Tag Archives: USA

Argentina’s Debt Negotiations

In the FT, Chris Giles, Gillian Tett, Elaine Moore and Benedict Mander report about the negotiations between Argentina and the country’s creditors that are about to start, now that the new government has taken office.

Argentina’s finance minister has announced that the country intends to honor the face value of outstanding debt but wishes to negotiate interest payments.

As a sign of support from the international community, Jack Lew, Treasury secretary, announced that the US had ended its formal opposition to the World Bank and other multilateral development banks’ lending to Argentina.

Observers expect that the IMF will soon be involved to provide technical assistance.

In an FT blog, Charles Blitzer argues that successful negotiations should start with a non-disclosure agreement. He links to the Institute of International Finance‘s Principles for Stable Capital Flows and Fair Debt Restructuring.

America’s World-Wide Justice System

The Economist critically reports about the US legal system’s international reach. The article identifies several reasons for the activity of American prosecutors:

  • The US feels entitled to run down anybody who directly or indirectly uses services of the US banking system “or plans an illegal scheme on its soil.”
  • Persons may also be charged on the basis of violations of the “Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act” or the “Travel Act.” The latter stipulates that it is illegal to use “any facility in interstate commerce to carry out an illegal activity.”
  • Plea-bargaining is common, in contrast to Europe. This helps to build cases bottom up.
  • While European justice systems emphasize “comity”—not interfering with other countries’ legal affairs unless war crimes are concerned—this is not the case in the US.

In another article, The Economist reports about the US Treasury’s

powers to act against those who facilitate financial crime, anywhere in the world, by labelling them a “primary money-laundering concern”

based on section 311 of America’s “Patriot Act” of 2001. The report suggests that the section is used as a political instrument and that double standards apply. Moreover,

[i]t is an administrative procedure, not a judicial one. Only the Treasury knows how much evidence it has, and how reliable it is.


The Economist featured a special report on universities. Some elements:

On the value added of university education (see this article):

Employers are not much interested in the education universities provide either. Lauren Rivera of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management interviewed 120 recruiters from American law firms, management consultancies and investment banks. Their principal filter was the applicant’s university. Unless he had attended one of the top institutions, he was not even considered. “Evaluators relied so intensely on ‘school’ as a criterion of evaluation not because they believed that the content of elite curricula better prepared students for life in their firms…but because of the perceived rigour of the admissions process,” Ms Rivera wrote. After the status of the institution, recruiters looked not at students’ grades but at their extracurricular activities, preferring the team sports—lacrosse, field-hockey and rowing—favoured by well-off white men.

On rankings (see this article): More than 50 of the top 100 universities (according to the Shanghai ranking) are located in the US. Switzerland has the highest density of these institutions per capita (6.2 top universities per 10m people, next is Sweden before the Netherlands).

On public and private funding (see this article):


World War II in 42 Maps

Timothy Lee and collaborators provide a map-based account of World War II in Vox. Short texts and 42 maps cover Germany, China and Japan, Central Europe, Finland, France and the UK, Russia, the Pacific, Africa, the Allies’ invasions, the Holocaust, Israel and Korea, among other aspects. An animated map displays the opponents’ varying spheres of influence during the war years.