The moment a large investor doesn't believe a government will pay back its debt when it says it will, a crisis of confidence could develop. Investors have scant patience for the years of good governance - politically fraught fiscal restructuring, austerity and debt rescheduling - it takes to defuse a sovereign-debt crisis.
Debt, we've learned, is the match that lights the fire of every crisis. Every crisis has its own set of villains - pick your favorite: bankers, regulators, central bankers, politicians, overzealous consumers, credit rating agencies - but all require one similar ingredient to create a true crisis: too much leverage.
There is a long list of psychology research demonstrating that appearances matter more than most us would care to admit. As shallow as it may be, better-looking people have been shown in various studies to have higher self-esteem and more charisma, are considered more trustworthy and are better negotiators.
Corporate tax reform is nice in theory but tough in practice. It most likely requires lower tax rates and the closing of loopholes, which many companies are sure to fight. And whatever new, lower tax rate is determined, there will probably be another country willing to lower its rate further, creating a sad race to zero.
Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a company is not allowed to provide a personal benefit to a decision maker in return for business. But hiring the sons and daughters of powerful executives and politicians is hardly just the province of banks doing business in China: it has been a time-tested practice here in the United States.
Unfortunately, I think it's very difficult to separate policy from politics. In a perfect world, in some instances, you probably would want to. In other instances, you'd probably say that the political element is important because it should, in a perfect world, match what the stakeholders need or want, or what the public is after.