Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

Unkonventionelle Lösungen für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft

Posts Tagged ‘Economist’

Can markets be too free?

Posted by hkarner - 3. Januar 2017

Date: 02-01-2017
Source: The Economist

To mark the publication of “Go Figure”, a collection of The Economist’s explainers and daily charts, the editors of this blog solicited ideas on Facebook and Twitter. This week we publish five explainers suggested by our readers, who will each receive a copy of the book.

ASKED why the Federal Reserve had failed to anticipate the lax bank lending that ultimately led to the global financial crisis, Alan Greenspan, the Fed’s former chairman, said he had the wrong model. He had assumed that bankers, acting in their self-interest, could not blow up their own banks. He was wrong, and the regulation of banks has since become far stricter. Indeed partly as a consequence of the crisis, and the political upsets (Brexit, Donald Trump’s electoral victory) that it helped give rise to, the bias against intervening in markets (for credit, for internationally traded goods, and much else) has greatly weakened. The question for policymakers no longer seems to be “How can markets be liberated?” Rather it is, “Can markets be too free?” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Ökonomen und ihre Fake News

Posted by hkarner - 1. Januar 2017

30.12.2016 | 17:48 | Josef Urschitz (Die Presse)

Flüchtlingsausgaben als Konjunkturprogramm? Geh bitte!

Gerade noch rechtzeitig vor Neujahr haben uns zwei renommierte deutsche Wirtschaftsforschungsinstitute die frohe Botschaft gebracht: Das deutsche Bruttoinlandsprodukt ist 2016 wegen der Flüchtlingsausgaben um 0,3 Prozentpunkte stärker gewachsen, als es das ohne Migrationskrise getan hätte.

Überrascht uns ehrlich gesagt nicht: Wenn mehr Leute konsumieren, erhöht das eben das BIP. Auch wenn der Mehrkonsum auf Regimentsunkosten läuft.

Interessant ist aber die Interpretation dieser Zahl durch deutsche Starökonomen. Der Chef des Deutschen Instituts für Wirtschaftsforschung meinte beispielsweise, die Mehrausgaben wirkten wie ein „kleines Konjunkturprogramm“. Der Boss des Münchner Ifo-Instituts sieht einen „Impuls für die Binnenkonjunktur“. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Economists versus the Economy

Posted by hkarner - 27. Dezember 2016

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How Vienna produced ideas that shaped the West

Posted by hkarner - 24. Dezember 2016

Date: 22-12-2016
Source: The Economist

The city of the century

cafe-central-ccACROSS the cobbles of Vienna’s Michaelerplatz the world of empires, waltzes and mutton-chop whiskers glowers at the modern age of psychoanalysis, atonal music and clean shaves. In one corner, the monumental, neo-baroque entrance to the Hofburg palace, seat of the Habsburgs; in the other, the Looshaus, all straight lines and smooth façades, one of the first buildings in the international style. This outcrop of modernism, designed by Adolf Loos, was completed in 1911, less than 20 years after the dome-topped palace entrance it faces. But the building embodied such a different aesthetic, such a contrary world view, that some wondered whether a society that produced such opposites in quick succession could survive. The emperor Franz Joseph is said to have kept the curtains drawn so he would not have to look at the new world across the square.

The sceptics were right. Imperial Viennese society could not survive. But the ideas and art brought forth during the fecund period of Viennese history from the late 1880s to the 1920s endured—from Loos’s modernist architecture to Gustav Klimt’s symbolist canvasses, from Schoenberg’s atonal music and Mahler’s Sturm und Drang to Ludwig Wittgenstein’s philosophy. Those Viennese who escaped Nazism went on to sustain the West during the cold war, and to restore the traditions of empiricism and liberal democracy.
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The state of the world: Better and better – There are still reasons for a merry Christmas!

Posted by hkarner - 24. Dezember 2016

xmas-ccDate: 01-09-2016
Source: The Economist

Human life has improved in many ways, both recently, according to a Swedish economic historian, and in the 19th century

Norberg ProgressProgress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future. By Johan Norberg. Oneworld; 246 pages; $24.99 and £16.99.

HUMANS are a gloomy species. Some 71% of Britons think the world is getting worse; only 5% think it is improving. Asked whether global poverty had fallen by half, doubled or remained the same in the past 20 years, only 5% of Americans answered correctly that it had fallen by half. This is not simple ignorance, observes Johan Norberg, a Swedish economic historian and the author of a new book called “Progress”. By guessing randomly, a chimpanzee would pick the right answer (out of three choices) far more often.

People are predisposed to think that things are worse than they are, and they overestimate the likelihood of calamity. This is because they rely not on data, but on how easy it is to recall an example. And bad things are more memorable. The media amplify this distortion. Famines, earthquakes and beheadings all make gripping headlines; “40m Planes Landed Safely Last Year” does not.

Pessimism has political consequences. Voters who think things were better in the past are more likely to demand that governments turn back the clock. A whopping 81% of Donald Trump’s supporters think life has grown worse in the past 50 years. Among Britons who voted to leave the European Union, 61% believe that most children will be worse off than their parents. Those who voted against Brexit tend to believe the opposite. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Not so welcome: views on globalisation

Posted by hkarner - 23. Dezember 2016

Date: 22-12-2016
Source: The Economist

attitudes-towards-globalizationData from a recent YouGov survey of 19 countries revealed that the West is increasingly turning its back on globalisation. Less than half of respondents in America, Britain and France believe it is a “force for good”. Westerners—even Americans, generally an optimistic lot—also say the world is getting worse. The turn towards nationalism is especially pronounced in France, where 52% of the population now believes the economy should not have to rely on imports, and just 13% reckon immigration is a good thing. While the young tend to hold more left-wing economic views, they are keener on the idea of globalisation, broadly conceived, thanks to their more positive attitudes towards multiculturalism. In America, 46% of those aged 18-34 think that immigrants have had a positive effect on their country, compared with just 35% of those aged 55 and over. Hope for liberalism in the West now lies with its millennials.

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The future of liberalism: How to make sense of 2016

Posted by hkarner - 22. Dezember 2016

Date: 20-12-2016
Source: The Economist

Liberals lost most of the arguments this year. They should not feel defeated so much as invigorated

FOR a certain kind of liberal, 2016 stands as a rebuke. If you believe, as The Economist does, in open economies and open societies, where the free exchange of goods, capital, people and ideas is encouraged and where universal freedoms are protected from state abuse by the rule of law, then this has been a year of setbacks. Not just over Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, but also the tragedy of Syria, abandoned to its suffering, and widespread support—in Hungary, Poland and beyond—for “illiberal democracy”. As globalisation has become a slur, nationalism, and even authoritarianism, have flourished. In Turkey relief at the failure of a coup was overtaken by savage (and popular) reprisals. In the Philippines voters chose a president who not only deployed death squads but bragged about pulling the trigger. All the while Russia, which hacked Western democracy, and China, which just last week set out to taunt America by seizing one of its maritime drones, insist liberalism is merely a cover for Western expansion.

Faced with this litany, many liberals (of the free-market sort) have lost their nerve. Some have written epitaphs for the liberal order and issued warnings about the threat to democracy. Others argue that, with a timid tweak to immigration law or an extra tariff, life will simply return to normal. That is not good enough. The bitter harvest of 2016 has not suddenly destroyed liberalism’s claim to be the best way to confer dignity and bring about prosperity and equity. Rather than ducking the struggle of ideas, liberals should relish it. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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An obsession with stable growth leads to vulnerabilities in China

Posted by hkarner - 22. Dezember 2016

Date: 20-12-2016
Source: The Economist
Subject: Smooth sailing, until it’s not

Risks lurk outside China’s borders and within it

china-gdp-increaseWHEN 2016 dawned the economy that investors fretted about most was China’s. Memories of a huge stockmarket crash were still fresh. Capital was pouring out of the country as savers anticipated a devaluation of the yuan. In the event, other countries provided the year’s big upsets. And in some respects, the Chinese economy is stronger today than it has been for a couple of years. Producer prices, mired in deflation for 54 straight months, are rising at last. Corporate profits are turning up. Promises to cut overcapacity in coal and steel, and to reduce the overhang of unsold housing, have borne fruit. After three straight quarters of 6.7% annual growth, economists are converging around—you guessed it—6.7% in their forecasts for the final quarter of 2016.

However, this outward stability is misleading. Risks lurk both outside China’s borders and within them. If it does not change its attitude to reform, the Middle Kingdom could soon be atop investors’ minds once again.

One obvious source of anxiety is the potential for a trade war. Much depends on what Donald Trump does when he takes office in January. But tensions are already rising. China had expected to win the status of a market economy in December, 15 years after its accession to the World Trade Organisation, but the West refused. Because China sees this as a broken promise, a game of tit-for-tat protectionism may well ensue. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Big data, meet Big Brother

Posted by hkarner - 18. Dezember 2016

Date: 17-12-2016
Source: The Economist

China invents the digital totalitarian state

The worrying implications of its social-credit project

GARY SHTEYNGART’S novel of 2010, “Super Sad True Love Story”, is set in a near future when the Chinese yuan is a global currency and people all wear an “apparat” around their neck with RateMe Plus technology. Personal details are displayed in public on ubiquitous Credit Poles, posts on street corners with “little LED counters at eye level that registered your Credit ranking as you walked by.” The protagonist’s are summed up thus:

LENNY ABRAMOV. Income averaged over five-year span, $289,420 yuan-pegged…Current blood pressure: 120 over 70. O-type blood…Thirty-nine years of age, lifespan estimated at eighty-three…Ailments: high cholesterol, depression…Consumer profile: heterosexual, nonathletic, non-automotive, nonreligious…Sexual preferences: low-functioning Asian/Korean…Child abuse indicator: on…Last purchases: bound, printed, nonstreaming Media artifact” [ie, book].

The novel is a fictional dystopia about the destruction of privacy. China’s Communist Party may be on its way to inventing the real thing. It is planning what it calls a “social-credit system”. This aims to score not only the financial creditworthiness of citizens, as happens everywhere, but also their social and possibly political behaviour. It is not yet clear how extensive the system will be, nor whether it will work, nor how far it will withstand the criticism ranged against it in the state-controlled media. But an outline is complete and some of the building blocks are in place. The early signs are that China is starting on the most ambitious experiment in digital social control in the world.  Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Most Brexit-Brits don’t have a clue what’s involved

Posted by hkarner - 18. Dezember 2016

Date: 17-12-2016
Source: The Economist
Subject: British companies may find it harder than they expect to unravel the EU’s red tape

If it wants to carry on doing business with Europe, Britain will have to keep following its rules

ANOTHER week, another EU regulation: number 1169/2011, to be exact, concerning “food information for consumers”. Like much that comes out of Brussels, it sounds innocuous, but has already had far-reaching and costly consequences. The new rules, which came into force on December 13th, specify font sizes on food labels, require details on allergens in prepared food and a lot more. They may improve safety, but they have forced producers to rejig their manufacturing processes once again.

The breadth of EU regulation in the food industry is extraordinary, covering everything from hygiene to storage, says Helen Munday, the chief scientific officer at the Food and Drink Federation, a lobby group. Conforming to these rules over the past four decades has shaped an industry that now employs 400,000 people in Britain. The Europe-wide regulations are a faff, but they allow British firms to trade on equal terms with other companies in the EU’s single market and maintain seamless supply chains across the continent, without lengthy inspections of imported Italian mushrooms at national borders. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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