FROM Daniel Gros
Is Italy's Economy Too Big to Fail, but Too Big to Bail Out? When it comes to the troubled economies of the Euro Zone, "contagion" is what economists, bankers, traders and political leaders fear most. Now the focus has shifted from Greece to Italy. Greece at least appears to be getting its economic act together, but Berlusconi's Italy is another matter. We hear about the billionaire Prime Minister who's promising to resign, and what Italy's potential bankruptcy could mean for the rest of the world.
Greece Has Been Scary Enough, Now There's Italy When it comes to the troubled economies of the Eurozone, "contagion" is what economists, bankers, traders and political leaders fear most. Now the focus has shifted from Greece to Italy. Greece now has a unity government led by a banking technocrat pledged to avoid bankruptcy, however unpopular austerity measures might be. Italy has an economy almost triple the size of Greece, Portugal and Ireland combined, with a massive debt it might not be able to pay. Its shaky economy is the creature of Prime Minister Berlusconi, one of the world's most colorful leaders. Will he really get out of the way? We get a taste of Italian politics today and hear what a national bankruptcy would mean for world markets and American banks.
G7 Finance Ministers to Gather to Discuss Global Financial Crisis Treasury Secretary Paulson said yesterday that governments around the world need to coordinate their actions so "the action of one country does not come at the expense of others or the stability of the system as a whole." Finance ministers from the industrialized West as well as China, Brazil and Saudi Arabia are coming to Washington in the next few days. They'll talk about interest rates, tax cuts, spending increases and the possibility of coordinating their efforts to restore confidence in the worldwide economy. But different countries face different problems, and they compete, especially with the US, which has been economically dominant for so long. We talk about hopes, as opposed to realities, as well as the decline of mutual trust and how it might be restored.
Is Venezuela becoming a dictatorship? Venezuela may have the world's largest oil reserves, but it's a nation in trouble… economically and politically. Is a populist promise to rescue democracy turning out to be a prelude to dictatorship?
Will the march for science politicize objective research? Protesters are gathering all over the country for tomorrow's Earth Day March for Science. Since President Trump has proposed massive cuts in basic scientific research, will the movement be perceived as partisan politics — whether scientists themselves like it or not?