sexta-feira, 29 de fevereiro de 2008
quinta-feira, 28 de fevereiro de 2008
A docile Gentleman—
To come so far so cold a Day
For little Fellowmen—
The Road to Bethlehem
Since He and I were Boys
Was leveled, but for that 'twould be
A rugged Billion Miles—
quarta-feira, 27 de fevereiro de 2008
The “economic situation has become distinctly less favorable” since last summer and “the risks to this outlook remain on the downside,” Mr. Bernanke told the panel, whose leaders focused on the deep slump in the housing industry.
Mr. Bernanke signaled that at least for now, policy makers are more worried about averting or at least softening a possible recession.
Though the Fed is still predicting that the economy will narrowly escape a recession, policy makers have slashed their forecasts for growth in 2008 to less than 2 percent and expect almost no expansion during the first six months of this year.
But Mr. Bernanke warned that even that forecast may prove optimistic. He predicted that the housing downturn will continue to slow the economy “in the coming quarters,” noting that financial markets are still in turmoil and that it has become more difficult to obtain credit. Consumer spending has “slowed significantly,” he said, partly because of rising gasoline prices, slowing job growth and the decline in household wealth as a result of falling home prices.
In exchanges with the lawmakers, Mr. Bernanke agreed that regulation needed to be tighter, or at least more efficient, to avoid another epidemic of mortgage defaults, and for that matter to deter abuses in the credit-card industry.
“We don’t want to create a chilling effect,” Mr. Bernanke said. “We don’t want to shut down these markets. We just want them to work better and, in particular, we think it’s important for consumers to have a better understanding of what it is that they’re buying when they purchase products in these markets.”
The Federal Reserve has proposed rules intended to curb shady lending practices and impose more clarity on lending terms.
The committee chairman, Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, said it was clear that the housing collapse was due in large measure to “the ideology of deregulation.”
“We are in the most significant economic troubles since at least 1998,” Mr. Frank said. “And the single biggest cause was a failure for regulation to keep up with innovation. And it’s, of course, had international consequences as well.”
Mr. Frank said he had often agreed with Mr. Bernanke’s predecessor, Alan Greenspan, whom he credited with patient and prudent leadership on monetary policy. “But in another area I think he erred,” Mr. Frank said. “His view that regulation was almost never required.”
The committee’s ranking Republican, Representative Spencer Bachus of Alabama, was less pessimistic than Mr. Frank. He said he was confident that the Fed’s careful monitoring “combined with responses from the private sector and the natural operation of the business cycle” would steady the economy sooner rather than later.
But he went on, “One lesson we’ve learned from the subprime contagion is just how highly interconnected our financial markets are.” Mr. Bacchus cautioned against “overregulation” caused by different agencies monitoring different sectors of the economy.
“But there may be gaps in the regulation, and I wonder if that is in fact the case,” he said. “There may be areas where the regulation needs to be strengthened or regulation needs to be coordinated better between different regulators, both state and federal.”
Mr. Bernanke tried to make it clear that the Fed is watching inflation closely. He acknowledged that inflation may climb slightly more rapidly than the policy makers projected in January. Fed officials then estimated that consumer prices would climb to a range of 2.1 percent to 2.4 percent in 2008.
“Any tendency of inflation expectations to become unmoored or for the Federal Reserve’s inflation-fighting credibility to be eroded would greatly complicate the task of sustaining price stability and could reduce the flexibility of the F.O.M.C.,” Mr. Bernanke warned Wednesday, referring to the Federal Open Markets Committee, which sets interest rates.
“Accordingly, in the months ahead, the Federal Reserve will continue to closely monitor inflation and inflation expectations.”
But even as he acknowledged the growing dilemma between fighting the downturn and fighting inflation, Mr. Bernanke appeared to put more weight on promoting growth and made it clear he has not shut the door on more reductions in interest rates.
Noting that monetary policy “works with a lag,” the Fed chairman said, “it is important to recognize that downside risks to growth remain.”
More important, he repeated the Fed’s recent promises to “act in a timely manner as needed to support growth and provide adequate insurance to downside risks.”
terça-feira, 26 de fevereiro de 2008
So his point was to show examples of increasing loss in faith in science and technology as holding the key to human salvation.
But there is an official translation in the book A Turning Point for Europe (Ignatius Press, http://www.amazon.com/Turning-Point-Europe-World-Assessment-Forecast/dp/0898704618/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1200937884&sr=8-1, now out of print). From this you will see (Amazon search-inside-the-book!) that the remarks translated at ncrcafe.org are only part of a longer address on "Paths of Faith in the Revolutionary Change of the Present Day." The general point is about the loss of faith in various ideologies that had sustained hope in the late nineteenth and twentieth century. Ratzinger begins with Marxism (writing in 1989) and then moves on to "Analogies and Variations in the Western World" which is subdivided into "The Crisis of Faith in Science," "The Search for the Spiritual and the Ethical," and "New Religiosity," before concluding with "Paths of Faith Today."
The offending passage comes from the section "The Crisis of Faith in Science," and the views of Feyerabend and Weiszacker are presented as extreme forms of this crisis of faith, which reject reason altogether and blame science for such things as the atomic bomb. Weizsacker took "another step forward" on this path, which is not the path that Ratzinger endorses. In the more official translation Ratzinger says that Feyerabend "sounds much more aggressive" than Bloch and that Weizsacker "goes even one step farther." The conclusion of the section then reads "It would be foolish to construct an impulsive apologetic on the basis of such views; faith does not grow out of resentment and skepticism with respect to rationality, but only out of a fundamental affirmation and a spacious reasonableness; we shall come back to this point. I mention all this only as a symptomatic case that permits us to see how deep the self-doubt of the modern age, of science and technology goes today." In this version it is even clearer than in the ncrcafe version that Ratzinger was not endorsing the views of Weizsacker and Feyerabend (whatever you may think of the "loss of faith" story that he tells).
Posted by: Michael Kremer January 21, 2008 at 12:19 PM "
segunda-feira, 25 de fevereiro de 2008
Fidel Castro's sense of his own immortality, legendary during his 49 years as Cuban leader, was never more in evidence than in some of his attitudes towards the Catholic Church. It is said that his advisers had to remind him that Catholicism had been a force in Cuba for half a millennium and was likely to be around after the Comandante en Jefe himself was long gone, and so he had better start to make accommodations with it. Castro is still alive, but his decision this week to step down from his role as president will still come as a surprise to many who had expected him to hold on to power until the very end.
Castro's relationship with the Church has been complex and ambiguous. Indeed, any visitor to the shrine to Our Lady of Charity, the patron of Cuba, in Santiago will find the prayerful offerings and gifts that his devout mother, Lina Ruz, made to the Virgin in return for her son's safety during his guerrilla struggle. One of Castro's close aides, promoted to the rank of commander during the Sierra Maestra campaign, was the Catholic priest Fr Guillermo Sardiñas, with whom he retained a lifelong friendship. After Castro's arrest in the wake of the failed uprising in 1953, he owed his life and his freedom to the guarantees of the Archbishop of Santiago, Enrique Perez Serantes.
As a brilliant student of the Christian Brothers and then the elite Jesuit-run Bethlehem College in Havana, Castro was to retain an abiding respect for the austerity, rigour, discipline and the self-sacrificing commitment of his teachers. In the 1980s, Castro was to shock his comrades with a speech delivered at a party congress in which he held up the example of a religious sister, Sor Fara, a Vincentian nun who ran a hospice for the disabled, as a perfect model for good Communists to emulate. Among the must-see sites for every visitor to Cuba were the old people's homes and day centres run by religious communities but fully funded by the state.
But the Cuban revolution and Castro's relationship with the Church were victims of their time. When Castro and his guerrilla army triumphantly entered Havana on 1 January 1959, the winds of the Second Vatican Council had yet to blow through the Church. This was a time when Rome was warning Italian Catholics, under pain of excommunication, against voting Communist. The emergence of the theology of liberation in Latin America and its progressive message of social justice was a decade away.
So, while some commentators insist that the revolution and Castro's "26 July Movement" (named after a failed attack on that day on a Santiago barracks in 1953) were universally popular, others close to the Church remember the early years of the revolution not as a honeymoon but as a time of mutual distrust. One of the first acts of the Government, the nationalisation of education, came as a cruel blow to the Catholic Church, which in Cuba, unlike in other parts of Latin America, possessed neither great wealth nor lands, but ran a first-class, but elitist, private school system.
The involvement of several Catholic priests in the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, followed by Castro's declaration that the Cuban state was to be both socialist and atheist, marked the end of the shortlived period of tolerance, and unease turned into confrontation, with the Church doing much to help Cubans escape into exile to the US. The state cancelled Christmas, restoring the holiday only in 1997. In the aftermath of the invasion not only Catholics but all "believers" were deemed by the Government as unsuitable for membership of the Communist Party, effectively barring them from a whole range of careers in public service. In this period the "military units to aid production" - the notorious "Umaps" - were created as labour camps for "antisocial" elements, including beggars, petty criminals, homosexuals and even some seminarians.
Cardinal Jaime Ortega, Archbishop of Havana for the last three decades, spent 18 months in a Umap until they were closed down on the direct orders of Castro. For the next two decades, to all intents and purposes the Catholic Church became invisible, denied an outlet to the media and public manifestations of religion.
However, it was the Church of Latin America that had a profound impact on Castro. The "option for the poor" embraced by the 1968 conference of Latin American bishops in Medellín, Colombia, led in time to Castro's becoming a close friend of the Mexican Bishop Sergio Mendez de Arceo. In 1985, the publication of Fidel and Religion, a series of conversations between Castro and Frei Betto, a Brazilian Dominican friar, topped Cuba's bestseller list for months.
In the same year, the Church celebrated the culmination of a two-year process of internal reflection in the National Ecclesial Encounter, in which it committed itself to becoming "incarnate" in the people of Cuba and re-engaging in its missionary purpose. Confrontation and silence developed into dialogue and a level of cooperation. Hesitantly and with setbacks, a process began that led to the visit of Castro to Rome in 1996 and Pope John Paul II's visit to Cuba in 1998.
The most significant challenge for the process was the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, which led to Cuba being increasingly gripped by a siege mentality after the loss of its major trading partners and allies in the socialist bloc. The lifting of the ban on Catholics being members of the party in 1991 was seen as a gesture that was too little and came too late: but as a result many members of the party went public about their Catholic beliefs.
For its part the Catholic Church has long been at pains to avoid confrontation. If it has problems with the Government it has preferred to deal with them in private rather than allow the enemies of Cuba - particularly successive US administrations - to use the Church as a stick to beat the regime. Church leaders have been clear and unequivocal in their condemnation of the economic and trade boycott and they have generally been discreet in their well-founded criticisms. The future leaders of Cuba may well find a valuable ally in the Church in their efforts to make a peaceful transition to democracy, and avert unwanted intervention in the country by the United States.
domingo, 24 de fevereiro de 2008
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird
I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.
The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.
A man and a woman
A man and a woman and a blackbird Are one.
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.
I cicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.
O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.
When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.
At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.
He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.
Was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, on October 2, 1879. He attended Harvard University as an undergraduate from 1897 to 1900. He planned to travel to Paris as a writer, but after a working briefly as a reporter for the New York Herald Times, he decided to study law. He graduated with a degree from New York Law School in 1903 and was admitted to the U.S. Bar in 1904. He practised law in New York City until 1916.
Stevens moved to Connecticut in 1916, having found employment at the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Co., of which he became vice president in 1934. He had begn to establish an identity for himself outside the world of law and business, however, and his first book of poems, Harmonium, published in 1923, exhibited the influence of both the English Romantics and the French symbolists, an inclination to aesthetic philosophy, and a wholly original style and sensibility: exotic, whimsical, infused with the light and color of an Impressionist painting.For the next several years, Stevens focused on his business life. He began to publish new poems in 1930, however, and in the following year, Knopf published an second edition of Harmonium, which included fourteen new poems and left out three of the decidedly weaker ones.
More than any other modern poet, Stevens was concerned with the transformative power of the imagination. Composing poems on his way to and from the office and in the evenings, Stevens continued to spend his days behind a desk at the office, and led a quiet, uneventful life.
Though now considered one of the major American poets of the century, he did not receive widespread recognition until the publication of his Collected Poems, just a year before his death. His major works include Ideas of Order (1935), The Man With the Blue Guitar (1937), Notes Towards a Supreme Fiction (1942), and a collection of essays on poetry, The Necessary Angel (1951).
Stevens died in Hartford in 1955.
sábado, 23 de fevereiro de 2008
Per trovare nel processo economico il luogo in cui questo giocatore d’azzardo possa trovarsi allo stato puro, dobbiamo esaminare i singoli rappresentanti dell’attività economica.
Il lavoratore "specula" nel senso che osserva accuratamente dove gli si offra il posto di lavoro meglio pagato per trovare le condizioni di lavoro più favorevoli: un posto in cui possa aspettarsi un lavoro relativamente facile da portare a termine con una buona retribuzione e orario il più breve possibile. Nessuno sulla faccia della terra può rimproverargli questa speculazione e stigmatizzarlo come fosse un giocatore d’azzardo: anche il lavoratore più zelante cerca un lavoro che corrisponda alle sue aspirazioni personali.
L’imprenditore abbisogna di molta intelligenza per scovare che cosa e come produrre in vista della domanda. Poiché egli, come è il caso in un’economia di mercato, non conosce esattamente il richiedente, può cavarsela solo con l’aiuto di indagini di mercato, nelle quali deve fare i conti con potenziali compratori. Ciò facendo deve pensare anche agli attuali e possibili concorrenti. Tutto ciò significa scrutare, guardarsi attorno, "speculare". La speculazione determina la sua prestazione. Neanche lui è per questo un giocatore d’azzardo: egli vuole soltanto vincere nella gara con i suoi concorrenti grazie a una prestazione migliore.
Il banchiere riflette a come giungere facilmente e sicuramente a clienti che depositino presso di lui i loro risparmi, e ancor più a come può prestare queste somme per poter, grazie agli interessi pagati dai destinatari del prestito e le rendite dei suoi investimenti, assegnare ai suoi clienti gli interessi spettanti e mantenere e far crescere la sua impresa. Nessuno avrà nulla da ridire contro questa speculazione, finché la banca non faccia gravare sul cliente spese che non corrispondono alle loro prestazioni. L’investimento del denaro ricevuto dai clienti richiede la massima attenzione nell’osservare lo sviluppo del mercato delle merci e del denaro, e una seria valutazione dei rischi da affrontare. Per investire i loro patrimoni la banca, in rappresentanza dei suoi clienti, deve rivolgersi alla borsa.
La borsa è per ciò che riguarda lo scrutare e il guardarsi attorno, dunque lo "speculare", il luogo più rischioso e dunque anche più esposto all’accusa di cattiva speculazione. Qui si tratta dello "speculare" lo sviluppo economico prevedibile nel prossimo e lontano futuro. Lo strumento per ottenere profitto da questa speculazione è la transazione a termine. Finché il mediatore di borsa non fa altro che stimare lo sviluppo reale dei prezzi e concludere affari in base a questa stima, egli compie all’economia di mercato un prezioso servigio, per il quale gli spetta il corrispondente profitto. Ma le cose hanno tutt’altro aspetto quando per il proprio utile cerca di manipolare lo sviluppo dei prezzi tramite acquisti o vendite escogitati astutamente, o quando addirittura persegue fini politici con speculazioni valutarie. Qui abbiamo il cattivo giocatore d’azzardo, per il quale soltanto è adatta l’espressione spregiativa di "speculatore".
Se quando un’azione cresce di valore, il commissionario di borsa afferra il telefono o il computer per comprare in un’altra borsa azioni al prezzo vecchio inferiore e poi rivenderle sul posto al prezzo più alto, eticamente questa è pura speculazione individualistica tesa al profitto, che non esercita più alcuna funzione nell’ordinamento economico.
Mentre la transazione a termine può servire a tranquillizzare i mercati, il puro commercio con denaro, senza merci, non è più eticamente giustificabile. D’altra parte è comprensibile che nel sistema delle libere valute il mediatore con la sua speculazione vuole compensare con profitti derivanti dalle variazioni di cambio le perdite che sono sorte dal commercio in valute straniere (assicurazione del rischio). Ma questo è però un circolo vizioso senza fine. Bisogna pensare ancora alla situazione psicologica in cui il mediatore si trova nei suoi affari: egli è dominato o dal desiderio di profitto o dalla paura.
Quando la motivazione è la seconda, si giunge facilmente al crollo dei prezzi di borsa. Da questa situazione si comprende facilmente il pericolo della speculazione valutaria per l’economia globale, addirittura per l’economia mondiale. Profitti degli speculatori di valuta sono perdite della banca nazionale: queste perdite non dovrebbero dunque nelle notizie sul bilancio dei pagamenti essere dissimulate come "perdite contabili".
Come si vede, in ultima analisi il concetto di speculazione viene ricondotto alla mira di colui che specula. Nella scolastica si partiva in linea di principio da questa fattore etico-individuale e si dichiarava che la speculazione era eticamente da respingere laddove il commerciante mirasse unicamente al profitto. Tommaso d’Aquino parlava di profitto solo nel commercio (il guadagno che il produttore cerca a causa della diminuzione dei costi dei suoi prodotti non veniva preso in considerazione). Il profitto da commercio lo riconosceva solo laddove esso veniva impegnato per scopi sociali (mantenimento della famiglia, assistenza ai poveri ecc.) [ S. Theol., II/2, q.77 a 4]. Nel quadro dell’economia di mercato dinamica, che Tommaso d’Aquino ancora non conosceva, il desiderio di profitto non può essere globalmente condannato con questa prospettiva etico-individuale, giacché al desiderio di profitto normalmente è connessa una prestazione socio-economica. Tuttavia questa considerazione etico-sociale riporta in fin dei conti alla decisione etico-individuale, cioè alla responsabilità personale dello speculatore in vista del bene comune economico. E’ questa ancora una riprova che l’etica sociale ed economica non può essere divisa
sexta-feira, 22 de fevereiro de 2008
Espero ansiosamente pela reação de segmentos da intelectualidade católica e da extrema esquerda que insistem em apontar a dívida externa como sendo o grande problema da economia brasileira. Que o segundo grupo tenha uma percepção equivocada da realidade econômica é esperado, mas é surpreendente que isto ainda ocorra com o primeiro grupo. Esta ignorância em matéria econômica é prejudicial a causa daqueles que, como este missivista, defendem uma política econômica com foco nos interesses da maioria sofrida da população brasileira. É necessário estudar mais teoria econômica, teoria da política econômica e melhorar o conhecimento dos dados econômicos. A pratica atual destes dois grupos nada mais é que um conjunto de ignorância em matéria econômica embalada em uma retórica populista que já deveria ter sido relegada a lata de lixo da história.
quinta-feira, 21 de fevereiro de 2008
The soldier sells his family and days.
He learns to fight for freedom and the State;
He sleeps with seven men within six feet.
Hi picks up matches and he cleans out plates;
Is lied to like a child, cursed like a beast.
They crop his head, his dog tags ring like sheep
As his stiff limbs shift wearily to sleep.
Recalled in dreams or letters, else forgot,
His life is smothered like a grave, with dirt;
And his dull torment mottles like a fly’s
The lying amber of the histories
Jarrell's reputation as a poet was established in 1945, while he was still serving in the army, with the publication of his second book, Little Friend, Little Friend, which bitterly and dramatically documents the intense fears and moral struggles of young soldiers. Other volumes followed, all characterized by great technical skill, empathy with the lives of others, and an almost painful sensitivity. Following the war, Jarrell accepted a teaching position at the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, and remained there, except for occasional absences to teach elsewhere, until his death. Even more than for his poems, Jarrell is highly regarded as a peerless literary essayist, and was considered the most astute (and most feared) poetry critic of his generation. Randall Jarrell was struck by a car and killed at the age of 51 in 1965, in a death that may or may not have been a suicide.
quarta-feira, 20 de fevereiro de 2008
terça-feira, 19 de fevereiro de 2008
segunda-feira, 18 de fevereiro de 2008
Há , naturalmente, diferentes modelos de economia de mercado. Em alguns deles, principalmente nos países em desenvolvimento, injustiças e mazelas sociais parecem indicar que uma alternativa socialista estaria na ordem do dia. Contudo, as poucas experiências socialistas são desanimadoras no aspecto econômico e social. É verdade que a Guerra Fria em nada ajudava, mas será que este realmente era o problema?
Para Rosa Luxemburgo a justificativa do socialismo encontrava-se na sua superioridade econômica em relação a economia de mercado. Sem ela o socialismo seria apenas mais uma opção moral para resolver as mazelas sociais. A experiência histórica não parece confirmar tal superioridade e somada a reflexão teórica a partir de Hayek confirmam o papel fundamental do sistema de preços livres para o bom funcionamento do sistema econômico.
Naturalmente, a questão colocada pelo meu ex-professor é importante e ainda espera por uma resposta: como resolver o problema da distribuição da riqueza criada pela economia de mercado sem a eliminação do sistema responsável pela sua criação.
domingo, 17 de fevereiro de 2008
O estranho é que apesar da debacle do Império Sovietico esta visão ainda prevalece.