Good Reads: A European bailout plan explained, and yoga lawsuits
Today's papers help make sense of the incomprehensible European debt crisis, and what European governments plan to do about it.
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Cutting spending in the future certainly seems like an excellent idea. The house is well and truly engulfed in flames. Perhaps we should stop throwing gasoline onto it. But as Megan McArdle points out, the next step (turning on the fire hose and putting out the flames) isn’t as easy as it may sound. Some European economies are so deeply in debt that there simply isn’t enough money in the world to bail them out, she writes.Skip to next paragraph
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Ms. McArdle explains her points in plain English, and she uses graphic charts to help the mind absorb how large the problem is. And I have to admit, it’s hard to see how to bail out a country like Luxembourg whose bank debt is 2,461 percent larger than the size of its gross domestic product.
Here in the US, which had a bank debt that was 82 percent of its GDP a year ago, the business world remains unconvinced that the overall economy is strong enough that they can start hiring people again and increasing production. The caution is understandable, but it means there will be no fast turnaround for the US economy, and no end to 9 percent unemployment rates.
In past economic troubles, people would be laid off, but they would be rehired, and often be rehired into better positions than they had before. That was the American Dream. But as The New York Times’ Motoko Rich writes today, the American Dream is nowadays experienced by a very select few. According to a study to be released today by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers, “just 7 percent of those who lost jobs after the financial crisis have returned to or exceeded their previous financial position and maintained their lifestyles.”
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that’s not optimal.
But after such news, it’s time for some yoga – or specifically a story of one yoga studio suing another yoga studio for “copyright infringement.” It seems that the Bikram Yoga Studio chain believes that the lower-priced Yoga for the People studio chain has stolen its formula and even the positive-energy dialogue spoken by yoga instructors and offered the same product for a lower price.
Nowhere in the world would this have been an issue but in America, of course, as the writer Suketu Mehta is quoted as saying in a New York Times piece by Meredith Hoffman. While in India, yoga instructors view the teaching of yoga positions as a religious duty, in the US, yoga instructors seek patents for every variant of “downward dog” or “warrior pose” that they can twist their bodies into.
The Times piece ends with this quote by Mr. Mehta:
“There is a line in the Hindu scriptures: ‘Let good knowledge come to us from all sides,’ ” Mr. Mehta wrote. “There is no follow-up that adds, ‘And let us pay royalties for it.’ ”
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