Good morning

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The headlines:

  1. Mining in India.

    Link: the damage caused by over-regulation.

    Maybe it’s because we’re getting to the end of the week – but a lot of today’s news seems either repetitive, or frivolous. So I’ve decided to have a “what does this frivolity suggest” attitude this Friday.

    The crux of this article is these two brothers, who are big billionaires in India, planning on closing their Indian mining operations, because they’re fed up with waiting for the government to grant mining licences. It’s not the first time that has talked about India’s struggles with a top-heavy bureaucracy (a similar complaint by Mr Mittal of Ascelor-Mittal, and the general electricity blackout a few months ago, spring to mind).

    Now I agree on some level that the capitalist machine should roll and the miners should get extracting. On the other hand, if I can draw a parallel – the IMF & co have often criticised Africa (in general) for having a poorly developed financial sector. Maybe that was a bad thing in the global boom of the mid-noughties, and they missed out on some Foreign Direct Investment. But then it left Africa relatively sheltered from the financial crisis when it hit. And what was “unsophisticated” became “sensible”.

    In the same way: there has been a subtle and not-well-publicized shift in the climate change story. The new head of the World Bank has recently come out and cited “incontrovertible proof” of global warming. The UN has been busily publishing reports that read like Mayan prophecy and/or the Book of Revelation.

    So sure – there may be some Indians that don’t get jobs today. But on the other hand, less mining will mean that there may be more water to go around in 2015. When the UN report predicts the beginning of the end.

    But still – it would be better if this decision were deliberate rather than fumbling fortuitousness.

  2. China’s economic opening to be accelerated.

    Link: does business news not sound a lot like “he said… she said…”?

    Mr newly-appointed deputy of the unfree world, Li Keqiang, has said that economic overhaul in China must accelerate. This includes “improving state-owned enterprises” – and the disbelievers out there will be listing a host of African, Latin-America, European and South-Asian countries where nationalisation has been a giant fail, and denationalisation has been a win.

    On the other hand – China has grown at a 10% clip for years, whilst continuing to be Communist and fixed-exchange-rate-regime and capital-controlling and all the things that would have Christine Lagarde paling at the economic thought*.

    So I would not put it past them to make nationalisation work. And even if they don’t, to hand it over to their National Statistics Office, who will almost certainly make it work.

    *And we know that Ms Lagarde doesn’t have the paling complexion…

  3. Rinehart speaks out.

    Link: how to make Australia rich.

    The “slothful, vicious baby elephant”** has taken another dig at the Australian Labour Government over their recent carbon and mining taxes. She wrote a book about it, and declared that Australia could become another Greece/Spain/Portugal by overspending and losing competitiveness.

    This is not the first time she has bought up the topic of “West Africa” and their $2 per day salaries. My thought is that she should call up the guys at Lonmin/Anglogold/Goldfields and ask them how it’s going at $2 per day.

    Any bets that the response is: “Plenty strikes, but not very plenty productivity”? Followed swiftly by: “Can you recommend some mechanisation methods?”

    To say nothing of the fact that Australia is a police state with no problems in raising and/or collecting taxes. I mean – I’ve watched “Border Security” on discovery channel. There is nothing the same in the Mediterranean. At all.

    **A father’s love.

  4. Appointment to the ECB.

    Link: while the world is crashing around us, we’ll all still be squabbling over seats.

    After Spain’s candidate on the ECB board reached the end of his tenure on 31 May, some intense jockeying for the position took place. Spain fully expected another Spanish candidate to take Jose Manuel Gonzalez-Paramo’s place. Germany was reluctant. Then with the French political turnover, Spain lost a supporter, and Mr Mersch of Luxembourg was nominated.

    Then he was rejected by the EU parliament, who suddenly decided that they wanted a woman-candidate. There were then some votes. And then there was superceding by direct appeal to the EU leaders, where it was then blocked by Spain’s prime minister.

    At which point, it came onto the agenda of the EU Summit – where Spain didn’t have a right of veto and Mr Mersch’s appointment was approved.

    MEANWHILE: Greece. Still no decision.


That’s all for now.

Have a good day.