Friday, October 28, 2011

Wealthy French See Wish Come True: Pay More Taxes

Indeed those earning in excess of EUR250,000 will pay an extra 3-4% as per the French 2012 Finance Bill. They have probably asked for this after realising that their continued prosperity inextricably depends on average citizens having enough discretionary income to spend. And also because they are the ones who can shoulder the brunt of putting back national finances on a sustainable track.

The French are not alone: billionaire Warren Buffet too asked the US government, earlier this year, to make him pay more taxes. All of this comes after wealthy Germans requested Chancellor Merkel to raise their taxes two years ago when some of them found that they had a lot of money they didn't need.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

iBio To Hit Stands on Monday

The much-awaited authorized biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson has been no. 1 in books at Amazon for a number of days now. BBC broadcasted yesterday that Jobs had vowed to destroy Android as he viewed it as a copy of its own iOS. And the NYT mentioned how when SJ met with Bill Gates for a last time they concluded that their wives had kept them "semi-sane". It should make a very interesting read.

Friday, October 21, 2011

How Much Sleep Should You Lose Over The Doing Business Rankings?

None. See, it's not correlated with any of our national priorities. But we just lost 3 spots I hear a few of you say. Indeed, but that's 3 times less than the 9 spots we lost back in 2007, the year of the... ahem... early harvest. Still, given that we don't want our friends at the Joint Economic Council to do anything foolish during the week-end here's something to cheer them up: Mauritius has moved up 50 places in the Logistics Performance Index in the last few years from a miserable 132nd spot. By the way, if you average out our rank in these two indices you end up with 52.5 which is very close to our 54th place in the recently published 2011-2012 Global Competitiveness Report. Which is a more comprehensive yardstick.

Sleep tight.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

What Singapore Wannabes Cannot Miss

The following Lee Kuan Yew's quote:

The World Bank report's conclusions are part of the culture of America and, by extension, of international institutions. It had to present its findings in a bland and universalizable way, which I find unsatisfying because it doesn't grapple with the real problems. It makes the hopeful assumption that all men are equal, that people all over the world are the same. They are not. Singapore shall be forever a sovereign democratic and independent nation, founded upon the principles of liberty and justice and ever seeking the welfare and happiness of the people in a most and just equal society. Even from my sick bed, even if you are going to lower me in my grave and I feel something is going wrong, I will get up.

Amen.

Hollande To Face-off Sarkozy in 2012

He just defeated Martine Aubry in the second round of the Primaries organised by Le Parti Socialiste. But it's true that the incumbent President has not yet declared that he will be running again although this is widely expected. Recent polls have predicted that either Aubry or Hollande would defeat Sarkozy next year.

Five years ago, Sarkozy defeated Hollande's spouse, Dakar-born Segolene Royal in the race to L'Elysee. Still, they managed to do something the Clintons did not: both spouses getting their party's nomination in the Presidential Election.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sims and Sargent Win Economics Nobel

Was quite happy to read that Chris Sims had won it yesterday given that he has always been kind of a rockstar in econometrics. That's especially true when you consider how he provided policy makers in the beginning of the 80s with a simplified tool, the vector autoregression, to carry about their business. That was a huge improvement over the large and messy macro-econometric models like those built by Fair.

Incidentally, I was dragged into an econometrics symposium at the end of the 80s in Montreal by one of my university buddies where many of the discipline's Gods were meeting: Zellner, Pagan, Wallace, Geweke along with Sims, Sargent and more. There seemed to be some rivalry between Sims and Sargent and we got a little proof of that when Chris was running down his presentation. Indeed Sargent asked a question that appeared to me to be in quite an aggressive tone: What's the trace of this matrix? My friend too agreed that was rude but told me that she read in one of Sargent's book that he thanked Sims for teaching him all that he knows. Which is a bit what he said yesterday. He also doesn't seem to have any solution to the current global economic problems. I think we should have him as our next Financial Secretary.

And don't miss listening to Chris Sims talking to someone from the Nobel Foundation. Sounds a bit more down-to-earth.

MEF Wants To Resume Talks About Decent Work

This comes right after Minister Shakeel Mohamed pointed an accusing finger at the Mauritius Employers Federation for the failure of Mauritius to ratify the Decent Work Country Program.

Well you can't really blame the MEF: they've been way too busy promoting the indecent rupee depreciation program for so long.

But it's great that the talks are set to start anew.