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So, too, was weaker current-year growth. This is surprising. In theory solvency should be a function of longer-term growth and fiscal trends, but markets instead seem to care more about the short term. Carlo Cottarelli and Laura Jaramillo of the IMF say tighter fiscal policy, by hurting the near-term growth outlook, could actually lead to wider, rather than narrower, spreads. Cut the deficit too aggressively, in other words, and the negative impact on growth and the rise in the cost of debt service from higher spreads could result in a higher, not lower, debt-to-GDP ratio.
Mr Cottarelli and Ms Jaramillo advise caution in interpreting these results: they may reflect circumstances unique to Their findings do not mean austerity should be avoided at all costs; but they do suggest it should be accompanied by steps to protect growth. And the study explains why the IMF is urging many countries with a choice not to press austerity further this year. Pace yourselves.
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Pero puede que no resulte ser una buena noticia. La austeridad puede que desconcierte a los mercados, pero no los calma. Lo que es sorprendente. Tomadlo con calma. The outcome of the swap transaction boosted other emerging markets with both debt and equity prices rising. Traders said the completion of the Argentine deal had removed much uncertainty hanging over Latin American asset prices in recent weeks.
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Brazilian debt, which had seen a sell-off as some investors sold to buy Argentine debt, also firmed. This represents a significant easing of the country's immediate financing needs and keeps the door of the international capital markets wide open. Mr Booth said it was "a vote of confidence in Domingo Cavallo", the country's economy minister, who undertook a tour of world financial capitals to convince investors to participate. Mr Cavallo was careful during the investor roadshows to stress that there was no official target, so he will have been pleased that the response was so high.
Two domestic issues were also created. That accounts for the relatively high interest from foreign investors," said a trader at a London bank. The toppling of Arab tyrants has lent urgency to a similar enquiry: do Islam and Islamism permit the legal and social conditions that make for prosperity?
Clearly many modern religious leaders have strong ideas about economics. In western Europe, organised Christianity often acts as a modest voice in the ranks of the egalitarian left. In recent days, Richard Chartres, the bishop of London, has asked them to leave, while acknowledging that they had raised important issues. In America religious voices both praise and decry the capitalist order.
Also on the borderline between economics and ethics, many religious leaders have taken up the cause of climate change, and urged people to change their behaviour—though this week an Australian cardinal, George Pell, bucked that trend by addressing a group of climate-change sceptics in London. But all the most interesting theories about religion and behaviour refer to unconscious influences. The best-known was devised by Max Weber, a father of modern sociology, who drew a connection between the Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism. Unlike many other forms of faith, Protestantism has no mystical rite to absolve sin.
Protestant Germany did prosper, but not because of theology or psychology. Protestants wanted boys and girls to be able to read the Bible; higher literacy led to faster development. But for a given level of education, Protestants and Catholics did equally well. Besides, the Catholic bits of Germany such as Bavaria are the richest. South Koreans both in their homeland and as migrants to America often convert from Buddhism to Protestantism as they rise economically.
All this may reflect the fact that some kinds of Protestantism like many strains of Islam sit easily with a disciplined, reflective way of life. It would be odd if that had no economic effects. But many attempts to link doctrine and economics have run up against exceptions and better explanations.
In the Ottoman empire and in some post-Ottoman places , Christian and Jewish minorities flourished in business. Does that imply winking at misdeeds? Possibly—but then try explaining why Greek-Americans, who are at least as devout as their motherland kin, do so very well in business, education and public service. Of course, none of this proves anything about how Muslim beliefs make people behave. Like all great religions, Islam is a complex system of beliefs, and people usually emphasise the features which appeal to them. If that is true, then modern Turkey may provide a uniquely favourable arena: secular law combined with the diligence and sobriety in several senses of Muslim Calvinists.
He thinks the poor-ish showing of Muslim businessmen reflects Hindu practices that allow the build-up of family wealth, while Islam dissipates it by mandating legacies to distant kin. This gap emerged under the Raj, and seems to persist in modern India where different faiths still use different family law. One problem, says Mr Kuran, is that religiously-inspired institutions change more slowly than religious dogma. Even text-based creeds, based on one-off divine revelation, can be quite flexible in reacting to new economic circumstances.
But the world of Islam, in his view, has been held back by institutions like the waqf, a sort of Islamic charity which people sometimes use to create jobs for their families. Las protestas anti bancarias de este mes en Londres encontraron al principio una acogida amistosa para su campamento en la catedral de Saint Paul. Puede que todo esto refleje que algunos tipos de protestantismo, al igual que muchas variantes del islamismo, le convienen al modo de vida reflexivo y disciplinado.
Por supuesto que esto no prueba nada sobre la manera como las creencias musulmanas hacen que se comporte la gente. The economy expanded by 7. But four years later that promise has disappeared. Under Ms Rousseff the economy has stalled and social progress has slowed. In June over a million Brazilians took to the streets to protest against poor public services and political corruption.
Ever since the protests the polls have shown that two-thirds of respondents want the next president to be different. In the event she secured That is mainly because most Brazilians have not yet felt the economic chill in their daily lives—though they soon will. If Brazil is to avoid another four years of drift, it is vital that he succeeds in doing so.
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Two months ago the third-placed candidate, Eduardo Campos, died in a plane crash on his way to a rally. His former running-mate and replacement, Marina Silva, surged into the lead in the polls. But attractive though her lack of a political machine might have seemed, it was a liability.
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Faced with sometimes underhand attacks from Ms Rousseff, Ms Silva wobbled. It did not help that she is an evangelical Protestant in what is still a largely Catholic country. These are real achievements. But alongside them are bigger, but less palpable, failures, both on the economy and in politics. The troubled world economy and the end of the great commodity boom see article have hurt Brazil. But it has fared worse than its Latin American neighbours. She has damaged both Petrobras, the state oil company, and the ethanol industry by holding down the price of petrol to mitigate the inflationary impact of her loose fiscal policy.
A bribery scandal in Petrobras underlines that it is the PT, and not its opponents as Ms Rousseff claims, who cannot be trusted with what was once a national jewel. No wonder the government has been unable to find the extra money for health care and transport that the protesters demanded. For the past 12 years Lula, who still has the ear of the poor, has caricatured the PSDB as a party of heartless fat cats. He promises to put the country back on the path of economic growth. His record, and that of his party, makes his claim credible. He did so largely by cutting bureaucracy.
He has an impressive team of advisers led by Arminio Fraga, a former Central Bank governor who is respected by investors. As well as a return to sound macroeconomic policies, his team promise to slash the number of ministries, make Congress more accountable to voters, simplify the tax system and boost private investment in infrastructure. Mr Neves deserves to win. He has fought a dogged campaign and proved that he can make his economic policies work.
With luck the endorsement of Ms Silva, a former PT member born in poverty, should bolster his case. Brazil needs growth and better government. Mr Neves is likelier to deliver these than Ms Rousseff is. Por lo que era de esperar que hubiese perdido Rousseff en la primera vuelta de las elecciones presidenciales el 5 de octubre pasado. Cuando enfrentaba los ataques a veces solapados de Rousseff, Silva trastabillaba. Son logros reales. Pero le ha ido peor que a sus vecinos latinoamericanos.
Su trayectoria, y la de su partido, le otorgan credibilidad. Posee un equipo impresionante de consejeros liderados por Arminio Fraga, antiguo presidente del Banco Central, y respetado por los inversionistas. Neves merece ganar. El Brasil necesita crecimiento y un gobierno mejor. As our special report this week explains, firms of all types are harnessing AI to forecast demand, hire workers and deal with customers. Such grandiose forecasts kindle anxiety as well as hope.
Many fret that AI could destroy jobs faster than it creates them.