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Archive for 8. Oktober 2016

Da stinkt der Fisch gewaltig vom Kopf

Posted by hkarner - 8. Oktober 2016

07.10.2016 | 17:15 | Josef Urschitz (Die Presse)

Ist denn niemand schuld am Absturz der Deutschen Bank?

Wer hätte das jemals gedacht: Die Deutsche Bank, einstmals monetäres Flaggschiff der stärksten Wirtschaftsnation Europas – ein Bankenwrack, um das sich Regierung und Großunternehmen ernste Sorgen zu machen beginnen.

Ein Banken-GAU der Superklasse, verursacht nicht durch irgendwelche schicksalhafte Krisen, sondern durch Bankmanager und -mitarbeiter, die – wie beschreibt man das, ohne am Strafrecht anzuecken? – agieren, als würden Regeln nur für andere gelten.

Ein kleiner Auszug aus dem Sündenregister: Referenzzinssätze manipuliert, Goldpreis manipuliert, Schwarzgeldmilliarden für Putin-Vertraute gewaschen, auf dem US-Hypothekenmarkt unerlaubte Dinge gedreht und so weiter und so weiter. Fazit: Seit 2012 schon 12,7 Mrd. Euro an Strafen bezahlt. Und zumindest ein höherer einstelliger Milliardenbetrag kommt noch dazu. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Reden enthüllt: Hillary Clinton steht Finanz-Industrie sehr hahe

Posted by hkarner - 8. Oktober 2016

Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten  | 

Wikileaks hat die Reden von Hillary Clinton vor großen Finanzinstitutionen veröffentlicht. Die Reden zeigen eine außerordentliche Vertrautheit und belegen, dass die Banken bei ihrer Regulierung ein gewichtiges Wort mitreden können.

Clinton HillaryHillary Clinton im Wahlkampf.

Die Enthüllungsplattform Wikileaks hat Auszüge aus Reden der Demokratin Hillary Clinton vor führenden Finanzunternehmen publik gemacht – Vorträge, deren Veröffentlichung sie selber bisher verweigert hat und für die sie hoch bezahlt wurde. Daraus geht nach Medienberichten hervor, wie freundschaftlich ihr Verhältnis zu den Größen der Wall Street war und wie stark sie vor nicht allzu langer Zeit uneingeschränkten freien internationalen Handel unterstützt hatte.

Sie soll außerdem den Budget-Vorschlag einer von Präsident Barack Obama eingesetzten Kommission zur Defizitverringerung unterstützt haben, der Einsparungen bei der Rente vorsah. Und in einer Rede vor der Deutschen Bank 2014, so hieß es weiter, gab sie zu verstehen, dass Wall-Street-Insider selber wohl am meisten Ahnung davon hätten, was an Regulierungen nötig sei.

Das alles hätte Clintons äußerst liberalem Rivalen Bernie Sanders im Vorwahlkampf Wasser auf die Mühlen gegeben. Er hatte ihr unter anderem zu große Nähe zur Wall Street vorgeworfen und sich für eine Ausweitung von Sozialleistungen eingesetzt.

Die Auszüge, deren Echtheit Clinton nicht bestritt, sollen Teil einer internen Überprüfung der Reden innerhalb ihres Wahlkampflagers gewesen sein – um herauszufinden, ob sie irgendetwas Explosives enthalten könnten. Wikileaks zufolge stammen sie vom gehackten E-Mail-Konto von Clintons Wahlkampf-Vorsitzenden John Podesta. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Cost of Overhyping Globalization

Posted by hkarner - 8. Oktober 2016

Photo of Daniel Gros

Daniel Gros

Daniel Gros is Director of the Brussels-based Center for European Policy Studies. He has worked for the International Monetary Fund, and served as an economic adviser to the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the French prime minister and finance minister. He is the editor of Economie Internationale and International Finance.

OCT 7, 2016 Project Syndicate

BRUSSELS – As the world’s financial elite converges on Washington, DC, for the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, they cannot escape yet another clarion call to reverse the retreat of globalization. Faltering trade, it is assumed, must be an adverse trend that needs to be addressed. But the assumption is simplistic, at best.

The problem lies in a lack of understanding of what drove trade growth over the last few decades. To be sure, there have been efforts to grasp the current slowdown. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook devotes an entire chapter to it.

But no significant new barriers to trade have been identified. Instead, the IMF declares, some three-quarters of the slowdown in trade growth is a result of “overall weakness in economic activity,” especially investment. The Fund also asserts that “the waning pace of trade liberalization and the recent uptick in protectionism” have played a role, though it is not quantifiable.

Even without establishing a clear understanding of what is driving current trends, however, the IMF report calls for action to revive the “virtuous cycle of trade and growth.” Clearly, faith in trade is very strong.

But faith is part of the problem. Blind faith in globalization led many to overhype it, creating impossible expectations for trade liberalization. When those expectations were not met, many people felt duped and rejected free trade.

This is not to say that there is no empirical case for trade liberalization. Dismantling trade barriers enables countries to start specializing in sectors in which they are more productive, which leads to higher growth and living standards for everyone. And, indeed, from the 1950s to the 1980s, the process of breaking down the high trade barriers that had been erected during World War II brought major gains.

But these gains petered out eventually. Economic theory implies that the gains from reducing trade barriers decline faster as those barriers become lower. So it should not have been surprising that, by the early 1990s, when tariffs and other trade barriers had already reached very low levels, the traditional benefits of trade liberalization had largely been exhausted. Eliminating what small barriers remained would not have had much impact.

What did have an impact was a two-decade-long commodity-price boom. High prices enabled major commodity exporters to import more and to pursue growth-enhancing policies at home – a boon to global growth. Moreover, because commodities account for a large share of world trade, rising prices boosted its total value.

Rather than acknowledge the role of commodity prices in bolstering both trade and growth in the early 2000s, most economists and politicians attributed those positive trends to trade-liberalization policies. In doing so, they reinforced the notion that “hyper-globalization” was the key to huge gains for everyone.

But the growth fueled by higher commodity prices, unlike that produced by the dismantling of trade barriers, caused a decline in living standards in the commodity-importing advanced countries, because it reduced the purchasing power of workers. No politician dared to make this distinction. So when advanced-country workers were squeezed economically, they concluded that globalization was the problem.

The role of commodities in the recent struggles of advanced-country workers is reflected in the differences between the experiences of those in the United States and Europe. Because the US produces much of its own oil and gas, the increase in commodity prices had less of an impact on the economy as a whole than in Europe.

But, for individual workers, the impact of rising commodity prices was larger in the US – not least because, in Europe, high sales taxes meant that even a doubling of crude oil prices produced only a modest increase in prices at the pump. Only oil producers, and a small number of workers in the sector, benefited from higher oil prices in the US.

Still, high-priced commodities – and, in particular, crude oil – created the illusion of wealth for the US, which, unlike European countries, did not feel the need to increase its manufacturing exports to balance its external accounts. So the US allowed its manufacturing sector to stagnate, as its external balance deteriorated. As a result, American workers got squeezed from two sides.

All of this happened at about the same time as the North American Free Trade Agreement was coming on stream. Though most studies show that net job losses due to NAFTA were limited, this timing created the strong impression that free-trade agreements – and globalization in general – was a raw deal for American workers.

When the global financial crisis erupted in 2008, destroying the value of houses that had kept those workers feeling wealthy, the true weight of the situation fell on US workers. This created an opening for demagogues like Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to win support on promises of prosperity through protectionism.

Having misunderstood the causes of the extraordinary growth in trade in recent decades, political elites over-sold globalization. When one considers the gulf between their promises – explicit and otherwise – and the actual experience of many workers, the current backlash against trade openness should be no surprise.

But there is good news: if the decline in the volume of trade is due to lower commodity prices, it will largely benefit advanced-country workers. Perhaps this will be enough to ease the demand for unnecessary new trade barriers.

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Barack Obama: The way ahead

Posted by hkarner - 8. Oktober 2016

Date: 07-10-2016
Source: The Economist

America’s president writes for us about four crucial areas of unfinished business in economic policy that his obama-cc2successor will have to tackle

WHEREVER I go these days, at home or abroad, people ask me the same question: what is happening in the American political system? How has a country that has benefited—perhaps more than any other—from immigration, trade and technological innovation suddenly developed a strain of anti-immigrant, anti-innovation protectionism? Why have some on the far left and even more on the far right embraced a crude populism that promises a return to a past that is not possible to restore—and that, for most Americans, never existed at all?

It’s true that a certain anxiety over the forces of globalisation, immigration, technology, even change itself, has taken hold in America. It’s not new, nor is it dissimilar to a discontent spreading throughout the world, often manifested in scepticism towards international institutions, trade agreements and immigration. It can be seen in Britain’s recent vote to leave the European Union and the rise of populist parties around the world. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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America’s economy: A thoughtful to-do list

Posted by hkarner - 8. Oktober 2016

Date: 06-10-2016
Source: The Economist

Obama CCIn his essay for this newspaper, Barack Obama raises the right questions about America’s economic challenges

ONE of the many unfortunate consequences of America’s presidential election turning into a reality TV show is the near-total absence of serious debate about economic policy. The vitriol on both sides of the partisan divide has made it all but impossible to have a minimal agreement even on the facts. Mendacity and insults have left no room for any substantive discussion about what the next president’s economic priorities ought to be. Whatever you think of Donald Trump, his populist, protectionist prescriptions are woefully short on policy detail; the few areas where concrete plans exist are internally inconsistent (slash taxes, increase spending and eliminate government debt). Hillary Clinton has reams of wonkish proposals, but she has trouble articulating an overall economic agenda and, amid the rhetorical mud-wrestling, her fiddly ideas have received little scrutiny.

That is the background against which we publish an essay this week by Barack Obama, in which America’s president lays out what he sees as the biggest economic challenges his successor will have to tackle (see Briefing). In a thoughtful argument pitched towards the centre ground of American politics, Mr Obama staunchly defends free trade, globalisation and American-style capitalism. He makes clear that America has gained “perhaps more than any other [nation] from immigration, trade and technological innovation” and criticises the “crude populism” on the left of his own party as well as that of the right which has bubbled up in 2016. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel Pushes Tougher Line on Brexit

Posted by hkarner - 8. Oktober 2016

Date: 07-10-2016
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Comments come after U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said she would prioritize control of immigration in exit talks

Merkel cc2BERLIN—German Chancellor Angela Merkel signaled a toughening stance on future Brexit talks, warning that the U.K. wouldn’t get special treatment after its prime minister said she would prioritize curbing immigration in negotiating an exit deal.

Ms. Merkel, speaking Thursday to German business leaders, stressed for a second day in a row that the U.K. wouldn’t get full access to the European Union’s single market without fully accepting the four basic principles of the bloc—freedom of goods, services, capital and people.

“If we don’t say that full access to the internal market is connected to complete acceptance of the four basic principles, then a process will unfold in Europe where everyone does and is allowed to do what they want,” she said. “That would be extraordinarily complicated.”

Fearing that other countries would step forward with their own demands, European leaders have stressed that the U.K. must respect the principles if it wants to keep full access to trading without restrictions or tariffs. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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