“westerlingen veel minder rijk zijn dan ze dachten”

Alles in orde dus? Integendeel, zei hij met een lachje. „Iemand moet westerlingen gaan vertellen dat ze veel minder rijk zijn dan ze dachten. De afgelopen decennia hebben ze immense bedragen geleend van de toekomst. Dat hebben ze uitgegeven, en de activiteit die daaruit voortkwam noemden ze ‘economische groei’. Dit is nu voorbij. We zitten niet op een bepaald punt van de economische cyclus, we zitten aan het eind van een ‘super-cyclus’ – de periode van decennia dat we ons rijk rekenden met krediet.” [bron]

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Hoe Bert Brussen miljonair werd, en andere verhalen over online journalistiek

De publieke omroep NTR zendt in de zomer van 2013 een driedelige tv-serie uit over de toekomst van de journalistiek. In het drieluik, genaamd ‘Iedereen journalist’, wordt ingegaan op de invloed van het internet, teruglopende inkomsten en nieuwe mogelijkheden voor uitgevers en redacties. Het productiebedrijf Hollandse Helden ontving financiering van het Stimuleringsfonds voor de Pers voor het maken van de serie.

Meer info hier.

David Frum over Bush en Irak, 10 jaar later

The main reason that Saddam Hussein’s nuclear program dwindled away after 1996 was that Saddam had run short of money with oil prices falling to $20 a barrel and less. (In 1998, the inflation-adjusted price of oil dropped to the lowest level since the Great Depression.) Iran decelerated its nuclear program at the same time, likely for the same reason. But the economic surge in China and India after 2004 pushed the price of oil back toward $100 a barrel. That surge would have happened, Iraq War or no Iraq War. What kind of force would Saddam have been in the region if his income had tripled or quadrupled?

The glib conclusion that Iran emerged the true winner of the war does not stand scrutiny. As Iraq has stabilized since 2006, Iraqi oil production has accelerated. In 2012, Iraq produced more oil than in any year since before the first Gulf War. Iraq now numbers among the top five oil exporters. The extra oil capacity provided by Iraq has made it easier for European consumers to agree to stiffer sanctions on Iran. Once the world’s No. 3 oil exporter, Iran has now dropped out of the top 10.

The U.S.-led war unleashed a horrible civil war inside Iraq. But as the example of Syria shows, it’s just wrong to assume that Iraq would have been spared a civil war if Saddam had been left in place. The deluge was coming in Iraq, whatever outside powers did. And while the war planners deserve blame for the failure to keep order, the vast majority of the post-2003 casualties inside Iraq were inflicted by other Iraqis, not the coalition forces. […]

If the war achieved some positive gains, its unnecessary costs—in human life, in money, to the prestige and credibility of the U.S. government—are daunting and dismaying. If we’d found the WMD, it would have been different. If we’d kept better order in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam, it would have been different. If more Iraqis had welcomed the invasion as we expected, it would have been different. If the case for the war had been argued in a less contrived and predetermined way, it would have been different. [bron]

David Frum, Canadees/Amerikaans journalist, editor voor Newsweek en The Daily Beast en voormalig speechwriter van GW Bush

Hoe de Duitse belastingbetaler wordt genaaid

Italy’s report (142-page PDF) finds that median household net wealth has increased 56% since 1991. And from 2008 to 2010, it increased by about 5% annually, despite the crisis!

But the wealth of German households stagnated during much of that time while they paid taxes out of their noses. And now they might learn that Italy’s median household wealth is €163,875—while Germany’s is closer to Austria’s, around €76,000. Less than half!

“Politically explosive,” sources at the Bundesbank whispered to the FAZ.

These reports show that in some countries, like Italy, where government finances have been in crisis, median household wealth is actually greater than in some financially healthy countries where governments have kept deficits and debts down.

Germany’s federal government only had a minuscule deficit in 2012. But high taxes and the citizens’ greater willingness to pay them—though cheating is a national sport—have over the years extracted a lot of wealth from the people and transferred it to the government. In Italy, people have been more adept at hanging on to their wealth. To the detriment of government finances. Other studies have shown similar trends, but never on such a scale with such detail, and in this “harmonized” and easily comparable manner.

It could stir up a firestorm in Germany. It’s not just jealousy. Strung-out German taxpayers would have to be bamboozled into bailing out the mountain of Italian government debt that the Italians, whose median wealth is twice that of Germans, refused to pay for. [bron]

De ECB heeft voor 100 miljard euro aan Italiaans schuldpapier gekocht in de afgelopen paar jaar. De Duitse belastingbetaler staat voor het grootste deel daarvan garant.