Obama the war president

Why stockmarkets will rise 50% in 2012

Waiting for my host in Zafferano, an Italian restaurant in Knightsbridge, I eavesdropped on my lunchtime neighbours and found myself surrounded by the themes of the moment. The husband and wife couple to my left were Germans, on a romantic weekend break in London, accompanying the gourmet menu with a bottle of Crystal champagne and undoubtedly heading to their hotel bedroom for an afternoon of nookie. They had an air of confidence, as befits the new masters of Europe.

On my right, the 35-year old Scottish redhead was working hard. He was making …

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Germany thanks the southerners

Saudi investment opportunities

Angela Merkel today gratefully acknowledged the southern European contribution to the euro. “Without the incorporation of those sunny southerners, the euro would be the deutschmark. It would have reached Swiss franc levels, ruining our exports,” she stated, while munching on sardinas at the opening of the Museum of Greek Siestas & Tax Evasion. “Instead, we have this delightfully devalued deutschmark, which has allowed our trade surplus to reach a three year high.”

As she flicked the tail of her flamenco-inspired suit, she thanked Germany’s fellow members in the EU and the Eurozone for being responsible for nearly …

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London and Caracas: two sides of the same coin

Income inequality and the foreign conundrum

There are echoes of pre-Chavez Venezuela in the UK these days. A classic example of elite capitalism and the virtually insurmountable gap between the haves and have nots. In Caracas, the elite lived in guarded mansions in the Eastern hills of the city with bodyguards accompanying them everywhere. The benefits of decades of petroleum revenues never made it into the barrios of the Western hills of the city. President Hugo Chavez was the result.

The erstwhile elite still live in their mansions, but they no longer run the country. Their children study in American …

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New era regulators and a passionate conversion

How tinkering may ruin bank boards

Take a look at the Financial Times, where Robinson Hambro authored an editorial on the Financial Services Authority and its excessive interference in the running of the boards of banks.

Or read the article in the text below:

The passion of the convert is a frightening thing. Be it former smokers who cast glances of derision at office staff puffing away on the pavement or, more specifically, the regulatory backlash on the back of the financial crisis, converts allow little room for a nuanced approach.

One hopes that the government will allow for a …

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The coming Euro Ministry of Finance

SIF and the Mayr: intrusive interventions

How the mighty are fallen! Not only Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the IMF head who allegedly sexually assaulted a chambermaid, or former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his Tunisian counterpart Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

There are a host of others: one of the world’s foremost Israeli football agents, a household-name UK broadcaster, plus a number of European chairmen. Last week they were all at the infamous Mayr Clinic, whose mission it is to clean out its residents’ guts to restore them to health and energy via a quasi-liquid fasting cure. One would imagine the conversation …

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History’s verdict: Zapatero vs de Gaulle

The de facto eurozone haircuts

It wasn´t just Emperor Nero who fiddled while Rome burned. Two other political figures come to mind.

Post World War II, Charles de Gaulle was preoccupied with "la gloire" for France and, rather less admirably, for himself. At the time, the French were starving. In the summer of 1945, the country had less than two weeks´ supply of grain, while the winter was much worse. Malnutrition was such that the generation raised in this period were to be shorter than the previous one. With some humour and a large degree of exasperation, the …

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