lunes, febrero 20, 2012

Brazilian politics

Coming into her own

Slowly but surely, the president is making her mark on the government

DURING her first year as Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff was careful not to make changes so big that they might be seen as a rebuke to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, her predecessor and patron. She waited to replace the pork-barrel ministers she inherited from him until corruption charges against them became overwhelming, and implemented only limited reforms. Many pundits expected that in 2012 she would take advantage of the quiet period between Christmas and Carnival in February to be more ambitious—only to be disappointed by yet more incrementalism.

Europe and the euro

A way out of the woods

The euro may survive brinkmanship over Greece, but the road to recovery will be long and hard

LAST year every new jolt in the euro crisis sent financial markets into a spin. This year they have become blasé. They barely even registered the torching of buildings in Athens, nor the last-minute cancellation of a meeting of ministers that was supposed to agree on a new aid package for Greece.
Although a calm is welcome, nonchalance is not justified. A deal probably will be done on Greece, and there are promising signs of reform all over the continent. But, the problems ahead for the euro zone remain huge. The crisis is, in effect, moving from an acute to a chronic phase.

This time it’s serious


America is becoming a less attractive place to do business

IS AMERICA fading? It seems an odd thing to say about a country that so dominates the industries of the future. Where else could Facebook have grown from a student prank to a $100 billion company in less than a decade? America has been gripped by worries about decline before, notably in the 1970s, only to roar back. But this time it may be serious.
There is little doubt that other countries are catching up. Between 1999 and 2009 America’s share of world exports fell in almost every industry: by 36 percentage points in aerospace, nine in information technology, eight in communications equipment and three in cars. Some loss of market share is inevitable as China and other economies emerge. But even in absolute terms, there is cause for worry. Private-sector job growth has slowed dramatically, and come to a halt in industries that are exposed to global competition. Median annual income grew by an anaemic 2% between 1990 and 2010.

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