Archive for July, 2009

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown outlined the reforms that the largest world economies agreed to in the G20 summit. The call is for greater global economic cooperation to self-regulate and to prevent banking excesses from happening again.

Has history finally changed us for the better?

Some of the reforms mentioned by Gordon Brown:

  • New reforms of the global banking system, including institutions such as hedge funds, and other parts of the so-called “shadow banking system” coming under global regulatory control for the first time
  • Tighter regulation for credit rating agencies, to prevent conflicts of interest
  • A list of tax havens to be published immediately, and sanctions to be deployed against countries that do not comply with anti-secrecy regulations
  • Completion of the creation of international colleges of supervisors for national regulators
  • An agreement to do whatever is necessary to promote growth in individual countries, allowing for the possibility of the further use of fiscal stimuli in the future
  • The injection of an additional $1tn into the global economy through measures including a $500bn increase in the funding available to the IMF, an increase in the availability of money for developing countries through the IMF’s “special drawing rights” to $250bn and a total of $250bn being set aside for trade assistance
  • Reform of institutions such as the IMF to allow countries like China to have greater influence. Senior posts at the IMF and the World Bank will open to candidates from the developing world.
  • Renewed commitment to the millennium development goals.
  • $50bn for the world’s poorest countries.

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Just a two interesting ad campaigns from HSBC about how points of view differ across the world.

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As a nice follow-up to our earlier feature on psychopaths, neuroscientist Jim Fallon shares his insights into the common brain characteristics of psychopathic killers.

It’s an interesting take on not only the patterns behind murderous behaviour, but also on the nature versus nurture debate.

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Stagflation is an economic phenomenon characterized by slowing economic growth and rising inflation. It is an interesting economic problem since the traditional medicine for inflation–rising interest rates–is what chokes off economic growth, thereby aggravating stagflation.

In the aftermath of the global credit crisis following the crash of the housing market, interest rates have fallen dramatically as central banks throughout the world have pumped liquidity into the system by bailing out troubled financial institutions.

However, with excessive liquidity comes inflationary fears as excess money supply will generally increase market prices (Zimbabwe being an extreme case). As inflationary fears increase, central banks will eventually be constrained to raise rates to contain inflation, which might be too soon to allow the world economies to recover–thereby creating: stagflation.

In the following clips, two notable industrialists: Richard Branson of the Virgin Group and financier George Soros share their thoughts on stagflation.

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Novelist, poet, and painter–Hermann Hesse and his thoughts on:

The better way:

Writing is good, thinking is better. Cleverness is good, patience is better.

Love, God, and goodness:

Love of God is not always the same as love of good.

Seeking and finding:

Seeking means: to have a goal; but finding means: to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal.

A perfect world:

The world is not imperfect or slowly evolving along a path to perfection. No, it is perfect at every moment, every sin already carries grace in it.

A Beautiful Day:

It was morning; through the high window I saw the pure, bright blue of the sky as it hovered cheerfully over the long roofs of the neighboring houses. It too seemed full of joy, as if it had special plans, and had put on its finest clothes for the occasion.

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Those who have seen the movie “The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button” might be hard-pressed to know that the old man played by Brad Pitt was not achieved through multiple actors, nor makeup, but by cutting-edge digital effects.

Ed Ulbrich, an animator and digital effects expert, shares his experience in creating Benjamin Button, as well as the fantastic technology used to create an aged Brad Pitt.

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