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Archive for Mai 2020

Cummings is now a laughing stock. Alas, so is Britain

Posted by hkarner - 31. Mai 2020

Date: 31‑05‑2020

Source: The Guardian by William Keegan

The guru of Brexit and the 2019 election has been exposed. But the economic and social damage is well and truly done

Dominic Cummings: digging himself deeper.

My father, who was of Irish extraction but hailed from County Durham, used to say: never kick a man when he is down. After the shambles of Mr Dominic Cummings’s recent excursion to Durham, one might be tempted to make an exception to the rule. But there is no need. The prime minister’s once‑valued adviser has been kicking himself – but not in the colloquial sense of expressing regret for his actions.

Deeper and deeper he dug himself in, as one terminological inexactitude led to another, and the rule‑breaker failed lamentably to justify breaking government lockdown instructions for which he was at least in part responsible.

Now, I have never, to my knowledge, met Mr Cummings. But what amazes me, and almost everyone I know, is how this first‑class clown could have acquired a reputation for having anything resembling a brain. His snivelling appearance before the media in the garden of No 10 was a classic of its kind.

The eye test has made him an international laughing stock; and, while we are on the subject of sight, his supposed foresight in forecasting the outbreak of the plague must be making George Orwell laugh in his grave. In 1984, Big Brother’s team made forecasts once they knew the result. Cummings appears to have tried the same but was found out. The guru can, it seems, be sensationally incompetent. If only he had manifested such incompetence during the referendum campaign and the 2019 general election. In those days he was, alas, far more successful in distorting the truth. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Limits of Extreme COVID Monetary Policy

Posted by hkarner - 31. Mai 2020

Paola Subacchi

Paola Subacchi, Professor of International Economics at the University of London’s Queen Mary Global Policy Institute, is the author, most recently, of The Cost of Free Money.

Just because the major central banks can continue to introduce increasingly unconventional measures doesn’t mean that they should. The current economic crisis demands primarily a fiscal-policy response, whereas extreme monetary policies carry high risks and produce adverse side effects.

LONDON – With output having collapsed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many are wondering how far monetary policy can be stretched to support the economy. For the US Federal Reserve, negative interest rates appear to represent an effective limit, not because such a policy is technically unfeasible, but because it would be politically unacceptable. Yet for the European Central Bank, the Bank of England, and the Bank of Japan, there appears to be no limit.

The ECB has long since cut rates into negative territory, and BOE Governor Andrew Bailey is reportedly “looking very carefully” at that option for the United Kingdom. Likewise, BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, while deeming the BOJ’s current policy mix appropriate for current conditions, has not ruled out further monetary easing or another increase in asset purchases.The question is whether it makes sense to go further down the road of extreme monetary policy. Former ECB President Mario Draghi’s famous promise to do “whatever it takes” to support the euro has now become the mantra for all policymakers confronting the current crisis. But wouldn’t expanding fiscal policy be a better way to fulfill that commitment?

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We Are Hong Kong

Posted by hkarner - 31. Mai 2020

Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong and a former EU commissioner for external affairs, is Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

With his recent decision to impose a draconian new security law on Hong Kong, Chinese President Xi Jinping has ridden roughshod over the Joint Declaration and directly threatened the city’s freedom. Defenders of liberal democracy must not stand idly by.

LONDON – In my final speech as Hong Kong’s governor on June 30, 1997, a few hours before I left the city on Britain’s royal yacht, I remarked that, “Now, Hong Kong people are to run Hong Kong. That is the promise. And that is the unshakable destiny.

That promise was contained in the 1984 Joint Declaration, a treaty signed by China and the United Kingdom and lodged at the United Nations. The deal was clear, and the guarantee to Hong Kong’s citizens was absolute: the return of the city from British to Chinese sovereignty would be governed by the principle of “one country, two systems.” Hong Kong would have a high degree of autonomy for 50 years, until 2047, and would continue to enjoy all the freedoms associated with an open society under the rule of law.But with his recent decision to impose a draconian new security law on Hong Kong, Chinese President Xi Jinping has ridden roughshod over the Joint Declaration and directly threatened the city’s freedom. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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What Should We Be Preparing For?

Posted by hkarner - 30. Mai 2020

Date: 29‑05‑2020

Source: Project Syndicate by Ricardo Hausmann

Ricardo Hausmann, a former minister of planning of Venezuela and former Chief Economist at the Inter‑American Development Bank, is a professor at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and Director of the Harvard Growth Lab. 

In most emerging and developing countries, COVID‑19 is causing an economic hurricane. It looks increasingly like a Category 5, but the international community and many national governments prepared for a tropical storm.

CAMBRIDGE – Suppose you knew that a hurricane was coming, but meteorologists were uncertain if it would make landfall as a Category 2 or a Category 5 storm. Which scenario should you prepare for?

The problem you face reflects the costs of assuming that it is a Category 5 when it is only a Category 2 and vice versa. The latter scenario implies deaths and destruction that could have been avoided through evacuations, well‑supplied shelters, and precautionary shutdowns. The first scenario implies unnecessary preventive costs. In the case of hurricanes, we all agree that it makes sense to err on the side of caution for the same reason that it is better to be five minutes early when catching a train than five minutes late. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Art of AI

Posted by hkarner - 30. Mai 2020

Date: 29‑05‑2020

Source: PROJECT SYNDICATE interviews KAI‑FU LEE

As the world enters a new decade, research and development into artificial intelligence and its many applications are barreling forward, and nowhere more so than in China. Although popular narratives tend to focus on the threats posed by AI, the truth is that many of the technology’s dangers have been overhyped, and its promises neglected.

A leading figure in the Chinese tech scene and in artificial‑intelligence development globally, Kai‑Fu Lee earned a PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University in 1988 before serving in executive roles at Apple, SGI, Microsoft, and Google, where he was president of Google China. Now the chairman and CEO of Sinovation Ventures in Beijing, he is the author of AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order. Here, he discusses the global AI race, the current state of the field, and what may – and should – come next.

Project Syndicate: As someone who long worked for US companies and now oversees a tech venture capital firm, you’re deeply familiar with the world’s two main settings for AI development and research. What are the trade‑offs of each R&D environment? What advantages does China offer over the US, and what must policymakers change or improve to achieve China’s goal of catching up to and surpassing the US? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Google’s removal of anti‑Beijing comments raises political eyebrows

Posted by hkarner - 30. Mai 2020

Date: 28‑05‑2020

Source: The Economist

The case of the vanishing comments

On may 26th Palmer Luckey, an American best known for making virtual‑reality headsets, alerted the world to an odd phenomenon. YouTube was deleting all comments which mentioned Wumao, slang for propagandists paid by the Chinese Communist Party (ccp) to flood online forums with pro‑ccp views. “Who at Google [YouTube’s parent] decided to censor American comments on American videos hosted in America by an American platform that is already banned in China?” Mr Luckey asked on Twitter.

Mr Luckey was not the first to notice this, but his tech heft drew an immediate response from the right of the political spectrum, with which he has had connections. Ted Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas, called it “very disturbing” and asked why YouTube was “censoring Americans on behalf of the ccp”. Jim Banks, a Republican congressman from Indiana, fired off a letter to Sundar Pinchai, Google’s boss. One would expect, he wrote, that the “spirit” of the First Amendment would be extended into the American firm’s online platforms. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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This Idiot Wants a War

Posted by hkarner - 29. Mai 2020

Date: 28‑05‑2020

Source: The Wall Street Journal By Rebecca Smith

Subject: U.S. Seizure of Chinese‑Built Transformer Raises Specter of Closer Scrutiny

A Chinese transformer weighing more than 500,000 pounds arrived by ship at the Port of Houston last summer, en route to an electrical substation in Colorado that funnels electricity to Denver.

It never made it there.

Instead, federal officials commandeered the electrical transformer, built by closely held Jiangsu Huapeng Transformer Company, at the port and had it trucked under federal escort to Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., according to people with knowledge of the matter.

What engineers at Sandia found still isn’t publicly known, nor why it was seized. The laboratory, operated by Honeywell International Inc., is under contract with the U.S. Energy Department and tasked with solving national‑security threats. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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EZB-Chefin begräbt Hoffnung aus milden Konjunktureinbruch

Posted by hkarner - 29. Mai 2020

EZB-Präsidentin Christine Lagarde 

EZB-Präsidentin Christine Lagarde geht von einem BIP-Rückgang von bis zu 12 Prozent aus.  In Österreich verlangsamen sich der Abschwung in Industrie und Job-Abbau bereits.

Das Bruttoinlandsprodukt (BIP) der Eurozone dürfte heuer um 8 bis 12 Prozent sinken, sagte die Chefin der Europäischen Zentralbank (EZB) am Mittwoch bei einer Veranstaltung mit Jugendlichen. Bisher hatten die Währungshüter 5 bis 12 Prozent Minus angenommen. Die Chancen auf einen vergleichsweise „milden“ Einbruch seien nicht mehr vorhanden, räumte Lagarde ein. Stattdessen dürfte der Einbruch nun im „mittleren“ bis „schweren“ Bereich des ursprünglichen Szenarios liegen.

Das Bruttoinlandsprodukt in der Eurozone war bereits im ersten Quartal mit 3,8 Prozent in Rekordtempo geschrumpft. Im laufenden zweiten Vierteljahr rechnen Experten mit einem Minus zwischen 10 und 20 Prozent. Die Euroländer hatten mit umfangreichen Geschäftsschließungen und Beschränkungen des öffentlichen Lebens auf den Virusausbruch reagiert, was weite Teile der Wirtschaft stark beeinträchtigte.

Düstere DIW-Prognose

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Artificial Intelligence Can Serve Democracy

Posted by hkarner - 29. Mai 2020

Date: 28‑05‑2020

Source: The Wall Street Journal By Michael Kratsios

The G‑7 launches a new global partnership Thursday.

The U.S. is using every tool at its disposal to defeat the novel coronavirus, including artificial intelligence. American laboratories are harnessing AI to discover new therapeutics. The Food and Drug Administration approved an AI tool to help detect coronavirus in CT scans. And the White House led an initiative to create a database with more than 128,000 articles that scientists can analyze using AI to help understand the virus better and develop treatments.

At the same time, AI is being twisted by authoritarian regimes to violate rights. The Chinese Communist Party is reportedly using AI to uncover and punish those who criticize the regime’s pandemic response and to institute a type of coronavirus social‑credit score—assigning people color codes to determine who is free to go out and who will be forced into quarantine.

As the world begins to recover from the pandemic, nations face a stark choice about what vision of artificial intelligence will prevail. As Group of Seven nations meet this year under the organization’s U.S. presidency, there is a critical opportunity to shape the evolution of AI in a way that respects fundamental rights and upholds our shared values. That is why G‑7 technology ministers will agree Thursday to launch the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence, or GPAI, together with other democratic countries. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The End of Europe’s Chinese Dream

Posted by hkarner - 28. Mai 2020

Date: 26‑05‑2020

Source: Project Syndicate by Mark Leonard

Mark Leonard is Director of the European Council on Foreign Relations. 

The COVID‑19 crisis has pushed Europeans‘ strategic thinking about China – already shifting because of three developments – past the tipping point. After years of pursuing closer bilateral economic ties, Europeans suddenly realize that they have become dangerously dependent on Chinese trade and investment.

BERLIN – A paradigm shift is taking place in relations between the European Union and China. The COVID‑19 crisis has triggered a new debate within Europe about the need for greater supply‑chain “diversification,” and thus for a managed disengagement from China. That will not be easy, and it won’t happen quickly. But, clearly, Europe has abandoned its previous ambition for a more closely integrated bilateral economic relationship with China.

In the past, when Europeans sought trade, economic‑, and foreign‑policy reforms vis‑à‑vis China, their hope was always to increase contact with the country while making the relationship fairer and more reciprocal. The basic goal was to expand bilateral trade and pry open the Chinese market for European investments. Even when the European Union toughened its approach toward China, its objective was still to deepen economic ties with the country. The creation of new EU instruments to screen investments and enforce antitrust measures were presented as regrettable but necessary measures to create the political conditions for closer cooperation. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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