Euro crisis watch in the north as well as south, and other links

Eurozone breakup a real possibility– The eurozone members cannot credibly backstop the debt. Writedowns and losses are inevitable. It would be better to do it in an orderly fashion, via restructuring, but indeterminacy, aka extend and pretend, is the order of the day.
Charting Europe’s grim sovereign-bank loop
FT Alphaville– This grim sovereign-bank loop is one that’s finally increasingly being picked up by markets, particularly in Spain.
The low countries’ new low
The Guardian– While they may hate being lumped together, the similar choices in both suggest the region may once again merit the collective title of the Low Countries: low in intent, low in outcome, low as in debased.
Belgium’s elections: An artificial kingdom moves closer to its end
The Economist– Belgium is a bit like a company facing a really brutal labour dispute. That is the moment the board appoints a nasty thug as CEO, and the workers elect a militant headbanger as their union representative.
German-French relations on the rocks– It is time for the French to finally save money and the Germans to spend more of it.
Why a tough Europe 2020 strategy is needed to stop the EU from falling behind– The Europe 2020 strategy fails to draw the lessons from the hapless Lisbon strategy. It does not outline a credible route to enhanced growth.

Will major U.S. retailers ever make it big in Britain?– While the British public has long had an appetite for American fast-food vendors, the record of other U.S. retailers who have tried to make it big in Britain is mixed.
What’s in the bottle?– An investigation into the startling fraud accusations that have upended the fine wine world.
They’re just irrational?
Base Line Scenario– Banks don’t accidentally hold too much capital, oil companies don’t accidentally take too many safety precautions. Mistakes only go one way.

The sagging of the middle class
New York Times– Middle-class culture in the United States rests on the precepts of human capitalism, these precepts now seem shakier than they have in the past. No wonder middle-class spirits, as well as incomes, are sagging.
PIMCO on British national solvency
Credit Write Downs– Differences between the Eurozone and sovereign debtors like the UK or US mean PIMCO would not favour Bunds over Treasuries.
Dilbert’s Scott Adams on betting on the bad guys in investing
WSJ– Creator of Dilbert cartoons suggests we invest in companies we hate, like BP.

The economist as journalist
Economic Principals– Recognizing Roubini as a highly accomplished narrator, rather than as a producer of fundamentally new ideas, means reorganizing somewhat our ideas about the Fourth Estate.
Awareness of outside world growing in North Korea– North Koreans are far more aware of the outside world, according to evidence provided by North Korean refugees, South Korean humanitarian aid workers, Chinese traders and others.

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