London (CNN) – Where do you draw the line between your professional and working life? It is the eternal unanswered question for ambitious people, but it was tested to its limits yesterday in Paris – a case study par excellence.
Just to put this in context: the world economy isn’t quite on its knees, but it’s heading that way. A collapse in the world economy would cause untold damage to millions of people, disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable.
What could tip the balance is a collapse of the eurozone, something world leaders are working to prevent. There are two people who matter more than most in these discussions and they are the leaders of France and Germany– the two most powerful eurozone economies and its main political backers.
Cannes, France (CNN) - Cannes Lions used to be a festival for ad agencies, then the clients started coming and now the content owners are coming. James Murdoch, Jeffrey Katzenberg and our own Jeff Bewkes, who heads up Time Warner, are all here this week.
Martin Sorrell, boss of the multi-billion dollar WPP group of creative agencies, talks of a new triangle of agencies, clients and media/content owners. In effect a new structure to the creative sector.
Cannes, France (CNN) – Robert Redford came to Cannes on Tuesday, for the Creative Festival, as opposed to the film one.
He addressed an audience of communications execs who were brought up watching his movies. Redford made his name depicting the Wild West but the West is now developed and his audience is far more interested in the wild East.
The head of one global agency referred to an "Anglo-Saxon mafia" in advertising, and accepted he was a member of it. The industry is largely based in London and New York, and that could be working against them in some markets.
In China, Western agencies are beating off the local competition, thanks largely to the prestige attached to anything Western, particularly luxury goods. But local agencies are getting stronger. It's much tougher in India, where local agencies are arguably winning with their expert local knowledge.
Cannes, France (CNN) – It sounds harsh but it’s a truth, at least for one industry. I would tell you the name of the industry but that’s where it gets tricky.
I am at the Cannes Lions Festival which used to be an advertising conference for agency head honchos. They would meet, swap ideas and party through the night. Now it’s a "Festival of Creativity" where head honchos from all sorts of different businesses meet, swap ideas and party through the night.
(CNN) – We all know that superheroes save the world, but maybe we need to reassess what they look like. Imagine a superhero wearing a suit - a business suit that is, rather than the caped variety.
At St James's Palace in London this week, Prince Charles gave an interesting and provocative speech as he received an honorary degree from London Business School. He is a champion of sustainable business, and practices what he preaches with his own line of food products. He is not the superhero in this story but he thinks business leaders could be our saviors.
His Royal Highness warns, rather gloomily, that the threat of environmental collapse risks causing an economic crash "which is far more dramatic and far harder to recover from than anything we have experienced over the past few years." He says we need to rethink the very economic model that Brits, and the West, take for granted.
(CNN) – It was an upbeat message from José Manuel Barroso during his first State of the Union speech at the European Parliament. And during it, the President of the European Commission also let slip a proposal that was new to me.
I had the chance to follow-up in an interview after the speech. So I asked him, What exactly was the ‘European Vacancy Monitor’? It turned out to be a suspiciously simple system to help clear up job vacancies across the Union.
All vacancies would be published so someone looking for a job in, say, France could see what’s available in Portugal, or Ireland.
For an economist it makes perfect sense. It’s a straightforward market, matching up supply and demand. But even after you’ve dealt with the administrative challenge, what about the political backlash? The two most explosive issues in the region right now must be immigration and unemployment.
How does the President see his proposed new system working? Watch a clip here and check out the rest on TV later today:
Many Europeans were quick to blame America for starting the global recession. It's true that too many US homeowners over borrowed from overzealous banks, but we've since discovered that whole countries in Europe could be accused of doing a similar thing.
To get through the financial crisis, many governments borrowed more. Some may have gone too far. Greece is now struggling to keep up with its debts, and that's shocking to investors who didn't expect to hear that from a Eurozone country.
They would normally be more than happy to lend to a country like Greece by buying bonds. Now investors are thinking twice because they see a risk in getting their money back. Not only that, they are wondering if other countries are just as risky.
You don't have to go far to see that Portugal, Ireland and Spain all have very high deficits. Even the UK, a major world economy, may have been cavalier with its finances.
So far, the Greek debt crisis is just that – Greek. But if neighbouring countries go the same way, it will be a huge test of the Eurozone.
How do you set one interest rate across a zone where one part is sinking into recession whilst the other is trying to recover?
Eurosceptics have long argued that if you are going to have one interest rate you also need to set one central budget. In the Eurozone you have one interest rate and many budgets. That's why a single currency works in the US and why it doesn't in Europe, as Greece is proving.
We want to know what you think.
Do you think the Euro was a bad idea?
LONDON, England – There is real concern now about the impact that escalating oil prices will have on the global economy. London has been swamped by truckers and Barcelona by fisherman - all complaining about the rising cost of fuel. American car owners are demonstrating by cutting down on journeys to save gas. Politicians fear high oil prices will spark higher inflation in economies that are already slowing down.
But rising oil prices do not matter a jot to the global economy , at least in theory. Any changes in the price of oil have a neutral effect. The cost to those countries buying it is offset by the money made by those selling it. Overall the effect of a rise, or indeed a fall, in oil prices is nil. The cash is simply being shifted around the globe. It's swings and roundabouts, as they say.
But if the U.S. economy goes down, surely it will take the rest of the world with it? Not according to Paul Donovan, Senior Economist at UBS. He points out that countries in the Middle East are consuming far more than they were 10 to 15 years ago, as evidenced by the huge building projects in Dubai.
"You are rebalancing power in the world economy, there is no doubt about that," says Donovan. "It's very disruptive but the net effect is simply to redistribute wealth from countries like the U.S. and UK to the Middle East or countries like Russia."
In other words, Europe and America may be suffering but other continents are gaining, so no need to fear a global recession. The Middle East and Russia are strong enough to prop up the whole system. Do you agree?
LONDON, England – The car industry is to manufacturing what Madonna is to music. It is constantly having to reinvent itself to stay relevant, and has been pretty successful.
Chairman Ratan Tata poses next to the Tata Nano.
One of Madonna's more memorable phases for me was when she was constantly stripping (well I was a teenager) and that seems to be the phase the car industry is going through now. All the big car makers seem to be coming up with stripped down versions of vehicles with none of the mod cons.
Italy's Fiat is developing a new low-cost car. Its follows in the tracks of Renault with its Logan and Tata with its Nano. They are all betting on the fact that the no frills segment will grow significantly over the next few years.
The market for cars in the developed world is saturated so car makers are hoping to sell cars to those that haven't got one yet in places like India, China and Brazil.
It's a risk though. How easy will be it to get the price down far enough to tempt people to upgrade from their mopeds, rickshaws and tuks? The margins will inevitably be thin so sales will have to be large enough to bring in decent profits. Are larger vehicles the best solutions in those markets? And can you use the same model in several different markets - will the Nano work outside South Asia?
One interesting thought is there may also be demand in developed markets for low-cost cars as people tighten their belts and want to spend less on the initial outlay and running costs.
Do you think the car makers are right to bet on low-cost cars?
LONDON, England – "Mumbai, Shanghai, Dubai or ... bye bye" - this is the rather dark joke that's been doing the rounds in London's financial community recently.
The gist is that unless you work in emerging markets, prepare to lose your job.
Europe's biggest bank, HSBC, illustrated the trend this week when it revealed huge losses in America, but big profits in Asia.
There just isn't the money to be made in Western markets that there once was, so the banks are cutting back dramaticially on their headcount.
Bankers rarely get sympathy when there are job cuts because they are generally paid very well for what many see as straightforward gambling. But this time round they are getting even less sympathy.
In fact, they are being blamed for being the architects of their own downfall and for dragging the rest of us down with them. Critics say the industry should be taught a lesson.
What that lesson should be will be considered today by a group of European finance ministers called Eurogroup.
According to El Pais, the meeting will consider whether the Anglo-Saxon market model is a danger to global financial stability and whether firms chased immediate profits at the cost of massive sackings.
Has the short-term pay structure of modern capitalism become deformed, causing firms to take on excessive risk without regard to stakeholders or society?
In other words, should bankers be punished for causing the credit crisis by having their performance bonuses slashed - by law?
Britain's Daily Telegraph has its view: "Bankers' pay may be excessive and geared too much toward risk-taking but it is not the job of government to regulate it, it is the job of shareholders who have lost billions in the credit crisis to insist on new rules if they want them."
What do you think? Post a response here on this blog.
About Business 360
CNN International's business anchors and correspondents get to grips with the issues affecting world business, and they want your questions and feedback.