Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

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Archive for 28. Oktober 2018

The European Commission rejects Italy’s budget

Posted by hkarner - 28. Oktober 2018

Date: 25-10-2018
Source: The Economist

But it gives Rome three weeks to think again

Like a couple of prizefighters before a grudge match, the European Commission and the Italian government are standing toe to toe. On October 23rd Brussels demanded that the populist coalition in Rome rewrite its 2019 budget. It is the first time since the launch of the euro that the commission has rejected outright the fiscal blueprint of a member state.

It argues that the Italian budget represents a deviation from agreed targets “without precedent in the history of the stability pact”, the eu’s agreement on disciplining public finances. The coalition partners in Rome, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (m5s) and the hard-right Northern League, plan a deficit of 2.4% of gdp—three times the limit hammered out with Italy’s previous government.

Neither party’s leader gave any hint of flexibility in response. The commissioners, declared the League’s Matteo Salvini, were “not attacking a government, but a people”. His fellow deputy prime minister, Luigi Di Maio of the m5s, borrowed from Franklin Roosevelt to tell Italians: “The only thing to fear is fear itself.” His allusion was doubtless intentional: like fdr, Mr Di Maio, the main proponent of a higher deficit, sees the budget as laying the foundation for a New Deal that will deploy higher spending to lift Italy out of its prolonged economic stagnation. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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This Jacket Fights the Cold With AI

Posted by hkarner - 28. Oktober 2018

Date: 27-10-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

The Mercury by Ministry of Supply features app-controlled heating and machine-learning capabilities. But how much tech does outerwear need?

Ministry of Supply describes the Mercury as ’the first intelligent heated jacket’ for men and women.

In 2012, four MIT alums set out to give menswear the comfort and performance of gym clothes. They named their company Ministry of Supply after a World War II-era division of British intelligence that employed the real-life inspiration for James Bond’s gadget-happy sidekick, Q. The company has created machine-washable suits and 3-D-printed sweaters.

Next month, Ministry of Supply will release the Mercury, which it describes as “the first intelligent heated jacket” for men and women. Lightweight carbon-fiber heating elements are concealed behind the pockets and back and powered by a battery that can go a week of 40-minute round-trip commutes between charges. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Doomsday Delusions: The Case for Optimism in a Pessimistic Age

Posted by hkarner - 28. Oktober 2018

Date: 27-10-2018
Source: Foreign Affairs By Steven Radelet

Anyone glancing at a newspaper these days finds a litany of woes: war, crime, disease, terrorism, and environmental disasters, all sandwiched between predictions of the coming collapse of market capitalism and liberal democracy. U.S. politicians on both the right, such as President Donald Trump, and the left, such as Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, warn that the United States and the world are sliding toward calamity. Pessimism rules the day.

The world does indeed face challenges. Yet by almost any measure, life for most people has been getting better in almost every way. Levels of war and conflict are near historic lows. People are living longer and healthier lives and are better educated than ever before. Incomes for most families are higher than at any time in history. One billion people around the world have been lifted out of extreme poverty in the last two decades, and although income inequality has worsened within many Western countries, across the globe, income is more equal than it has been in centuries. Far fewer people than ever go hungry, and the world now grows more food than it needs. Women have more opportunities, democracy has expanded, and basic human rights are more widely respected than ever before. Electricity, automobiles, the Internet, modern medicines, and simple conveniences have made most people’s lives far easier than their great-grandparents could have imagined. And after centuries of being largely confined to the West, since the 1980s, such benefits have spread across the world—not just to China and India but also to Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ghana, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Mozambique, Peru, South Africa, South Korea, and dozens of other countries. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Brexiteers are angry not just with Theresa May, but with reality

Posted by hkarner - 28. Oktober 2018

Date: 25-10-2018
Source: The Economist: Bagehot

As their project goes off the rails, Brexiteers resort to rage

The brexiteers have become the angry brigade of British politics. Boris Johnson has accused Theresa May of wrapping a suicide vest around Britain. Jacob Rees-Mogg has accused her of being “cowed” by the European Union. And several Tory mps have used anonymous briefings to savage her in the press. “The moment is coming when the knife gets heated, stuck in her front and twisted,” declared one conspirator who is probably more familiar with “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” than the complete works of Edmund Burke. “She’ll be dead soon.”

The obvious reason for this is that Brexiteers think that Mrs May is wrecking a project that has consumed much of their lives. They are furious that she botched the election of 2017 with a wooden campaign and a shoddy manifesto. This has weakened the government’s hand in dealing not only with recalcitrant Remainers but also with cunning Europeans who are determined to exploit any sign of British weakness. They are equally cross that she is betraying what they consider to be the glorious principles of Lancaster House, the speech in which she laid down various “red lines” about leaving the European Union. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The tension between globalisation and democracy

Posted by hkarner - 28. Oktober 2018

Date: 25-10-2018
Source: The Economist: Charlemagne

Italy’s conflict with Brussels reveals a European trilemma

In his novel “The Year 3000: A Dream”, from 1897, the Italian writer Paolo Mantegazza proved a deft oracle. Citizens of his imagined future enjoy air-conditioning, clean energy, credit cards and virtual-reality entertainment. A giant war in Europe has been followed by peace, the continent’s integration and a single currency. Yet here the author’s imagination overshoots today’s reality. His United States of Europe is a paragon of democratic federalism. Power and consent flow smoothly from “cosmopolitical” citizens to the level of government where they are most appropriately exercised. Subsidiarity reigns. “How easy and straightforward it is to govern”, comments the narrator, “when men, families and communes are self-governing.” The capital of Mantegazza’s united Europe is Rome. And nowhere quite sums up the gap between these lofty ideals and today’s fractured continent as well as Rome does.

On October 23rd, for the first time, the European Commission rejected a euro-zone member’s budget. Italy’s government, a coalition of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the right-populist League, has a mandate from voters to enact tax cuts and spending increases. Its proposals would push Italy’s deficit to 2.4% of gdp—above the level the eu considers appropriate for a country with such high debt, at around 130% of gdp. Technocratic rules agreed on in Brussels are thus in collision with a democratic national government. Supranational discipline is up against the will of the people. Mantegazza would be dismayed. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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