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Archive for Mai 2019

After Neoliberalism

Posted by hkarner - 31. Mai 2019

Date: 30-05-2019
Source: Project Syndicate by Joseph E. Stiglitz

Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics, is University Professor at Columbia University and Chief Economist at the Roosevelt Institute. He is the author, most recently, of People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent (W.W. Norton and Allen Lane).

For the past 40 years, the United States and other advanced economies have been pursuing a free-market agenda of low taxes, deregulation, and cuts to social programs. There can no longer be any doubt that this approach has failed spectacularly; the only question is what will – and should – come next.

NEW YORK – What kind of economic system is most conducive to human wellbeing? That question has come to define the current era, because, after 40 years of neoliberalism in the United States and other advanced economies, we know what doesn’t work.

The neoliberal experiment – lower taxes on the rich, deregulation of labor and product markets, financialization, and globalization – has been a spectacular failure. Growth is lower than it was in the quarter-century after World War II, and most of it has accrued to the very top of the income scale. After decades of stagnant or even falling incomes for those below them, neoliberalism must be pronounced dead and buried. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Can think-tanks survive a post-fact world?

Posted by hkarner - 31. Mai 2019

Date: 30-05-2019
Source: The Economist

The brainy, technocratic, urbane elites need to rejuvenate their mission or accept their demise

A HUNDRED years ago this week, diplomats and academics from the British and American delegations at the Versailles peace conference at the end of the first world war met for a dinner at the Hotel Majestic in Paris, a short stroll from the Arc de Triomphe. Their aim was to work out how to continue their fruitful co-operation beyond the peace talks and promote internationalist values in their countries.

Their initial idea for a single Anglo-American institute to fuse a weakened Britain and an ascendant America was not realised. But the dinner on May 30th 1919 gave rise to two institutions that have shaped public outlook and public policy on foreign affairs ever since: the Royal Institute for International Affairs (known as Chatham House, after the building in which it resides), set up in London in 1920, and the Council on Foreign Relations, founded the following year in New York. They have served as templates for numerous other think-tanks around the world.

Yet as the two organisations prepare to celebrate their centenaries, the festivities are tinged with anxiety. For how can institutions founded to pursue non-partisan, evidence-based research, carried out by experts, survive in an era when facts do not seem to matter quite so much?

After all, people have had “enough of experts”, in the words of Michael Gove, a senior Tory politician in Britain. President Donald Trump positively boasts of trusting his gut “more than anybody else’s brain”. Many of the West’s elected leaders have explicitly rejected the entire rationale for the sort of serious-mined wonkery that used to earn think-tanks influence, status and, most importantly, donors. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The House Speaker is the best judge of whether to impeach Donald Trump

Posted by hkarner - 31. Mai 2019

Date: 30-05-2019
Source: The Economist: Lexington
Subject: Nmesis Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi appears to be in a somewhat contradictory position. In her second stint as Speaker of the House of Representatives, the 79-year-old Californian has won plaudits for keeping the enlarged Democratic House caucus united, passing over 100 bills in five months, and intimidating Donald Trump as no other politician has done. Remarkably, given that the Republicans have spent a decade pinning her face to a metaphorical dartboard, the president has largely refrained from badmouthing Mrs Pelosi. He is said in private to express admiration for her grip on her party. Meanwhile, Mrs Pelosi is denying a growing minority of Democratic lawmakers and more Democratic voters what they most want: Mr Trump’s impeachment. This balancing act is likely to get harder after Congress reconvenes next week.

Ever since six Democratic House members drafted impeachment proceedings against Mr Trump 18 months ago, Mrs Pelosi has claimed to be open-minded on the matter, while manifestly against it. A witness to Newt Gingrich’s effort to oust Bill Clinton, which led to a wave of sympathy for the president, a boost in his ratings and his acquittal by the Senate, she fears impeaching Mr Trump—a politician whose entire modus is based on grievance—could have the same effect. It would almost certainly not lead to his removal, given his own control of his party.

Hence Mrs Pelosi has offered a series of reasons to avoid pressing the button. After Robert Mueller refrained from accusing Mr Trump of the obstruction of justice that his report describes (simply because Justice Department guidelines forbade him to do so, the enigmatic prosecutor suggested on May 29th) Mrs Pelosi said that further House investigations were required. After the president began defying the Democrats’ subpoenas—and last week promised to end all bipartisan co-operation while they continued their probes—she claimed Mr Trump was so obviously goading Democrats to impeach him that they must not take the bait. Yet some House Democrats have had enough of this. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Why Margrethe Vestager ticks all the boxes

Posted by hkarner - 30. Mai 2019

Date: 29-05-2019
Source: The Economist: Charlemagne

The steely Danish politician should lead the next European Commission

Charlemagne’s notebook

EUROPEAN POLITICS is turning more febrile after voters in elections for the European Parliament broke the old duopoly of the two main political “families”: the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) and old centre-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D).

The two “big tent” groups, which have dominated the parliament since direct elections were introduced in 1979, were the biggest losers as European politics fragments. By the latest count, the two groups between them lost 87 seats in the 751-seat parliament. That, in turn, is re-opening the debate about who should run the European Commission, the powerful bureaucratic machine at the heart of the European Union, which acts as an executive, a civil service and a market regulator.

The president of the commission is nominated by national leaders, with approval from the parliament. Leaders will meet in Brussels tonight to begin discussing who should fill this and a host of senior EU jobs, among them the president of the European Council (representing leaders) and the president of the European Central Bank (ECB).

At the last European elections in 2014, the parliament tried to institutionalise the idea of the Spitzenkandidat, whereby leaders would be compelled to choose the “leading candidate” for commission president selected by the parliament on the basis of who can command a majority. Under a gentleman’s agreement in 2014, the S&D made way for Jean-Claude Juncker of the EPP, whose group was the largest. The leaders acquiesced despite misgivings by Britain and Hungary. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Ein Leitfaden für Finanzkrisenmanager

Posted by hkarner - 30. Mai 2019

Howard Davies, the first chairman of the United Kingdom’s Financial Services Authority (1997-2003), is Chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland. He was Director of the London School of Economics (2003-11) and served as Deputy Governor of the Bank of England and Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry.

EDINBURGH – Journalisten, so heißt es, verfassen „eine erste grobe Version der Geschichte”. Es ist ein großer Anspruch, aber die Besten unter ihnen kommen dem nahe. Während der Großen Finanzkrise 2008 gelang es Andrew Ross Sorkin von der New York Times mit seinem Buch Die Unfehlbaren. Es ist noch immer eine zutreffende Beschreibung dessen, was an der Wall Street los war, als die Märkte zusammenbrachen. Sorkin hatte einen guten Zugang zu den beteiligten Schlüsselpersonen. 

Die zweite Version der Geschichte wird oft von den wichtigsten Beteiligten selbst geschrieben. Nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg war Winston Churchill zuversichtlich, die Geschichte würde ihn freundlich behandeln, weil er beabsichtigte, „diese Geschichte selbst zu schreiben”. Als die Finanzkrise ausbrach, könnte derselbe Gedanke auch Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke und Tim Geithner angetrieben haben, die US-Finanzminister, Vorsitzender der Federal Reserve Bank und Präsident der New York Fed waren. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Beyond Unemployment

Posted by hkarner - 30. Mai 2019

Michael Spence, a Nobel laureate in economics, is Professor of Economics at New York University’s Stern School of Business and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He was the chairman of the independent Commission on Growth and Development, an international body that from 2006-2010 analyzed opportunities for global economic growth, and is the author of The Next Convergence – The Future of Economic Growth in a Multispeed World.

In modern economies, people may have jobs, but they still harbor major concerns in a wide range of areas, including security, health and work-life balance, income and distribution, training, mobility, and opportunity. By focusing solely on the unemployment rate, policymakers are ignoring the many dimensions of employment that affect welfare.

MILAN – For much of the post-World War II period, economic policy has focused on unemployment. The massive job losses of the Great Depression – reversed only when World War II, and the massive debt accumulated to finance it, kick-started economic growth – had a lasting impact on at least two generations. But employment is just one facet of welfare, and in today’s world, it is not enough.

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Will Merkel Be Followed by Darkness?

Posted by hkarner - 30. Mai 2019

Date: 29-05-2019
Source: DER SPIEGEL.By René Pfister
Subject: A Dim View of the World

Will Merkel Be Followed by Darkness?

As the end of her tenure approaches, Angela Merkel has a view of the world that couldn’t be much grimmer. She sees the pillars of the world order collapsing and yet, strangely, she doesn’t seem to be doing much about it.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

For a few seconds, her face brightened with pleasure, she rejoices in the moment. And why not? It’s an evening in January, and Angela Merkel is sitting in a festively illuminated glass building at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, with CNN superstar Christiane Amanpour in front of her.

„What can I say about a woman named Angela Merkel?“ Amanpour asks the audience.

That she’s the first female chancellor?
The first chancellor from former East Germany?

Merkel is much more than that, Amanpour continues, a scientist who still believes in the value of facts in this post-factual world; a woman who fights against nationalism and climate change. She describes how the chancellor has set a high standard for how to deal with the desperate people of the world.

It’s all laid on a bit thick, a mixture of Oscar ceremony and political seminar, but Merkel has a smile on her face. It’s only now and then, when the camera zooms in on her, that she puts on a more neutral, chancellor-like face. Despite all that she has achieved, she still has a reputation to defend as the West’s most modest politician. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Why the EU Election Was a Win for Macron

Posted by hkarner - 30. Mai 2019

Although the far-right National Rally edged out La République en Marche ! in the European Parliament election, broader trends in European politics now look favorable for French President Emmanuel Macron. His party will now lead a pivotal centrist bloc, and will be able to work closely with the newly reinforced Greens on crucial reforms.

PARIS – Though the final vote tally might seem to suggest otherwise, the European Parliament elections were a strategic success for French President Emmanuel Macron. There are four reasons why this is so.

First, Macron succeeded in framing the election as a contest between progressives and populists. Though he has been assailed at home in recent months – including by some on his own “side” – it is worth remembering that this message did not emerge out of thin air. Rather, it harks back to Macron’s 2017 presidential campaign, which itself tapped into a broader political sea change taking place across Europe. In that election, he overcame the traditional right-left divide. Two years later, this was replicated in the European Parliament elections. Historically, the Republicans on the right and the Socialists on the left have dominated French politics. Yet these parties’ combined share of the popular vote was under 15%, whereas Macron’s La République en Marche ! won 22.4%, and the far-right National Rally (formerly the National Front) picked up 23.3%. Behind these figures is an unprecedented collapse of the mainstream French right, which has failed to reconcile identity politics with traditional liberalism. Though some French conservatives have migrated to the National Rally, much of the center-right electorate has gravitated toward Macron’s party, owing to efforts by Prime Minister Édouard Philippe (formerly of the Republicans).Moreover, most of those who switched to La République en Marche ! are pensioners who did so despite being hit hard by Macron’s tax reforms (some of which have been reversed). This suggests that Macron’s progressive-versus-populist narrative helped to re-mobilize France’s – and perhaps Europe’s – pro-European electorate. While the National Rally performed well and Italy’s right-wing League party made gains, they failed to trigger the EU-wide political earthquake that many had come to expect.The second reason the election represents a victory for Macron is that his party will now be able to claim leadership over a pivotal centrist parliamentary group of 110 members. The relative losses suffered by the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), combined with the surge in support for the Greens, means that the European Parliament is entering a period of quadripartite governance. Provided these groups are able to compromise, the new arrangement will probably be an improvement on the old one, wherein the EPP and S&D divvied up all of the jobs. For the first time in the European Parliament’s history, the number of MEPs affiliated with the two main parties represents only 44% of the total.A more fluid parliamentary composition will allow for more ad hoc majorities to emerge in support of various policy proposals, given that there is so much common ground between La République en Marche !, the S&D, and the Greens. And, as an added bonus, the end of the EPP/S&D duopoly also marks the end of German hegemony in the Parliament.

Third, the Spitzenkandidaten process – whereby the largest party grouping selects the president of the European Commission – is likely to collapse, and this may also work to Macron’s advantage. The system is a first-past-the-post mechanism in a proportionally elected Parliament, and has more to do with partisanship than with democracy, because it gives automatic power to the largest group.

But while the EPP won the most parliamentary seats, its Spitzenkandidat, Manfred Weber, is very controversial. Just before the election, he was weakened by the political demise of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, whose government was by the release of a video in which his vice chancellor, Heinz-Christian Strache of the Freedom Party, appears to offer a quid pro quo for electoral help from Russia. But Merkel still defends Weber, and, apart from Macron and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, most EU leaders are reluctant to confront the European Parliament on the Spitzenkandidaten issue. That may shorten the odds for Margrethe Vestager – who is not from the EPP, but who is, in a sense, a liberal Spitzenkandidat – while while lengthening them for Michel Barnier, who is from the EPP but is not a Spitzenkandidat. If the Council succeeds in ruling out Weber and his populist supporters, Macron will claim it as a success.Finally, the election provides a check on German hegemony within the EU more broadly. Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has been weakened, and the country’s Greens have grown stronger. For his part, Macron will find the Greens much easier to work with on eurozone reform, especially if they end up joining a new German coalition government.Taken together, these post-election considerations paint a rather positive picture for Macron. The question now is whether he can use his strength at the EU level to shore up his domestic position. This will not happen automatically. With the fall of the French right, there may be a temptation to position La République en Marche ! as a new home for right-wing French voters. But while this might capture Paris’s bourgeois 16th arrondissement, doing so would be a mistake. Instead, Macron should focus on securing more of the atomized left, particularly those who have moved to the National Rally.As matters stand, La République en Marche !’s base remains limited to the “winners” of globalization. Rural, alienated, and economically vulnerable voters remain in the National Rally’s camp. To win them over, Macron must reduce the polarization between the two parties.

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Corruption and Your Money

Posted by hkarner - 29. Mai 2019

The costs of corruption run deep. Your taxpayer dollars are lost in different ways, siphoned off from schools, roads, and hospitals to line the pockets of people up to no good.

Equally damaging is the way it corrodes the government’s ability to help grow the economy in a way that benefits all citizens.

And no country is immune to corruption. Our Chart of the Week from the Fiscal Monitor analyzes more than 180 countries and finds that more corrupt countries collect fewer taxes, as people pay bribes to avoid them, including through tax loopholes designed in exchange for kickbacks. Also, when taxpayers believe their governments are corrupt, they are more likely to evade paying taxes.

The chart shows that overall, the least corrupt governments collect 4 percent of GDP more in tax revenues than countries at the same level of economic development with the highest levels of corruption. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Horrible

Posted by hkarner - 29. Mai 2019

Date: 28-05-2019
Source: The New York Times
Subject: Trump Administration Hardens Its Attack on Climate Science

The White House, already pursuing major rollbacks of greenhouse-gas emission restrictions, is amplifying its attack on fundamental climate-science conclusions.
WASHINGTON — President Trump has rolled back environmental regulations, pulled the United States out of the Paris climate accord, brushed aside dire predictions about the effects of climate change, and turned the term “global warming” into a punch line rather than a prognosis.

Now, after two years spent unraveling the policies of his predecessors, Mr. Trump and his political appointees are launching a new assault.

In the next few months, the White House will complete the rollback of the most significant federal effort to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, initiated during the Obama administration. It will expand its efforts to impose Mr. Trump’s hard-line views on other nations, building on his retreat from the Paris accord and his recent refusal to sign a communiqué to protect the rapidly melting Arctic region unless it was stripped of any references to climate change.

And, in what could be Mr. Trump’s most consequential action yet, his administration will seek to undermine the very science on which climate change policy rests. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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