Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

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Archive for 2. März 2018

Green Jobs – Wallner und Glawischnig

Posted by hkarner - 2. März 2018

von Helmut F. Karner, 2. März 2018

„Anständige Ex-Politiker“ in anständigen Jobs bei „unanständigen“ Firmen?

Ermacht seit einem Jahr einen guten Job bei der Erste Group: „Company Transformation and Civil Society Partnerships“.

Stefan Wallner, Ex-Generalsekretär bei der Caritas Österreich, dann ganz wichtig als ordnender Geschäftsführer bei den „Grünen“, als es diese „noch gab“.

Den Zeitpunkt des Abschieds von den Grünen hat er gut getimt, gerade noch rechtzeitig. Der neue Arbeitgeber: Die Erste Gruppe. Andreas Treichl.

  • Um die Sparkassen Töchter, von denen einige (Tirol, NÖ, Sbg) ja wirklich in Troubles waren, „übernehmen“ zu können, hat er 2003 die Sparkassen-Stiftung (um)gegründet. Damit begann die „Sünde“, die dann immer ärger wurde. Wenn ich einmal begonnen habe, komme ich immer weiter in den Strudel. Die Stiftung wurde mit einem Kredit von 1,2 Mrd. (von wem? Von der Erste Bank! Mit Erste Aktien besichert!) kapitalisiert, sie wurde somit zum größten Aktionär der Erste Gruppe (die ursprünglichen >40% wurden durch die Verluste verwässert, liegen jetzt bei 19,5%)
  • Viele Jahre lang war Treichl Vorsitzender der Stiftung und der Erste Group, was allen Good Governance Regeln Hohn spricht. Weder die FMA noch seine AR-Vorsitzenden hat es gestört. Diese Unsauberkeit hat er nach 10 Jahren erst vor etwa 5 Jahren bereinigt. https://fbkfinanzwirtschaft.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/erste-stiftung-treichl-zieht-sich-zuruck/
  • Damit die Stiftung nun ihre Kredite an die Bank zurückzahlen konnte, musste die Bank immer auf Teufel komm raus Gewinne „schreiben“, um Dividenden an die Stiftung ausschütten zu können.

Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Andrew Dowling – ‘Winter is Here’. The Growing Erosion of Civil Rights in Spain

Posted by hkarner - 2. März 2018

Thanks to Matthew Rose, the Editor of „Brave New Europe“ for the generosity of letting us cross-post their articles and for his mindfulness (hfk)

The Catalan crisis has now taken hold of Spanish national politics. What once seemed a regional conflict has exposed cracks in Spain’s democratic facade.

Andrew Dowling, Senior Lecturer in Catalan and Spanish History at Cardiff University. He is the author of ‘The Rise of Catalan Independence. Spain’s Territorial Crisis’ (Routledge)

The Catalan crisis that grew over the autumn of 2017 has now spread, implicating other areas of the Spanish state. Although the Spanish authorities have obtained a clear victory over the forces of Catalan independence, and have contained the challenge, this has been achieved at a high price. The increasing politicisation of the major institutions of the state is eroding the democratic patina of Spain. Europeanisation and embedding democracy were once the main strategic objectives of Spain after the death of Franco in 1975. For most of the period since then, the country gradually achieved both but the economic crisis since 2008 placed the main institutions of the country under severe strain. Yet, by the general election of June 2016, with the failure of democratic renewal led by Podemos to breakthrough, and the return to power of Spain’s conservatives, the Partido Popular, it seemed the state had managed to successfully resist the call for meaningful reform and change. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Europe’s Bretton Woods Moment

Posted by hkarner - 2. März 2018

Harold James is Professor of History and International Affairs at Princeton University and a senior fellow at the Center for International Governance Innovation. A specialist on German economic history and on globalization, he is a co-author of the new book The Euro and The Battle of Ideas, and the author of The Creation and Destruction of Value: The Globalization Cycle, Krupp: A History of the Legendary German Firm, and Making the European Monetary Union.

Political leaders in France and, soon, Germany will have a chance to deliver the European Union from its malaise, but only by heeding the right lessons from the past. The success of grand bargains between France and Germany in 1963, and between the victors of World War II in 1944-1945, speak to the need for a bold, comprehensive approach.

PRINCETON – After years of paralysis during the debt crisis that began in 2009, the European Union seems to have regained some momentum. In France last year, Emmanuel Macron and his La République En Marche ! won the presidency and a strong parliamentary majority. And in Germany, after much delay, the center-left Social Democrats are currently voting on a new coalition agreement with the center-right Christian Democratic Union and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union.

The hope now is for renewed Franco-German cooperation and a new Élysée Treaty, updating the historic 1963 agreement negotiated by German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and French President Charles de Gaulle. A new arrangement might involve more spending at the EU level and overcoming old German taboos against a “transfer union.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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China’s Big-Data Big Brother

Posted by hkarner - 2. März 2018

Mark Leonard is Director of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

The Communist Party of China’s decision to abolish presidential term limits has raised the possibility that President Xi Jinping, the country’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, will rule indefinitely. And the cult of personality Xi is creating will be bolstered by the most powerful surveillance state in history.

LAHORE – The Communist Party of China’s (CPC) decision this week to eliminate presidential term limits seems to open the door for President Xi Jinping to be not just “Chairman of Everything,” but also “Chairman Forever.” The move has been met with dismay around the world, but it has also intensified an ongoing debate among China experts over whether the biggest threat to China is too much executive power, or too little.

Where one stands on that question seems to depend largely on whether one is a political scientist, an economist, or a technologist. Many political scientists and legal scholars, for example, argue against the change, because they consider the model of collective leadership that the CPC established after 1979 to be one of its biggest successes. That model’s term limits and system of peer review for high-level decision-making has provided the checks necessary to prevent a repeat of Mao-era catastrophes such as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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How the West got China wrong

Posted by hkarner - 2. März 2018

Date: 01-03-2018
Source: The Economist
Subject: How the West got China wrong

It bet that China would head towards democracy and the market economy. The gamble has failed

LAST weekend China stepped from autocracy into dictatorship. That was when Xi Jinping, already the world’s most powerful man, let it be known that he will change China’s constitution so that he can rule as president for as long as he chooses—and conceivably for life. Not since Mao Zedong has a Chinese leader wielded so much power so openly. This is not just a big change for China, but also strong evidence that the West’s 25-year bet on China has failed.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the West welcomed the next big communist country into the global economic order. Western leaders believed that giving China a stake in institutions such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) would bind it into the rules-based system set up after the second world war. They hoped that economic integration would encourage China to evolve into a market economy and that, as they grew wealthier, its people would come to yearn for democratic freedoms, rights and the rule of law.

It was a worthy vision, which this newspaper shared, and better than shutting China out. China has grown rich beyond anybody’s imagining. Under the leadership of Hu Jintao, you could still picture the bet paying off. When Mr Xi took power five years ago China was rife with speculation that he would move towards constitutional rule. Today the illusion has been shattered. In reality, Mr Xi has steered politics and economics towards repression, state control and confrontation. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Self-driving cars offer huge benefits—but have a dark side

Posted by hkarner - 2. März 2018

Date: 01-03-2018
Source: The Economist

Policymakers must apply the lessons of the horseless carriage to the driverless car

A NEW kind of vehicle is taking to the roads, and people are not sure what to make of it. Is it safe? How will it get along with other road users? Will it really shake up the way we travel? These questions are being asked today about autonomous vehicles (AVs). Exactly the same questions were posed when the first motor cars rumbled onto the roads. By granting drivers unprecedented freedom, automobiles changed the world. They also led to unforeseen harm, from strip malls and urban sprawl to road rage and climate change. Now AVs are poised to rewrite the rules of transport—and there is a danger that the same mistake will be made all over again.

AVs are on the threshold of being able to drive, without human supervision, within limited and carefully mapped areas. Waymo, the self-driving-car unit of Google’s parent company, hopes to launch an autonomous “robotaxi” service in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona later this year. General Motors, America’s biggest carmaker, plans its own robotaxi service for 2019. On February 26th California said it would abolish the rule that experimental AVs must always have a safety driver on board ready to assume control.

Clean, dream machines

Assuming the technology can be made to work as AV firms expect, it is not hard to imagine the beginnings of the driverless era. Cost means that self-driving vehicles will at first serve as robotaxis, summoned using a ride-hailing app. That way they get used more, offsetting their costs, and provide transport that is cheaper per mile than owning a car, undermining the case for car ownership, at least for townies. UBS, a bank, reckons that urban car ownership will fall by 70% by 2050. Today’s cars sit unused 95% of the time, so a widespread switch to robotaxis would let urban land wasted on parking be reallocated. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Ghana man teaching computing without computers becomes viral hit

Posted by hkarner - 2. März 2018

Date: 01-03-2018
Source: BBC


Students are expected to pass a technology exam – even if they have no access to computers

A teacher in Ghana who educates his students on computer technology – without any computers – has become a hit online.

The man from Kumasi used his blackboard to meticulously draw a diagram of the popular Microsoft Word program.

„Teaching of ICT in Ghana’s school is very funny,“ he said in a Facebook post alongside the photos.

After the images were shared thousands of times online, Microsoft promised to send him new computer equipment.

In his Facebook message, Owura Kwadwo – a nickname for the man Quartz Africa identified as Richard Appiah Akoto – wrote: „I love my students so have to do what will make them understand what [I] am teaching.“ Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Climbing Out of Debt

Posted by hkarner - 2. März 2018

A new study offers more evidence that cutting spending is less harmful to growth than raising taxes

Alberto Alesina, Carlo A. Favero, and Francesco Giavazzi, IMF Blog 1 Mar 2018

Almost a decade after the onset of the global financial crisis, national debt in advanced economies remains near its highest level since World War II, averaging 104 percent of GDP. In Japan, the ratio is 240 percent and in Greece almost 185 percent. In Italy and Portugal, debt exceeds 120 percent of GDP. Without measures either to cut spending or increase revenue, the situation will only get worse. As central banks abandon the extraordinary monetary measures they adopted to battle the crisis, interest rates will inevitably rise from historic lows. That means interest payments will eat up a growing share of government spending, leaving less money to deliver public services or take steps to ensure long-term economic growth, such as investing in infrastructure and education. Servicing debt will become a major burden.

What is the best way to reduce debt to sustainable levels? That question has taken on renewed importance since the global financial crisis of 2008, when government spending to stimulate growth and help the unemployed boosted budget deficits to postwar records. Some economists argue that cutting spending is the best medicine for restoring fiscal health. Others insist, on the contrary, that spending cuts are self-defeating, because they hurt economic growth. They prescribe even more government spending to reinvigorate a flagging economy. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Posted by hkarner - 2. März 2018

Date: 01-03-2018
Source: NewsWeek

As robots become more sophisticated and replace humans in the workforce, Americans are split over whether those who lose their jobs to artificial intelligence should receive a minimum income.

The hypothetical universal basic income (UBI) would have the federal government give every adult below a certain income threshold an annual allowance of money.

The survey of more than 3,000 U.S. adults showed that almost three-quarters predicted that artificial intelligence (AI) will lead to a loss of more jobs than it creates.

Nevertheless, some 48 percent of people support, and 52 percent oppose, the rollout of a UBI to safeguard workers who lose their jobs because of advances in AI, according to a new poll for Northeastern University by Gallup. Those over 66 were least likely to support the UBI, compared with 46 percent of millennials. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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How Little Does the Fed Know?

Posted by hkarner - 2. März 2018

Date: 01-03-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Investors need to form their own opinions, not rely on central bankers

Part of the grip central bankers have on markets comes from their mystique. The Federal Reserve holds sway over the price of money, which gives it hard power. But the Fed’s soft power is almost as valuable: its pronouncements on the future of the economy provide the baseline for investor forecasts, and not only because they are trying to work out what the Fed will do with interest rates.

The Fed’s aura of invincibility has been dented over the past decade. Yet those listening to new Fed Chairman Jerome Powell testify to Congress this week showed little willingness to question his foreknowledge about the economy. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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