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Archive for 27. Oktober 2015

The Wrong War for Central Banking

Posted by hkarner - 27. Oktober 2015

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Furor teutonicus – die deutschen Weltverbesserer sind wieder da!

Posted by hkarner - 27. Oktober 2015

 Sollten Sie es nicht wissen: Gero Jenner ist Deutscher! Er lebt nur schon mehr als 30 Jahre in der Oststeiermark. (hfk)

Gero Jenner, 27/10Jenner

Man wusste die Deutschen nie so richtig einzuschätzen – einerseits diese wundersame Empfindsamkeit, wie sie sich vor allem in den größten Werken ihrer musikalischen Tradition manifestiert, auf der anderen Seite die nackte Brutalität, wie sie während der Nazizeit mit der Ermordung der Juden verordnet wurde. Das war Xenophobie gegenüber Menschen der eigenen Bevölkerung, die gar keine Fremden waren, sondern in vieler Hinsicht die besseren, die überzeugteren und vielfach sogar die patriotischeren Deutschen.

Und jetzt das gerade Gegenteil: eine von oben initiierte Politik der weit geöffneten Arme, um allen Verfolgten der Welt eine Heimat in ihrem Land anzubieten. Der Deutsche gibt Rätsel auf. Zur gleichen Zeit ist er aber auch lästig oder eine offene Gefahr. Unter den Nazis wurde ganz Europa gezwungen, sich der Verfolgung der Fremden anzuschließen, die gar keine Fremden waren. Jetzt soll ganz Europa genötigt werden, die Menschenflut aus anderen Ländern aufzunehmen – im Unterschied zu den assimilierten Juden handelt es sich diesmal um wirkliche Fremde in Lebensart, kultureller Tradition und religiöser Überzeugung. Doch Deutschland setzt sich in seinem Furor über alle Bedenken hinweg. Es tritt wieder einmal mit dem ganzen Pathos und Selbstbewusstsein des Weltverbesserers in Erscheinung. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Return of Jaroslaw Kaczynski

Posted by hkarner - 27. Oktober 2015

 How strange! (hfk)

Date: 27-10-2015
Source: Project Syndicate


Slawomir Sierakowski is founder of the Krytyka Polityczna movement and the director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Warsaw.

WARSAW – Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s Law and Justice (PiS) party is back in power, after receiving 37.6% of the vote in last weekend’s general election and soundly defeating the incumbent Civic Platform, which won 24.1%. Following Andrzej Duda’s victory in the presidential election in May, a single party will form Poland’s government for the first time since communism’s end in 1989.

Indeed, Kaczynski now controls almost all levers of power in Poland. The only hope for those who believe that he and his party’s populist nationalism represent a threat to democracy is that PiS lacks, and probably cannot marshal, the two-thirds majority in the Sejm (parliament) needed to amend the constitution. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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France Will Modernize Greece!

Posted by hkarner - 27. Oktober 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015, Observing GreeceKastner

Further to my recent article on the new Structural Reform Support Service (SRSS), which replaced the EU Task Force for Greece (TFGR) earlier this year, we now have the first evidence of the SRSS in action and it looks rather promising.

Here is the Protocol between the Hellenic Republic and the French Republic for a partnership for reforms in the Hellenic Republic. The signatories are no less than the Finance Ministers of both countries and they signed in the presence of the Greek Prime Minister and the French President. So this is more than just another document!

Just like with the TFGR, the SRSS facilitates the availability of the most competent resources in other EU countries to assist Greece. France has been selected to assist Greece with Central Administrative Reform, Tax Reform, Privatization and Public Asset Management. The protocol lists rather detailed goals and objectives. They all sound great!

The goals and objectives which the TFGR had stated after it was formed in late 2011 also sounded great. In fact, in would be interesting to make a point-by-point comparison. Chances are that the goals and objectives are rather identical. Why did the TFGR fail? For one: it never had the full commitment of the Greek leadership behind it; or to use the standard speak: it was never ‚owned‘ by the Greek leadership. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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EU beschließt Zwei-Klassen-Internet

Posted by hkarner - 27. Oktober 2015

Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten  | 

Die EU hat neue Regeln zur Steuerung des Internets beschlossen. Mit vielen vagen Vorgaben wird im Kern damit der Weg für ein Zwei-Klassen-Internet geebnet, Große Konzerne werden bevorzugt, kleine und unabhängige Player könnten ausgebootet werden.

Die schwammigen Formulierungen der EU ermöglichen eine schnellere Verbindung für große Anbieter, fürchten Kritiker.

Heute hat das EU-Paparlament den umstrittenen Vorschlag über den Binnenmarkt für elektronische Kommunikation (Telekomgesetz) angenommen. Kritiker befürchten, dass große Telekommunikationskonzerne künftig eine „Überholspur“ kaufen können, während der Rest abgedrängt wird. Eine der besonders strittigen Ausnahmen: Internet-Anbieter können somit zwischen Kategorien von Datenverkehr unterscheiden – „um die Gesamtqualität und das Nutzererlebnis zu optimieren“. Die Änderungsvorschlage von Grünen, Linken und Liberalen wurden nicht berücksichtigt. Diese Parteien hatten gefordert, dass es deutlich sicherere Schranken zur Wahrung der Netzneutralität geben müsse. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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What’s Wrong With Labor Markets?

Posted by hkarner - 27. Oktober 2015

Photo of Mauro F. Guillén

Mauro F. Guillén

Mauro F. Guillén is Director of the Lauder Institute at the Wharton School.

OCT 26, 2015, Project Syndicate

PHILADELPHIA – Around the world, labor markets are in disarray. Unemployment is high in many countries, especially among the young. At the same time, many companies report having trouble finding qualified workers. Record numbers of people are going into retirement, but many would prefer to work, at least part-time. Information technology has displaced workers even as it has created new jobs.

These conflicting signals and trends are a symptom of a series of fundamental mismatches between what employers need and the talents of those they would like to hire. There have never been so many highly educated people in the world; yet the crises in Europe, the slow recovery in the United States, and the rise of emerging economies are revealing previously hidden flaws in the labor market. Addressing them will require a broad range of policy interventions. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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One Net, One Future

Posted by hkarner - 27. Oktober 2015

Photo of Carl Bildt

Carl Bildt

Carl Bildt was Sweden’s foreign minister from 2006 to October 2014, and was Prime Minister from 1991 to 1994, when he negotiated Sweden’s EU accession. A renowned international diplomat, he served as EU Special Envoy to the Former Yugoslavia, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, UN Special Envoy to the Balkans, and Co-Chairman of the Dayton Peace Conference. He is Chair of the Global Commission on Internet Governance and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Europe.

OCT 26, 2015, Project Syndicate

SEOUL – Once upon a time, two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, held summits to reduce the danger of a nuclear war. Today, the summitry is between the US and China, a large part of which is to reduce the dangers of confrontation and conflict in cyberspace.

The stakes could not be higher. How the world responds to the threat of cyber attacks will determine the extent to which future generations will be able to benefit from the digital era. In addition to the possibility of conflict, there is the danger that governments will overreact, erecting barriers to information that undermine the potential of the Internet.

In a way, we are already in a low-level continuous conflict in cyberspace. China is not the only country that is engaging, through direct or indirect state action, in massive cyber operations against other countries’ political and economic structures. We are in the midst of one of those historic shifts when offensive technologies are cheaper and more powerful than defensive ones. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Can Hong Kong Overcome Complacency?

Posted by hkarner - 27. Oktober 2015

By on October 23, 2015  RGE EconoMonitor

In the past, so the legend goes, Hong Kong feared nothing. Today, the city seems frozen by its obstacles. Can it change, once more?

In a recent commentary, I argued that, in the absence of a radical new growth strategy, Hong Kong is facing an eclipse. In a response, “Hong Kong’s strength lies in China’s weakness,” Jake Van Der Kamp argues that Hong Kong’s ageing population is not a major challenge; that the industrial base of the Chinese province of Guangdong is relatively low-tech; and as a result, further integration with it would not enhance Hong Kong’s growth prospects.

I beg to disagree on all three counts; big time. In each case, facts are pretty clear. In the past, Hong Kong benefited from China’s vulnerabilities. In the future, it must find a way to complement China’s strengths.

Graying Hong Kong

Jake’s view is that Hong Kong’s erosion by ageing population is not that big of a deal and, really, not that different from China. Well, let’s look at the facts. A simple comparison of countries by median age will do.

In the list of the grayest populations worldwide, the top positions belong to Monaco, Germany and Japan in which the median age is about 46-51 years. Without elevated immigration, these countries will soon suffer from severe population decline.

With its median age of 45 years, Hong Kong comes right after them, unfortunately. It is graying far faster than other SARs, such as Taiwan (38.7 years, 53rd) or Macau (37.2 years, 62nd), not to speak of China (36.3 years; 65th).

Today even the city’s leaders are lamenting about the aging population, the explosion of elderly poverty and youth unemployment. In such circumstances, ignorance is not bliss.

Guangdong myths and realities

According to Jake’s view, the [Guangdong] province’s industrial base is not built primarily on fancy electronic high-technology but on low-technology plastic moldings and cheap toys.” That view of Guangdong is severely flawed.

Contemporary Guangdong has more than 106 million people, which accounts for almost 8% of the total in the mainland. It is China’s largest province by GDP and the home of a broad set of multinational and Chinese global corporate giants.

In China, Guangdong has led the way in moving up the manufacturing value chain from light industry to high-end manufacturing. Ranked in terms of the value-added, its key industries include information and communication technology (22%), electrical machinery & equipment (9%), raw chemical materials and chemical products (5%) and automobiles (5%).

In light of these facts, the idea that Guangdong’s industrial base is today based on “low technology plastic mouldings and cheap toys” is just a Rip Van Winkle fantasy.

Financial and innovation risks are immediate

In the past, Hong Kong has thrived thanks to vibrant tourism, dynamic trade and rising property prices. Today, tourism is falling, trade is lingering and property prices are facing a mean correction. What’s worse, some of these trends are no longer just cyclical, but secular.

Moreover, disintermediation of Hong Kong as China’s privileged financial channel is reflected by the new free trade zones in the mainland, the proliferation of offshore RMB centers and the evolving Shanghai-London Stock Connect. Shanghai is China’s new financial center, supported by a set of rising financial niche cities.

Finally, the notion of Hong Kong’s innovation edge is a myth. Let’s be clear: As long as the city’s R&D per GDP is around 0.7%, it trails behind India and Ukraine, and barely holds its own against Pakistan or South Africa.

These cold facts led to my conclusion that economic integration with Guangdong could alleviate the erosion of Hong Kong’s maturing economy and aging population, while boosting entrepreneurship, venture capital and innovation across the region.

The hard reality is Hong Kong’s growth has eclipsed. Without an aggressive growth strategy and China’s innovation, the city’s living standards will deflate over time. Those who care about the city should fight for its future, not lament over its fading glory.


Dan Steinbock is research director of international business at the India China and America Institute (US) and a visiting fellow at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (China) and the EU Centre (Singapore). See http://www.differencegroup.net

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Britain and Europe: Never closer union

Posted by hkarner - 27. Oktober 2015

Date: 26-10-2015
Source: The Economist

Does the European treaty commitment matter?

FOR months David Cameron has refused to set out exactly what he wants from his renegotiation with the European Union before his in/out referendum. That is because whatever he asks for will instantly be denounced as inadequate by the prime minister’s own Eurosceptic backbenchers. Yet at the European summit on October 15th-16th he was forced by irritated fellow leaders to promise to put his demands in writing early next month. And, as he repeated this week, high up his wishlist is a determination to exempt Britain from the treaty commitment to “ever closer union”.

The full formulation is an “ever closer union among the peoples of Europe”, a subtle but important addition. This phrase occurs in the preamble to the 1957 Treaty of Rome and in most later treaties. Yet until recently even Eurosceptics did not object to what is merely an aspiration. Some other governments have expressed scepticism about the goal. In 2013 the Dutch government declared that “the time of ‘ever closer union’ in every possible policy area is behind us”. And in June 2014 the European Council formally said that the concept embraced different paths of integration for different countries, “allowing those that want to deepen integration to move ahead, while respecting the wish of those who do not want to deepen any further.” So why is Mr Cameron using scarce negotiating capital to scrap the provision for Britain? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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