Inspired Economist Pick of the Week

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This new column highlights the top economic stories of the week.

At the outset of this week, it looked like the Swine flu might be the largest influenza epidemic since the virus that wiped out a significant portion of the world’s population at the end of the first World War. Local economies everywhere have been affected given that people have stopped going out for fear of “The SuperFlu.”

Not to mention the fact that pork sales are down even though it’s common knowledge that the virus cannot be attained through food. Although, new cases of the flu have been spotted in Europe and Latin America, it looks as though things are easing up, and that the worst is over.

Jazzfest kicked off its 40th year anniversary last weekend under beautiful breezy blue skies.   Despite the global economic mood, the festival goers seemed more  upbeat this year as programs to rebuild the New Orleans economy are slowly taking root and beginning to yield visible results.

And there has been much talk about clean coal. West Virginia Mountain Top Removal coal protests heated up this week. Also, CNN Money interviewed George Soros this week. The billionaire says sometimes his firm’s investments conflict with his personal views. But that coal is a viable source of energy once you take the carbon out.

But the automobile industry definitely seemed to top the economic news this week. GE showed the way forward with advanced hybrids and EVs just as Chrysler’s woes have left the world wondering as to the future of GM. While Fiat’s proposed acquisition of GM’s European group signified hope for Chrysler, NPR is of the view that convincing consumers to buy cars from a bankrupt company would seem to be a Sisyphean task. Can Chrysler do it — or to be more precise, can Fiat, which never had much success in the American market, do it?

And what can we expect next week?

Well, for starters, President Barack Obama plans to roll out a set of proposals on international tax policies on Monday, in an announcement with potential implications for U.S. multinational firms. Let’s see what happens.

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