority (as a single group) becomes tomorrow's minority?

There are of course social, economic, cultural, physical and political implications to such a reversal that British society should be able to deal with right now.
No one should get explicitly or implicitly accused of racist undertones simply for stating an objective point.
A point on the consequences of mass movement and (re)settlement of people. One that might eventually lead to the complete change in the human landscape of a major city such as LONDON.

sábado, 8 de dezembro de 2012

TEc - Life and death struggle - Battling corruption in China

This will be an entirely Chinese call to heed and deliver.

For many high-ranking, middle-ranking, low-ranking officials appointed to any matching job awarded by the party the spoils have been/are plentifully enticing in a surging economy as China's.

"Make hay while the sun shines" is an old saying that resonates everywhere especially where the emergence of wealth - real or perceived - is quick and large-scale.
Despite well publicized trials meant to deter would-be prevaricators, it is not clear who ends up facing the bar in China.
Those who fall out of favour with the more powerful within the party or those who have indeed fouled up no matter who or what their rank?

Corruption in China is generally portrayed as a high-level gamble.
If one is pushed out because he/she is no longer politically trusted by the leadership then high-level corruption will only thrive with renewed vigour every time.
In such a scenario it isn't being addressed at all.

I am in no doubt that China's top leaders are genuinely concerned.
They'd better be!
They wish to be seen to be ridding the party of corrupt and corruptible individuals.
This is an ongoing hard task of permanent vigilance and endeavour fostering a culture efficiently disapproving of corrupt practices.

China, mainly the Chinese people, stand to gain immensely if corruption is severely frowned upon for the right reasons to eventually become a low-intensity side show...

sexta-feira, 7 de dezembro de 2012

TEc - Goodbye Europe - Britain loudly discusses own exit from the EU

'The Economist' has chosen the appropriate word to define a hypothetical British exit from the EU: gamble!
Before it stands reckless...
The two together sum up brilliantly what might become of the UK as a stand-alone major European country proudly posturing on the fringes.
It is true the British have not quite reconciled themselves with the demise of Empire. Or perhaps more accurately they haven't yet carved out a new role for them in Europe and the world.
Such adjustments do indeed take decades but time is now running out for Britain's Establishment to clearly decide on the EU and carry along the better part of the nation.
Given the UK's track-record in Europe since 1973, its many hesitations mainly, the outright rejections euphemistically called opt-outs are relevant enough to warrant a final IN or OUT commitment.
And what it takes to bear one or the other.
Unless the EU is on its death throes - which I would want to believe it is not despite current troubles/divisions undermining it - I fail to see how a lone UK might, on balance, fare better.
The issue is far wider than mere conjecture or partial evaluation.
It is an across-the-board assessment of financial, economic, cultural, societal, military, geographical, logistical and political implications.
In a globalized world where countries have over the years joined to scale up trading and political blocs - to sort out their differences and measure up to the majors of the day - for the UK to increasingly wish to breakaway from one is anathema to no-nonsense moderate thinking.
The debate that has always simmered in the back burner of British life now seems to have reached boiling point.
Dithering won't help when clarity is required.
The UK must be part of the solution to the EU's multiple problems and challenges.
Not a permanent source of anxiety, sovereign demands and added concerns.
'The Economist' is a renowned British institution whose independent voice must be heard on a plethora of vital issues. This is one of them.
The point the newspaper makes here should be a powerful contribution to the nagging assertiveness and doubts of many sitting at polar opposites of opinion in the UK.