Co-Pierre Georg, Michael E. Rose 16 January 2016, voxeu
Posts Tagged ‘Economist’
Posted by hkarner - 18. Januar 2016
Posted by hkarner - 16. Januar 2016
Source: The Economist
Rich-world firms are warming to the idea of being Chinese-owned
DESPITE the anaemic state of the global economy, companies from mainland China are investing abroad like never before. Chinese firms closed overseas deals worth $61 billion last year, according to a new analysis by the Rhodium Group, a consulting firm. This was up by 16% on 2014, and is the highest level on record. What is more, these firms are not all chasing natural resources such as oil and copper, as in the past.
On January 12th Dalian Wanda, a Chinese property and entertainment conglomerate, confirmed its long-rumoured purchase of Legendary Entertainment for about $3.5 billion. The acquisition of the American film studio behind “Jurassic World”, “The Dark Knight” and other blockbusters fulfils the dream of Wang Jianlin, Wanda’s boss, of becoming a global movie mogul. The same day, news surfaced that Beijing Kunlun Tech, a Chinese online-games firm, has acquired a majority stake in Grindr, an American social network for gay men, for about $93m.
However, perhaps the most intriguing Chinese foreign purchase of the week is the acquisition by a state-owned chemicals firm of an obscure German maker of machinery to process rubber and plastic. China National Chemical Corp, more commonly known as ChemChina, bought KraussMaffei for about $1 billion.
ChemChina itself rose from obscurity thanks in large part to Ren Jianxin, its chairman. Three decades ago he borrowed 10,000 yuan (less than $2,000 at today’s rates) to start a solvents factory. In the following years, he forged the ChemChina empire by taking under his wing more than 100 distressed state-owned chemical plants across the country, with the government retaining ownership. He minimised lay-offs by shifting workers to one of the group’s sidelines, Malan Noodle, a restaurant chain. He professionalised management by bringing in outside consultants. Even a foreign chemicals boss who insists that “90% of ChemChina’s assets are rubbish” grudgingly praises Mr Ren’s vision and management style. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Posted by hkarner - 16. Januar 2016
Source: The Economist: Schumpeter
Glamorous tech startups can be brutal places for workers
SOFTWARE firms are supposed to be a paradise for “talent”. Not only are their workers fabulously paid, but they are showered with perks as well. They can gorge themselves on free food cooked by Cordon Bleu chefs. They can snooze in nap pods or, if they feel more energetic, work out in on-site gyms or take yoga classes. There are dry-cleaners on the premises to do their laundry and buses to ferry them to and from work.
There is some truth in this. Such companies have few resources other than their employees’ brains. And the battle for those brains is becoming more intense as the digital revolution reconfigures swathes of the business world. Giants such as Google and Facebook are seeking to reinforce their position at the heart of this new economy by investing heavily in research and expanding into ever more areas. Google’s headcount has grown by 157% in the past five years, to about 60,000. Smaller startups are also scrambling to attract talent; and manufacturers are responding to the digitisation of their industries by hiring coders and other tech geeks. Carmakers such as GM, Ford, Nissan and Toyota have all set up research outposts in Silicon Valley. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Posted by hkarner - 15. Januar 2016
Source: The Economist: Charlemagne
Plebiscite-pushers have got Europe’s voters hooked on the cheap rush of direct democracy
ONE dodgy referendum lost Ukraine Crimea. Another threatens to lose it the European Union. On April 6th the Dutch public will vote on the “association agreement” the EU signed with Ukraine in 2014. The deal cements trade and political links with one of the EU’s most important neighbours; the prospect of losing it under Russian pressure triggered Ukraine’s Maidan revolution. But last summer a group of Dutch mischief-makers, hunting for a Eurosceptic cause they could place on the ballot under a new “citizens’ initiative” law, noticed that parliament had just approved the deal. Worse luck for the Ukrainians.
Unlike the Crimeans in 2014, the Dutch will not be voting under foreign occupation. But nor are they likely to have familiarised themselves with the Ukraine agreement’s 2,135 pages. Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, says a Dutch “No” could unleash a “continental crisis”. That is a stretch: as the referendum is non-binding, the Dutch government could ratify the agreement anyway, and its most important provisions are already in force. But Mr Juncker put his finger on something, because national referendums on EU matters are turning into a throbbing headache. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Posted by hkarner - 11. Januar 2016
“The most reliable way to forecast the future is to try to understand the present.”
– John Naisbitt
“We really can’t forecast all that well, and yet we pretend that we can, but we really can’t.”
– Alan Greenspan
Welcome to 2016. Tradition dictates that you spend the first few weeks or so reading forecasts for the coming year. I can say with certainty that most of them will be wrong. A smaller number may hit the target. Unfortunately, no one knows which forecasts will fall into which category.
For the last 16 years my first letter of the year has also been a forecast issue, and I will continue to go with that tradition – but with one major caveat. I do not base my forecasts on mathematical models or some finely honed methodology, but on my sense of where the economic world stands today and where I think it might likely be in the near future. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Posted by hkarner - 7. Januar 2016
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Economists are studying economic implications of the influx, including for employment of native-born Turks.
Millions of migrants are on the move, seeking shelter from war, poverty and persecution at home. Political leaders across Europe and the U.S. are engaged in passionate, often divisive debates about refugee resettlement and repercussions for society and security.
Economists are taking notice.
It’s “a crucial policy issue that is really very much underserved by our profession,” Columbia University economist Jeffrey D. Sachs said at the American Economic Association’s annual conference in San Francisco. He and more than a half-dozen other economists and experts spent two hours Monday discussing new research on asylum seekers, migration policy and related topics at a conference session titled “60 Million Refugees,” a reference to a United Nations estimate last year of refugees and other forcibly displaced people.
In the end, there remained more difficult questions than simple answers. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Posted by hkarner - 4. Januar 2016
MILAN – Imagine that you fell asleep in 2006 and woke up today. The world economy would be barely recognizable. While you were dreaming of real-estate riches, the United States and Europe were hit by the most crippling financial crisis in almost 80 years, and China’s statist economy swiftly overtook Germany and Japan to become the world’s second largest (and, despite its recent slowdown, is poised to surpass the US).
Given such massive, unexpected shifts, you might be even more surprised by what didn’t change: the way economists think about themselves and their discipline.
To see this, one need look no further than the Ideas.RePEc.org website. RePEc (Research Papers in Economics) arguably provides the closest thing to a credible hierarchy of economists, not unlike the ATP’s rankings of professional tennis players. The site, entirely open and free (thanks to hundreds of volunteers in 82 countries), maintains a decentralized online database of around two million items of economic research, including working papers, journal articles, books, and software. Its index of influence assesses the number of citations for each author, weighted by impact and discounted by citation age (otherwise, Adam Smith and Karl Marx would likely still top the list). Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Posted by hkarner - 3. Januar 2016
Source: The Economist
New regulations will give a better sense of the soundness of Europe’s insurers
LIKE banks, insurers need a cushion of capital to ensure that they can meet customers’ claims in the event of unexpectedly big payouts or poor investment performance. As at banks, these cushions have at times proved woefully thin. In theory, all that changes on January 1st—in the European Union, at least—when a new set of regulations known as Solvency 2 comes into force. After more than ten years of negotiation, all European insurers will have to follow uniform rules on capital that are designed to make the firms more robust and allow investors and customers to assess their strength much more easily.
Not everyone is thrilled at this prospect. Mention “upcoming regulatory changes” to an insurance executive and a tirade inevitably follows about ambiguities and inconsistencies within the new rules, discrepancies in enforcement and the mountains of paperwork involved. Some firms have had to bolster capital in anticipation: Delta Lloyd, a Dutch insurer, announced in November that it would raise €1 billion ($1.1 billion). The rules favour diversified firms, so those that offer just one form of insurance are under pressure to merge. That impetus contributed to several deals involving specialist insurers in 2015, including Fairfax’s purchase of Brit in February and XL’s takeover of Catlin in May. Anxious bosses have trimmed the industry’s own debts to relatively low levels. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »
Posted by hkarner - 1. Januar 2016
Source: The Economist
EMERGING markets have given the global economy most of its muscle since the recession ended in 2009. But in 2016 rich countries will account for their largest share of global growth this decade. The BRICs are in a sorry state. Brazil’s government has been both incompetent and corrupt. Russia’s has been no better, with a dose of military malevolence thrown in. China will perform reasonably well in 2016—if you believe the government’s numbers. By that reckoning, its GDP will rise by around 6.5%. The reality almost certainly will be lower. China is mired in debt and has mismanaged its currency and stockmarkets, sending shocks through the global economy. India looks perkier: it will grow by more than 7%. But that is worse than its average of 8.5% growth between 2005 and 2010. All said, the BRICs will make up only 16% of worldwide growth in 2016.
Against all this, the rich world will look solid, if unspectacular. America’s economy will expand by around 2.5%, and the American jobs machine will crank out at least 2m new positions for a sixth straight year—the first time that has happened since the 1990s. Europe will no longer be threatened by recession or deflation, and the euro zone’s most obvious time-bomb, Greece, has been defused for now. The world economy hasn’t managed growth of more than 4% since 2010. Save for America, 2016 will be another year of repair, recovery, reform and risk for most countries.