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Archive for 13. Oktober 2018

Schattenwirtschaft in Italien macht 12,4 Prozent des BIP aus

Posted by hkarner - 13. Oktober 2018

Den Großteil davon macht mit 192 Milliarden die Schwarzarbeit aus. Auch der Drogenhandel und die Prostitution tragen wesentlich dazu bei.

In Italien machen Schwarzarbeit und andere illegale wirtschaftliche Aktivitäten 12,4 Prozent des offiziellen Bruttoinlandsproduktes (BIP) aus. Wie die Statistikbehörde Istat am Freitag mitteilte, belief sich der Umfang dieser Schattenwirtschaft im Jahr 2016 auf schätzungsweise 210 Milliarden Euro. Den Großteil machte dabei mit 192 Milliarden Euro Schwarzarbeit aus. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Europe’s history explains why it will never produce a Google

Posted by hkarner - 13. Oktober 2018

Date: 11-10-2018
Source: The Economist: Charlemagne
Subject: Waiting for Goodot

The digital desert

ON SUNNY evenings in Brussels, young Eurocrats mingle on the bar terraces of the Place du Luxembourg outside the European Parliament. The continent’s future leaders pay little heed to the bronze-green statue of John Cockerill at its centre. The Englishman commemorated at the heart of today’s EU moved to Belgium from near Manchester in 1802, importing the latest steam technologies. He founded a machine factory in a chateau near Liège which grew into an industrial empire and helped make Belgium second only to Britain in industrial sophistication.

Is Europe living up to Cockerill’s legacy? The continent has world-class companies in fields like biotechnology, luxury cars and nuclear energy, manufacturing sectors incorporating sophisticated software (a BMW these days is as much a computer on wheels as a car). London, a global tech hub, is home to DeepMind, a leading artificial intelligence (AI) outfit; Stockholm is home to Spotify, a dominant music-sharing service; Cambridge-based Arm makes processor chips for almost all the world’s smartphones.

Yet still Europe lacks large firms in areas like social media, e-commerce and cloud computing comparable in scale to America’s Google and Microsoft, or China’s Alibaba and Baidu. Of the world’s 15 largest digital firms, all are American or Chinese. Of the top 200, eight are European. Such firms matter. They operate dominant online platforms and are writing the rules of the new economy in the way Cockerill’s innovations did in his day. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The US military wants to teach AI some basic common sense

Posted by hkarner - 13. Oktober 2018

Date: 12-10-2018
Source: Technology Review

Even the best AI programs still make stupid mistakes. So DARPA is launching a competition to remedy the field’s most glaring flaw.

Wherever artificial intelligence is deployed, you will find it has failed in some amusing way. Take the strange errors made by translation algorithms that confuse having someone for dinner with, well, having someone for dinner.

But as AI is used in ever more critical situations, such as driving autonomous cars, making medical diagnoses, or drawing life-or-death conclusions from intelligence information, these failures will no longer be a laughing matter. That’s why DARPA, the research arm of the US military, is addressing AI’s most basic flaw: it has zero common sense.

“Common sense is the dark matter of artificial intelligence,” says Oren Etzioni, CEO of the Allen Institute for AI, a research nonprofit based in Seattle that is exploring the limits of the technology. “It’s a little bit ineffable, but you see its effects on everything.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The next recession

Posted by hkarner - 13. Oktober 2018

Date: 11-10-2018
Source: The Economist

Toxic politics and constrained central banks could make the next downturn hard to escape

JUST a year ago the world was enjoying a synchronised economic acceleration. In 2017 growth rose in every big advanced economy except Britain, and in most emerging ones. Global trade was surging and America booming; China’s slide into deflation had been quelled; even the euro zone was thriving. In 2018 the story is very different. This week stockmarkets tumbled across the globe as investors worried, for the second time this year, about slowing growth and the effects of tighter American monetary policy. Those fears are well-founded.

The world economy’s problem in 2018 has been uneven momentum. In America President Donald Trump’s tax cuts have helped lift annualised quarterly growth above 4%. Unemployment is at its lowest since 1969. Yet the IMF thinks growth will slow this year in every other big advanced economy. And emerging markets are in trouble.

This divergence between America and the rest means divergent monetary policies, too. The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates eight times since December 2015. The European Central Bank (ECB) is still a long way from its first increase. In Japan rates are negative. China, the principal target of Mr Trump’s trade war, relaxed monetary policy this week in response to a weakening economy. When interest rates rise in America but nowhere else, the dollar strengthens. That makes it harder for emerging markets to repay their dollar debts. A rising greenback has already helped propel Argentina and Turkey into trouble; this week Pakistan asked the IMF for a bail-out. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Trump administration is right to redefine relations with China

Posted by hkarner - 13. Oktober 2018

Date: 11-10-2018
Source: The Economist: Lexington

It is also very bad at managing them

THE National Security Strategy released by President Donald Trump’s administration last year augured a major change in China-US relations. Where its predecessors lauded the merits of co-operation with the emerging superpower, Mr Trump’s document promised competition and resistance to Chinese trade and other abuses. The tirade Mike Pence launched against China last week doubled down on that commitment. In a speech delivered at the Hudson Institute, a short walk from Congress and the ongoing Kavanaugh brouhaha, the vice-president castigated the Chinese for bullying investors, buying allies with cheap loans, “tearing down crosses” and much else. This may turn out to be Mr Trump’s most significant mark on the world. America’s new adversarial posture towards China is overdue, popular and probably irreversible.

That is notwithstanding the fact that the vice-president’s speech was in some ways cynical and reckless. Much of it seemed to have more of an eye on the mid-terms than the world. “To put it bluntly, President Trump’s leadership is working,” he purred. Mr Pence then parroted his boss’s recent, probably bogus, claim that Chinese “covert actors, front groups and propaganda” were spreading more disinformation in America than the Russian spies to whom Mr Trump may owe his job. He gave no sense of which Chinese affronts he considered most grievous. He therefore offered only a glint of a counter-strategy. It was disorientating to witness such tawdry politics at such a potentially momentous moment. Conversely, it was a useful reminder, in Trump-drunk Washington, DC, that some things are bigger than Mr Trump. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Italy Issues a Euro Dare to Germany

Posted by hkarner - 13. Oktober 2018

Date: 12-10-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Rome would be foolish to leave the currency, but it could accidentally goad Berlin to push it out.

Italian Minister of Economy and Finance Giovanni Tria

There Italy goes, threatening to blow up the euro again. The uproar over the budget proposal put forward by the new left-right insurgent government has reignited fears that the eurozone’s third-largest economy is on the path to fiscal ruin and will drag the rest of the currency bloc down with it. It could happen, although not in the way or for the reason you may think.

The numbers look bad. The coalition of the right-wing League and sort-of-left-wing 5 Star Movement is proposing to overspend revenues by 2.4% of gross domestic product for the next few years—and that’s if GDP growth meets their rosy assumptions. This is a crisis, we’re led to believe, compared with the 1.6% of GDP deficit Brussels might otherwise have accepted from technocratic Economy Minister Giovanni Tria.

If a 0.8-point difference in budget projections sounds to you like a flimsy reed on which to hang a currency crisis, you’re not alone. The strongest case for the degree of upset this budget is causing is that it’s clear Rome’s new leaders have no plan for paying down a national debt equal to 130% of GDP. Italy is probably too big to be saved by other eurozone countries—and were it to renege on its debts, it could well bring down a smattering of French and German banks with it. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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