Thursday, May 23, 2013
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Tim Cook on the "societal stage," testifying at the U.S. Senate. Getty Images
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Jamie Dimon, CEO and Chair of JPMorgan Chase. The duality of roles can benefit him both personally and institutionally. NYT
Monday, May 20, 2013
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Background Picture: hherbzilla on Flickr
Stats and "before/after" picture: Brian Merchant, "This Is Life in a 400 PPM World," Motherboard, May 16, 2013.
See related essay: "Half of the American Population Disagrees with 97% of Climate Scientists on Global Warming."
Thursday, May 16, 2013
"Conférence de François Hollande : les principales annonces et declarations," Le Huffington Post, May 16, 2013.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Because the state governments have relatively more power at the E.U. level than is the case in America, a large state such as Germany that would be paying out can be expected to object, and it has. Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s finance minister, complains that the proposal would require changes to the treaties that serve as basic law of the E.U. As if passing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution were not arduous enough, the comparable process in the E.U. includes referendums in some of the states that would hold the process up. The market will want stability before the treaties could be ratified by enough states in the "euro-zone," Schäuble argued.
This picture depicts the distinctive European model of modern federalism wherein the state governments play a salient role in implementing (and modifying) federal law. source: mapperywordpress.com
Of course, the government officials could decide to go for a single banking regime rather than 27 coordinated regimes even though the treaty-amendment process would be slow and cumbersome. Schäuble’s stated point is that the extra effort could be obviated without sacrificing on the regulatory performance by choosing his proposal. His real point has been that the state of Germany does not want to contribute to a common bank-resolution fund that would involve German money being used to bail out inefficient banks in corrupt states, like Greece and Spain. So I suspect Schäuble would object to a federal banking resolution regime even if legal experts were agreed that no treaty changes would be necessary. Of course, at that point, he could simply point out that his proposal is less like American federalism, and he would instantly become the man of the hour in Europe.
To be sure, increasing the involvement of the state governments beyond their role in the European Council to include legislating federal policy into more specific state law that reflects not only a state's particular context, but also the general principles set in the directive at the federal level captures the distinctive benefit of federalism--namely, being united generally yet diverse locally. However, the danger facing the European project even after fifty years is that the preponderance of power lying with the state governments relative to federal officials and bodies not consisting of state leaders could ultimately result in dissolution of the Union. Schäuble’s proposal implies a fear of consolidation even though the opposite is much more likely, given where the center of gravity exists in the E.U. solar system.
Therefore, Schäuble's more "European" proposal would be preferable, both in terms of federalism and as an alternative to the American model, were the European state governments not already so powerful even at the E.U. level. Schäuble's proposal of having the state governments actively involved in legislating federal policy at the state level could provide a stronger, more integrated federal system than is the case in the U.S., whose states had already been nearly relegated to local matters. Of course were the Europeans to achieve more of a balance of power federally (including reducing the power one state to stand in the way of federal legislation), the European version of modern federal could be an improvement on the earlier American model.