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Monday, December 12, 2011

Sunday Night Futures

by Calculated Risk on 12/12/2011 12:26:00 AM

A depressing column from Paul Krugman at the NY Times: Depression and Democracy

Let’s talk, in particular, about what’s happening in Europe — not because all is well with America, but because the gravity of European political developments isn’t widely understood.

First of all, the crisis of the euro is killing the European dream. ... Specifically, demands for ever-harsher austerity, with no offsetting effort to foster growth, have done double damage. They have failed as economic policy, worsening unemployment without restoring confidence; a Europe-wide recession now looks likely even if the immediate threat of financial crisis is contained.
Nobody familiar with Europe’s history can look at this resurgence of hostility without feeling a shiver. Yet there may be worse things happening.

Right-wing populists are on the rise from Austria ... to Finland, where the anti-immigrant True Finns party had a strong electoral showing last April. And these are rich countries whose economies have held up fairly well. Matters look even more ominous in the poorer nations of Central and Eastern Europe.
And in at least one nation, Hungary, democratic institutions are being undermined as we speak.

One of Hungary’s major parties, Jobbik, is a nightmare out of the 1930s: it’s anti-Roma (Gypsy), it’s anti-Semitic, and it even had a paramilitary arm. But the immediate threat comes from Fidesz, the governing center-right party.
The European Union missed the chance to head off the power grab at the start ... It will be much harder to reverse the slide now. Yet Europe’s leaders had better try, or risk losing everything they stand for.

And they also need to rethink their failing economic policies. If they don’t, there will be more backsliding on democracy — and the breakup of the euro may be the least of their worries.
The Asian markets are mostly green tonight. The Nikkei is up about 1.5%, and the Hang Seng is up 1.4%.

From CNBC: Pre-Market Data and Bloomberg futures: the S&P 500 and Dow futures are down slightly.

Oil: WTI futures are down to $99.16 and Brent is down to $108.17 per barrel.

Summary for Week ending Dec 9th
Schedule for Week of Dec 11th