Typical Unimaginative Milquetoast by the Economist

The Economist never fails to take the most conventional position. Of course it is against the bail-outs, and it is also against uncontrolled default.

“There is an alternative, for which this newspaper has long argued: an orderly restructuring of Greece’s debts, halving their value to around 80% of GDP.”

Their justification for their plan is that “at least Greece and the markets would have a plan with a chance of working.”

Now, a sure sign of desperation is when your main justification for Plan A is that it has “a chance of working.”

Of course, an ‘orderly restructuring’ is no solution, it is just the middle position between the two extremes of no default and total default. It might have the advantages of each, but it also has the disadvantages of each. And likely, the markets would see a partial default as only a precursor for a full default, squeezing Greece even more and setting up the stage for a full default, which “would be ruinous”, according to the Economist. I tend to agree on this point — Barry Eichengreen explains why.

So what is to be done? Well, despite what the Economist says, there is yet another option which is not being discussed– the use of seignorage, or printing of money, by central European authorities to buy up distressed peripheral government securities. Usually authorities shy away from this for obvious reasons, but in this case, it’s arguably the least costly option to all involved.

The advantages of this plan include (1) It would definitely work– it gives the authorities nearly unlimited power. (2) It wouldn’t result in much drop in the value of the euro, because any downward pressure on the price of the euro due to there being a greater supply of euros would be counterbalanced by upward pressure on the price of the euro due to the easing of the crisis. (3) It would allow European authorities to calibrate their response, keeping just the amount of pressure they want on the PIIGS to keep the momentum for reform going but avoiding default.


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The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Status of Women

Standing Committee (All Men)

It comes as no surprise that the status of women in China’s government leadership is atrocious. But more than that; women simply don’t exist in China’s leadership, for all intents and purposes.

– Only four women on China’s 35-member State Council (11.4%).

– Only one woman is a member of China’s 25-member Politburo (4%).

– Only one woman heads one of China’s 120 centrally administered state enterprises (0.8%).

– Only 74 women hold high management positions among 1,141 total such positions in centrally administered state enterprises (6.5%)

– In the 62 years of the People’s Republic, only five women have served in the Politburo, and three of them were wives or widows of senior leaders.

– In the 62 years of the People’s Republic, only three women have served as Governor of any of China’s 31 Provinces.

– And obviously, women are completely shut out of the Nine-member Standing Committee of the Politburo (pictured above), where all the real power in the central government is held.

The article did not even see this as worth mentioning.

Taiwan, on the other hand, as been at the forefront of womens’ political leadership in Asia. In 2005, women held 21% of seats in the legislature, compared to 16% in Singapore, 16% in the United States, 13% in Korea, and 7% in Japan. Taiwan also ranks well on other measures of gender equality. In April 2011, Tsai Ing-Wen became the first woman Presidential candidate in the history of the Republic of China. If she wins, she would become the first woman national leader in East Asia (as opposed to Southeast Asia) since World War II.

How ironic for a party whose icon, Mao Zedong, once said “women hold up half the sky,” and which claims to stand up for womens’ rights. If Taiwan is any indication of what a democratic China would look like, it seems the CCP is holding back womens’ rights in China.

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