Greek crisis: was the euro always a bad idea, a cause of Europe’s woes? | Will Hutton and Heather Stewart

A ‘misconceived failure’ from the start… or a true ‘public good’: our experts put the single currency in the dock

Greece may yet escape the humiliation of defaulting on its debts and being forced out of the single currency. Yet the terrible suffering of its people over the past five years shows that the single currency is a fundamentally misconceived project. It is extraordinary that an economic catastrophe on the scale of the Great Depression has been visited on a country in 21st-century Europe, not because of the neglect of the policymaking elite but under their direct supervision – and indeed under the guise of a “bailout”.

Membership Event: Guardian Newsroom: Should Greece leave the Euro?

Continue reading…

Greek eurozone crisis: In or out, financial future is far from rosy

Time is running out as the country’s banks face a debilitating run on their deposits as nervous savers take out their cash, but there’s still hope for a deal

Why are eurozone leaders holding yet another make-or-break Greek summit?

Despite a series of fraught meetings, Greece is still on the brink of default, and eurozone leaders, preceded by their finance ministers, are due to meet tomorrow in another attempt to strike a deal.

Continue reading…

Twitter Transition

Maybe Twitter’s unfixable.

Maybe it’s a fad like MySpace. Something gee-whiz, brand new, that is succeeded by a platform with more functionality.

Twitter told us we want instant news.

But it never turned into a comprehensible service.

It’s the internet at its worst. A small enterprise where you communicate amongst your circle, with a bit of access to the famous, which morphs into a tsunami of hype that we ultimately ignore.

Twitter is a great place to find out what’s happening right now. To read press releases. But it does a bad job of making the results comprehensible to the masses. It’s Alta Vista, and we’re waiting for Google.

If you think Jack Dorsey can save it, you’re unaware of Square. Another product that got left in the dust. Dorsey didn’t realize that starting is only the beginning. That to win you’ve got to deal with or supersede the entrenched elements, like the banks. Square was the small new thing that turned into the small old thing. And in today’s world that’s death. Furthermore, Dorsey’s image has been shattered by the naysayers. He seems to take too much credit, and based on Square’s results the rumors seem true.

So what to do?

Credit Chris Sacca for criticizing the company. This is something we rarely see at established businesses, a ground floor investor questioning management and direction. Everybody at the old company drinks the kool-aid, lines up behind the boss and marches towards the cliff. And then they’re surprised when someone steals their cheese, like in the music business.

Twitter is a feature, not a standalone service. Snapchat moves into entertainment and Twitter can’t even make its existing service usable. Twitter should be part of a search engine. Or should include other features. Maybe it’s less about having everybody tweet than categorizing info to make it accessible. We don’t care what the nobody has to say, and right now it’s only the vocal nobodies tweeting away. Along with the brands, both corporations and people, who want to keep us informed of their efforts and whereabouts. But this self-promotion seems phony and ultimately rings hollow.

So what we’ve learned once again is the internet eats companies. What is on everybody’s lips, clicked on today, is left on the scrapheap tomorrow. Remember when we all live-tweeted TV shows? That’s akin to remembering the Macarena, or the Hula Hoop. It’s already nostalgia.

But how come every fad is seen as lasting?

Maybe it’s our short term economy.

Maybe it’s media that needs something to trumpet.

The failure is certainly not the public. The public leads on the internet. And the public kicked the tires on Twitter and then abandoned it. Leaving it to those addicted to testify just like they did about Google Glass and now the Apple Watch. The sideshow becomes the main show, but only for a little while.

We want information.

We want to connect.

Twitter was a start.

It certainly won’t be the end.


Visit the archive:


If you would like to subscribe to the LefsetzLetter

Anti-austerity protests: tens of thousands rally across UK

Between 70,000 and 150,000 estimated to have marched in central London, with demonstrations in Glasgow, Liverpool and Bristol

Forty-four days after David Cameron won an unexpected majority in the general election, the opposition parties are still picking themselves up off the floor. On Britain’s streets, however, tens of thousands of people took up their placards and marched in London, Glasgow and elsewhere in the first major protest against the government’s plans for five more years of austerity.

Estimates of the size of the rally in central London on Saturday varied between 70,000 and more than 150,000. Several thousand more gathered in Glasgow’s George Square and smaller demonstrations were reported in other cities, including Liverpool and Bristol.

Related: Anti-austerity protest in London – in pictures

Related: Are you campaigning against austerity?

Related: ‘People have finally had enough’: middle England marches against austerity

Continue reading…