Monday, February 15, 2010

Carbon Tax: The State of the Question

Jacques Le Cacheux and Eloi Laurent offer the most thorough analysis I have seen of the decision of the Conseil Constitutionnel on the carbon tax and discuss what can be done to move policy forward on this important issue.

How to Inflame a Situation

Philips executives must not have taken Industrial Relations 101. After locking employees out of the firm's factory in Dreux, the company announced that they could have jobs in Hungary at 450 euros per month but only if they learned Hungarian. Le capitalisme au visage inhumain ...

Conseil Constitutionnel

Dominique Schnapper reflects on her tenure on the Conseil Constitutionnel. The discussion brings out some of the peculiarities of the CC: its composition ("club des notables"), nominating procedure, legal competence, political one-sidedness (in its present form). There is also one interesting gossipaceous tidbit: Schnapper reveals that Chirac attempted to appoint a person from the opposition, but she refused. Who might that have been?

Johnson: EU as Goldman Regulator of Last Resort

Simon Johnson rehearses the role of Goldman Sachs in helping Greece to conceal its debt and notes that the European Commission is now certain to launch an audit of the US bank. This is a welcome development, since Goldman is too deeply tied in to the US power structure and both political parties to expect an honest investigation on this side of the pond. Here is an opportunity for some enlightened European to play the role that Keynes once played: saving capitalism from itself--which seems, alas, to be a cyclical necessity. Populist anger at the arrogance of bankers is threatening to make the US ungovernable, and the consequences will not be pretty. Whatever Goldman has or has not done, it is rapidly becoming the symbol for many things that went wrong. It would be good if an honest broker could establish a credible record. I hope that there is someone in Europe prepared to play that role, now that the Commission has a reason to demand accountability.

Krugman: The Euro Was a Mistake

Here.

Barry Eichengreen disagrees:

All of this raises the obvious question: Was the real mistake creating the euro in the first place? Since I was one of the few Americans to advocate a single European currency, you would be justified in asking: Am I having second thoughts?

My answer is no, creating the euro was not a mistake, but it could still be a mistake in the making. The Greek crisis shows that Europe is still only halfway toward creating a viable monetary union. If it stays put, the next crisis will make this one look like a walk in the park.