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Archive for 13. Mai 2017

Can Emmanuel Macron revive the Franco-German relationship?

Posted by hkarner - 13. Mai 2017

Date: 11-05-2017
Source: The Economist

Getting Europe back to speed will be no easy task

LIKE all the best clichés, the notion that the European Union is driven by a Franco-German “locomotive” is grounded in truth. From the founding of the European Coal and Steel Community to the creation of the euro, almost all the signature projects of post-war Europe have emerged from Paris and Berlin. The compromises forged between two former foes with competing political and economic visions have proved powerful enough to bring much of the rest of the continent along with them. Lately, though, the French part of the engine has run out of steam, and the European train has been idling. Can Emmanuel Macron, the young reformer who won France’s presidency wrapped in the EU flag, shunt it back on to the rails?

The grandest of Mr Macron’s many ideas involve fixing what he calls the “half-pregnancy” of Europe’s single currency. He wants intra-euro-zone transfers and investment, funded from a common budget and administered by fresh institutions like a finance ministry and parliament. But Germany has long looked askance at such gouvernement économique. As the two countries’ economic performance has diverged, it has become ever harder for French ideas to find an audience in Berlin. In 2012 Mr Macron’s newly minted predecessor (and former boss), François Hollande, took his anti-austerity campaign pledge to Angela Merkel and returned to Paris with a flea in his ear. Soon enough he was executing endless U-turns. He leaves office on May 14th with historically low approval ratings, an example of what not to do. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The investment- management industry faces a big squeeze

Posted by hkarner - 13. Mai 2017

Date: 11-05-2017
Source: The Economist: Buttonwood

It is likely to lead to further consolidation

MAKING money yourself from investing other people’s has been a good business for over a century. Asset managers established a key principle early on: they could charge an ad valorem fee on the amount they oversee. So when markets go up, their fees go up.

But as the title of a recent London Business School conference indicated, investment management is “an industry in disruption”. Abhijit Rawal of PwC, a consultancy, described the sector’s problems as the “four Rs”: returns are low; revenues are being squeezed; regulations are being tightened; and the robots are coming to take away business.

Plenty of potential for growth remains, as workers save for retirement. But the industry faces the same sort of cut-throat competition that technology has caused elsewhere. The oldest challenge comes from index trackers, funds that try simply to match the performance of a benchmark like the S&P 500. It took many decades for such “passive” funds to become widely accepted, but they are rapidly gaining market share. Vanguard, a big passive manager, received more than half of all global fund inflows last year. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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How America’s two tech hubs are converging

Posted by hkarner - 13. Mai 2017

Date: 11-05-2017
Source: The Economist

More than ever, Seattle and Silicon Valley are joined at the hip

WOULD your region care to be the next Silicon Valley? In most of the world’s technology hubs, local leaders scramble to say “yes”. But ask the question in and around Seattle, the other big tech cluster on America’s west coast, and more often than not the answer is “no”—followed by explanations of why the city and its surrounds are different from the San Francisco Bay Area. The truth may be more complex: in recent years the Seattle area has become a complement to the valley. Some even argue that the two regions, though 800 miles (1,300km) apart, are becoming one.

They have similar roots, notes Margaret O’Mara, a historian at the University of Washington (UW). Each grew rapidly during a gold rush in the 19th century. Later both benefited from military spending. Silicon Valley ultimately focused on producing small things, including microprocessors, and Seattle on bigger ones, such as aeroplanes (Boeing was for decades the city’s economic anchor). This difference in dimension persists. The valley has plenty of giant firms, but its focus is mainly on startups and smartphones. In contrast, Seattle is still more of a company town, with Amazon and Microsoft, both builders of big data centres, looming large. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Why Trumponomics won’t make America great again

Posted by hkarner - 13. Mai 2017

Date: 11-05-2017
Source: The Economist

The impulsiveness and shallowness of America’s president threaten the economy as well as the rule of law

DONALD TRUMP rules over Washington as if he were a king and the White House his court. His displays of dominance, his need to be the centre of attention and his impetuousness have a whiff of Henry VIII about them. Fortified by his belief that his extraordinary route to power is proof of the collective mediocrity of Congress, the bureaucracy and the media, he attacks any person and any idea standing in his way.

Just how much trouble that can cause was on sensational display this week, with his sacking of James Comey—only the second director of the FBI to have been kicked out. Mr Comey has made mistakes and Mr Trump was within his rights. But the president has succeeded only in drawing attention to questions about his links to Russia and his contempt for the norms designed to hold would-be kings in check. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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