Shows just how hard it is to make money from a “give something valuable away for free” model, even at YouTube’s massive scale and with Google’s advertising expertise.
Finally, a misperception of a misperception, so to speak: the notion that austerity has failed in Greece. The German group of „economic sages” who advise the government have rebutted this „Anglo-Saxon” accusation. But their rebuttal fails, for reasons Simon Wren-Lewis convincingly sets out. In particular, the Germans’ point that Athens had no alternative to reducing its 15%-of-GDP deficit when private financing dried up in 2010 does not mean the pace of reduction was not counterproductive in terms of debt sustainability – it turned an unavoidable recession into an avoidable collapse – nor that it was right to pay back outstanding debt in full instead of writing it down at the start. Anglo-Saxons and Greek leftists stand together on the right side of this one.
Germany and other creditors can, of course, stick to their demand for the current bailout terms or bust, literally. But Greek GDP has fallen by about as much since 2009 as German output fell during World War I. That is not solely the fault of Greece’s corrupt political class or its broken-down public administration. An insistence on more fiscal tightening is economic madness, with potentially disastrous political consequences, in Greece and beyond. Conversely, fiscal breathing room will create an environment more conducive to the kind of reforms Greece so badly needs.
Syriza is a poor standard-bearer for these reforms. But the new government has shown a willingness—from which it must not stray—to suspend or delay the more controversial parts of its agenda. Its only immediate demand is for the fiscal bonds to be loosened, after six years of recession and five of the most unremitting austerity.
The IMF has admitted to a slew of errors in designing the Greek program. The Germans and their allies should do the same, overlooking the tone of many Greek officials’ pronouncements and instead pushing hard on the substance to make sure Syriza doesn’t backslide. Messrs. Tsipras and Varoufakis have as good as admitted that their electoral program isn’t realistic and have offered concessions. Now it’s Germany’s turn.
Taking out some profits may be a good idea.
At $124 Apple makes and breaks record after record. Where are those impatient bloggers who were asking for Tim Cook’s head a year ago?