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News Is Not Just Any Old Business

28 Aug

Somehow I missed this news about The Onion (via Tank Riot):

Andrea Hansen, advertising sales manager at Capital Newspapers, which publishes The Onion locally, sent out an email this week explaining that the newspaper was not renewing its contract with The Onion. Hansen could not be reached for comment. Todd Sears, Capital Newspapers’ general manager, did not respond to a request for comment.

Bob Marshall, a spokesman for The Onion’s corporate headquarters in Chicago, confirmed the news in an email.

“Unfortunately, yes, the Madison print edition will discontinue at the end of the month,” Marshall wrote. “The local readership of the paper remains strong, yet with the changing landscape of media, the advertising dollars needed to keep a Madison print edition going just weren’t there.”

I can’t help but lump this mentally in with the sale of The Washington Post to Jeff Bezos, and related developments, such as the blog, The Monkey Cage, moving from independent to WaPo listing (via Marginal Revolution). Leaving aside that The Monkey Cage‘s new paywall deal sounds improvised, Neil Irwin at Wonkblog explains the problems newspapers have today.

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Japan Winning A Race Seoul Doesn’t Want It To Finish

28 May

Japan's First LapHere’s a neat metaphor – all allowances made for the limits of that rhetorical device – for understanding Abenomics: “Ultimately, the BoJ’s asset-purchase program is a bit like throwing giant quantities of damp wood on a fire and hoping that the fire can set the wood alight before the wood smothers the fire.” The Bank of Japan is divided about how to proceed.

Minutes released by the Bank of Japan highlighted a split among policy makers over achieving 2 percent inflation and mixed views on bond market turbulence after Governor Haruhiko Kuroda cited signs the economy is picking up.

“A few” policy makers said that it’s “highly uncertain whether changes in inflation expectations would lead to a rise in the actual rate of inflation,” according to a record of an April 26 meeting, released today in Tokyo. One member said the bond market may become unstable again, while another said rising rates may point to an economic upturn.

Divisions in the board add to communication challenges for Kuroda, 68, as volatility in the stock and bond markets threatens to undermine business and consumer confidence. Kuroda said yesterday that the economy has clearly started picking up and there are no signs investors have “excessively bullish” expectations. He also cited a report indicating interest rates could rise by between one and three percentage points in an improving economy without causing financial instability.
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A New Rhetorical Low

25 May

Blowhards In Korea: I Hope They Were Well-CompensatedThe churlishness expressed in the latest explosion of nationalist outrage in a South Korean daily newspaper editorial is a tribute to adolescence – and spoiled interests.

Abe seems to be hallucinating. The low-yen boom and extreme-rightists’ support have blinded him to push Japan onto an arrogant and selfish path. He is mistaken when he thinks he can challenge the memory and decency of humanity just to be popular among his own ignorant people.

If anything, the world could do without the overwrought rhetorical abuse of “God” in the mix. The Japanese press has responded as childishly and offensively – if only the two countries could recognize their mutual and reinforcing asininity. How do you spank a government?

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