Peter Popham: Japan shows us the limits of growth

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/peter-popham-japan-shows-us-the-limits–of-growth-2054285.html

It’s finally happened: China’s economy has overtaken Japan’s. Less than 20 years after Deng Xiaoping told his people that “to get rich is glorious”, and three decades after the Chinese Communist Party began its first timid opening to the outside world, the Central Kingdom has surpassed its rival across the Sea of Japan. China is now officially the world’s number two and, unless something inconceivable happens, it will hold that place until it becomes number one, maybe as soon as 2030.

There are several reasons why Japan stopped growing after the crash. An ageing population, a shrinking birth rate and a national disinclination to admit millions of immigrants are among the obvious ones. But one reason economists tend to overlook is the following: with the Cold War coming to an end, Japan saw that, for the first time since the 1850s, there really was nothing to fear any more.

Youth unemployment across the world hits record high

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/08/12/youth-unemployment-across-the-world-hits-record-high/

The number of young unemployed across the world has soared to a record high and is likely to climb further this year, a United Nations agency reported Thursday, amid a U.S. government report that that jobless claims in America jumped to five-month high.

The International Labor Organization said in its 2010 report that out of 620 million youths ages 15 to 24 in the global work force, 81 million were unemployed at the end of 2009, and warned of a “lost generation” as more youths lose hope of finding work.

The youth unemployment rate increased from 11.9 percent in 2007 to 13.0 percent in 2009, the report said.

Football clubs set for reality check on pay

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a31752aa-a710-11df-90e5-00144feabdc0.html

As the new Premiership season kicks off in England on Saturday, more lower-league clubs find themselves battling winding-up petitions. This week Sheffield Wednesday, Cardiff City and Southend United made appearances in the High Court for that reason. Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs is no longer happy to overlook unpaid taxes.

New quarterly checks on team finances are around the corner, however.

As witnessed at Liverpool, whose heavily indebted US owners have disappointed fans, people are ever more cautious of potential buyers who may lack the financial backing and wherewithal they initially boast.

“Debt is not inherently bad,” says Ms Clark. “Debt associated with building a stadium is usually sensible. Debt to purchase a player is perhaps a less sensible business practice.”

But she is unlikely to be heeded. Much of the joy related to clubs’ triumphs over the Revenue have to do with one fact: player trading bans can then be lifted, and clubs can get spending again.

German economy surges 2.2% in quarter

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/BUSINESS/08/13/german.gdp.growth.ft/index.html?hpt=T2#fbid=5ottK_FOtpr&wom=false

Germany on Friday reasserted itself as the economic growth engine of the eurozone, after gross domestic product expanded at a stellar 2.2 percent rate in the second quarter compared with the previous three months.

The growth spurt experienced by Germany is partly due to one-off factors, such as pent-up demand from the winter season and the earlier economic recovery in its Asian and American export markets.

With consumer confidence still relatively low in Europe, there has been little sign so far of a pick up in domestic demand, which economists are looking for as a signal of a sustained recovery. But appetite for consumption is likely to be curtailed by fiscal tightening measures being unveiled in most eurozone member states.