A New Greek (Economic) Fuel: Olive Oil

The Greek government needs its newest bailout infusion. But in return, austerity would include (among many other requirements) cutting certain civil servants’ salaries by as much as 35%, raising the retirement age again but this time to 67, and plunging the…

Understanding Germany

Are Germans thinking, “We did it and now it’s your turn?” Ten years ago, Germany’s unemployment rate averaged more than 9% and economic growth was close to zero. Jobless workers, depending on their family status, were receiving 60-67% of their…

Do You Believe in “Pink Quotas?”

Italy has just declared its “pink quota.” A new law mandates that by 2015, women should be one-third of all board members for listed and Italian state-owned firms. Currently, the total is somewhere between 3.7 and 6%. (Checking 2 sources,…

Aspirin for the Euro Zone?

Tomorrow is Euro Day and it reminds me of aspirin. On May 9, 62 years ago, the French foreign minister proposed a limited economic partnership with West Germany. By the time the treaty was signed in 1951, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium…

Greek Taxes

Having added property taxes to electric bills, the Greek government is shutting off the power to people who do not pay what they owe. The response? In a northern suburb of Athens, a mayor has assembled a group of electricians…

Mixed Euro Zone Metaphors

In this Economist podcast, journalists describe the euro zone debt crisis with a wonderful array of metaphors. (Directly and indirectly, I quote what they said.) Minnows: The smaller peripheral nations in the euro zone, Greece, Ireland and Portugal are minnows.…