A week or so ago, Chinese premier Wen Jiabao was "a little bit worried" about the stability of the U.S. dollar. Now, it appears he's really sweating it, because the Chinese just came out in favor of ditching the dollar and replacing it with a new global reserve currency system.
Maybe it's time to resurrect the idea of economic decoupling. For those who don't remember, that was the idea—much touted at the beginning of the financial crisis—that poor but up and coming nations like China, India, Brazil, and Russia (aka the BRICs) weren't going to follow the US and Europe into recession.
Before the global downturn, 75-year-old Sheldon G. Adelson, Chairman of The Las Vegas Sands Corp., was the ultimate high roller. For a time America's third-richest man, he helped rebrand Las Vegas as a family spot and turn Macau into a top gambling destination with his investments.
Trader turned philosopher Nassim Nicholas Taleb would probably be the first to admit the role that chance played in his recent market gains. Though he no longer actively trades himself, the Santa Monica, California-based hedge fund he advises, Universa, has posted gains of between 50 and 110 percent in recent months, even as the S&P is down 40 percent.
As world leaders try to restructure the global financial system, it's worth reflecting on how we got to this point. A new database created by economists at the IMF tracks financial crises over the last 30 years, and it may come as a surprise that the world has had 124 of them during that time.
Turkey's president Abdullah Gul is one of his nation's most polarizing figures. Western-oriented and pro-EU, his Justice and Development Party has roots in Islam and pushed to abolish the ban on headscarves in universities, provoking debate about the nature of liberalism in this secular nation.
In the midst of last week's market turmoil, there was one piece of good news. Oil prices, which had neared the $150 mark just a few weeks ago, fell back below $100, mainly due to fears about sharply slower global growth as the financial crisis on Wall Street deepens.
If you have any doubt about the long-term implications of hunger, consider the following statistic. In North Korea, where food shortages and famine have been endemic for years, the average adolescent is 18 centimeters shorter than his counterpart in South Korea.
Have you noticed that both New York and London claim to be losing the race to become the world's top financial center? Last year New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg fretted that his city is behind, citing a McKinsey survey that blamed onerous SOX regulations imposed after the Enron-era scandals.