World View: Europe Sees Worst Economy in Three Years

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

  • New edition of Adolf Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' to be published
  • China's Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) shows continuing contraction
  • Europe sees worst economy in three years
  • Free money - Germany's central bank issues bond with no interest
  • U.S. manufacturing growth slows in May
  • More than 30% of U.S. mortgage borrowers are still underwater
  • Nato ignores problems in its own eastern neighborhood

New edition of Adolf Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' to be published

The state of Bavaria has held the copyright to Adolf Hitler's 1923 anti-Semitic rant Mein Kampf since the end of World War II, and hasn't allowed it to be published since then, although the text is available for free online. But now a Munich historical institute is publishing the first scholarly edition of the book since WW II. According to the publisher,

"Hitler was self-taught and, stylistically speaking, the book is fundamentally flawed. Its atmosphere is dull, muggy and inferior. But one shouldn't underestimate Hitler's intelligence, just as the history of National Socialism has always been a history of underestimation. The book also contains keen observations. And it's a book that was even more important for its author than for its readers. This is where Hitler developed the vision he would later realize. He was a revolutionary, programmatic thinker and statesman, all in one person -- which, incidentally, is a rare historical phenomenon. ...

In the beginning, the major players in the Nazi Party all had different ideas of what National Socialism meant. In the end, it was Hitler who prevailed. And this book contains his program, more or less openly formulated. It wasn't for nothing that British Prime Minister Winston Churchill later said that this book, more than any other, deserved to have been studied more carefully by Allied politicians and military leaders after Hitler assumed power."

Spiegel

China's Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) shows continuing contraction

The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) measures the health of manufacturing in an economy, and so reflects the health of the entire economy. It's based on five indicators: new orders, inventory levels, production, supplier deliveries and the employment environment. In China, the PMI fell in May for the seventh straight month, indicating that China is in its longest slowdown of the the global financial crisis. The most important factor is the fall in new export orders, caused by the eurozone's deepening debt crisis. Reuters

Europe sees worst economy in three years

Europe's PMI, also released on Thursday, showed that euro-area manufacturing was the weakest in 35 months, with the weakness being blamed on the debt crisis in Greece, Spain and Italy. According to one analyst:

"The euro zone is being buffeted by major headwinds, notably increased fiscal tightening in many countries and markedly rising unemployment. The heightened Greek crisis is magnifying the problems by weighing down on already weak and fragile business and consumer confidence, adding to uncertainty about the outlook."

Bloomberg

Free money - Germany's central bank issues bond with no interest

For the first time in history, Germany issued long term bonds with a zero percent yield (interest rate) on Wednesday. In other words, purchasers of these bonds will earn no interest whatsoever. Why would anyone buy these bonds, when they can purchase Spain's bonds that pay interest rates above 6%? Because they believe that they might lose their money purchasing Spain's bonds, but they consider Germany's bonds to be safe from default. It's likely that some investors would even purchase bonds with a negative interest rate, essentially paying money for the privilege of having a safe place to park it. Spiegel

U.S. manufacturing growth slows in May

The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for the U.S. also indicated a contraction in manufacturing. Contributing to the poor PMI showing were falls in core capital goods orders and exports. BBC

More than 30% of U.S. mortgage borrowers are still underwater

More than 30% of mortgage borrowers, or close to 16 million homeowners, were "underwater" during the first quarter, slightly more than in the previous quarter. The number of foreclosures has been held down because of processing delays, but the number of foreclosures is expected increase in the months to come. Las Vegas has, by far, the highest percentage of underwater borrowers at 71%. Home prices there are down a whopping 62% from peak. CNN

Nato ignores problems in its own eastern neighborhood

Nato is supposed to be concerned with the security of Europe, but the recent Nato meeting in Chicago completely ignored some of Europe's most potent threats -- Europe's east, the six countries bordering on Nato and the EU -- which face a deepening security vacuum and Russian re-expansion. This region is the arena of protracted conflicts (Russia-Moldova, Russia-Georgia on two fronts, Armenia-Azerbaijan), territorial occupations, ethnic cleansing, massive Russian military bases in Ukraine and Armenia. Jamestown


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