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Mar 27, 2009



As tempting as it may be to delete this irrelevant comment by raivo pommer-estonia, the timing couldn't be better. Maybe someone from this web-savvy readership can weigh in on this Theory of Raivo Pommer-Eesti, which I read only yesterday.

A short quote from the linked post (by economist Brad Delong):

No link is offered (he's not trying to boost a Google ranking), but the posts do list an email. If you don't know German, I can assure you that is not an ad for Viagra. It is simply dull (or is it?) chat about German banks. He (it?) leaves these posts all over the internet, often on economics blogs. Each comment to MR comes from a new IP address, so reporting him (it?) as spam does not stop the flow.

What motivates Raivo Pommer? Do you have a theory of Raivo Pommer? Is this proof of a multiverse? (Apparently a world with Raivo Pommer is a possible world.) And will he offer a report about German banks on this post too?


If I were ever to write fiction (or a song), my first effort would be about Raivo Pommer.




What exactly do you mean when you say "but despite his lofty credentials, has spent a good deal of time in Second Life?"

This implies he was slumming it maybe? That studying a virtual culture isn't worthy of an academic with "lofty credentials"?

:) Should be an interesting discussion.


My theory of Ravio Pommer.


I would like to respond to Robert Bloomfield's comment, per Dusan Writer that “Whether it’s economics or anthropology, theory is what separates serious research from mere storytelling.”

No matter how many measurements you take, no matter how vast the scope of your quantitative harvest, those numbers still must at some point be interpreted and given meaning: That is where your storytelling begins. That you gird the claims embedded in your story with vast skeins of data provides your storytelling with a simulicrum of objectivist empiricism, but essentially what you do not understand—or what you refuse to acknowledge—is that there is an unavoidable fiction to facts, especially "facts" as they relate to the fields of humanistic inquiry. A padding of empiricism, no matter how deep, does not eliminate the subjective perspective that comes into play when the numbers must be fitted into a theory; nonphysical phenomena—motivation, intentionality—cannot be apprehended objectively. By positioning yourself as doing some beyond "mere" storytelling you simply begin another story, one that assumes it isn't one. It is impossible to use words to describe phenomena without prescribing a "story" that links behavior to motivation, including your own.


he bleeding in Canada's job market has stopped, at least for now.

Employment in April managed to grow by 35,900 positions, halting the steep climb in the unemployment rate at 8.0 per cent, Statistics Canada said yesterday.

“It was a really big relief,” said Matthew Middleton, a 27-year-old who lost his software testing job in Toronto at the end of January and found a new job at the end of April – after sending out dozens of résumés and working his contacts. “I consider myself exceptionally lucky. The whole situation could have been a lot worse.”

The new jobs in April were driven by a jump of 37,000 in self-employment – a detail that dampened the enthusiasm of many analysts, since self-employment is often the last resort for people who have lost their jobs and can't find new ones.

But self-employment aside, other details in the April jobs report supported what market players have been saying lately: the free-fall in the Canadian economy has perhaps ended.

“We do think the worst wave of layoffs is behind us,” said Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at CIBC World Markets.

Instead of the shift away from full-time work to less lucrative part-time work that has dominated the labour market for the past few months, April saw the addition of 39,400 full-time jobs.

Private-sector layoffs were evident, but not like in previous months. About 10,400 private-sector jobs disappeared last month, compared with 68,000 in March.

In Hamilton, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty also cited glimmers of hope. “I'm not going to put it any stronger than that,” he said. “There are some good signs in the economy.”

Manufacturing employment decreased slightly in Alberta, offset by increases in Quebec and British Columbia. And the number of construction jobs fell only slightly, with declines in Quebec and Ontario offset by hiring in British Columbia.

The April rise in self-employment accounted for more than half the gain of 61,800 self-employed positions created over the past 12 months. Self-employment is now at its highest level on record.

But rises in self-employment are not unqualified good news. In the midst of a recession, such increases usually mean laid-off workers have had no luck finding new jobs. It happened in the downturn of the 1990s and it appears to be happening now too.

“That's really all they can get. They've effectively given up and decided to start out on their own,” said Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Nesbitt Burns.

Patti Moloney is among the legions of self-employed, and says her friends thought she was crazy when she abandoned her teaching job – security, benefits and summers off – to start a jewellery business in the middle of a recession.

Inspired by the birth of her second son in December, she wondered if there would be a market for a new enterprise that created silver memento jewellery from the moulds of children's fingerprints. Her company, Dimples, opened for business in early April in the town of Uxbridge, Ont., and is already seeing strong demand.

“I enjoyed teaching,” she says, “but I always was an entrepreneur at heart.”

Elsewhere, manufacturing employment is down 106,300 jobs or 5.4 per cent, while construction has shed 86,500 jobs or 7.0 per cent, so the April pause is source of hope for the sectors.

Aerospace manufacturing in Quebec has been holding its own on the job front, said Serge Tremblay, executive director of the Centre for Aerospace Manpower Activities in Quebec.

There were ominous sings in February, when some big players began announcing layoffs to cope with the slowdown in orders.

But there have been no major additional layoff announcements since then. And Bell Textron said recently it has been calling back 400 of the 500 employees who were let go in February.

In Alberta, the sudden drop in oil sands construction had sparked large layoffs, many in Fort McMurray.

Union officials estimate 20,000 construction jobs disappeared in the oil sands alone, prompting electricians, for example, to defer raises.

Clark Builders president Paul Verhesen, for one, has laid off more than 100 workers from a staff of 600.

Still, the rest are “gainfully employed and busy” on a number of government projects, he said.

Statisticians are fond of saying one month does not make a trend, and caution reading too much into one report. But Statistics Canada's chief economic analyst, Philip Cross, said the labour report can't be dismissed so quickly, and should not be looked at in isolation.

“A levelling off in employment after the previous three months is quite significant,” Mr. Cross said.

“It's consistent with what we're seeing in a wide number of other indicators … It's much harder to dismiss this as one month when you look at all these other numbers.”


Ils sont donc trois prétendants officiels pour Opel. L'italien Fiat, l'équipementier canadien Magna et l'investisseur financier américain Ripplewood ont déposé une offre de reprise, mercredi 20 mai, date butoir fixée par Berlin. Le temps presse pour le constructeur allemand. Sa maison mère, l'américain General Motors (GM), risque de déposer le bilan d'ici au 1er juin. Le constructeur, très mal en point depuis plusieurs mois, veut céder au plus vite une participation majoritaire dans sa filiale....


Argentina - Argentina's president says her country's biggest airline has signed a contract to buy 20 planes from Brazilian jetmaker Embraer. President Cristina Fernandez says the aircraft will be the first new jets for Aerolineas Argentinas SA in 16 years. The airline was nationalized in December. She gave no other details in a televised speech, but the Telam state news agency said Thursday that Brazil's national development bank would loan Aerolineas $585 million to finance...


Vaclav Klaus, the President of the Czech Republic, chairs the delegation of the European Union at the EU-Russia summit in Khabarovsk. The Russian-speaking politician conducted successful reforms to establish capitalism instead of socialism in his country. However, the European Union sees the Czech leader as a politician who impedes the process of the European integration. Klaus has never released any anti-Russian statements, despite the problem of the notorious US missile defense system.

Russia-EU relations reach peak of tension

Meet Russia's Pamela Anderson - Anfisa Chekhova

Klaus is considered the prime adversary of the European integration. His counterparts did not want him to chair the European Union six months ago. Vaclav Klaus refused to introduce the euro in his country. He was the only European politician, who welcomed the results of the Lisbon Treaty referendum in Ireland in 2008 (the EU Constitution thus remained unchanged).

In February, Klaus compared the European Union to the USSR, when he said that the EU had become a non-democratic structure that left no freedom of choice, similarly to communist regimes of Eastern Europe.

Vaclav Klaus is probably the most prominent politician in Europe’s former socialist camp during the recent 15 years. He became the finance minister of the Czech and Slovak Federative Republics after the collapse of socialism in 1989. Klaus became the president of the Czech Republic in 2003 and was reelected last year.

Vaclav Klaus’s reforms to change the political and economic regimes in the country were absolutely painless. Czech cars are competitive and reputable in Europe; the country’s agriculture can fully supply the nation with high-quality and inexpensive food. The Czechs do not travel to neighboring states for earnings as it happens in most of other countries of the former socialist camp. The living standard in the Czech Republic has become higher than that in Poland, Hungary and in the Baltic States.

In the beginning of the 1990s, Klaus wanted to make his country become a NATO member. However, he harshly criticized the wars in Yugoslavia and Iraq in 1999 and in 2003. He also stood up against Kosovo’s independence. He repeatedly supported the idea to deploy elements of the US missile defense system in the Czech Republic, although he did not take any efforts to give the process a go.

Klaus’s attitude to Russia has been changing periodically. He was a totally pro-Western politician in the beginning of the 1990s. As soon as he became the president, he said that he did not share anti-Russian sentiments of his predecessor, Vaclav Havel. Klaus has never said anything negative about Russia during the recent six years. When Georgia attacked South Ossetia in 2008, the Czech president stated that Georgia should not be justified for its actions.

On May 13 Klaus set out a protest against the attempts to rewrite the history of Second World War and urged other leaders not to blacken the role of the USSR and Russia in the history of the 20th century.

Vaclav Klaus can considerably improve the relations between Russia and the European Union. However, his European counterparts may not want it at all.

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