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Archive for 3. August 2018

Ten years after the financial crisis

Posted by hkarner - 3. August 2018

Date: 02-08-2018
Source: The Economist

The patient is in remission, not cured

Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World. By Adam Tooze. Viking; 720 pages; $35. Allen Lane; £30.

WHEN asked how he went bankrupt, one of Ernest Hemingway’s characters replies: “Two ways. Gradually and then suddenly.” That’s rather how the crash was for the world. There was an extended build-up, with cracks in the system emerging during the course of 2007. Then there was the sudden shock, when Lehman Brothers collapsed in September 2008 and the global banking system teetered on the edge. The tenth anniversary of that frightening moment approaches.

There were some impressive takes from authors in the immediate aftermath of the turmoil, such as Andrew Ross Sorkin’s “Too Big to Fail” and Michael Lewis’s “The Big Short”, which was made into an Oscar-winning film. “Inside Job”, a documentary, was a scathing attack on the culpability of the finance industry for the crisis. And a new adaptation of a three-part play about the history of Lehman has just opened at the National Theatre in London.

Adam Tooze, a historian noted for his works on the interwar period, is aiming to be less entertaining than authoritative: he takes on the financial and economic history of the last decade in a monumental tome of nearly 700 pages. Yet with the events it covers so recent and so dramatic, the book is as much reportage as historical analysis.

Four big themes emerge from Mr Tooze’s account of the post-2008 era. The first was the immediate post-crisis response, in which the banks were rescued and both the monetary and fiscal taps were loosened. The second was the euro-zone crisis, which hit Greece and Ireland hardest, but also affected Portugal, Italy and Spain. The third was the shift in the developed world after 2010 to a more austere fiscal policy. The fourth was the rise of populist politics in Europe and America.

Mr Tooze sides with most economists in taking the view that the immediate post-crisis response was necessary, but unfortunate in that executives in the banking industry paid too low a price for their folly; that Europe was slow and narrow-minded in dealing with the peripheral countries; and that the switch to austerity was a mistake. Taken together, the backlash against bankers, frustration with EU governments and the impact of austerity led to the rise of populism, the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit vote. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Wir sind jetzt alle Klimaflüchtlinge

Posted by hkarner - 3. August 2018

Jeffrey D. Sachs, Professor of Sustainable Development and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University, is Director of Columbia’s Center for Sustainable Development and of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. His books include The End of Poverty, Common Wealth, The Age of Sustainable Development, and, most recently, Building the New American Economy.

NEW YORK – Der moderne Mensch, der in ein klimatisches Zeitalter – das Holozän – hineingeboren wurde, hat nun die Grenze in ein anderes – das Anthropozän – überschritten. Doch statt eines Moses, der der Menschheit in dieser neuen und gefährlichen Wildnis vorangeht, führt derzeit eine Bande von Wissenschaftsverleugnern und Umweltverschmutzern die Menschheit in die Irre und in immer größere Gefahr. Wir sind inzwischen alle Klimaflüchtlinge und müssen einen Weg in Sicherheit abstecken.

Das Holozän war das geologische Zeitalter, das vor mehr als 10.000 Jahren begann und sich durch günstige klimatische Umstände auszeichnete, die die menschliche Zivilisation, so wie wir sie kennen, stützten. Das Anthropozän ist eine neue geologische Ära mit Umweltbedingungen, wie sie die Menschheit noch nie erlebt hat. Unheilverkündender Weise ist die Erdtemperatur inzwischen höher als während des Holozäns, was durch das Kohlendioxid bedingt ist, das die Menschheit durch Verbrennen von Kohle, Öl und Gas sowie durch die wahllose Umwandlung der Wälder und Steppen unserer Welt in Agrarbetriebe und Weideflächen in die Atmosphäre entlassen hat. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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This Political Fight Will Go Many More Rounds

Posted by hkarner - 3. August 2018

Date: 02-08-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Even if Trump retired quietly to Mar-a-Lago, a return to civility would be highly unlikely.

Someday soon, many Democrats think, America will wake up from the Trump nightmare and return to normalcy. Donald Trump, they hope, will prove to be not a new normal but an unfortunate aberration. They’re probably wrong.

Democracy tends to give us the government we deserve. Bill Clinton wasn’t responsible for the rotting of personal morality; he reflected what was already there. Similarly, Mr. Trump did not create the polarization and politicization of everyday life; he’s simply great at riding a wave that was already coming ashore. Mr. Trump’s passing from the national scene will not automatically usher in a new era of comity and harmony.

Long before President Trump, American politics were taking on an increasingly partisan tenor. Gerrymandering succeeded all too well, creating districts so safe that many members of Congress began to fear primary challenges if they deviated from the party hymnal or worked across the aisle. Many legislators started living in their districts and commuting to Washington, diminishing the opportunities for them to meet—and humanize—colleagues from the other party. The growth of campaign expenditures from super PACs and other independent groups increased single-issue funding, while weakening the ability of party leaders to corral their caucuses. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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