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Archive for 12. Oktober 2018

Which countries are raising the most productive humans?

Posted by hkarner - 12. Oktober 2018

Date: 11-10-2018
Source: The Economist

Two indices measure human capital using gauges of health and education

DESPITE their dour reputation, economists frequently play with metaphor and simile, just like literary folk. One familiar example is “human capital”, as Deirdre McCloskey of the University of Illinois has pointed out. Economists have been likening knowledge, skill and stamina to physical capital, such as plant and equipment, since Adam Smith, who counted “the acquired and useful abilities” of a country’s people as one of several kinds of fixed capital, alongside “useful machines” and “profitable buildings”.

But unlike poets, economists prefer to quantify their analogies—to measure whether thou art 15% or 20% more lovely and more temperate. In that spirit, the World Bank this week unveiled a new measure of human capital for 157 countries. Its index combines five indicators of health and education (including the chances of dying before the age of five and between the ages of 15 to 60, the chances of stunted growth, the years of education an average child will complete by age 18, and the score they can expect on school tests) to measure how much human capital a person born today is likely to accumulate. It follows a similar measure for 195 countries from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) published in the Lancet, a medical journal, in September. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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A Future Where Everything Becomes a Computer Is as Creepy as You Feared

Posted by hkarner - 12. Oktober 2018

Date: 12-10-2018
Source: The New York Times By Farhad Manjoo

More than 40 years ago, Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft with a vision for putting a personal computer on every desk.

No one really believed them, so few tried to stop them. Then before anyone realized it, the deed was done: Just about everyone had a Windows machine, and governments were left scrambling to figure out how to put Microsoft’s monopoly back in the bottle.

This sort of thing happens again and again in the tech industry. Audacious founders set their sights on something hilariously out of reach — Mark Zuckerberg wants to connect everyone — and the very unlikeliness of their plans insulates them from scrutiny. By the time the rest of us catch up to their effects on society, it’s often too late to do much about them.

It is happening again now. In recent years, the tech industry’s largest powers set their sights on a new target for digital conquest. They promised wild conveniences and unimaginable benefits to our health and happiness. There’s just one catch, which often goes unstated: If their novelties take off without any intervention or supervision from the government, we could be inviting a nightmarish set of security and privacy vulnerabilities into the world. And guess what. No one is really doing much to stop it. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The New and Not Improved NAFTA

Posted by hkarner - 12. Oktober 2018

Jeffrey Frankel, a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, previously served as a member of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers. He is a research associate at the US National Bureau of Economic Research, where he is a member of the Business Cycle Dating Committee, the official US arbiter of recession and recovery.

US President Donald Trump has called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which succeeds NAFTA, “the single greatest agreement ever signed.“ In reality, it is not as good as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, from which Trump withdrew the US upon taking office, nor is it particularly better than the agreement it replaced.

CAMBRIDGE – US President Donald Trump acts as if he has pulled off a smashing victory by replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) – supposedly “the worst trade deal ever” – with the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. But the truth is that, while this outcome is better than an end to free trade in North America, the USMCA is no improvement over the status quo.

Of course, this is Trump’s modus operandi: threaten to do something catastrophic, so people are relieved when things get only a little bit worse. That is what he did with North Korea, when he insulted its leader, Kim Jong-un, and threatened to rain down “fire and fury” on the country. Compared to nuclear conflict, his eventual meeting with Kim seemed like a triumph, even though it produced little actual progress. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Crazy Rich Asia

Posted by hkarner - 12. Oktober 2018

Kenneth Rogoff, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Harvard University and recipient of the 2011 Deutsche Bank Prize in Financial Economics, was the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund from 2001 to 2003. The co-author of This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, his new book, The Curse of Cash, was released in August 2016.

With an unexpected hit on its hands, perhaps Hollywood will use more films like “Crazy Rich Asians” to illustrate key concepts about a region that is the biggest economic success story of the last several decades. There are many more stories about that story to be told.

CAMBRIDGE – In the surprise hit movie “Crazy Rich Asians” (based on a 2013 Kevin Kwan novel), a New York University economics professor (Rachel), travels with her boyfriend to Singapore to meet his family. There, she learns, apparently for the first time, that her significant other (Nick) is heir to one of Asia’s largest fortunes and has a mother intent on making sure her son does not marry a commoner, Asian-American or not.

Partly because of its (terrific) all-Asian cast (an extreme rarity), and partly because it recalls earlier eras of great romantic comedies, the film has caused a lot of buzz. Perhaps there will even be a long overdue Oscar for Michelle Yeoh (from “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”), who plays the steely but loving mother. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Germany’s Socialism of Fools

Posted by hkarner - 12. Oktober 2018

Michael Bröning

Michael Bröning is Head of the International Policy Department of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, a think tank affiliated with the Social Democratic Party of Germany.

By adopting a program based on „identity and solidarity,“ Germany’s far-right AfD is harking back to classic National Socialism. It is likely to be a winning formula in this month’s state elections in Bavaria and Hesse.

BERLIN – If opinion polls counted as elections, large parts of Germany would already be governed by the far right. In several eastern German states, the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) has established itself as the strongest political force. Almost everywhere else in the country, the party currently ranks second – on par or just ahead of the struggling Social Democrats (SPD) and behind only Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU).

In coming weeks, matters could get even worse. In regional elections in Bavaria on October 14 and in Hesse two weeks later, the AfD is poised to enter the two last remaining regional parliaments without far-right representation.

Concerns about immigration continue to fuel this surge. In the eastern city of Chemnitz, recent anti-foreigner riots and pro-tolerance rallies provided a stark reminder of how divided the German public remains on migration. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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