Germany’s president and former IMF head Hoerst Koehler has added his voice to the rising condemnation of the financial sector’s role in the global economic downturn. Referring to finance markets as a “monster that has to be put back in the closet,” Koehler went on to criticize the “irresponsibility” of bankers who, despite the horrific effects of that irresponsibility, receive “bizarrely high salaries.” Originally interviewed by the tabloid Stern newspaper, the German business paper Handelsblatt also noted that Koehler must declare his candidacy soon for a second term. Germany has seen a wave of strikes in this calendar year, and labor militancy in Germany may well have contributed to the recent intransigence of the European Central Bank where interest rate cuts are concerned (in other words, the ECB, fearing that German workers in particular are beginning to demand wages that offset inflation, is more reluctant to lower interest rates in the face of economic downturn, unlike the Fed, which doesn’t seem to fear US workers’ wage demands as much). Too bad Koehler wasn’t running for a spot on the European Central Bank’s monetary committee….
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