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Economics in Transition

Posted by hkarner - 26. Juni 2017

Since the 2008 global financial crisis, there has been no shortage of criticism of conventional economics, with its rigid models and fanciful “representative agents,” which utterly failed to predict the collapse. But the critics often overlook the emergence of new approaches – some predating the crisis – that could redefine the mainstream of economic thinking.

JUN 23, 2017 Project Syndicate

<img src=“/default/library/e193b48cdd42eff7e2560411ff37fd6f.onpoint.jpg“ alt=“Newsart for Economics in Transition“ width=“813″ height=“387″>

Andrew Lo, Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought, Princeton University Press
Richard Bookstaber, The End of Theory: Financial Crises, the Failure of Economics, and the Sweep of Human Interaction, Princeton University Press
Roderick Floud, Santhi Hejeebu, and David Mitch, eds., Humanism Challenges Materialism in Economics and Economic History, University of Chicago Press

MANCHESTER – There seems to be no end to the tide of books criticizing economics, and – as I am an economist – it must make me something of a masochist that I keep reading them. The exercise is all the more wearisome as the criticisms are both repetitive and increasingly misdirected.

Not that everything about the state of economics is fine; far from it. But only if today’s critics of economics pay more attention to what economists are actually doing will they be able to make a meaningful contribution to assessing the state of the discipline. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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A grim diagnosis for Western politics

Posted by hkarner - 24. Juni 2017

Date: 22-06-2017
Source: The Economist

Edward Luce believes that the liberal order cannot be fixed without a clear view of what has gone wrong

The Retreat of Western Liberalism. By Edward Luce. Grove Atlantic; 234 pages; $24. Little Brown; £16.99.

FEW doubt that something big happened in Western politics during the past 12 months but nobody is sure what. Turmoil in Washington and London contrasts with centrist stability in Paris and Berlin. Edward Luce, a commentator for the Financial Times in Washington, is well placed to observe the shifts and shocks. “The Retreat of Western Liberalism” offers a brisk, timely survey.

“Fusion”, the longest of just four chapters, describes the successes of economic globalisation, but also the costs borne by the less well-off in rich countries, notably Britain, America and France. Next, “Reaction” attributes the recent “degeneration” of Western politics to slowing economic growth and to the rich taking an undue share of what little growth there is. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Ökonom: „Als Individuen können wir die Welt nicht retten“

Posted by hkarner - 21. Juni 2017

InterviewNora Laufer, 21. Juni 2017, 11:00 derstandard.at

Graeme Maxton begrüßt den Ausstieg der USA aus dem Pariser Klimaabkommen

Grame Maxton, Generalsekretär des Club of Rome, fordert eine Ein-Kind-Politik in Europa und weniger Demokratie in Umweltfragen. Er spricht über sein Buch „Ein Prozent ist genug“, über Kapitalismus und wieso vegane Ernährung der Umwelt nicht unbedingt hilft.

STANDARD: Zugespitzt formuliert prognostiziert der Club of Rome seit 40 Jahren den Weltuntergang. Ist es bald so weit?

Maxton: Wir haben vorausgesagt, dass das wirtschaftliche und ökologische System in den 2030er- oder 2040er-Jahren kollabieren wird. Ich würde sagen, dass der Verfallsprozess vor zehn Jahren begonnen hat und sich in 20 Jahren zuspitzt. Es geht jetzt nicht mehr darum, den Klimawandel zu umgehen, sondern ihn zu managen.

STANDARD: Wie kann der Effekt abgeschwächt werden?

Maxton: Zuerst müssen wir aufhören, es schlimmer zu machen. Unser ökologischer Fußabdruck ist zu groß. Wir leben, als hätten wir eineinhalb Planeten. In Europa als hätten wir drei Planeten, in den USA fünf. Wir müssen weniger Ressourcen verwenden, weniger verschmutzen, vor allem was Treibhausgase betrifft. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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How to find out what people really think

Posted by hkarner - 27. Mai 2017

Date: 25-05-2017
Source: The Economist

Data mining is becoming more and more precise

Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are. By Seth Stephens-Davidowitz. Dey Street; 288 pages; $27.99. To be published in Britain by Bloomsbury in July; £20.

TO MANY people Big Data is less shiny than it was a year ago. After Hillary Clinton’s defeat at the hands of Donald Trump, her vaunted analytics team took much of the blame for failing to spot warnings in the midwestern states that cost her the presidency. But according to research by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, a former data scientist at Google, Mrs Clinton’s real mistake was not to rely too much on newfangled statistics, but rather too little.

Mrs Clinton used the finest number-crunchers. But their calculations still relied largely on traditional sources, such as voter files and polls. In contrast, Mr Stephens-Davidowitz turned to a novel form of data: Google searches. In particular, he counted the frequency of queries for the word “nigger”, America’s most toxic racial slur. Contrary to the popular perception that overt racism is limited to the South, the numbers showed comparatively high interest in the term across the Midwest and the rustbelt relative to the rest of the country. In the Republican primaries in 2016 that variable outperformed all others in predicting which geographic areas would support Mr Trump over his intraparty rivals. Had Mrs Clinton’s team made better use of such information, they might have concluded, before it was too late, that the foundations of her “blue firewall” were cracking. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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La Condition Française

Posted by hkarner - 14. Mai 2017

Photo of Brigitte Granville

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Ein Buch als Rezept gegen Austrosklerose

Posted by hkarner - 12. Mai 2017

Podiumsdiskussion. „Presse“-Kolumnist Josef Urschitz hat ein Buch gegen den Stillstand verfasst. Das Echo ist enorm.

Wien. Wenn Hannes Androsch, Ex-Finanzminister und Unternehmer, aktuelle Um- und Zustände veranschaulichen will, bemüht er gern österreichische Schriftsteller. Am Donnerstagabend musste etwa Johann Nestroy herhalten: „Was hat die Nachwelt für uns getan? Nichts! Das Nämliche tue ich für die Nachwelt“, habe Nestroy geschrieben. Androsch schrieb es den österreichischen Entscheidungsträgern ins Buch. „Presse“-Wirtschaftsredakteur Josef Urschitz schrieb gleich ein ganzes Buch über den Stillstand hierzulande und „Wie der Reformstau unseren Wohlstand gefährdet“. Am Donnerstagabend wurde es in der Industriellenvereinigung in Wien präsentiert. Das war nicht nur vom Timing her angesichts der Regierungsumwälzung ein Volltreffer. Der Andrang von 320 Gästen bewies auch, dass Urschitz einmal mehr den Nerv der Zeit getroffen hat. Die Menschen sind sichtlich frustriert ob des besagten Stillstandes. Urschitz spricht von einer „Austrosklerose“ seit mehr als 40 Jahren, einer Blockade jeglicher Reformansätze durch die Landeshauptleute, die Sozialpartnerschaft und die Große Koalition: Ja, es ginge uns noch gut, „aber seit zehn, 15 Jahren beginnt alles zu erodieren“, so der Autor: In Wirtschaftsrankings der Industrienationen sei man binnen weniger Jahre vom zehnten auf den 20. Platz zurückgefallen. Das Problem sei ein strukturelles, die Maßnahmen, die gesetzt worden seien, „sind aber nie in die Struktur gegangen“. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The meaning of life in a world without work

Posted by hkarner - 11. Mai 2017

Date: 10-05-2017
Source: The Guardian

As technology renders jobs obsolete, what will keep us busy? Sapiens author
Yuval Noah Harari examines ‘the useless class’ and a new quest for purpose

In the future, virtual worlds could take the place of religion and other socially-constructed systems of meaning as humans become less useful.

Yuval Noah Harari

Most jobs that exist today might disappear within decades. As artificial intelligence outperforms humans in more and more tasks, it will replace humans in more and more jobs. Many new professions are likely to appear: virtual-world designers, for example. But such professions will probably require more creativity and flexibility, and it is unclear whether 40-year-old unemployed taxi drivers or insurance agents will be able to reinvent themselves as virtual-world designers (try to imagine a virtual world created by an insurance agent!). And even if the ex-insurance agent somehow makes the transition into a virtual-world designer, the pace of progress is such that within another decade he might have to reinvent himself yet again.

The crucial problem isn’t creating new jobs.

The crucial problem is creating new jobs that humans perform better than algorithms. Consequently, by 2050 a new class of people might emerge – the useless class. People who are not just unemployed, but unemployable. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Death Of Expertise

Posted by hkarner - 19. April 2017

Tom Nichols

By , thefederalist.com

I am (or at least think I am) an expert. Not on everything, but in a particular area of human knowledge, specifically social science and public policy. When I say something on those subjects, I expect that my opinion holds more weight than that of most other people.

I never thought those were particularly controversial statements. As it turns out, they’re plenty controversial. Today, any assertion of expertise produces an explosion of anger from certain quarters of the American public, who immediately complain that such claims are nothing more than fallacious “appeals to authority,” sure signs of dreadful “elitism,” and an obvious effort to use credentials to stifle the dialogue required by a “real” democracy.

But democracy, as I wrote in an essay about C.S. Lewis and the Snowden affair, denotes a system of government, not an actual state of equality. It means that we enjoy equal rights versus the government, and in relation to each other. Having equal rights does not mean having equal talents, equal abilities, or equal knowledge.  It assuredly does not mean that “everyone’s opinion about anything is as good as anyone else’s.” And yet, this is now enshrined as the credo of a fair number of people despite being obvious nonsense. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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What Next for Trump and Xi?

Posted by hkarner - 7. April 2017

Rana Mitter

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Men Without Work

Posted by hkarner - 29. März 2017

By John Mauldin

March 28, 2017

I have been promising a review of Nicholas Eberstadt’s very important book, Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis. The book is relatively short at 216 pages, but it is packed with meaty facts and insights. One of the reasons I seldom read an actual physical book anymore is because I can highlight text and make notes in my Kindle app on my iPad and then find those notes and highlighted sections on my Amazon page for later review. I actually highlighted 36 pages with 22,000 words from this book to go back and review. And while I will be using a lot of quotes in this letter, I hope this simply spurs you to order the book and read it for yourself. The “invisible crisis” that the author is writing about is at the very center of our economic and political turmoil.

At its heart, the book is about the fact that there are some 10 million American men of prime working age (25 to 54) who have simply dropped out of the workforce, and the great majority of them have not only dropped out of the workforce, they have also dropped out from any commitments or responsibilities to society. It is not just the labor force they are not participating in; they are not participating in the normal ebb and flow of community life.

This is not a recent phenomenon. I used the following graph last week, but it is important to illustrate the point. Male participation in the civilian labor force has been steadily dropping for 60 years, through boom and bust years, periods of inflation and deflation, Republican and Democratic administrations and congressional control; the trend seems to be relentless – except that it has been accelerating since 2009. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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