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Dec 18th
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The time for inaction is over. We have to cut rates, and cut them now PDF Print E-mail

In the wake of financial upheaval, Britain is about to suffer a painful spike in unemployment. We can't afford to stay idle

David Blanchflower

I have argued recently that unemployment in Britain is likely to rise to around 2 million by the end of the year. Why do I think that? I put a lot of faith in a number of qualitative or attitudinal surveys, which turn out to be pretty good lead indicators. It is also based upon my analysis of the recent changes in both the UK and US economies in general and their labour markets in particular.
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Brown's problem with women PDF Print E-mail

There's more to Ruth Kelly's resignation than her sincere desire to spend more time with her family

Martin Kettle

"How many divisions has the Pope?" asked a sneering Stalin when discussing the power of the pontiff. It is tempting to ask the same question about Ruth Kelly, one of the Pope's most pious political followers, after the leak of her imminent departure from Gordon Brown's government. For Kelly, in the macho political calculus which comes most naturally to the prime minister, counts for little beyond herself. She is a low-profile minister, neither brilliant nor useless, proud but not pushy, better than her reputation but not any kind of threat to his leadership.
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The Fleecing of America PDF Print E-mail

ROGER COHEN

World leaders converge on a battered New York this week for the United Nations General Assembly and my advice to them is: think Damien Hirst.

It's not that I expect them to dwell on the British artist's giant tanks of dead sharks and piglets at a time when the U.S. economy is being socialized to the tune of $700 billion ($2,000 for every man, woman and child in the country) as a result of a giant mortgage-related Ponzi scheme.
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Forget the history and the investment. Even Sunderland is tempted by Tories PDF Print E-mail

Memories of Thatcher are receding here in the north-east, and the idea of a spectacular Labour defeat is all too plausible

Madeleine Bunting

The idea of a Conservative MP in Sunderland has been an outlandish notion for most of the past 40 years. It is the most solid of Labour cities in a region that has been loyal at every parliamentary election: in the whole of the north-east, there is only one Conservative MP, in the picturesque rural constituency of Hexham. Surely Sunderland, of all places, will hold out against the appeal of David Cameron's Tories?
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US election candidates prepare for make-or-break presidential debates PDF Print E-mail

The Guardian Online

Barack Obama is to head to Tampa, Florida, this week to spend three days preparing for the first of his three presidential debates with the Republican candidate, John McCain. The Democratic presidential candidate will conduct intensive rehearsals at a so-called debates camp, which includes a mock-up of the stage on which the debate will take place at the University of Mississippi on Friday. One of his advisers, Greg Craig, will stand in for McCain.
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Hall of Fame drummer Earl Palmer dead at 84 PDF Print E-mail

AP, LOS ANGELES - Earl Palmer, the session drummer whose pioneering backbeats were recorded on such classics as Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" and The Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," has died. He was 84.

Palmer died Friday at his Los Angeles home after fighting a lengthy illness, his spokesman Kevin Sasaki said.
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Blocking the Sky to Save the Earth PDF Print E-mail

THOMAS HOMER-DIXON and DAVID KEITH

TO the relief of climate scientists around the world, it appears that the polar ice cap hasn't shrunk as much this summer as it did last summer.

The ice cap usually reaches its smallest extent around now, and although the total area of ice in September fluctuates from year to year, in the last two decades it has generally declined, probably because of carbon-driven global warming. Last year, the ice cap shrank at a record-breaking pace; at its minimum it was almost 39 percent smaller than the average from 1979 to 2000. This year it's down about 33 percent.
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Groundhog capitalism PDF Print E-mail

As Marx and Engels found in Victorian Britain, predicting revolutions can be a frustrating business

Tristram Hunt

Had Marx and Engels lived to see the day! The counting houses of global finance in freefall, traders going to the wall, and now Washington seemingly intent on nationalising its entire banking sector. As stockmarkets crash around the world, what we are now witnessing is an old-fashioned, full-throttle crisis of capitalism, and no event was more inclined to lift the mood of communism's founding fathers.
 
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Fairness is still our guide PDF Print E-mail

Only New Labour can help businesses and families through this economic turbulence

Gordon Brown

This week's financial turbulence provides the starkest demonstration yet that we are living in an era of dramatic global change. Financial markets across the world are in uncharted waters. The British economy prospers as a global hub for investment, trade and services. That openness is a source of strength. But it also means that we cannot insulate ourselves from the contagious effects of the financial crisis in the United States, and the sharp increase in world commodity prices.
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The Post-Lehman World PDF Print E-mail

DAVID BROOKS

A few years ago, real estate was all the rage. Earlier this year, the business magazines were telling us to invest in Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch, because those stocks were bound to zoom. Now another herd is on the march.

We're in a paradigm shift, its members say. The current financial turmoil marks the end of the era of wide-open global capitalism. Today's gigantic government acquisitions signal a new political era, with more federal activism and tighter regulations.
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Crisis Endgame PDF Print E-mail

PAUL KRUGMAN

Correction Appended

On Sunday, Henry Paulson, the Treasury secretary, tried to draw a line in the sand against further bailouts of failing financial institutions; four days later, faced with a crisis spinning out of control, much of Washington appears to have decided that government isn't the problem, it's the solution. The unthinkable — a government buyout of much of the private sector's bad debt — has become the inevitable.

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The McCain of the Week PDF Print E-mail

GAIL COLLINS

VIENNA, Ohio

"The people of Ohio are the most productive in the world!" yelled John McCain at a rally outside of Youngstown on Tuesday. Present company perhaps excluded, since the crowd was made up entirely of people who were at liberty in the middle of a workday.

Folks were wildly enthusiastic as the event began. That was partly because Sarah Palin was also on the bill. (With Todd!) And when McCain took the center stage, they were itching to cheer the war hero and boo all references to pork-barrel spenders.
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Need a Job? $17,000 an Hour. No Success Required PDF Print E-mail

NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

Are you capable of taking a perfectly good 158-year-old company and turning it into dust? If so, then you may not be earning up to your full potential.

Fuld, the longtime chief of Lehman Brothers. He took home nearly half-a-billion dollars in total compensation between 1993 and 2007.
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America is gripped by the politics of fear. Bad news for the prophet of hope PDF Print E-mail

Rationally, the economic and financial hurricane should help Obama. But people do not always vote with their heads

Timothy Garton Ash

Even before Meltdown Monday, I was going to write about the politics of fear. Now I must add the politics of panic. Observing this American election close up, what strikes me with the force of Hurricane Ike is just how defensive, nervous and angst-ridden the tone of the campaign has become.
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The political high ground is Labour's PDF Print E-mail

The future demands an active state redistributing wealth to balance a dysfunctional economy – our party's founding principle

Jon Cruddas

Labour is looking into the abyss, frozen into immobility. The plotters gather. But the problem cannot be reduced to the leader, nor solved by changes in personalities. The New Labour project is exhausted. There are vague plans by Blairites to resurrect it. But this is not the 1990s: the New Labour brand is now toxic. In such endings lie new beginnings. We need policies to tackle the economic meltdown, but most of all we need a politics.
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Keep It in Vegas PDF Print E-mail

THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

Watching some financial stocks just get wiped out in recent months, I often hear a voice in the back of my head, and it is the same voice as one of those dealers in Las Vegas who coolly tells you as he sweeps up your chips after you've busted in blackjack: "Thank you for playing, ladies and gentlemen."

That's what happens when bubbles burst. You feel wiped out, and the coolness with which the dealers — in this case the markets — sweep away all your chips is unnerving. It's easy to over-react, and it is important that we don't. Now is the time for coolly sorting out what markets can do best and what governments need to do better.
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A tribunal must tell us what to fix. And whom to punish PDF Print E-mail

The state shirked its role while City stupidity and greed slid into thieving. When the crisis subsides, an inquiry is needed

Simon Jenkins

Who are they? Where are they now? They said it could not happen again. They said they were masters of the universe. They had conquered history itself and had that wily monster quivering at their feet. There would be no more crashes, no more recessions, no more booms and busts, just moonbeams and rainbows and jam for tea.
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Financial Russian Roulette PDF Print E-mail

PAUL KRUGMAN

Will the U.S. financial system collapse today, or maybe over the next few days? I don't think so — but I'm nowhere near certain. You see, Lehman Brothers, a major investment bank, is apparently about to go under. And nobody knows what will happen next.

To understand the problem, you need to know that the old world of banking, in which institutions housed in big marble buildings accepted deposits and lent the money out to long-term clients, has largely vanished, replaced by what is widely called the "shadow banking system."

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Premiumize or Perish PDF Print E-mail

ROGER COHEN

Thomas Pinnau, an executive at Mars Inc., the world's No. 1 chocolate maker, has an enviable title: Vice President/Indulgence.

Now, in these times of plunging stock prices and falling sales, you'd think Pinnau might be struggling to get people to indulge. It makes sense to drop needless pleasures when cash is short. But this is a recession in which indulgence is thriving, a phenomenon that says much about our world.
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Save the Environment: Drill, Baby, Drill PDF Print E-mail

ROBERT HAHN and PETER PASSELL

THE audience's mantra at the Republican National Convention — "drill, baby, drill" — reflected deep frustration with Washington's decision to lock down tens of billions of barrels of oil under American territory in an era of $4-a-gallon gasoline. Whatever the merits of his argument, Barack Obama's response that "drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution" won't make the sting go away as long as it costs $100 to fill the tank of a pickup truck.

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She's Not Ready PDF Print E-mail

BOB HERBERT

While watching the Sarah Palin interview with Charlie Gibson Thursday night, and the coverage of the Palin phenomenon in general, I've gotten the scary feeling, for the first time in my life, that dimwittedness is not just on the march in the U.S., but that it might actually prevail.

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