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Posted by Izabella Kaminska on Jun 16 08:09. Comment | Share

Comment, analysis and other offerings from Thursday’s FT,John Gapper: Why Bono didn’t save Spider-Man
Spider-Man at last opened on Tuesday night on Broadway, having already been playing to audiences for six months of “previews” that produced disastrously bad notices, More…

Comment, analysis and other offerings from Thursday’s FT,

John Gapper: Why Bono didn’t save Spider-Man
Spider-Man at last opened on Tuesday night on Broadway, having already been playing to audiences for six months of “previews” that produced disastrously bad notices, injuries to five actors who fell off the set or crashed from the hanging wires, and the eventual firing of Julie Taymor, its original director, writes the FT’s Gapper. Bono and The Edge, the two members of U2 who composed the songs, returned in January from a tour of Australia and New Zealand and two months later sanctioned the ejection of Ms Taymor. The $70m show was rewritten in the hope that it can recoup its investment in London or Las Vegas and the duo has been on a goodwill tour of New York to clean up the mess.

Financial reform: Conduits of contention
In 1987, as New York and London were suddenly convulsed by the biggest stock market crash since the second world war, another catastrophe was narrowly averted thousands of miles away in Hong Kong, writes the FT’s editor of The Trading Room, Jeremy Grant. To this day it remains a footnote in the story of Black Monday, as the September crash became known. But the lessons of the Hong Kong events are reverberating anew around financial capitals as Greece teeters towards possible default, stock markets pull back on worries about slowing global growth and regulators struggle to implement reforms aimed at clearing up after the latest crisis of 2008.

Stephen Roach: Global economy menaced by return of living dead
The global economy is being hobbled by a new generation of zombies – the economic walking dead. American consumers are in the early stages of an unprecedented retrenchment, says Roach, non-executive chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia. In the 13 quarters since the beginning of 2008, inflation-adjusted annualised growth in consumption has averaged just 0.5 per cent. Never before in the postwar era have US consumers been this weak for this long.

Lex on UK banks looking over the ringfencing
UK bank depositors, it appears, uniquely deserve extra protection. The government seems to have decided that retail banks’ deposit-taking functions should be ringfenced. This is an important decision in principle. The arguments against are well rehearsed. It is a modern-day Glass-Steagall, dealing with the risk of consumer bank runs in the aftermath of a crisis generated largely by investment banks. Even if deposits could be protected when a bank’s investment banking arm suffered a Lehman-style collapse, it is still not clear that such a collapse could be allowed to happen. Lehman did not have a retail banking division, after all.

Constanze Stelzenmüller: Gates was far too nice about Nato’s failings
Last week America’s departing secretary of defence, Robert Gates, gave a valedictory “shock and awe” speech in Brussels in which he excoriated the military weaknesses of Nato’s European members, writes Stelzenmüller, a senior transatlantic fellow with the German Marshall Fund in Berlin. Absent serious efforts to address these, he thundered, the alliance’s future would be “dim if not dismal”. With all due respect to Mr Gates, however, matters are a lot worse than he thinks. Nato is in trouble. But this is not just about some eurotrash club members trying to weasel out of paying their dues. The real problem is that Americans and Europeans alike refuse to acknowledge the implications of changes in the purpose of the club itself.

Chris Giles: Keep the faith. ‘Plan B’ is not the answer
Are tax increases and public spending cuts wrecking the recovery? Those who say “yes” are impressive, diverse and vocal, notes FT columnist Chris Giles. Ed Balls, shadow chancellor, argues that the coalition’s decision to cut “too far and too fast” is causing a vicious circle of stagnation and higher deficits. His views are backed by Amartya Sen, a winner of the economics prize established in memory of Alfred Nobel, distinguished columnists in this newspaper and 52 academics with a taste for letter-writing.

Interactive graphics: 2010 bank CEO pay
The average pay of bank bosses in the US and Europe jumped 36 per cent last year to $9.7m according to data compiled for the Financial Times, despite variable performance across the sector. Two of the industry’s biggest names – Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase chief executive, and Goldman Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein – were each paid more than 15 times their 2009 earnings. Mr Dimon was paid nearly $21m in 2010, topping the FT’s survey of the salary and bonus packages awarded to 15 top bankers. Mr Blankfein earned $14.1m including a $5.4m cash bonus, up from $863,000 in 2009.

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