Sunday, January 10, 2010

Quotes of the day

Europeans are far from monolithic in their preferences, but lots of them, in lots of countries, like long holidays, restrictive labour laws, generous welfare states and 35 hour weeks. They do not want to change university systems that spit out graduates in their late 20s or even early 30s, armed with masters degrees in psychology, rather than sending them out with bachelors' degrees in more vocational subjects. Europeans in some countries, such as the Netherlands, are more or less calm about the idea of official retirement ages being pushed back to 67. In others, it remains an incendiary suggestion.

DID none of them read the Lisbon Treaty? By them, I mean the grand commentators now tut-tutting in the pages of various European newspapers about the complexity of the European Union's new institutional arrangements.

In a world of low inflation and low interest rates, then logically currency moves should have a much greater impact on investors' portfolios. Investors ought to be much more twitchy, therefore, about countries with weak economies and budget deficits. That is why the foreign exchange markets are where the crisis will probably occur next.

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