Tuesday, June 14

Two Headlines Star in Journalistic Rashomon

Two headlines, same story:

Snow hits out at EU antipathy to business: John Snow, the US Treasury secretary, urged European leaders to stop using anti-capitalist rhetoric or risk losing US investment during a visit to Brussels.:

Here's what Snow said in an interview with the blokes from the Eff-Tee:

There?s always anti-business sentiment. It seems to me to be better to think of this not so much as anti-business or pro-business as anti-market/competition and pro-market/competition. Do we want to let markets play a leading role in how economies get organised, how resources get deployed, how risks get taken or not? ?So I always try and frame it in terms of market forces, and support for market forces. I think countries are going to come out ahead that embrace market forces, obviously within a framework of law and responsibility, but embrace market forces on the widest possible basis. Market forces lift people, market forces eradicate poverty, market forces -- properly employed -- raise standards of living. Market forces writ large are one of the great allies of the downtrodden. American business people are going to put capital where they feel they are welcome, where capital is honoured and where they can get good returns. It is not so much the language that is used, it is the policies that get embraced. And if policies get embraced that make capital feel unwelcome, capital won?t come. Those who manage capital have lots and lots of alternatives, and it seems to me short-sighted on the part of anybody to discourage investment in their own country with a set of attitudes that makes capital feel unwelcome.

Preach it, brother John! Yes, maybe the Europeans ought to take a page from American Internet firms doing business in China (see below). Or those French telcoms bringing cell phones to Iraq and Syria. Hell, the cell phones probably would have done more good bringing democracy than the smart bombs, come to think of it.

Now, the Wall Street Journal: Freer Financial-Services Trade Would Benefit EU, Snow Says: Breaking down barriers to financial-services transactions between the U.S. and European Union members would provide a needed lift for the EU economy, U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow said yesterday

You see why you should read more than one newspaper every day? In one take, he's thumping the Bible of market fundamentalism and menacing the pinkos, the next he's "breaking down barriers"--think of Kennedy and Reagan at the Berlin Wall--by way of giving helpful advice to a dim-witted pal who's not doing so great. The former, the plot of The Ugly American, the latter, the plot of a Chick comic ...

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