Saturday, 10 September 2011

International Relations Examination: Paper 3a - Rogue States

This is a multiple choice question. Examinees should choose just one answer

What policy should Western governments adopt when dealing with rogue states? Should they -

A) Do nothing?

B) Apply sanctions?

C) Enforce regime change?

D) Support rebels seeking regime change?

E) Embrace leaders of rogue states furthering economic / diplomatic ties facilitating rendition / torture of rebels seeking regime change?

Reminder: Please choose just one answer

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Catch 22-3

As politicians, journalists and (two-handed) economists furiously debate the merits of yet another round of quantitative easing (QE-3), one question is: Will the currency devaluation it generates make the economy more competitive globally? And what happens to that competitiveness if or when other countries follow suit?

The dilemma facing decision makers right now is like something out of Catch-22 (the scene where Yossarian explains his outlook on life to Danby).

"From now on I'm thinking only of me."

"But, suppose everyone felt that way."

"Then I'd certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way, wouldn't I?"

(We don't need no) regulation

A banker argues the case against further regulation:

"Don't you guys get it? Even if you're right and complaints against banks have hit a high, and even if we are giving Triple A ratings to sub-prime mortgage investments once again, and even if we do find ourselves being investigated for Libor manipulation, and even if we are the only guys creaming it while everyone else is trying to make ends meet... regulation just isn't the answer. Regulation simply hurts the economy. Which none of us wants. Right?

So go easy on yourself. And us."

Saturday, 3 September 2011


Here are the five most viewed items of the past six months:-

The makers of Pro-Espresso EcoVitalian TM have developed a revolutionary new product designed to target male-related signs of ageing.

PRO-Luxe Caffeine Refining Potion Pour Homme is a unique serum formulated at our laboratories in Copenhagen and is derived from 100% (depleted) extract of Venezuelan Arabica coffee bean-dust - considered by many to possess invaluable age-ravaging properties. (Continued…)

The world's leading banks held billions of dollars on behalf of Colonel Gaddafi's regime, it was revealed this week. Here the Colonel gives us his "take".

"I like to thank these banks that were keeping my money safe during financial crisis that was happening in 2008. These, they were difficult times for everybody, not least, for great leaders of great nation like myself, who have invest so much money in your highly respectable banking institutions. (Continued…)

"It's obvious to anyone (such as myself) who knows a thing or two about the citizens of the capital city as well as of this country, and especially the young citizens moreover, that this outbreak of violence we're seeing around the country is due to the vicious cuts perpetrated by this coalition government. Just because these cuts haven't actually had any impact yet is neither here nor there. It's the prospect of these cuts having an impact that is worrying young people and getting them onto the streets to protest, burn down buildings and steal plasma televisions and Adidas running shoes. (Continued…)

Okay folks, let's not get too worked up about the financial meltdown facing the economies of Europe and America right now. At least the banking sector is raking it in again - so much so that we bankers have been able to pay ourselves 14 Billion in bonuses over the past year. (Continued…)

"I would like to make it clear that our decision to hold the Tripoli Grand Prix is in no way influenced by financial considerations in any way, shape or form. I myself and my fellow executives have given all of the relevant factors due consideration and have decided that the best way of reaching out to the Libyan people in their time of need is quite evidently to give them a Grand Prix they will remember. (Continued…)

Friday, 2 September 2011

Superb investment opportunity!

Standard and Poors stripped the US economy of its top sovereign rating earlier this month. But it has just given a triple A rating to a new issue of bonds tied to the sub-prime mortgage market - the kind of financial instrument that screwed the US economy in the first place.

So who exactly does rate the ratings agencies?