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Economics

Wordlist

Market – рынок
Investor – вкладчик капитала, инвестор
Jitters – нервное возбуждение; испуг
Default – неплатёж, дефолт
Debt – долг, обязательство
Downgrade – падение, упадок
Bailout – финансовая помощь, спасение (от банкротства)
Credit rating – оценка кредитоспособности
Banking system – банковская система
Vulture funds – общество с ограниченной ответственностью, вкладывающее деньги в обесценившуюся собственность (с целью получить доход после повышения цен)
Economic collapse – экономический крах
CAA – Computer Augmented Acceleration – компьютерное регулирование скорости вращения видеодиска
CCC – Customs Co-operation Council – cовет по таможенному сотрудничеству

To rebound – оживиться, воспрянуть, оправиться
To scramble – драться, бороться (за овладение чем-л.)
To embolden – поощрять, содействовать, стимулировать
To exemplify – иллюстрировать, показывать (на примере чего-л.), приводить пример
To acquire – получать, приобретать, извлекать
To redeem – выкупать, погашать, возвращать

1. Investor – a person or organization that invests money.
2. Default – the way that something will appear or be done if you make no other choice, especially on a computer.
3. To scramble – to hurry or try very hard to get something, often competing with other people.
4. To acquire – to get something, for example by buying it or being given it.
5. To redeem – to get money by selling shares that you own in a company.
6. He is in debt to me for a large sum.
7. What if the I.M.F. doesn't give Pakistan a bailout package?
8. Her spirit rebounded after talking to me.
9. What emboldened him to make the attempt?
10. Four articles on the downgrade.

Debt Contagion and the Global Economic Collapse

Welcome. This is James Corbett of The Corbett Report with your Sunday Update from the Centre for Research on Globalization at globalresearch.ca. And now for the real news. World markets experienced dramatic losses and rebounds last week as investors watched economic developments in Greece with growing anxiety. The jitters come after weeks of gathering turmoil in the Eurozone, starting earlier this month when credit rating agency Moody's Investors Service downgraded Greek debt to CAA1 and indicated a 50% chance that the country would default on its bonds. Just two weeks ago, standard and poor responded by downgrading Greek debt to CCC, giving it the lowest credit rating for any country in the world. One fear is that the contagion of a Greek default would spread throughout the Eurozone, causing borrowing rates for other fragile European economies in Ireland and Portugal to skyrocket. A Portugal default would be a massive hit to the Spanish banking system, which has the largest exposure to Portuguese debt in the Eurozone. Now Moody's has threatened to downgrade the credit worthiness of some of the largest Italian banks, and has put the Italian public debt on review for downgrade. The EU and the IMF have scrambled to throw together a second massive bailout for the tiny Greek nation, this one expected to be worth 120 billion Euros , with 12 billion Euros of those funds to be disbursed early next month. The Greek parliament will have to vote this week on whether or not to accept the package, which contains another round of punishing austerity measures as conditions for the funds. As European leaders scramble to further ensnare Greece in a web of bailouts, the Greek people have once again taken to the streets en masse to protest the austerity cuts that are the condition for the so-called rescue. Mass riots have turned the streets of Athens into battlezones between protesters and police, with demonstrators throwing stones and petrol bombs, and police returning fire with tear gas and stun grenades. These protests are reflected in similar large scale marches in Spain, where demonstrators from Barcelona, Valenca, Cadiz, and other areas of the country plan to converge for a mass demonstration in Madrid next month, where activists have been occupying the central square for several weeks. Now the Germans are beginning to show their frustration at shouldering the brunt of the burden for the Eurozone bailouts, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel under attack by members of her own party for her handling of the crisis. Puzzlingly, the fact that so many European nations are on the verge of economic collapse and the future of the Euro itself has now come in to question has not only failed to give proponents of European integration pause for thought, it has emboldened them to use the crisis to argue for further centralization of power in the European Union. Earlier this month, European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet used the occasion of a gala where he accepted the Charlemagne prize for contributions to European unity to call for the creation of a european finance ministry with authority to exercise control of the governments of individual nations. Speaking at the gala, Trichet opined: "In this union of tomorrow, would it be too bold, in the economic field, with a single market and a single central bank, to envisage a ministry of finance of the union?" Last week the centre-left German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung wrote: "The idea to create a European monetary fund comes from German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble. It's hardly believable that the world's second-largest currency doesn't already have such an independent institution. Perhaps some things are too ambitious for the moment, but there's no reason not to try." However, critics note how the very tendency toward centralization exemplified by the single European currency has itself been the cause of many of the problems and made the risk of a systemic meltdown spreading beyond the borders of each nation that much more likely. On the floor of the European Parliament in Brussels last week, Member of European Parliament Nigel Farage took the opportunity to put these criticisms to EU President Jose Manuel Barroso. Meanwhile in the US, even the Federal Reserve is admitting that the American economy is slowing down, cutting their growth forecast for both this year and next. At a press conference announcing the decision, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke admitted he doesn't understand why the economy is in such dire straits . Now even mainstream media outlets are beginning to discuss the extent of America's economic woes and to openly air critiques of the Federal Reserve and chairman Bernanke. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the banks, vulture funds, and financiers are positioning themselves to benefit from the economic turmoil the world over. In Europe, banks such as the German investment fund StarCap, Swiss private bank Julius Baer, US asset managers BlackRock and others have acquired 150 million Euros of Greek debt in the secondary market. The bonds are currently trading at one half of face value, but the vulture funds are betting on redeeming the debt at par if the bonds are secured as part of a second bailout. In the US, Wells Fargo and Deutsche Bank have attempted to redeem their reputations by promising 2.4 million dollars for a fund that is designed to rehab foreclosed homes and provide assistance to borrowers. The department of justice opened an investigation into Deutsche Bank earlier this year for accusations that it had filed false documents in foreclosure proceedings and lied to a bankruptcy judge, and Wells. Fargo admitted in February that it was being investigated by several agencies for its foreclosure practices. Some homeowners who have been subject to fraudulent foreclosure proceedings, however, have decided not to wait for government action and have instead started their own foreclosure proceedings to seize bank property.

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Be motivated: Don't hope... Decide!

While waiting to pick up a friend at the airport in Portland, Oregon, I had one of those life-changing experiences that you hear other people talk about — the kind that sneaks up on you unexpectedly. This one occurred a mere two feet away from me.
Straining to locate my friend among the passengers deplaning through the jet way, I noticed a man coming toward me carrying two light bags. He stopped right next to me to greet his family.
First he motioned to his youngest son (maybe six years old) as he laid down his bags. They gave each other a long, loving hug. As they separated enough to look in each other’s face, I heard the father say, "It’s so good to see you, son. I missed you so much!" His son smiled somewhat shyly, averted his eyes and replied softly, "Me, too, Dad!"
Then the man stood up, gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe nine or ten) and while cupping his son’s face in his hands said, "You’re already quite the young man. I love you very much, Zach!" They too hugged a most loving, tender hug.
While this was happening, a baby girl (perhaps one or one-and-a-half) was squirming excitedly in her mother’s arms, never once taking her little eyes off the wonderful sight of her returning father. The man said, "Hi, baby girl!" as he gently took the child from her mother. He quickly kissed her face all over and then held her close to his chest while rocking her from side to side. The little girl instantly relaxed and simply laid her head on his shoulder, motionless in pure contentment.
After several moments, he handed his daughter to his oldest son and declared, "I’ve saved the best for last!" and proceeded to give his wife the longest, most passionate kiss I ever remember seeing. He gazed into her eyes for several seconds and then silently mouthed. "I love you so much!" They stared at each other's eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding both hands.
For an instant they reminded me of newlyweds, but I knew by the age of their kids that they couldn't possibly be. I puzzled about it for a moment then realized how totally engrossed I was in the wonderful display of unconditional love not more than an arm’s length away from me. I suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if I was invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear my own voice nervously ask, "Wow! How long have you two been married?"
"Been together fourteen years total, married twelve of those." he replied, without breaking his gaze from his lovely wife’s face. "Well then, how long have you been away?" I asked. The man finally turned and looked at me, still beaming his joyous smile. "Two whole days!"
Two days? I was stunned. By the intensity of the greeting, I had assumed he'd been gone for at least several weeks – if not months. I know my expression betrayed me.
I said almost offhandedly, hoping to end my intrusion with some semblance of grace (and to get back to searching for my friend), "I hope my marriage is still that passionate after twelve years!"
The man suddenly stopped smiling.
He looked me straight in the eye, and with forcefulness that burned right into my soul, he told me something that left me a different person. He told me, "Don’t hope, friend… decide!" Then he flashed me his wonderful smile again, shook my hand and said, "God bless!"
By Michael D. Hargrove and Bottom Line Underwriters, Inc.
Copyright 1997

List of questions for discussion

1. What is economics?
2. Are you interested in economics?
3. How important is economics?
4. Do you think economics is a good subject to study?
5. How is the economy in your country?
6. What are the biggest economic problems in your country?
7. Do you think economics is a science?
8. How is economics different under socialist and capitalist systems?
9. What was the last thing you read or heard about economics?
10. Do you think economics is the most important thing people think about in an election?
11. Do you read or watch economics news in newspapers and on the TV?
12. Do you worry about the world economy?
13. What are the biggest economic problems in the world?
14. Do you know what the difference is between macroeconomics and microeconomics?
15. What do you know about economic growth?

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