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Archive for 14. Juli 2019

Why are happy people voting for angry parties?

Posted by hkarner - 14. Juli 2019

Date: 13-07-2019
Source: The Economist
The rise of populism comes at a time when people say they are feeling fine

“Happy?” splutters a middle-aged man at a polling station in central London, when asked about his feelings on voting in a recent European election. “I’d be happy if I could kick all the bastards out.”

He is not with the programme. In 1972 the king of Bhutan decided his country would adopt gross national happiness as a goal. At the time it seemed eccentric. But over the past decade, politicians in democracies have started to pay more attention to the idea that they should give priority to the well-being of their citizens. Thomas Jefferson argued that “the happiness of every individual [is] now acknowledged to be…the only legitimate object of government”. That view is now mainstream.

In 2008 the French government set up the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi commission to create new national accounts which go beyond gdp and reflect things like the quality of life and the state of the environment. Two years later Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron, set up a “well-being index” to measure Britain’s happiness and social progress. And this year New Zealand produced the world’s first “well-being budget” in which health and life satisfaction—not wealth or economic growth—would guide some public-spending choices. In practice, this has meant more money to combat child poverty, domestic abuse and mental health problems. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The choice of the IMF’s next boss could be a coronation

Posted by hkarner - 14. Juli 2019

Date: 13-07-2019
Source: The Economist

That will not prevent a fight over the fund’s future

For the purposes of decision-making, the imf’s 189 member countries are divided into 24 constituencies of peculiar shapes and sizes. Ghana, for example, belongs to the same group as Afghanistan. Ecuador sits with East Timor. But in choosing the next boss after Christine Lagarde moves to the European Central Bank in October, the most decisive constituency may be a different group entirely: the “New Hanseatic League”. This includes eight small, northern members of the European Union (eu) with bad weather and good credit ratings. They lost out in the fight for big eu jobs earlier this month. In compensation they may have a large say in Europe’s pick to lead the fund.

That could be good news for Mark Carney, the charismatic and credentialled boss of the Bank of England. As well as Canadian and British citizenship, he holds a passport from Ireland, one of the new Hanseatics. If Ireland champions his cause in the league, and the league backs him within the union, he would be hard to resist within the fund. By convention the imf is led by whichever European candidate the Americans can live with. And the Americans are unlikely to object to him, especially after the Europeans dutifully supported Washington’s choice to run the World Bank earlier this year. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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