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Martin Lowy
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I was trained as a lawyer and practiced in the fields of corporate law and bank regulation in large U.S. firms for 20 years, then decided to do other things. My career has included banking and being an entrepreneur. For seven years I was CEO of a high-tech sports business. I have retired from... More
  • Eurozone Opera Buffo

    Act I: Greece

    The cradle of democracy

    Athens was when the world was wee

    But now the Greeks keep phony books

    And whitewash them that was the cooks.

    I always admired the Peloponesis

    Believing that's where the best of Greece is

    But lately I have come to think

    Greece is a state that's over the brink.

    It seems like now its Papa land

    With heads stuck firmly in the sand

    With euros stowed in Switzerland

    The local economy can't expand.

    Dance Interlude: Dexia

    See double-failing Dexia

    Whose municipal loans were sexia

    Backed by Franco-Belge dyslexia

    So politically correctsia.

    Those rhymes are awful, I hear you chorus

    Have you at last lost your thesaurus?

    Okay, I'll try to stay in line

    I will, I will, but please don't whine.

    Act II: Merkel's Search

    Cans were kicked down multiple roads.

    Angela Merkel kissed the toads

    Hoping to find just one Prince.

    Some of the pictures made one wince.

    Act III: The Man of the Hour

    Then out of the forest, damp and foggy,

    Came the voice of Mario Draghi

    "The vice president and I welcome you

    To a central bank that's new.

    Just pretend I am German now;

    Defend the euro I will vow

    But never to a sovereign lend

    Instead on banks we must depend;

    We stuff them with liquidity

    And they the best of conduits be.

    What they'll do with all that cash

    Is their affair, go have a bash.

    Private enterprise, you will see

    Can fix the stuff that governments flee

    I know the rules, I know the facts

    Cause I was trained at Goldman Sachs."

    Act IV: Italy

    Scene 1: Public Policy

    Then out of the muck of Italy's maw

    Mario Monti got the draw

    And onto the wheel he put his paw

    Reshaping his country law by law.

    Known to all as a technocrat,

    New governing forces he begat,

    New taxes, policies passed like that,

    Cutting through ages of fat.

    Now with two Nintendo guys

    Critics see what made them wise;

    Jumping on their trampolines

    Conceals their forward-thinking means.

    Sheltering from the great deluge

    With Italian subterfuge

    Machiavelli they've read with elation

    But only in a German translation.

    I've no doubt they will prevail

    Bending themselves against the gale

    Cause Draghi has the printing press

    And Monti a secret worth no less.

    Scene 2: Italian Women

    Italian women are they key

    To renewal for Italy.

    Fertility rate is one point six

    Something that they must fix.

    Their working rate is 40 percent.

    Tho beauty and grace are heaven sent

    The nation they cannot propel

    If sloth will pave the way to hell.

    La Dolce Vita they'll forsake.

    More bambini they will make

    To cure deficient demographics

    Taking time from romance classics.

    Off to work they will go

    So GDP can grow and grow.

    Italian population bombs

    Becoming Roman soccer moms.

    Maybe they'll even go to mass

    Uh, no, I think they will give that a pass.

    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

    Tags: economy
    Feb 06 10:05 AM | Link | Comment!
  • The Time Has Come for Italian Women to Come to the Aid of Their Country

    Part of the Italian problem is la dolce vita. Fewer women work in Italy than most places, and the Italian fertility rate is low as well. About 38% of Italian women work, compared with over 50% on average in Europe and close to 60% in the U.S. The Italian fertility rate is 1.5, compared with 2.1 in the U.S. If Italian women went to work and had more bambini, Italy’s economic future would be much brighter. Admittedly, Italian women may be the sexiest in Europe, but the combination of low work participation and low fertility rate suggests that Italian women are getting a free ride at the expense of their country.

    Going to work would have the greatest immediate impact because it would increase the country’s GDP, quite possibly significantly. If, for example, 15% of Italian women went to work, the GDP increase could be 7% a year, which would be enough to make Italy’s debts much more bearable.

    Just as important for a country that has large, unfunded obligations to older people, increasing the fertility rate to the replacement level of 2.1 could be crucial to the economy’s long-term health. If the fertility rate does not increase, then there must be a substantial flow of immigrants to fill the gap or the promises to the elderly must be repudiated.

    The message to Mario Monte is clear: Mobilize the women of Italy to save their country. Beauty is not their only asset.



    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
    Nov 29 7:56 AM | Link | Comment!
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