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Die zweifache Bedrohung der liberalen Demokratie

Posted by hkarner - 15. Februar 2018

Dani Rodrik is Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is the author of The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy, Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science, and, most recently, Straight Talk on Trade: Ideas for a Sane World Economy.

CAMBRIDGE – Die Krise der liberalen Demokratie wird heute allgemein angeprangert. Donald Trumps Präsidentschaft, das Brexit-Votum im Vereinigten Königreich und die Erfolge anderer Populisten bei den Wahlen in Europa haben die von der „illiberalen Demokratie“ – einer Art autoritärer Politik mit allgemeinen Wahlen, aber wenig Respekt für den Rechtsstaat oder die Rechte von Minderheiten – ausgehende Bedrohung unterstrichen.

Nur eine kleinere Zahl von Analysten freilich hat bislang darauf hingewiesen, dass illiberale Demokratie oder Populismus nicht die einzige politische Bedrohung darstellen. Die liberale Demokratie wird zugleich durch eine Tendenz untergraben, das „Liberale“ auf Kosten des „Demokratischen“ zu betonen. Bei dieser Art Politik werden die Regierenden durch eine Fülle das Spektrum der von ihnen umsetzbaren Politiken begrenzender Fesseln von demokratischer Rechenschaftspflicht abgeschirmt. Bürokratische Gremien, autonome Regulierungsbehörden und unabhängige Gerichte legen Politiken fest, oder diese werden von außen durch die Regeln der Weltwirtschaft erzwungen. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »


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The Enlightenment Is Working

Posted by hkarner - 12. Februar 2018

Date: 11-02-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal By Steven Pinker

Don’t listen to the gloom-sayers. The world has improved by every measure of human flourishing over the past two centuries, and the progress continues, writes Steven Pinker.

For all their disagreements, the left and the right concur on one thing: The world is getting worse. Whether the decline is visible in inequality, racism and pollution, or in terrorism, crime and moral decay, both sides see profound failings in modernity and a deepening crisis in the West. They look back to various golden ages when America was great, blue-collar workers thrived in unionized jobs, and people found meaning in religion, family, community and nature.

Such gloominess is decidedly un-American. The U.S. was founded on the Enlightenment ideal that human ingenuity and benevolence could be channeled by institutions and result in progress. This concept may feel naive as we confront our biggest predicaments, but we can only understand where we are if we know how far we’ve come. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Economic crisis and structural reforms in Southern Europe: Policy lessons

Posted by hkarner - 5. Februar 2018

Professor of Macroeconomics and International Economic Policy, University of Bologna

Lecturer of International and European Political Economy, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens; Head, Crisis Observatory, ELIAMEP

Paolo Manasse, Dimitris Katsikas 01 February 2018, voxeu

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Confessions of an AI Optimist: An Interview with MIT’s Andrew McAfee

Posted by hkarner - 4. Februar 2018

 November 16, 2017 By Massimo Russo, BCG Perspectives

An Interview with MIT’s Andrew McAfee (left)

Andrew McAfee and coauthor Erik Brynjolfsson made names for themselves by popularizing and animating technology concepts for the professional class in the 2014 bestseller The Second Machine Age and now in Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future. This latest book is, according to The Economist, “an astute romp through important digital trends.”

In this interview with BCG, McAfee focuses on “machine,” the rise of artificial intelligence. McAfee is a big booster of most things digital, but he’s also a realist. He cautions, for example, that an AI engine is only as good as the data fed into it. Machines are still a long way from mastering many human tasks, and the biggest impediment to machine learning and other AI tools may be the imagination of business leaders. But he’s not worried about tech giants cornering the AI market, and he’s relatively sanguine about an automated economy in which many forms of work have disappeared.

Excerpts of the conversation between Massimo Russo, a BCG senior partner and managing director, and McAfee follow.

Andy, thank you for taking the time today to talk about a book that you cowrote with Erik Brynjolfsson, Machine, Platform, Crowd. Many discussions about artificial intelligence focus on the input and then the output of data through the training of the algorithms. How are companies going to avoid the garbage-in, garbage-out risk in artificial intelligence? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Read this quote !

Posted by hkarner - 17. Januar 2018

„Sub-Saharan Africa, with many traditions fostering large families,
is growing by about 80,000 people each and every day.“

( „Complexity: The Evolution of Earth’s Biodiversity and the Future of Humanity“ by William C. Burger)


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What makes humans inventive?

Posted by hkarner - 15. Januar 2018

Date: 11-01-2018
Source: The Economist

Two new books probe the evolutionary roots of creativity

The Origins of Creativity. By Edward Wilson. Liveright; 198 pages; $24.95. Allen Lane; £20.

The Runaway Species. By Anthony Brandt and David Eagleman. Catapult; 287 pages; $28. Canongate; £20.

DOES science spoil beauty? John Keats, an English Romantic poet, thought so. When Sir Isaac Newton separated white light into its prismatic colours, the effect, Keats wrote, was to “unweave a rainbow”. By explaining how rainbows occurred, the mystery and the lustre were lost. The idea that science and the arts are distinct, incompatible cultures is an enduring one. Two new books seem to cut to the heart of the matter: human creativity.

Edward Wilson, 88 and the author of “The Origins of Creativity”, is the grand old man of Harvard biology. His speciality is myrmecology—the study of ants. For a short book, “The Origins of Creativity” is brimming with ideas, many of which wander, as Mr Wilson’s writing often does, beyond the brief of the title. Ultimately, though, everything in the book ties back to genetics and evolution—and a belief that culture and creativity have genetic roots.

Mr Wilson traces the source of creativity to human prehistory, on the African savannah. Man’s ancestors were, for a time, dull, relatively asocial vegetarians. The crucial step, Mr Wilson argues, came with the switch to eating meat. This meant having to hunt in groups, and that meant becoming more social: people had to co-operate in the foray, and share the rewards. This change put an evolutionary premium on communication and social intelligence. Eventually, by way of natural selection, it gave rise to symbolic language. And thus the birth of the humanities came about, in storytelling and the “nocturnal firelight of the earliest human encampments”. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Trump Rejects Assertions in Book, Calling Self a ‘Very Stable Genius’

Posted by hkarner - 8. Januar 2018

Date: 07-01-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

President also laments nation’s ‘weak’ libel laws that he said allowed ‘Fire and Fury’ to be published

President Donald Trump on Saturday continued to assail a new book that features sharp criticism of his administration from close advisers, and lamented what he called the nation’s “weak” libel laws that he said allowed the book to be published.

“I consider it a work of fiction, and I think it’s a disgrace that somebody’s able to … do something like that,” Mr. Trump said at a news conference at Camp David, following the conclusion of a retreat with Republican congressional leaders there. “The libel laws are very weak in this country. If they were strong, it would be helpful—you wouldn’t have things like that happen where you can say whatever comes to your head.”

The new book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” has become a focal point of Mr. Trump’s return to Washington this week, following a 10-day Christmas vacation at his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Langsames Wachstum, schneller Ruin

Posted by hkarner - 7. Januar 2018

orf.on, 7/1

Die Gründer des Club of Rome haben in den 70er Jahren ein Modell geschaffen, mit dem die „Grenzen des Wachstums“, die auf steigenden Ressourcenverbrauch zurückgehen, berechnet worden sind. Ugo Bardi, selbst langjähriges Mitglied des Club of Rome, entwickelt die Thesen des bahnbrechenden Werks weiter und legt mit seinem Buch „Der Seneca-Effekt“ seine neuen Studien zum Thema vor.

Bardi interessiert sich besonders für den Zusammenbruch des antiken Römischen Reiches und die Übertragbarkeit dieses historischen Ereignisses auf die heutige Zeit. Den titelgebenden römischen Philosophen Seneca zitiert Bardi mit dem denkwürdigen Satz: „Das Wachstum schreitet langsam voran, während der Weg zum Ruin schnell verläuft.“ Seneca, im Jahre 4 vor Christus geboren, war zunächst einflussreicher Berater von Kaiser Nero und fiel später in Ungnade. Er sah den Zusammenbruch des Römischen Reiches weit vor seinem tatsächlichen Eintreten voraus.

Wenn man bedenkt, dass Rom im 8. Jahrhundert vor unserer Zeitrechnung gegründet wurde und im 2. Jahrhundert nach unserer Zeitrechnung den Höhepunkt seiner Machtentfaltung erreichte, kann man dem Römischen Reich einen rund tausend Jahre langen Aufstieg attestieren, dem ein nur zwei bis drei Jahrhunderte währender Verfall gegenübersteht – dieses Phänomen nennt Bardi den „Seneca-Effekt“. Doch warum kollabieren komplexe Systeme? Bardi unternimmt den Versuch, den „Seneca-Effekt“ anhand der gegenwärtigen Weltordnung zu prüfen.

„More of the same“ statt Wandel

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In Praise of Hierarchy

Posted by hkarner - 7. Januar 2018

Date: 06-01-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal By Niall Ferguson

Established, traditional order is under assault from freewheeling, networked disrupters as never before. But society craves centralized leadership, too.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that we now live in a networked world, where everyone and everything are connected. The corollary is that traditional hierarchical structures—not only states, but also churches, parties, and corporations—are in various states of crisis and decline. Disruption, disintermediation, and decentralization are the orders of the day. Hierarchy is at a discount, if not despised.

Networks rule not only in the realm of business. In politics, too, party establishments and their machines have been displaced by crowdfunded campaigns and viral messaging. Money, once a monopoly of the state, is being challenged by Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which require no central banks to manage them, only consensus algorithms.

But is all this wise? In all the excitement of the age of hyper-connection, have we perhaps forgotten why hierarchies came into existence in the first place? Do we perhaps overestimate what can be achieved by ungoverned networks—and underestimate the perils of a world without any legitimate hierarchical structure?

True, few dare shed tears for yesterday’s hierarchies. Some Anglophile viewers of “The Crown” may thrill at the quaint stratification of Elizabeth II’s England, but the nearest approximations to royalty in America have lately been shorn of their gilt and glamour. Political dynasties of the recent past have been effaced, if not humiliated, by the upstart Donald Trump, while Hollywood’s elite of exploitative men is in disarray. The spirit of the age is revolutionary; the networked crowd yearns to “smack down” or “shame” each and every authority figure. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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President Trump Denounces Steve Bannon After Comments in Book

Posted by hkarner - 5. Januar 2018

Date: 04-01-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Former strategist calls 2016 meeting with Russian ‘treasonous’; president says Bannon ‘lost his mind’

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump publicly repudiated Steve Bannon, his former senior strategist and onetime campaign chief, after a new book surfaced in which Mr. Bannon made scathing and highly personal criticisms of some of the president’s top advisers, including several family members.

“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency,” Mr. Trump said in a statement released to reporters on Wednesday. “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”

In the book, a copy of which was viewed by The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Bannon called a June 2016 meeting between top Trump campaign aides and a Russian lawyer “treasonous” and aired concerns that missteps by aides could lead to legal jeopardy for the president.

The meeting has become a focus of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 election and whether Trump campaign aides colluded with the Kremlin in the interference. Mr. Trump has said his campaign didn’t collude with Russia, and Moscow has denied meddling in the U.S. election. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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