Sunday, September 29, 2013

Álvaro Mutis, Novelist Who Created a Rambling, Ruminative Soul, Dies at 90

Álvaro Mutis, a Colombian poet and novelist who created one of Latin American literature’s more memorable characters, the rambling and ruminative Maqroll, an inadvertent explorer of jungles and his own jaded soul for whom life seemed a long and futile boat ride, mostly upriver, often running aground, died on Sept. 22 in Mexico City. He was 90.
Denis Doyle/Associated Press
The novelist Álvaro Mutis, right, with King Juan Carlos of Spain in 2002, when he was awarded the Cervantes Prize.
The cause was cardiorespiratory problems, his wife, Carmen Miracle, told news agencies in Mexico.
Mr. Mutis was 19 when, in verse, he first introduced Maqroll to readers as the “Gaviero,” the Lookout, a label linked to his early life as a seaman whose duties included scanning the horizon for potential peril, even if he did not always recognize it.
More than 40 years later — after Mr. Mutis had become a widely admired poet, spent more than a year in prison on embezzlement charges that were later dropped, moved to Mexico and was a well-traveled representative for Standard Oil and two Hollywood studios — he transferred his protagonist to prose. Beginning in the late 1980s, Maqroll appeared in a popular series of seven novellas that were eventually published as a single volume in 1997.
The collection appeared in English in 2002 as “The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll.”
In a 2003 review of the collection for The New Yorker, John Updike wrote that Maqroll’s journey in the first novella, “The Snow of the Admiral,” in which he hopes to reunite with a former lover, is “rendered so vividly as to furnish a metaphor for life as a colorful voyage to nowhere.”
Mr. Mutis was well known and well read in Latin America and Europe but received far less attention in the United States than his fellow Colombian writer and confidant, Gabriel García Márquez. They became friends in their youth and stayed close after both moved to Mexico City, reading each other’s work before it was published and sometimes sharing the same translator for their English editions, Edith Grossman.
“One of the greatest writers of our time,” Mr. García Márquez called his friend. Mr. Mutis received numerous awards, including the Cervantes Prize, the most prestigious literary award in the Spanish-speaking world, and the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. But Maqroll rarely got much recognition. He was a bundle of conflicts and foolish schemes, his life filled with close calls. Alternately optimistic, realistic and fatalistic, he kept going, compelled even as he lost lovers, friends, money and hope.
“I’m really intrigued: these disasters, these decisions that are wrong from the start, these dead ends that constitute the story of my life, are repeated over and over again,” he says as the narrator in “The Snow of the Admiral.” “A passionate vocation for happiness, always betrayed and misdirected, ends in a need for total defeat; it is completely foreign to what, in my heart of hearts, I’ve always known could be mine if it weren’t for this constant desire to fail.”
He continues: “We’re about to re-enter the green tunnel of the menacing, watchful jungle. The stink of wretchedness, of a miserable, indifferent grave, is already in my nostrils.”
Yet Maqroll’s destiny was not death but the journey toward it. The Chilean poet Gonzalo Rojas threatened to sue Mr. Mutis if he ever killed off his beloved character. Mr. Mutis spoke of Maqroll as if he were a living person.
“He often accompanies me, but we are no longer side by side but face to face,” he said in an interview with the writer Francisco Goldman, who wrote the introduction to the 2002 collection. “So Maqroll doesn’t surprise me too much, but he does torment me and keep me company. He is more and more himself, and less my creation, because of course, as I write novels, I load him up with experiences and actions and places that I don’t know but that he of course does.”
Álvaro Mutis Jaramillo was born on Aug. 25, 1923, in Bogotá. His father, Santiago, was a Colombian diplomat, and Mr. Mutis spent much of his early childhood in Brussels. In the summer, his family returned to Colombia by boat, and he later said his writing was rooted in his long stays at the sugar and coffee plantation his grandfather owned in Tolima Province. He never graduated from high school, but he read voraciously and widely, from Jules Verne to Marcel Proust.
Maqroll read, too, bouncing between biographies of dukes and saints. “In each novella, internal life is represented by the book he happens to be reading,” Leonard Michaels wrote in a review of three novellas in The New York Times in 1992. “One night, after a grueling effort to carry guns up the side of a mountain, Maqroll must sleep. But first he must read.”
Mr. Mutis published books of poetry in 1948 and 1953 (his early verse was praised in reviews by Octavio Paz), and he also wrote short stories and nonfiction. But he did not write full time until he began writing novels in his 60s. In the decades between, he worked in jobs whose only link to his literary interests were the experiences they provided — traveling to Latin American capitals, venturing into jungles to search for oil, riding with river captains through rain forests.
“My life became a long trip and I met thousands of people, in all different kinds of situations,” Mr. Mutis told Mr. Goldman. “And this was like a continuation of what I had experienced as a child. In this way I lost the sense of belonging to a particular country.”
Many people in Latin America also knew him for his dubbing of English-language television programs into Spanish, most notably for “The Untouchables.” Information on his survivors was not immediately available.
While he was at Standard Oil, he was accused in 1956 of spending company money on friends, including those who opposed the Colombian dictator at the time, Gustavo Rojas Pinilla. Warned by a friend that his arrest was imminent, Mr. Mutis fled to Mexico. He avoided immediate extradition back to Colombia but was jailed for 15 months while awaiting trial. When the Rojas Pinilla government fell in 1957, Mr. Mutis was freed. He later said the experience was more influential than any great book.
“There is one thing that I learned in prison, that I passed on to Maqroll,” he said, “and that is that you don’t judge others, you don’t say, ‘That guy committed a terrible crime against his family, so I can’t be his friend.’ In a place like that, one coexists because the judging is done on the outside.”
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: September 29, 2013
An earlier version of this obituary misspelled the name of a former Colombian dictator. He is Gustavo Rojas Pinilla, not Gustavo Rosas Pinilla.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Louis Bachelier - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Louis Bachelier - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

"Louis Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Bachelier (March 11, 1870 – April 28, 1946)[1] was a French mathematician at the turn of the 20th century. He is credited with being the first person to model the stochastic process now called Brownian motion, which was part of his PhD thesis The Theory of Speculation, (published 1900)."

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Obama Speaks to President of Iran in First Talk Since 1979

Doug Mills/The New York Times
Obama’s Statement on Iran: President Obama said he spoke with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran by phone, the first direct contact between leaders of Iran and the United States since 1979.
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WASHINGTON — The long fractured relationship between the United States and Iran took a significant turn on Friday when President Obama and President Hassan Rouhani became the first leaders of their countries to speak since the Tehran hostage crisis more than three decades ago.
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In a hurriedly arranged telephone call, Mr. Obama reached Mr. Rouhani as he was being driven to the airport to return to Iran after a whirlwind news media and diplomatic blitz in New York. The two agreed to accelerate talks aimed at defusing the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program and afterward expressed optimism at the prospect of a rapprochement that would transform the Middle East.
“Resolving this issue, obviously, could also serve as a major step forward in a new relationship between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran, one based on mutual interests and mutual respect,” Mr. Obama, referring to Tehran’s nuclear program, told reporters at the White House after the 15-minute phone call. “It would also help facilitate a better relationship between Iran and the international community, as well as others in the region.”
On Twitter after the call, Mr. Rouhani wrote, “In regards to nuclear issue, with political will, there is a way to rapidly solve the matter.” He added that he told Mr. Obama, “We’re hopeful about what we will see from” the United States and other major powers “in coming weeks and months.”
The conversation was the first between Iranian and American leaders since 1979 when President Jimmy Carter spoke by telephone with Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi shortly before the shah left the country, according to Iran experts. The Islamic Revolution that toppled the shah’s government led to the seizure of the American Embassy and a 444-day hostage crisis that have left the two countries at odds with each other ever since.
Although both Republican and Democratic presidents have reached out to Tehran in the interim, contact had been reserved to letters or lower-level officials.
The call came just days after Mr. Obama had expected to encounter Mr. Rouhani at a luncheon at the United Nations where it was widely speculated that they would shake hands. Mr. Rouhani skipped the luncheon and later indicated it was premature to meet Mr. Obama. But a subsequent meeting on Thursday between Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran was described as constructive and led Iranian officials to contact the White House on Friday to suggest the phone call, according to American officials.
A senior Obama administration official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity, said the White House had expressed the president’s interest in meeting Mr. Rouhani to the Iranians this week but were surprised when they contacted the American side on Friday to suggest the phone call. Mr. Obama placed the call from the Oval Office around 2:30 p.m., joined by aides and a translator.
He opened by congratulating Mr. Rouhani on his election in June and noted the history of mistrust between the two nations, but also what he called the constructive statements Mr. Rouhani had made during his stay in New York, according to the official.  The bulk of the call focused on the nuclear dispute, but Mr. Obama did apologize for New York traffic.
The call ended on a polite note, according to the official and Mr. Rouhani’s Twitter account.
“Have a nice day,” Mr. Rouhani said in English.
“Thank you,” Mr. Obama replied, and then tried a Persian farewell. “Khodahafez.”
By talking over the phone instead of in person, Mr. Rouhani avoided a politically problematic photograph of himself alongside Mr. Obama, which could have inflamed hard-liners in Iran who were already wary of his outreach to the United States. As it was, conservative elements in Tehran tried to reinterpret his statements acknowledging the Holocaust while in New York. The state news channel, the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network, had not mentioned the phone call with Mr. Obama as of midnight Friday after news of it broke.
But Mr. Rouhani’s office announced the call in a statement carried by the Iranian state news agency, and advisers said the conversation was a meaningful step.
“This voice contact has for now replaced the actual shaking of hands, but this is clearly the start of a process that could in the future lead to a face-to-face meeting between both leaders,” said Amir Mohebbian, a political adviser close to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Abbas Milani, an Iranian scholar at Stanford University, said Mr. Rouhani wanted to avoid looking like he was making concessions. “The U.S. and the West have wisely decided to allow the regime to make its claims of victory at home, so long as they play earnest ball in meetings abroad,” Mr. Milani said. A call to a leader on the way to the airport may not be normal protocol, he added, but “in this case it was adroit policy for both sides.”
American advocates of closer relations between the two countries were optimistic. “The phone call wasn’t just history,” said Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, an arms control group, who attended a dinner with Mr. Rouhani in New York. “It helped fundamentally change the course of Iranian-U.S. relations. We’re on a very different trajectory than we were even at the beginning of the week.”
But others expressed caution, arguing that Iran was reaching out only because of the sanctions that have strangled its economy.
“The economic pain now is sufficient to oblige a telephone call, though not a face-to-face meeting,” said Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former C.I.A. specialist who is now a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “We will see whether the pain is sufficient for the Iranians to shut the heavy-water plant at Arak and reverse Iran’s path to a rapid breakout capacity with enriched uranium.”
Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the Republican majority leader, criticized Mr. Obama for not pressing Iran to halt its support for terrorism and Syria’s government. “It is particularly unfortunate that President Obama would recognize the Iranian people’s right to nuclear energy but not stand up for their right to freedom, human rights or democracy,” he said.
In announcing the call with Mr. Rouhani, Mr. Obama said that only “meaningful, transparent and verifiable actions” on the nuclear program could “bring relief” from sanctions.
“A path to a meaningful agreement will be difficult, and at this point, both sides have significant concerns that will have to be overcome,” he said. “But I believe we’ve got a responsibility to pursue diplomacy, and that we have a unique opportunity to make progress with the new leadership in Tehran.”
Recognizing the delicacy of the outreach effort, Mr. Obama made a point of trying to reassure Israel that he would not jeopardize an ally’s security. “Throughout this process, we’ll stay in close touch with our friends and allies in the region, including Israel,” he said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel is scheduled to visit Mr. Obama at the White House on Monday.
Before leaving New York, Mr. Rouhani said that his government would present a plan in three weeks on how to resolve the nuclear standoff. “I expect this trip will be the first step and the beginning of constructive relations with countries of the world,” he said at a news conference.
He went on to say that he hoped the visit would also improve relations “between two great nations, Iran and the United States,” adding that the trip had exceeded his expectations.
Mr. Rouhani and his aides have been on an extraordinarily energetic campaign to prove that they are moderate and reasonable partners and to draw a stark contrast with his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But Mr. Rouhani has yet to propose anything concrete to suggest how different the Iranians really are in their approach. The first glimpse of that is due to come on Oct. 15 and 16, when Iran plans to present its own road map in Geneva to American, European, Russian and Chinese diplomats.
Mr. Rouhani repeatedly emphasized that his government had both the authority and the will to reach a nuclear settlement within what he called “a short period of time.” But he was visibly irritated when asked whether his diplomatic blitz was merely designed to buy time with his Western interlocutors.
“We have never chosen deceit as a path,” he said. “We have never chosen secrecy.”
Thomas Erdbrink contributed reporting from Tehran, Mark Landler from Washington and Somini Sengupta from the United Nations.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

For Migrants, New Land of Opportunity Is Mexico

Andrea Bruce for The New York Times
CULTURE Performing Korean pop music in Mexico City. At least 12,000 Koreans are said to live in Mexico.
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MEXICO CITY — Mexico, whose economic woes have pushed millions of people north, is increasingly becoming an immigrant destination. The country’s documented foreign-born population nearly doubled between 2000 and 2010, and officials now say the pace is accelerating as broad changes in the global economy create new dynamics of migration.

Country at a Crossroads

Articles in this series will examine whether Mexico can seize the opportunities offered by an evolving global economy.
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Andrea Bruce for The New York Times
OPPORTUNITY Michael Wyle leading a yoga class at his Mexico City studio.
Andrea Bruce for The New York Times
Martin Leveque and Guillaume Pace, right, both from France, run a thriving communications business in the capital.
Andrea Bruce for The New York Times
CrossFit, an exercise gym that was started in the United States, has become widely popular and lucrative in Mexico City, catering mostly to the foreign-born population.
Rising wages in China and higher transportation costs have made Mexican manufacturing highly competitive again, with some projections suggesting it is already cheaper than China for many industries serving the American market. Europe is sputtering, pushing workers away. And while Mexico’s economy is far from trouble free, its growth easily outpaced the giants of the hemisphere — the United States, Canada and Brazil — in 2011 and 2012, according to International Monetary Fund data, making the country more attractive to fortune seekers worldwide.
The new arrivals range in class from executives to laborers; Mexican officials said Friday that residency requests had grown by 10 percent since November, when a new law meant to streamline the process took effect. And they are coming from nearly everywhere.
Guillaume Pace saw his native France wilting economically, so with his new degree in finance, he moved to Mexico City.
Lee Hwan-hee made the same move from South Korea for an internship, while Spanish filmmakers, Japanese automotive executives and entrepreneurs from the United States and Latin America arrive practically daily — pursuing dreams, living well and frequently succeeding.
“There is this energy here, this feeling that anything can happen,” said Lesley Téllez, a Californian whose three-year-old business running culinary tours served hundreds of clients here last year. “It’s hard to find that in the U.S.”
The shift with Mexico’s northern neighbor is especially stark. Americans now make up more than three-quarters of Mexico’s roughly one million documented foreigners, up from around two-thirds in 2000, leading to a historic milestone: more Americans have been added to the population of Mexico over the past few years than Mexicans have been added to the population of the United States, according to government data in both nations.
Mexican migration to the United States has reached an equilibrium, with about as many Mexicans moving north from 2005 to 2010 as those returning south. The number of Americans legally living and working in Mexico grew to more than 70,000 in 2012 from 60,000 in 2009, a number that does not include many students and retirees, those on tourist visas or the roughly 350,000 American children who have arrived since 2005 with their Mexican parents.

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Why did you decide to move to Mexico?
“Mexico is changing; all the numbers point in that direction,” said Ernesto Rodríguez Chávez, the former director of migration policy at Mexico’s Interior Ministry. He added: “There’s been an opening to the world in every way — culturally, socially and economically.”
But the effect of that opening varies widely. Many economists, demographers and Mexican officials see the growing foreign presence as an indicator that global trends have been breaking Mexico’s way — or as President Enrique Peña Nieto often puts it, “the stars are aligning” — but there are plenty of obstacles threatening to scuttle Mexico’s moment.
Inequality remains a huge problem, and in many Mexican states education is still a mess and criminals rule. Many local companies that could be benefiting from Mexico’s rise also remain isolated from the export economy and its benefits, with credit hard to come by and little confidence that the country’s window of opportunity will stay open for long. Indeed, over the past year, as projections for growth have been trimmed by Mexico’s central bank, it has become increasingly clear to officials and experts that the country cannot expect its new competitiveness to single-handedly move it forward.
“The fact that there is a Mexican moment does not mean by itself it’s going to change our future,” said Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, Mexico’s economy minister. “We have to take advantage of the Mexican moment to do what is required of us.” The challenge, he said, is making sure that the growing interest in his country benefits all Mexicans, not just newcomers, investors and a privileged few.
Mexico has failed to live up to its economic potential before. “They really blew a moment in 1994 when their currency was at rock bottom and they’d just signed Nafta,” said Kevin P. Gallagher, a professor of international relations at Boston University, adding that those conditions created a big opportunity for Mexican exports.
But now, he and others contend, Mexico has another shot. If the country of 112 million people can harness the energy of foreigners and newly educated Mexicans, become partners with the slew of American firms seeking alternatives to China, and get them to do more than just hire cheap labor, economists and officials say Mexico could finally become a more equal partner for the United States and the first-world country its presidents have promised for decades.
“This is their second chance,” Professor Gallagher said. “And this time, they really have to capitalize on it.”
Protection to Openness
For most the 20th century, Mexico kept the world at arm’s length. The 1917 Constitutionguaranteed Mexicans would be given priority over foreigners for various jobs, and until the 1980s the country favored policies that protected domestic industry from imports.
Mexico was never totally closed — midcentury wars in Europe and the Middle East sent ripples of immigrants to Mexico, while Americans and Central Americans have always maintained a presence. But it was not a country that welcomed outsiders; the Constitution even prohibited non-Mexicans from directly owning land within 31 miles of the coast and 62 miles of the nation’s borders.
Attitudes began to soften, however, as Mexico’s relationship with the United States began to change. Many economists and social scientists say that closer ties with Mexico’s beloved and hated neighbor to the north, through immigration and trade, have made many Mexicans feel less insular. Millions of emigrants send money earned abroad to relatives in Mexico, who then rush out to Costco for more affordable food and electronics. Even the national soccer team, after decades of resistance, now includes two Argentine-born midfielders.
“It’s a new era in terms of our perspective,” said Francisco Alba Hernández, a scholar at the Colegio de México’s Center for the Study of Urban and Environmental Demographics. “We are now more certain about the value of sharing certain things.”
Like immigrants the world over, many of Mexico’s newcomers are landing where earlier arrivals can be found. Some of the growth is appearing in border towns where foreign companies and binational families are common. American retirees are showing up in new developments from San Miguel de Allende to other sunny spots around Cancún and Puerto Vallarta. Government figures show that more Canadians are also joining their ranks.
But the most significant changes can be found in central Mexico. More and more American consultants helping businesses move production from China are crisscrossing the region from San Luis Potosí to Guadalajara, where Silicon Valley veterans like Andy Kieffer, the founder of Agave Lab, are developing smartphone applications and financing new start-ups. In Guanajuato, Germans are moving in and car-pooling with Mexicans heading to a new Volkswagen factory that opened a year ago, and sushi can now be found at hotel breakfasts because of all the Japanese executives preparing for a new Honda plant opening nearby.
Here in the capital, too, immigrants are becoming a larger proportion of the population and a growing part of the economy and culture, opening new restaurants, designing new buildings, financing new cultural offerings and filling a number of schools with their children. Economics has been the primary motivator for members of all classes: laborers from Central America; middle-class migrants like Manuel Sánchez, who moved here from Venezuela two years ago and found a job selling hair products within 15 days of his arrival; and the global crème de la crème in finance and technology, like Mr. Pace, 26, whose first job in Mexico was with a major French bank just after graduating from the University of Reims.
Mr. Pace, bearded and as slim as a Gauloises, said he moved to Mexico in 2011 because college graduates in France were struggling to find work. He has stayed here, he said, because the affordable quality of life beats living in Europe — and because Mexico offers more opportunity for entrepreneurship.
Sitting at a Belgian cafe with a laptop this spring, speaking Spanish with a lilt, he said he recently opened a communications business that was off to a blazing start. One of his partners was French, the other Mexican, and in their first few months of operation, they got more than 30 clients, including VivaAerobus, a discount airline aimed at Mexico’s emerging middle class.
More recently, as Mexico’s economy has slowed, Mr. Pace said a few clients had canceled planned promotions, but over all his business has grown this year to include work for international brands like Doritos and the beer Dos Equis.
“We’re not going back to France,” Mr. Pace said. “The business is doing well and we’re very happy in Mexico.”
Some Mexicans and foreigners say Europeans are given special treatment because they are perceived to be of a higher class, a legacy of colonialism when lighter skin led to greater privileges. But like many other entrepreneurs from foreign lands, Mr. Pace and his partners are both benefiting from and helping to shape how Mexico works. Mr. Rodríguez, the former Interior Ministry official, Cuban by birth, said that foreigners had helped make Mexico City more socially liberal.
And with so many Mexicans working in the informal economy, foreigners have little trouble starting new ventures. Many immigrants say Mexico is attractive because it feels disorderly, like a work in progress, with the blueprints of success, hierarchy and legality still being drawn. “Not everyone follows the rules here, so if you really want to make something happen you can make it happen,” said Ms. Téllez, 34, whose food business served more than 500 visitors last year. “No one is going to fault you for not following all the rules.”
Mr. Lee said that compared with South Korea, where career options were limited by test scores and universities attended, Mexico allowed for more rapid advancement. As an intern at the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency here, he said he learned up close how Samsung and other Korean exporters worked. “Here,” he said, “the doors are more open for all Koreans.” He added that among his friends back home, learning Spanish was now second only to learning English.
The results of that interest are becoming increasingly clear. There were 10 times as many Koreans living in Mexico in 2010 as in 2000. Officials at a newly opened Korean cultural center here say at least 12,000 Koreans now call Mexico home, and young Mexicans in particular are welcoming them with open arms: there are now 70 fan clubs for Korean pop music in Mexico, with at least 60,000 members.
A Creative Magnet
Europe, dying; Mexico, coming to life. The United States, closed and materialistic; Mexico, open and creative. Perceptions are what drive migration worldwide, and in interviews with dozens of new arrivals to Mexico City — including architects, artists and entrepreneurs — it became clear that the country’s attractiveness extended beyond economics.
Artists like Marc Vigil, a well-known Spanish television director who moved to Mexico City in October, said that compared with Spain, Mexico was teeming with life and an eagerness to experiment. Like India in relation to England, Mexico has an audience that is larger and younger than the population of its former colonial overlord. Mr. Vigil said that allowed for clever programming, adding that he already had several projects in the final stages of negotiation.
“In Spain, everything is a problem,” he said. “Here in Mexico, everything is possible. There is more work and in the attitude here, there is more of a spirit of struggle and creativity.”
Diego Quemada-Díez, another Spanish director who said he was the first person in his family to leave Spain since at least the 1400s, moved to Mexico in 2008 after working as a camera operator in Hollywood. He went to film school at the American Film Institute and completed a short film that won several awards, but he said he moved to Mexico because the United States had become creatively restrictive. He wanted to make a film without famous actors, about Central American immigrants. In Los Angeles, no producers would bite. Here, the government provided more than $1 million in financing. The film, La Jaula de Oro, had its premiere at Cannes this year, with its young actors winning an award.
“Europe feels spiritually dead and so does the United States,” Mr. Quemada-Díez said. “You end up wanting something else.”
He struggled to make sense of Mexico at first. Many foreigners do, complaining that the country is still a place of paradox, delays and promises never fulfilled for reasons never explained — a cultural clash that affects business of all kinds. “In California, there was one layer of subtext,” Mr. Quemada-Díez said. “Here there are 40 layers.”
Mexico’s immigrant population is still relatively small. Some officials estimate that four million foreigners have lived in Mexico over the past few years, but the 2010 census counted about one million, making around 1 percent of the country foreign-born compared with 13 percent in the United States. Many Mexicans, especially among the poor, see foreigners as novel and unfamiliar invaders.
Race, ethnicity and nationality matter. Most of the immigrants who have the resources or corporate sponsorship to gain legal residency here come from the United States and Europe. The thousands of Central American immigrants coming to Mexico without visas — to work on farms or in cities, or to get to the United States — are often greeted with beatings by the Mexican police or intense pressure to work for drug cartels. Koreans also say they often hear the xenophobic refrain, “Go back to your own country.”
Mr. Sánchez, the hair products salesman from Venezuela, said Mexicans who had not been able to rise above their economic class mostly seemed to resent the mobility of immigrants. In a country still scarred by the Spanish conquistadors, he said many of his Mexican neighbors responded with shock when they discovered that his younger sister was studying medicine at Mexico’s national university. Not that the quiet scorn is enough to deter him. “I earn more here in a year than I would in 10 years in my own country,” he said. “Mexicans don’t realize how great their country is.”
Many do, of course, especially those with experience elsewhere. Mexico has allowed dual nationality for more than a decade, and among the growing group of foreigners moving here are also young men and women born in Mexico to foreign parents, or who grew up abroad as the children of Mexicans. A globalized generation, they could live just about anywhere, but they are increasingly choosing Mexico.
Some are passionate idealists, like Luna Mancini, 27, a human rights lawyer working for the Supreme Court who was born in Mexico to Italian parents. After growing up in Barcelona, Spain, she returned to Mexico in 2009 because she felt that more could be done in Latin America, with law and with new tools of communication — digital video, social media — that encouraged grass-roots dialogue. Some, especially Mexican-Americans working in Mexico City’s hip culinary scene, have come here to reconnect with their roots. Others simply see Mexico as their best option, as an incubator for personal, professional and artistic growth.
Domingo Delaroiere, an architect whose father is French and mother is Mexican, said Mexico’s appeal — especially in the capital — was becoming harder to miss. When he came back here last year for a visit, after two and a half years in Paris, he said he was surprised. “Art, culture, fashion, architecture, design — the city was filling up with new spaces, things that are interesting, daring,” he said.
He soon decided it was time to move. Compared with Mexico, he said, “Nothing is happening in Paris.”

Oracle's Next Cloud Moves - NYTimes.com

Oracle's Next Cloud Moves - NYTimes.com:

 "In a couple of days, Oracle is going to go all in on the cloud, with many new products and features, and a “the customer gets to choose” strategy for how rapidly its buyers make the biggest step in tech in over the last two decades."

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

GitHub · Build software better, together.

GitHub · Build software better, together.:

 "Powerful collaboration, code review, and code management for open source and private projects. Need private repositories?"

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Bram Moolenaar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bram Moolenaar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

 "Bram Moolenaar (born 1961, in Lisse, province of Zuid-Holland, Netherlands) is an active member of the open source software community. He is the author of Vim,[1] a text editor that is very popular among programmers and power users."

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Vim (text editor) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Vim (text editor) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

 "Vim is a text editor written by Bram Moolenaar and first released publicly in 1991. Based on the vi editor common to Unix-like systems, Vim is designed for use both from a command line interface and as a standalone application in a graphical user interface. Vim is free and open source software and is released under a license that includes some charityware clauses, encouraging users who enjoy the software to consider donating to children in Uganda.[3] The license is compatible with the GNU General Public License."

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The Crazy Party - NYTimes.com

The Crazy Party - NYTimes.com:

"Early this year, Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, made headlines by telling his fellow Republicans that they needed to stop being the “stupid party.” Unfortunately, Mr. Jindal failed to offer any constructive suggestions about how they might do that. And, in the months that followed, he himself proceeded to say and do a number of things that were, shall we say, not especially smart."

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Monday, September 16, 2013

JPMorgan Set to Pay Fines for Whale Trading Losses - NYTimes.com

JPMorgan Set to Pay Fines for Whale Trading Losses - NYTimes.com:

 "Global authorities are preparing to levy more than $700 million in fines against JPMorgan Chase over the bank’s huge trading loss in London last year — a rebuke that comes as the nation’s largest bank is confronting an onslaught of legal woes."

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Krugman Today

NYT

If Summers is not the Referee, Some People May not Want to Play

NYT

Slackers at the Fed

To taper or not to taper, that is the question. Except it’s actually two questions:
1. Are we getting close enough to “full employment” that it’s time to let up on the gas? How much slack is there in the economy, really?
2. To the extent that the economy still needs a boost, are purchases of long-term Treasuries the way to do this?
The answer to question 2 is probably no — but that’s an argument for replacing the current policy with something better, like purchases of MBS and/or stronger forward guidance, not for a taper all by itself, which serves as a sort of forward anti-guidance: it signals, whether the Fed intends this or not, a general shift toward hawkishness.
But what about question 1? The measured unemployment rate is down a lot — in fact, at 7.3 percent it’s almost exactly the same as it was in November 19821984, when Ronald Reagan won big on claims of restored prosperity. But most of the fall in unemployment reflects lower labor force participation rather than job growth. Even if we focus on prime-age workers, so as to net out demographic effects, the employment story is highly unimpressive:
The question is, how much should we look at the employment versus the unemployment numbers, which are telling different stories?
There’s no question that a weak economy tends to reduce labor force participation — people give up active searching for work when there are few jobs to be had. Jared Bernstein offers some clear cross-state evidence. On the other hand, you can make a case that there has been a secular downward trend in labor force participation, even age-adjusted; Gavyn Davies makes this case, and suggests that the unemployment rate may be a better guide than the employment ratio after all.
I can see Davies’s point. Here’s a picture of labor-force participation of prime-age adults since 2000, where I’ve separated pre- and post-crisis, and plotted the pre-crisis trend:
Looking at a picture like this, you could conclude that labor force participation isn’t all that depressed, after all.
So why don’t I believe it? One reason is that I suspect that the apparent downward trend in participation actually reflects differences in how boomy different booms have been. The US economy in 2000 had really, really full employment — it was an era when labor was so scarce that McDonald’s was actively trying to recruit senior citizens, when the joke was that you could get a job as long as your breath would fog a mirror, that is, as long as you were actually alive. The peak in 2007 was nothing like that. So what looks like a secular downward trend may in large part reflect instead the extent to which the “Bush boom”, such as it was, fell far short of the Clinton boom.
Still, there is some legitimate argument here. What I would say, however, is that the Fed needs to balance the risks here. Inflation is well below target — and there’s good reason to believe that the target is too low. There’s also good reason to believe that sustained high unemployment leaves lasting scars on the economy. Why not wait for clear evidence that the economy is really approaching capacity before doing anything that could be interpreted as tightening?

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