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Archive for 23. März 2016

Leidensdruck ist der Motor aller Reformen

Posted by hkarner - 23. März 2016

23.03.2016 | 18:25 | Josef Urschitz (Die Presse)

Müssen wir wirklich gegen die Wand fahren, bevor sich etwas ändert?

Ein riesiger Reformstau lähmt die Konjunktur der Eurozone. Mit einer großen Ausnahme: Deutschland. Was ursächlich damit zu tun hat, dass dort mit der Agenda 2010 schon vor 13 Jahren eine Reihe einschneidender Strukturreformen durchgezogen wurde.

Das hat den damaligen SPD-Bundeskanzler Schröder zwar die Kanzlerschaft gekostet, das Land aber nach vorn gebracht: vom „kranken Mann Europas“, auf den österreichische Regierungsvertreter mitleidsvoll herabblickten, zur wieder führenden Wirtschaftsnation. Arbeitslosenrate halbiert, Pensionssystem saniert, Überschuss im Budget – das kann sich schon sehen lassen.

Umso seltsamer, dass die damals als neoliberal verschrienen Reformen eines SPD-Kanzlers nun ausgerechnet von einer CDU-geführten Regierung Schritt für Schritt zurückgenommen werden. Abschlagsfreie Rente mit 63, Mindestlohn, überaus kräftige Rentenerhöhung – das ist alles sehr schön für die Betroffenen. Aber es konterkariert diametral die Reform, die das Land vorwärts gebracht hat.

Interessant auch, dass eine Reihe von Euroländern, darunter das extrem reformresistente Frankreich, unter dem Druck der wirtschaftlichen Realität jetzt genau jene Strukturreformen diskutieren, die die Deutschen gerade verwässern. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Die Anschläge von Brüssel und die reflexartigen Fehler der Politik

Posted by hkarner - 23. März 2016

23. März 2016 l lFlassbeck

Reflexartig reagiert unsere Politik auf Anschläge wie die gestrigen in Brüssel – und sie reagiert reflexartig falsch. Wir müssen zusammenstehen und den Terrorismus endgültig besiegen, verkünden die Politiker in gebetsmühlenartiger Manier.

Wie schon nach Paris würden sie am liebsten wieder sofort einen Krieg erklären, aber es wäre wiederum ein Krieg gegen einen Gegner, den es nicht gibt. Den Terrorismus, der hier erneut zu Tage tritt, den kann man nicht mit Polizei und Militär bekämpfen, weil seine Ziele beliebig sind und seine Quellen werden ohne eine radikal andere Politik des Westens niemals versiegen.

Ich habe es schon nach den Anschlägen von Paris gesagt und es gilt noch immer: Der Staat kann seine Bürger vor solchen Anschlägen nicht schützen. Er kann nicht jeden Menschen, der vor seine Haustür tritt, daraufhin überprüfen, ob er Waffen oder Sprengstoff bei sich trägt. Und wenn er es mit all denen tut, die pauschal als verdächtig gelten, kreiert er unmittelbar neuen Terrorismus.

Auch die wichtigsten Quellen der Wut und des Hasses bleiben in unserer Hand. Wie viele traumatisierte junge Menschen mögen der Dreck, der Schlamm und die offenkundige Verachtung des Westens für die Not von tausenden von Menschen vor dem Zaun in Idomeni, Griechenland, hervorgebracht haben? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The problem with profits

Posted by hkarner - 23. März 2016

Date: 23-03-2016
Source: The Economist

Big firms in the United States have never had it so good. Time for more competition

AMERICA used to be the land of opportunity and optimism. Now opportunity is seen as the preserve of the elite: two-thirds of Americans believe the economy is rigged in favour of vested interests. And optimism has turned to anger.

Voters’ fury fuels the insurgencies of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders and weakens insiders like Hillary Clinton.

The campaigns have found plenty of things to blame, from free-trade deals to the recklessness of Wall Street. But one problem with American capitalism has been overlooked: a corrosive lack of competition. The naughty secret of American firms is that life at home is much easier: their returns on equity are 40% higher in the United States than they are abroad. Aggregate domestic profits are at near-record levels relative to GDP. America is meant to be a temple of free enterprise. It isn’t.

High profits might be a sign of brilliant innovations or wise long-term investments, were it not for the fact that they are also suspiciously persistent. A very profitable American firm has an 80% chance of being that way ten years later. In the 1990s the odds were only about 50%. Some companies are capable of sustained excellence, but most would expect to see their profits competed away. Today, incumbents find it easier to make hay for longer. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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China’s Incompatible Goals

Posted by hkarner - 23. März 2016

Photo of Carmen Reinhart

Carmen Reinhart

Carmen Reinhart is Professor of the International Financial System at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

MAR 22, 2016, Project Syndicate

CAMBRIDGE – As Chinese policymakers attempt to address what ails their country’s economy, they are pursuing two goals that will almost certainly turn out to be incompatible. Very seldom have central banks been able to maintain a fixed exchange rate over an extended period of time while providing liquidity to troubled banks and an ailing economy. Indeed, the task becomes especially difficult as the monetary stringency needed to prop up the currency intensifies strains on domestic banks and the real economy.

Those looking for a rough outline of the Chinese economy’s future would be wise to revisit what happened in Thailand in 1997, when the collapse of the baht precipitated the Asian financial crisis. Of course, China in 2016 is different in many ways from Thailand in 1997; but there are key similarities in their responses to ongoing capital outflows. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Causes of the Eurozone Crisis: A nuanced view

Posted by hkarner - 23. März 2016

Lars P Feld, Christoph M Schmidt, Isabel Schnabel, Volker Wieland 22 March 2016, voxeu

Director, Walter Eucken Institute; and Professor of Economic Policy, University of Freiburg

President, RWI Essen and CEPR Research Fellow

Professor of Financial Economics, University of Bonn; Member of the German Council of Economic Experts; CEPR Research Fellow

Managing Director of the Institute for Monetary and Financial Stability (IMFS) and holder of the Endowed Chair of Monetary Economics, Goethe University Frankfur

  • First, there was a lack of economic and fiscal policy discipline, accompanied by dysfunctional sanctioning mechanisms as well as flawed financial regulation, leading to the build-up of huge public and private debt and a loss of competitiveness;
  • Second, there was no credible mechanism for crisis response regarding bank and sovereign debt problems, which would have been able to reign in moral hazard problems and establish market discipline. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Reckoning With Inequality

Posted by hkarner - 23. März 2016

Photo of Jeffrey Frankel

Jeffrey Frankel

Jeffrey Frankel, a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, previously served as a member of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers. He directs the Program in International Finance and Macroeconomics at the US National Bureau of Economic Research, where he is a member of the Business Cycle Dating Committee, the official US arbiter of recession and recovery.

MAR 22, 2016

CAMBRIDGE – When it comes to the rise in economic inequality since the 1970s in the United States and some other advanced economies, it doesn’t really matter which measure of income distribution we choose: They all show the increase. And, while many competing explanations have been proposed, we do not need to agree about causes to concur on sensible policies to address the problem.

There are many ways to measure inequality. Each can tell us something different. Many Asian countries’ recent economic success has reduced inequality by some measures (for example, a big fall in the poverty rate), but not by others (the high-low range has increased). In the US, however, all measures of inequality have pointed in the same direction since the turn of the century, reflecting the fact that the benefits of economic growth have gone almost exclusively to those at the top. The share of income received by the top 0.5% has reached 14%, where it was in the 1920s. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Economist’s Concubine

Posted by hkarner - 23. März 2016

Photo of Robert Skidelsky

Robert Skidelsky

Robert Skidelsky, Professor Emeritus of Political Economy at Warwick University and a fellow of the British Academy in history and economics, is a member of the British House of Lords. The author of a three-volume biography of John Maynard Keynes, he began his political career in the Labour party, became the Conservative Party’s spokesman for Treasury affairs in the House of Lords, and was eventually forced out of the Conservative Party for his opposition to NATO’s intervention in Kosovo in 1999.

MAR 22, 2016, Project Syndicate

LONDON – In recent decades, economics has been colonizing the study of human activities hitherto considered exempt from formal calculus. What critics call “economics imperialism” has given rise to an economics of love, of art, of music, of language, of literature, and of much else.

The unifying idea underlying this extension of economics is that whatever people do, whether it is making love or making widgets, they aim to achieve the best results at the least cost. These benefits and costs can be reduced to money. So people are always looking for the best financial return on their transactions. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Case for Reforming the Price of Water

Posted by hkarner - 23. März 2016

Posted on by iMFdirect

David Lipton2012By David Lipton

One of the first things most students of economics learn is the diamond and water paradox. How can it be that water is free even though life cannot exist without it, while diamonds are expensive although no one dies for lack of diamonds?

The answer is that water can be free if its supply is abundant relative to demand. Nevertheless, it is abundantly clear that worldwide, the demand for water outpaces supply. This imbalance is the clearest sign that water is underpriced. Yet, many governments are reluctant to price water like other goods.

In a recent study, we have examined whether this is the right choice. Do governments succeed in protecting their citizens by providing cheap water? On this World Water Day, let me take a closer look at that question.

Role for price incentives

In fact, when you do not get prices right for water, you end up with misallocation of water today and misallocation tomorrow. Misallocation today can take the form of thirst, low agricultural productivity, or worse, poor sanitation, disease, and malnourishment. Misallocation tomorrow can take the form of inadequate investment in infrastructure and the technologies to meet future water needs and ensure water security. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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