For the past several weeks I have been buried in the work of academia, grading a mountain of exams and essays. I am nearly finished and will return to regular blogging shortly. My students will be able to find the course outlines for the second term, Poli 349 and Poli 363 on this blog shortly. In the meantime they can consult the previous year’s outlines for these courses on my previous blog, Harold Chorney political economist. Simply google the course numbers and my name and you will be directed to the outlines. The new ones should appear here by Tuesday morning.
Despite an absence from the blog for most of the past month I can’t really say that there have been dramatic improvements in either the on going crisis of the euro and sovereign debt or the long overdue economic recovery. But there have been some smaller signs of progress. In the United States there are some positive signs in terms of employment, the housing markets and the general level of confidence. If it were not for the fears about Europe I suspect the recovery would even be stronger in the U.S. Canada has showed some signs of a slower rate of growth but we will have to await further data to confirm this. Europe is still mired in its obsession with counterproductive austerity and the ECB still refuses to buy sovereign debt directly but it did inject close to 500 billion euros in the form of very cheap loans to the private banking sector . Some of these loans may well be used to increase the purchase of sovereign debt and thereby improve the private banks balance sheets plus lower interest rates on the debt. This appears thus far to have happened to a small extent with Italian sovereign debt. But there is much more work to be done to ensure that there is not another deep technical recession in Europe. Austerity is a bad policy that needs to be abandoned in order to permit the European economies to grow and generate jobs. The ECB is moving in a better direction but it needs to go much further . Nevertheless its a new year and what could be better a time for reawakening some optimism, animal spirits, entrepreneurial enthusiasm and a sense of hope for a healthy, happy and more prosperous year for everyone than the dawn of a new year. So once again Happy New Year !