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europe - austerity measures

Jeanne Boyarsky
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Joined: May 26, 2003
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I was catching up on the news after skipping reading the paper for a few days. One of the big stories is the "austerity packages" that Italy and Greece are in the process of passing/implementing. Even after some searching in the New York Times, I couldn't find an actual list. I then went on Google news and found. Greece in a Canadian paper and Italy in a British paper. Is it just my paper or is the US not interested in reporting this properly? The New York Times did have several articles on the effect of all this on the euro.

How has your local paper been covering the news? I think ours is too busy with occupy Wall Street and the Republican presidential primary to spend enough time/space on important international news.


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Ulf Dittmer
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Joined: Mar 22, 2005
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  64
In my experience, coverage of topics beyond North America generally gets short shrift in US newspapers. There are some notable exceptions (Boston Globe, New York Times, LA Times, Washington Post) but even in those it may be preempted if US topics loom large.

For reliably comprehensive coverage, check out the BBC web site and maybe the Economist web site for business and finance matters (which has a paywall, but where lots of stuff is still available for free).


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Jeanne Boyarsky
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Ulf Dittmer wrote:In my experience, coverage of topics beyond North America generally gets short shrift in US newspapers. There are some notable exceptions (Boston Globe, New York Times, LA Times, Washington Post) but even in those it may be preempted if US topics loom large.

I guess that is why I was surprised. I read the NY Times so I don't usually have this problem. And they *are* covering the topic. I've read extensively about impact on both the Europe and world economies, protests in Europe, resignations/political changes. The only thing conspicuously missing was what the actual measures were. I think you are right - they are just too busy. Good thing we have the internet!
Ernest Friedman-Hill
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Joined: Jul 08, 2003
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I woke up listening to reporting about the Italian bill on NPR this morning. I remember them saying is that the Italian national debt is something like 1.7 trillion dollars; I looked that up later and that gives them a better debt-to-GDP ratio than the US. The measure included increasing the retirement age to 67 over the next ten years, privatizing some services, selling some government property. It sounded pretty minimal, actually. It didn't sound like it would have much of an effect. In any case, there's one US news source that covered it well.


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Pat Farrell
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Ernest Friedman-Hill wrote: I remember them saying is that the Italian national debt is something like 1.7 trillion dollars; I looked that up later and that gives them a better debt-to-GDP ratio than the US.


I use The Economist for news of the rest of the world. Even the Washington Post will let sex scandals and football crowd out real news.

Any good coverage will point out the Italy is not really in trouble. They have a vibrant economy, good exports, and a small debt problem. To compare them with Greece is unfair. The US should be so lucky at to be in the economic shape of Italy.
Stephan van Hulst
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  17

Italy is in trouble. Big trouble. Mostly because they don't have a small debt problem. They have a huge debt problem. They are not going to be able to overcome the interest rates on government bonds. They are not able to borrow more money, and their current lenders, most notably French banks, are at risk of having to write the debts off. It's totally fair to compare Italy to Greece, Spain, Ireland or Portugal, exactly because their interest rates have reached the same insurmountable levels. The difference is that yes, Italy has a much much larger economy. This makes it *much* more disastrous if it does fail.

On the topic of coverage, it's very broad and in-depth here. No surprise either, because we have big stakes in the matter and the problem is more immediate than it is in the States. And I think our journalism culture is... different... to begin with.
Henry Wong
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Joined: Sep 28, 2004
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  40

Stephan van Hulst wrote:
On the topic of coverage, it's very broad and in-depth here. No surprise either, because we have big stakes in the matter and the problem is more immediate than it is in the States. And I think our journalism culture is... different... to begin with.


In the US, We have broad and in-depth coverage of the Kardashians ...

Henry


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Jeanne Boyarsky
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It's not just the amount of debt that matters. As noted, there is the interest rate which magnifies the amount of debt. There's also the fact that they can no longer print more currency (like the US can) to deal with it. Granted the US can inflate the currency to a point where the debt doesn't mean as much to the debt holders. But borrowing in your own currency means you can still pay. Much harder in Europe. Not that the US is in such great shape either, but it makes the impact of the problem smaller. Which allows our leaders to put off dealing with it and make the problem bigger. Oh right. That's where we are now... I looked on npr.com. They have some of the measures listed. Not in a detailed form or one that looks complete though.

Pat: The problem seems to be how we define "real news." If we were happy to read about Lohan going to jail again, we wouldn't have this problem. Of course, we also wouldn't know what is going on. But people seem to be happier that way.
Frank Silbermann
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Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1387
Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:It's not just the amount of debt that matters. As noted, there is the interest rate which magnifies the amount of debt. There's also the fact that they can no longer print more currency (like the US can) to deal with it. Granted the US can inflate the currency to a point where the debt doesn't mean as much to the debt holders. But borrowing in your own currency means you can still pay. Much harder in Europe. Not that the US is in such great shape either, but it makes the impact of the problem smaller. Which allows our leaders to put off dealing with it and make the problem bigger. Oh right. That's where we are now... I looked on npr.com. They have some of the measures listed. Not in a detailed form or one that looks complete though.

Pat: The problem seems to be how we define "real news." If we were happy to read about Lohan going to jail again, we wouldn't have this problem. Of course, we also wouldn't know what is going on. But people seem to be happier that way.
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