Good morning

The headlines:

  1. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former head of the IMF, has been charged with “illegally procuring prostitutes”.  I realise that this is no longer finance-related. But juice is juice. And I was intrigued: because how do you illegally procure prostitutes? I was under the impression that either prostitution is legal or it isn’t. Apparently not. The issue in France: it’s totally fine to find your own fun; but it’s not fine when your mate finds it for you. So really, he should be charged with “illegally having prostitutes procured for him”. It’s a crazy world. Link: D S-K and the Carlton Sex Ring.
  2. Apple CEO Tim Cook is in China and planning more investment therein. Apple has recently signed a deal a second Chinese telecom provider, China Telecom Corp. – this has doubled their potential customer base in the country. Strangely, Apple has not signed on with China Mobile Ltd, the largest telecom carrier in the world by customers. Apparently, the iPhone does not work on China Mobile’s “home-grown” 3G network. I wonder if it’s a stand-off between giants… Apple: “We are the world. Change your network”. China Mobile: “We are the people. Change your phone”. Link: Apple Plans Further Chinese Investment.
  3. So in case anyone missed in, Jim Yong Kim was the surprise US nomination for World Bank president, and he’s coming under criticism for being anti-economic growth. Now this is really interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly, he’s not Hillary Clinton. Secondly, he’s not someone else. Thirdly, he’s very experienced at World Health – which I find strangely ironic. If there’s no doctor in the house, call one in? Admittedly, he’s not an expert in World Economic Health – but I reckon that the principle is the same. Capital flows and blood flows: when too much blood pumps, you get high blood pressure, a clot, and an aneurism. I think that the technical term is “the boom and bust cycle”. And whence cometh the criticism? Well – he wrote (actually, he co-edited) a book called “Dying for Growth” that argued that neoliberalism and corporate-led economic growth has actually left the poor and middle classes in developing countries worse off. Uproar! Except for the libertarians, who are nodding heads sagely in agreement. Folks: I think that the evidence is empirical. Either way – the argument is that economic growth is not enough – it needs to be sustainable (ie: a function of something other than monetary stimulus). Agreed. I’m a fan. Link: US World Bank Nominee Under Fire.
  4. Greg Smith, Mr “Goldman Sachs calls clients ‘muppets’ and I’m leaving in a huff”, is shopping around for a publisher. Actually – he’s auctioning off the rights to publish the tell-all (smart guy – no doubt). The price-tag may be as high as $1 million: which maybe seems a bit low, considering the types of bonus one would have had at GS? is asking around for title suggestions. Thoughts? I’m voting with “Way Lost, Weigh Less: Helping Miss Piggy”. Link: The Goldman Tell-All
  5. Ben Bernanke says that accommodative monetary policy is still needed. I don’t have too much to add. Maybe the new World Bank nominee would ask if this is a bit like treating a headache with morphine? In the end, everything will slow down. Link: Bernanke says accommodative policy still needed.
  6. And the African Business News in Brief. Link: ABN Briefs. The highlights:
    • HSBC is looking to sell its retail banking and wealth management operation in Mauritius.
    • Chinese-run miner Anjin, the largest in Zimbabwe’s Marange diamond fields, has ended a two-day strike by agreeing to a 25% wage increase for workers. Previous walk-outs have taken place over “beatings by management”. Hectic.
    • More natural gas has been discovered off the coast of Tanzania by BC Group and Ophir Energy than previously anticipated.
And that’s all for now.
Happy Tuesday.