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A labourer hoses water at the site of a rare earth metals mine at Nancheng county, Jiangxi province, On Oct. 9, 2010. (STRINGER SHANGHAI/Reuters)
A labourer hoses water at the site of a rare earth metals mine at Nancheng county, Jiangxi province, On Oct. 9, 2010. (STRINGER SHANGHAI/Reuters)

Best economy reads: China's stance on rare metals Add to ...

A roundup of the best economic posts on the Web

West frets over China's rare earth stance

Naked Capitalism looks at the motives behind China's continuing ban on the export of rare earth elements. Paul Krugman of The New York Times fears the incident reveals "a Chinese government that is dangerously trigger-happy, willing to wage economic warfare on the slightest provocation." He also says that the western countries must take some of the blame for the current situation since they sat back and allowed China to become the dominant producer (97 per cent) of the metals, which are used in batteries, high-tech products and military hardware.

Hiking the retirement age may beat the alternatives

The economist says a raising of retirement ages across developed countries is inevitable. "It would seem that countries will have to choose between two forms of default. They can break their promises to their creditors or they can break their promises to future pensioners. Some countries will do the former, either by an outright failure to repay their debts or via the more subtle approach of inflation and currency depreciation. But most will attempt to do the latter, despite the protests and the electoral power of the elderly."

Don't blame the euro

The Wall Street Journal has a summary of a new paper published by the European Central Bank: "The euro's exchange rate isn't the most important factor influencing the region's global competitiveness, and European Union governments should concentrate instead on domestic, structural reforms."

... But what about the loonie?

The surge of the Canadian dollar to parity last week has prompted fresh takes on its effect on domestic manufacturing and innovation. ... And, for those of us who are visual learners, Mike Moffatt of Ivey School of Business has an excellent case study on the problems a Canadian manufacturer faces as the loonie fluctuates in value.


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