Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

Unkonventionelle Lösungen für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft

Posts Tagged ‘Foreign Affairs’

Why the British Chose Brexit

Posted by hkarner - 22. Oktober 2017

Date: 21-10-2017
Source: Foreign Affairs

Behind the Scenes of the Referendum

The United Kingdom’s vote last year to leave the European Union was a seismic event. The British people ignored the advice of the leaders of all their major political parties and of virtually all experts. George Osborne, the chancellor of the exchequer, told voters that leaving would wreck the British economy. U.S. President Barack Obama warned that it would reduce the United Kingdom’s influence on the world stage. Financial markets, many pollsters, and political pundits all anticipated that voters would heed the elites’ advice. And yet they decided not to, setting off a process destined to transform the country’s politics, economy, and society.

No wonder, then, that the referendum has generated a rash of books seeking to explain, or at least describe, what happened. The pace of academic publishing means that most of those that have already appeared are quick and dirty accounts by journalists or politicians and their advisers. Among these, two stand out: Unleashing Demons, by Craig Oliver, who worked as Prime Minister David Cameron’s director of communications, and All Out War, by the journalist Tim Shipman. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »


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A Fiscal Union for the Eurozone

Posted by hkarner - 28. September 2017

Date: 27-09-2017
Source: Foreign Affairs By Pierpaolo Barbieri and Shahin Vallée

The Only Way to Save the EU

The German election is finally behind us. In spite of headlines about the rise of the extreme right, Chancellor Angela Merkel is headed for yet another term in power with pro-European partners. This means there is finally a window to discuss eurozone reform in earnest. But what is the goal? It is increasingly popular to argue that the creation of a budget for the eurozone is, in the words of the Financial Times’ Martin Sandbu, mere “federalist utopia.” He and Bruegel’s Andre Sapir, to name a few, argue that Europe should pursue a more pragmatic solution. Their suggestion is to “complete the banking union” and transform the existing European Stability Mechanism (ESM) into a European Monetary Fund (EMF). Past and likely future German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble seems to agree with them.

Such an EMF would exist to provide conditional crisis lending to sovereign nations in trouble, as the ESM does today. It would thus perpetuate our current system of asymmetrical adjustments decreed to bailout recipients who face no parliamentary accountability or scrutiny. It features men in dark suits who arrive with foreign reform dicta. It would also enshrine the deflationary bias of the current framework, in turn deepening the corrosive political dynamics of austerity. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Germany After the Hartz Reforms: Can the SPD Protect German Labor?

Posted by hkarner - 13. September 2017

Date: 12-09-2017
Source: Foreign Affairs

The odds were always stacked against Martin Schulz, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) challenger to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the forthcoming election. Europe’s largest economy is doing so well that voters are simply reluctant to change leaders. After all, in 2005, when Merkel and her Christian Democrats (CDU) took over, German unemployment stood at 11 percent; economic growth had been practically zero for four years running; the fiscal deficit remained stubbornly above 3 percent, the limit set by Europe’s fiscal rules; and public debt was rising. Today, after 12 years—ones that brought financial, euro, and refugee crises—Germany is at full employment, the economy and wages are growing steadily if not impressively, and the German government is running a budget surplus, thus causing public debt to fall fast.

Merkel has never claimed credit for that economic recovery. She did something craftier: she gave credit to her SPD predecessor, Gerhard Schröder, and his package of labor market and benefits reforms that was entitled “Agenda 2010” but is widely known as the “Hartz Reforms.” She knew, of course, that these reforms implemented in the early and mid-2000s remained highly unpopular among left-leaning voters and SPD members. By supporting the narrative that it was these reforms that turned the sick man of Europe into an economic powerhouse, Merkel put the SPD in a terrible bind: it could agree with her and claim credit for the recovery by sticking with the unpopular reforms, or it could promise to roll back the legislation and get blamed for putting Germany’s economy at risk. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Don’t Blame the Robots

Posted by hkarner - 3. September 2017

Date: 01-09-2017
Source: Foreign Affairs

How Housing Prices and Market Power Explain Wage Stagnation
By Sahil Mahtani and Chris Miller

Six months ago, Microsoft’s Bill Gates proposed a robot tax, on the grounds that if workers pay taxes, so too should the machines that take their jobs. Such a policy would, in Gates’s words, “slow down the speed” of automation, thereby allowing societies to “manage [the] displacement” of workers. The idea speaks to a widespread sense that the labor market isn’t working like it used to.

But since Gates made his statement, it has become clear that taxing technology entails a comically large number of problems. One is that robots can both reduce and increase the demand for human labor. Search algorithms reduced the need for travel agents, but Uber increased demand for drivers. It is impossible to determine ex ante which robots to tax. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Why Globalization Stalled, And How to Restart It

Posted by hkarner - 1. September 2017

Date: 31-08-2017
Source: Foreign Affairs by Fred Hu and Michael Spence

For many decades after World War II, a broad range of countries shared a fundamental economic vision. They endorsed an
increasingly open system for trade in goods and services, supported by international institutions; allowed capital, orporations, and, to a lesser extent, people to flow freely across borders; and encouraged the rapid spread of data and  echnology. As trade expanded, global living standards improved dramatically, and hundreds of millions of people escaped from poverty.

Today, every aspect of this globalized economy is under assault. A popular backlash against free trade and unrestricted cross-border movements of capital has picked up momentum. The ideal of freely flowing information has clashed with growing calls for privacy rights, the protection of intellectual property, and increased cybersecurity. Across the developed world, sentiments have turned strongly against immigration, especially as waves of Middle Eastern refugees have
flooded Europe.
And after several successful rounds of multilateral trade negotiations in the postwar years, new agreements have become much rarer: the World Trade Organization (wto) has not completed a single full round of successful negotiations since its creation in 1995. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Renewables Can’t Save the Planet—but Uranium Can

Posted by hkarner - 27. August 2017

Date: 26-08-2017
Source: Foreign Affairs By Michael Shellenberger
Subject: The Nuclear Option

Around the world, the transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy appears to finally be under way. Renewables were first promoted in the 1960s and 1970s as a way for people to get closer to nature and for countries to achieve energy independence. Only recently have people come to see adopting them as crucial to preventing global warming. And only in the last ten years has the proliferation of solar and wind farms persuaded much of the public that such a transition is possible. In December 2014, 78 percent of respondents to a large global survey by Ipsos agreed with the statement “In the future, renewable energy sources will be able to fully replace fossil fuels.”

Toward the end of his sweeping new history, Energy and Civilization, Vaclav Smil appears to agree. But Smil, one of the world’s foremost experts on energy, stresses that any transition to renewables would take far longer than its most ardent proponents acknowledge. Humankind, Smil recounts, has experienced three major energy transitions: from wood and dung to coal, then to oil, and then to natural gas. Each took an extremely long time, and none is yet complete. Nearly two billion people still rely on wood and dung for heating and cooking. “Although the sequence of the three substitutions does not mean that the fourth transition, now in its earliest stage (with fossil fuels being replaced by new conversions of renewable energy flows), will proceed at a similar pace,” Smil writes, “the odds are highly in favor of another protracted process.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Trump and the “Deep State” : The Government Strikes Back

Posted by hkarner - 19. August 2017

Date: 18-08-2017
Source: Foreign Affairs By Jon D. Michaels

One of the strangest aspects of the current era is that the president of the United States seems to have little interest in running the country’s government. A political novice with no fixed ideology or policy agenda, Donald Trump took office as if orchestrating a hostile corporate takeover. In his first six-plus months as president, he has followed his own counsel, displaying open contempt for much of the federal work force he now leads, slashing budgets, rescinding regulatory rules, and refusing to follow standard operating procedures. This has cost him allies in the executive branch, helped spur creative (and increasingly effective) bureaucratic opposition, and, thanks to that opposition, triggered multiple investigations that threaten to sap party and congressional support.

Furious at what they consider treachery by internal saboteurs, the president and his surrogates have responded by borrowing a bit of political science jargon, claiming to be victims of the “deep state,” a conspiracy of powerful, unelected bureaucrats secretly pursuing their own agenda. The concept of a deep state is valuable in its original context, the study of developing countries such as Egypt, Pakistan, and Turkey, where shadowy elites in the military and government ministries have been known to countermand or simply defy democratic directives. Yet it has little relevance to the United States, where governmental power structures are almost entirely transparent, egalitarian, and rule-bound. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Why European Businesses Should End Their Embrace of Hungary and Poland

Posted by hkarner - 29. Juli 2017

Date: 28-07-2017
Source: Foreign Affairs By Thorsten Benner and Wolfgang H. Reinicke
Subject: Investing in Illiberalism

“Europe,” Emmanuel Macron said last month, “isn’t a supermarket.” The French president was referring to the recent illiberal actions of some central and eastern European states, which he argued had come to rely on the bloc to “dispens[e] credit” in the form of budgetary assistance “without respecting [the EU’s] values.” Though Macron didn’t mention them by name, it was clear that he was referring to Hungary and Poland.

It is easy to understand why Macron made that statement. Hungary and Poland have profited from the EU’s common market and generous investment funds, but they have defied its core democratic norms. In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has built what he has called an “illiberal state” by rewriting the constitution, hollowing out democratic institutions, harassing civil-society groups and universities, and pursuing hateful campaigns against migrants, Muslims, and liberal philanthropists such as George Soros. Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has taken similar steps: most recently, it sought to put an axe to the independence of Poland’s judiciary with four new bills (two of which have been signed by Poland’s president). Both governments have vowed to use their veto power in the European Council to protect each other from EU disciplinary measures. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Europe’s Hamilton Moment

Posted by hkarner - 28. Juli 2017

Essential for the understanding of „no-bail-out“. (hfk)

Date: 27-07-2017
Source: Foreign Affairs By Pierpaolo Barbieri and Shahin Vallée

A New Kind of Federalism for the Continent

Until recently, and with barely concealed anticipation in the Anglo-American press, it was fashionable to speculate about the imminent collapse of the euro. The idea of an impending implosion is not new; it has been floating around ever since the continent moved toward a single currency. It grew more common during Europe’s debt crisis; in 2011, for instance, analysts routinely speculated about whether Greece or Italy would suddenly be forced out of the eurozone. “Grexit” and other such departures failed to materialize, yet the idea of impending demise persisted. During the Brexit referendum campaign, talk of it reached fever pitch, especially once the result became clear. As the British prime minister improvised an exit, morning newspapers far and wide speculated about “Nexit” and “Frexit.”

History, however, moved in a different direction. In fact, ever since Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president, a reverse domino effect has guided European politics. From small countries such as Austria and the Netherlands to behemoths such as France and Germany, anti-European populism has not translated into governments eager to follow the United Kingdom out of the EU or Trump into isolationism. On the contrary. Especially after the landmark election of Emmanuel Macron in France, a newfound enthusiasm for reform has dawned in European capitals. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Next Energy Revolution

Posted by hkarner - 24. Juli 2017

Date: 23-07-2017
Source: Foreign Affairs By David G. Victor and Kassia Yanosek

The Promise and Peril of High-Tech Innovation

The technology revolution has transformed one industry after another, from retail to manufacturing to transportation. Its most far-reaching effects, however, may be playing out in the unlikeliest of places: the traditional industries of oil, gas, and electricity.

Over the past decade, innovation has upended the energy industry. First came the shale revolution. Starting around 2005, companies began to unlock massive new supplies of natural gas, and then oil, from shale basins, thanks to two new technologies: horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (or fracking). Engineers worked out how to drill shafts vertically and then turn their drills sideways to travel along a shale seam; they then blasted the shale with high-pressure water, sand, and chemicals to pry open the rock and allow the hydrocarbons to flow. These technologies have helped drive oil prices down from an all-time high of $145 per barrel in July 2008 to less than a third of that today, and supply has become much more responsive to market conditions, undercutting the ability of OPEC, a group of the world’s major oil-exporting nations, to influence global oil prices. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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