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Archive for 19. Januar 2019

An entertaining polemic against the tech industry

Posted by hkarner - 19. Januar 2019

Date: 17-01-2019
Source: The Economist

Ping-pong tables are no substitute for job security

Lab Rats: Why Modern Work Makes People Miserable. By Dan Lyons.Hachette Books; 272 pages; $28. Atlantic Books; £16.99.

Newton’s third law is that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The titans of technology have amassed great wealth but, like investment bankers before them, they have discovered that this does not bring them popularity. The past few years have witnessed a “techlash” on a wide range of issues, including the way technology invades citizens’ privacy.

Dan Lyons, a journalist who spent time working in the industry, has written an entertaining, if scattergun, attack on one aspect of technology’s influence—the effect it has had on everybody’s working lives. He argues that the industry has reduced real wages, made workers feel dehumanised and less secure, and exposed them to constant, stress-inducing change. Tellingly, the proportion of Americans who are happy with their jobs dropped from 61% in 1987 to 51% in 2016.

A particular target for his ire is the startup technology company. With their sweet-dispensers and ping-pong tables, they may give the appearance of friendliness. But in the author’s experience, such firms are associated with very high staff turnover, especially in sales and marketing. They tend to be marked by a brutal management style; Mr Lyons was told not only that he was failing, but that his fellow workers didn’t like him. “Most startups,” he writes, “are terribly managed, half-assed outfits run by buffoons and bozos and frat boys.” Worse still, they offer little job security because of the way they operate. “All they have is a not-very-innovative business model; they sell dollar bills for 75 cents and take credit for how fast they’re growing.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The debate over a second Brexit referendum

Posted by hkarner - 19. Januar 2019

Date: 18-01-2019
Source: The Economist

How Britain embraced referendums, the tool of dictators and demagogues

We can go from “the people’s vote” to “a people’s veto,” says Robert Saunders of Queen Mary University of London

With the possible exceptions of race, sex and Theresa May’s dancing, no subject has inspired more hysteria in British politics than the referendum.

In 1945 Clement Attlee denounced it as “alien to all our traditions” and an “instrument of Nazism”. Harold Wilson, the prime minister who would hold Britain’s first national referendum in 1975, had previously dismissed the idea as “contrary to our traditions” and “not a way in which we can do business”, scoffing that a referendum would probably abolish the income tax. His Conservative opponent, Margaret Thatcher, called the referendum “a device of dictators and demagogues” that would be dangerous to minorities and destructive of parliamentary sovereignty. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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A ‘No Deal’ Brexit Can Save the European Union

Posted by hkarner - 19. Januar 2019

Date: 18-01-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal By Joseph C. Sternberg

For the bloc to retain its democratic legitimacy, it must let the British have what they voted for. 

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks in Hastings, U.K., Jan. 17.

The European Union is often accused of being an undemocratic conspiracy against its common people. Tell that to the British, who are discovering to their chagrin that sometimes the EU gives voters exactly what they say they want.

This week witnessed another few turns in the Brexit psychodrama. The House of Commons directly rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s preferred exit plan and the next day indirectly rebuked Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn for providing pathetic opposition to Mrs. May. Fine. This is how a parliamentary democracy works. If no majority of lawmakers can coalesce around a Brexit plan, they shouldn’t be making one.

Which is where the unheralded democracy kicks in. Underlying this political fiasco—the years of unsatisfactory negotiations with Brussels, the cabinet infighting in the U.K., the high-profile political resignations, the humiliating legislative defeats—is one reality. The U.K. is on track to leave the EU March 29 in the cleanest way possible, without any deal binding the country back into the bloc. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Brexit: Blame it on the banking crisis

Posted by hkarner - 19. Januar 2019

Nicholas Crafts 15 January 2019, vox.eu

Professor of Economics and Economic History at the University of Warwick and CEPR

The banking crisis of ten years ago was a serious policy failure (Independent Commission on Banking 2011). Leverage increased dramatically from the late 1980s to the crisis while loss-absorbing equity capital was inadequate. Regulation that addressed these issues could have maintained financial stability at minimal cost to economic growth (Miles et al. 2013).

The banking crisis was damaging in many ways, most obviously through the output and fiscal costs of the recessionary shock that it imposed on the economy. The key point for the argument of this column is that it reduced the level of potential output in the economy and accordingly raised the structural budget deficit. This effect comes through decreases in capital, human capital and total factor productivity. A conventional estimate might be that the crisis of ten years ago probably reduced the level of potential output in the UK by somewhere between 3.8% and 7.5% (Table 1).

Table 1 Estimates of the impact of the banking crisis on the level of UK potential output (% GDP) Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Economists reconsider how much governments can borrow

Posted by hkarner - 19. Januar 2019

Date: 17-01-2019
Source: The Economist: Free exchange
Subject:The profession is becoming less debt-averse

In the last three months of 2018 America’s federal government borrowed $317bn, or about 6% of quarterly gdp. The deficit was 1.5 percentage points higher than in the same quarter the year earlier, despite the fact that the unemployment rate fell below 4% in the intervening period. In cash terms America borrowed in a single quarter as much as it did in all of 2006, towards the peak of the previous economic cycle.

Such figures might once have sent the country’s deficit scolds into conniptions. But scolds are in short supply, at least within the halls of Congress. Republicans were the architects of President Donald Trump’s budget-busting tax plan. Some Democrats are less content than ever to tie their hands with the fiscal rules that Republicans routinely flout. Early this year progressive Democrats urged Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives, to abandon “paygo” rules, which require that new spending be paid for with matching tax increases or offsetting spending cuts.
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