Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

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Archive for 2. September 2018

Central bankers grapple with the changing nature of competition

Posted by hkarner - 2. September 2018

Date: 01-09-2018
Source: The Economist: Free exchange

This year’s Jackson Hole meeting was a chance to study market concentration

RECENT visitors to Jackson Hole, a resort in the Teton Mountain range in Wyoming, were denied the usual scenic views by a shroud of smoke from recent forest fires. Disappointing, no doubt, for the tourists among them—but oddly fitting for the economic panjandrums attending the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s annual symposium on August 23rd-25th. Not only are economic policymakers used to making choices in a fog of uncertainty, but this year’s theme of market structures generated its own haze. Though the nature of competition in America’s economy is changing, it is unclear how worried they should be.

Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, highlighted slow wage growth in recent decades. America seems stuck in a “low-productivity mode”, he said. Others pointed to sluggish investment, despite cheap capital, and a fall in workers’ share of national income. Could these ills share some common causes, namely rising market concentration and crimped competition? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Europe’s Quest for Financial Independence

Posted by hkarner - 2. September 2018

Date: 01-09-2018
Source: Foreign Affairs By Thorsten Benner

Brussels Will Find it Hard to Defy Washington—But It Has to Try

On Monday, France and Germany each gathered all of their ambassadors for their annual meeting in Berlin and Paris. In their opening speeches, French President Emmanuel Macron and German foreign minister Heiko Maas delivered markedly synchronized messages. Faced with the prospect of “America first” across the Atlantic, both resolved to invest in building “a sovereign Europe” that can assert itself. And both talked about “new alliances” to breathe new life into a multilateral order under assault by Trump. A French president pushing for greater independence is nothing new. But a German foreign minister calling for “a new, balanced partnership with the U.S. in order to regain our own leeway” is unheard of. What makes Maas’ intervention even more remarkable is that beyond the standard talk about military capabilities, he discussed two concrete areas of action: developing payment systems independent of the dollar to give Europe financial sovereignty and building an “alliance of multilateralists.” “Where the U.S. crosses the line,” Maas said,“we Europeans must form a counterweight—as difficult as that can be. That is also what balance is about.” This approach seeks to protect Germany and Europe against hegemonic overreach on the part of the United States and other powers. It is a direct reaction to the U.S. decision to weaponize the rest of the world’s financial and technological dependence on the United States. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Lessons for the EU from the Austro-Hungarian Empire

Posted by hkarner - 2. September 2018

Date: 30-08-2018
Source: The Economist

What Europe can learn from the collapse of the Habsburg empire a century ago

A GOLDEN late-summer light filters through the windows of the Café Landtmann. Bow-tied waiters move among towering hot-house plants. Officials huddle around a table. They are fretting about fragmentation: Europe’s north is peeling away from its south; easterners feel like second-class citizens; outside powers are trying to divide and rule. This might be a scene from the final days of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1918. In fact it is today, 100 years later. For once more the spectre of European fragmentation haunts Vienna.

It haunts other capitals, too. In Berlin, Angela Merkel urges her ministers to read “The Sleepwalkers”, an account of the political failures that led to the first world war. Political Brussels is rediscovering Stefan Zweig’s tales of post-Habsburg Austria. In Rome a populist government is preparing to battle the EU institutions over budget rules and to seed a new nationalist block in the European Parliament. Emmanuel Macron, France’s liberal hope, is losing his sheen; his proposals for euro-zone reform have been diluted. Autocracy is gaining ground in Warsaw and Budapest. Meanwhile China, Russia, Turkey and America are interfering ever more in European affairs. The geopolitical centrifuge is spinning European states away from each other, like dancers at a ball. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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