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Posts Tagged ‘Immigration’

Posted by hkarner - 16. Dezember 2018

Date: 15-12-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Subject: Europe’s Populist Left and Right Share a Common Call: State Intervention

Italy’s new government shuns the EU’s long-held pro-market policies, instead opting to step in to prop up Alitalia

Italy’s new antiestablishment government engineered the state-owned railroad’s offer to buy a controlling stake in ailing Alitalia.

MILAN—Antiestablishment parties gained support across the continent in recent years by attacking the EU’s immigration and fiscal rules. Less noticed has been their growing pushback against an EU economic orthodoxy that favors markets and competition over state intervention.

In Italy, the new antiestablishment government engineered the state-owned railroad’s offer to buy a controlling stake in perennially stricken airline Alitalia. The railroad, Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane SpA, made its offer, the terms of which aren’t public, contingent on finding an airline as a co-investor. Should a deal be sealed, the Italian government would likely end up with a direct Alitalia stake of about 15% and would control the airline through that holding together with Ferrovie’s share.

The government in Rome, comprising the far-right League and the ideologically eclectic 5 Star Movement, also wants to nationalize water utilities, create a government-controlled bank to finance the economy, and has floated the idea of nationalizing the highway system.

Italy’s economic development minister, Luigi Di Maio, has led the government’s attempt to revive Alitalia.  Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Bogus Backlash to Globalization

Posted by hkarner - 11. November 2018

Date: 10-11-2018
Source: Foreign Affairs By Charles Kenny

Resentful Nativists Oppose Free Trade and Immigration—Don’t Appease Them

The last two years have seen an outbreak of self-abnegation among former advocates of globalization, who wonder if their cosmopolitan views on migration and free trade might have helped deliver the White House to U.S. President Donald Trump. In turn, longtime critics of globalization on the left have crowed at this apparent admission of defeat. Both camps have suggested that the backlash Trump represents is understandable and that internationalists should do more to accommodate an electorate that has turned against global engagement.

Yet both camps misunderstand Trump’s electoral success. The voters who were won over by his antiglobalist message were not legitimate victims of globalization. Many, if not most, were and are older white supporters of patriarchy who resent people with dark skin, especially those from other countries. Although it might be inexpedient to call this group deplorable, a program of appeasement toward their views is wrong—economically, politically, and morally. Globalization has been an overwhelmingly positive force for the United States and the rest of the world. Instead of apologizing for themselves, it is time for internationalists to take the fight to an aging minority of nativists and wall builders.

THE BLESSINGS OF GLOBALIZATION

Backlash appeasers have a number of thoughtful and influential voices on their side. Many are former champions of globalization who worry that it has moved too fast. The Financial Times commentator Edward Luce, for instance, suggested in his 2017 book, The Retreat of Western Liberalism, that by promoting globalization, “the world’s elites have helped provoke what they feared: a populist uprising against the world economy.” To save the liberal project, he argued, we must abandon “the drive to deep globalization.” Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers has similarly warned of “a growing suspicion on the part of electorates that globalization is an elite project that primarily benefits elites.”

Other members of this chorus are liberals and left-wingers who have long been critical of free trade and who see Trump’s election as a vindication. In a March article for The American Prospect, the liberal journalist Robert Kuttner claimed that “elites of both parties won the policy debates on trade, but lost the people.” According to Kuttner, “the more that bien pensants double down on globalization, the more defections they invite and the more leaders like Trump we get.” The author John Judis took to The New York Times to criticize the left for ignoring the emotional appeal of nationalism, arguing that low-skilled immigration and China’s unfair trading practices had hurt American workers, helping to “create a new class of angry ‘left-behinds’” who were susceptible to Trump’s message.

These arguments are misguided. They severely overstate both the number of Americans hurt by globalization and the depth of the popular backlash to it. Regarding immigration, it is very hard to find evidence of a single demographic or regional grouping of U.S. citizens that has been harmed. In a 2015 paper, the economists Gaetano Basso and Giovanni Peri looked at 30 years of data on labor market outcomes in the United States and concluded that increases in immigrant labor, both in aggregate and by skill group, either increase native wages and employment or are simply uncorrelated with them. Conversely, Trump’s plan to end work permits for the spouses of H1-B visa holders could cost the U.S. economy $2.1 billion per year, according to the economists Ayoung Kim, Brigitte S. Waldorf, and Natasha T. Duncan.

On trade, there is reasonable analysis suggesting that increased competition arising from imports, for all of its overall benefits, can hurt employment in particular communities and sectors. In an influential series of papers, the economists David H. Autor, David Dorn, and Gordon H. Hanson argued that China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001 had a negative impact on local U.S. labor markets exposed to Chinese competition. For at least a full decade after the “China trade shock,” they claimed, these labor markets—many of which had depended on manufacturing—saw higher unemployment, lower wages, and depressed labor force participation rates.

But critics of the studies point out that their conclusions fail to account for a few important facts. First, increased trade with China allowed U.S. firms to import cheaper materials, lowering their own costs and enabling them to expand production; and second, China’s accession to the WTO increased U.S. exports to China, as well as other countries. Looking beyond just China, research by the economists Robert C. Feenstra and Akira Sasahara suggests that between 1995 and 2011, growth in U.S. exports worldwide led to 6.6 million new U.S. jobs, including 1.9 million jobs in manufacturing—more than the jobs lost owing to global import competition. And although an estimated two million U.S. jobs were lost because of competition from Chinese imports over those 15 years, the U.S. economy saw about 1.9 million layoffs and discharges each month during the first decade of the twenty-first century. Manufacturing job losses to China are in the headlines not because they are a major source of terminations but because they make a good story for those who oppose global engagement.

Furthermore, looking only at the production side of the economy ignores the considerable benefits that consumers—particularly poor consumers—derive from cheaper goods. According to a study by Pablo D. Fajgelbaum and Amit K. Khandelwal of the National Bureau of Economic Research, poor people spend more of their income on goods, while the rich spend more on services, which are less tradable; for this reason, if the United States moved to end imports, the poorest ten percent of American consumers would see their buying power decline by 82 percent, compared with a decline of only 50 percent for the median consumer.

Most Americans recognize the economic benefits of trade and migration to the country. Contrary to the backlash thesis, globalization is more popular now than ever before. Since 1992, Gallup has asked if trade is primarily an opportunity for economic growth or a threat to the economy. For 23 years, the proportion suggesting it was primarily an opportunity never rose above 56 percent; in 2017 and 2018, it exceeded 70 percent. And since 1965, Gallup has asked Americans if immigration should be increased, decreased, or kept at the present level. The proportion favoring an increase or sustained rate, at 68 percent, has never been higher, nor has the proportion calling for a decrease (29 percent) ever been lower.

WHITE FRIGHT
But if the economic benefits of globalization are widely understood, a minority sees it as a cultural threat. This is what explains the supposed backlash. Public opinion surveys from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) suggest that 34 percent of all Americans feel that the growing number of immigrants threatens traditional American values and customs. But only 19 percent of those aged 18 to 29 feel that way, compared with 44 percent of those over the age of 65 and 53 percent of white evangelical Protestants of all ages. Similarly, the political scientists  Diana C. Mutz, Edward D. Mansfield, and Eunji Kim found that whites are consistently less supportive of trade deals than are members of other racial groups. They attribute this imbalance to whites’ “heightened sense of national superiority” and ethnocentrism. If markers of economic hardship—such as low education, skills, or wages—determined opinions on trade (or migration), minorities would be the ones opposed. In fact, the reverse is true.

Some evidence does suggest that migration and trade flows may influence communities to vote Republican. Autor, Dorn, and Hanson argue that between 2000 and 2016, areas in which employment was concentrated in the industries that faced the most competition from Chinese imports tended to shift toward the Republicans. And the economists Anna Maria Mayda, Giovanni Peri, and Walter Steingress analyzed county-level data, finding that between 1990 and 2010, high-skilled immigration to a county decreased the overall share of the Republican vote while low-skilled immigration increased it.

What is considerably harder to see is how such factors could explain Trump’s increased vote share relative to the Republicans’ 2012 presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. Survey evidence suggests the American electorate recognized that the 2016 presidential candidates, Trump and Hillary Clinton, presented them with a clearer choice on trade and migration policy than had Barack Obama and Romney four years earlier. But voters’ exposure to globalization was not related to the size of their swing toward the Republican candidate between 2012 and 2016. Cultural factors were.

The Gallup economists Jonathan T. Rothwell and Pablo Diego-Rosell, for instance, found “no link whatsoever” between greater exposure to trade competition or immigrant workers and greater support for Trump. They did find a particularly large swing to Trump in counties with a high share of old white residents with only a high school education. And Diana Mutz found that people who felt that “the American way of life is threatened,” or who believed whites and men were more oppressed than women or minorities, were significantly more likely to switch to Trump than those who did not. In short, the voters who bought Trump’s rhetoric on trade and migration were those who were culturally attuned to his message.

Indeed, a significant proportion of Republican partisans have decided that white Christian men are the new oppressed. A PRRI survey in February 2017 found that 43 percent of Republicans felt there was a lot of discrimination against whites, and 48 percent thought there was a lot of discrimination against Christians, compared with only 27 percent who thought there was a lot of discrimination against blacks. Given the gap between black and white families in terms of both median income and median wealth, such thinking is delusional. But many whites, Mutz notes, fear that they will soon become a minority within the United States and feel that the country as a whole is losing its global dominance. This sense of lost national status and persecution fueled support for Trump.

NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER
When regretful internationalists talk about pausing globalization to save it, the group they cater to is not the “left-behind” but older, bigoted whites who are unreconciled to the cultural changes of recent decades. It would be both ethically repugnant and politically and economically unwise to pander to them.

Politically unwise because theirs is a minority view that is dying; economically suicidal because for all that old white men are delusional about facing discrimination at home, they are absolutely correct regarding the United States’ slipping status as a superpower. That is why it is particularly urgent for the country to lock in fair global regimes while it still has the leverage to do so. This means playing by the rules of the WTO and taking those immigrants who still want to come to the United States. Ironically, immigration is particularly important for aging whites themselves: although non-Hispanic whites will become a minority of the overall population within the next three decades, they will still make up 60 percent of people over the age of 65 in 2050. They will need young immigrant workers to keep Social Security and Medicare solvent. Add to these political and economic motives an ethical one: globalization has been the most powerful force ever for lifting humanity out of destitution.

Globalization has been imperfectly managed, and a new push for fairer global engagement should involve reforms, including better regulation of capital markets, limits on intellectual monopolies such as patents and copyrights, and cooperation on tax havens to ensure that corporations and rich individuals pay their share for public services. Strong international agreements are urgently needed on issues such as climate change and data privacy. And a raft of domestic measures could increase both equality and productivity in the United States: tightening lax controls on market concentration, slashing limits to affordable housing in job-rich areas, reducing the barrier to entry that unnecessary licensing imposes on small businesses, reforming a banking system that bails out irresponsible institutional investors, and doing more to help Americans who lose their jobs, for whatever reason.

But one thing that won’t help is for liberals to legitimize the backlash to globalization. Those who do so are useful patsies for Trump, allowing him to channel racial resentment into tax cuts for the rich. Responding to a group of people who think that white male Christians are discriminated against, or that the rest of the world getting richer is something for Americans to fear rather than celebrate, is admittedly hard. But whatever the reaction to the nativist rage of old white men, it cannot be appeasement.

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Anti-immigration, like pro-immigration, is a legitimate political position

Posted by hkarner - 7. August 2018

Date: 06-08-2018
Source: The Economist by Yuval Noah Harari

A book excerpt from “21 Lessons for the 21st Century” by Yuval Noah Harari

An historian by training, Yuval Noah Harari rose to prominence with two best-selling books. Sapiens looked at humanity’s past and Homo Deus at its future. His latest book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, considers the here-and-now, spanning subjects from technology and terrorism to populism and religion.

In the excerpt that follows, he considers the underlying premise of immigration and what migrants and societies might “owe” each other, to conclude: “It would be wrong to tar all anti-immigrationists as ‘fascists’, just as it would be wrong to depict all pro-immigrationists as committed to ‘cultural suicide’. […] It is a discussion between two legitimate political positions, which should be decided through standard democratic procedures.”

*      *     *

The European discussion about immigration often degenerates into a shouting match in which neither side hears the other. To clarify matters, it would perhaps be helpful to view immigration as a deal with three basic conditions or terms:

Term 1: The host country allows the immigrants in.

Term 2: In return, the immigrants must embrace at least the core norms and values of the host country, even if that means giving up some of their traditional norms and values.

Term 3: If the immigrants assimilate to a sufficient degree, over time they become equal and full members of the host country. ‘They’ become ‘us’.

These three terms give rise to three distinct debates about the exact meaning of each term: Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Nationalism, Immigration, and Economic Success

Posted by hkarner - 19. Juli 2018

Jason Furman

Jason Furman, Professor of the Practice of Economic Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, was Chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers from 2013-2017.

There can be no question that immigration provides a net economic benefit to advanced economies, particularly those experiencing a retirement boom. But as long as anti-immigrant sentiment dictates the political narrative, growth will suffer, and resurgent populist forces will grow stronger.

CAMBRIDGE – One of the central challenges facing the world’s advanced economies is slowing growth. Over the last decade, growth rates in the advanced economies have averaged 1.2%, down from an average of 3.1% during the previous 25 years.

History shows that slower economic growth can make societies less generous, less tolerant, and less inclusive. So, it stands to reason that the past decade of sluggish growth has contributed to the surge of a damaging form of populist nationalism that is taking hold in a growing number of countries. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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First They Came for the Immigrants. Then They Came for the Robots.

Posted by hkarner - 15. Juli 2018

Date: 13-07-2018
Source: FOREIGN POLICY BY BRUCE STOKES

Politicians must prepare voters for automation; otherwise, opportunistic populists will seize the agenda.

The phrase “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet” has been used as the title of several pop songs and a French film. It could also aptly describe the future of politics across the globe as the twin specters of nationalism and populism intensify and people grapple with the social and economic impacts of increased automation and the spread of artificial intelligence.

In key respects, this future has already arrived. In 2016, there were already 309 installed industrial robots for every 10,000 manufacturing workers — a measurement known as robot density — in Germany, 223 in Sweden, and 189 in the United States. The use of robots had risen 7 percent in the United States, 5 percent in Sweden, and 3 percent in Germany in just one year. That may not sound like much, but at that rate, robot density would double in the United States in about a decade. And these numbers are only likely to grow because next-generation robots are already highly cost competitive. The average hourly cost of a manufacturing worker in Germany as of 2013 was $49, in France it was $43, and in the United States $36. The hourly cost of a collaborative robot — a machine that does not require skill to interact with — was $4, according to a recent study by Bain & Company.

That same Bain study estimates that advances in automation could displace up to 25 percent of the U.S. labor force over the next two decades. This would mean nearly 2.5 million Americans would have to find new work each year. By comparison, only 1.2 million Americans were displaced annually in the transition from agriculture to industry in the first part of the 20th century. Estimates for other countries vary widely, but all suggest significant displacement can be anticipated thanks to the rapid adoption of robotics and AI in both the manufacturing sector and, increasingly, the provision of services. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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An American Story

Posted by hkarner - 10. Juli 2018

July 6, 2018

I hope everyone had a happy Fourth of July, whether it was a holiday for you or not. The United States’ birth as an independent nation was, among other things, an economic event that changed history far beyond our borders. We hope and believe it was for the better.

This week will be a shorter-than-usual letter. Between the holiday and a few other surprises that we’re preparing for readers (more on that soon), the next and final installment of the Train Wreck series just wasn’t ready for prime time. Next week, we will look at each part of the series and add up the total global debt. I can tell you, it’s a lot more than you can possibly imagine.

This week, in the spirit of July 4 and Independence Day, I’m going to share the inspirational story of a friend who “Came to America.” But it’s also a teaching moment. I think the story is timely as we reflect on what this country means, to both its residents and the broader world. I hope you enjoy it.

Coming to America

Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Europe is moving towards the tough immigration policies of Sebastian Kurz

Posted by hkarner - 8. Juli 2018

Date: 05-07-2018
Source: The Economist: Charlemagne

Austria’s chancellor wants an “axis” against illegal migration

IT WAS all smiles this week as Austria assumed the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, one of the club’s law-making bodies. But behind the scenes Sebastian Kurz, Austria’s young chancellor, provokes knotted brows. Mr Kurz’s political identity, more than that of most other European leaders, is bound up with illegal immigration. Fans say his tough line, honed as foreign minister during the 2015-16 refugee crisis, blunts the appeal of the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), the junior coalition partner to his centre-right People’s Party. Foes say his shift towards harshness makes it hard to tell the difference between moderates and extremists. “Kurz is on a dangerous course,” said Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg’s foreign minister, this week.

In office for barely six months, Mr Kurz has made his share of enemies. Some detect a whiff of demagoguery. There have been mis-steps: a meeting with the Bavarian government, which raised eyebrows in Berlin; Mr Kurz’s call for a European “axis of the willing” against illegal immigration. Some salty language has surfaced in Austrian documents on the difficulties of integrating men from regions marked by “patriarchal…or backward-looking religious attitudes”. Even central European officials fear the Austrians sometimes go too far. “There’s a naked populism there,” shudders an EU official who has watched Mr Kurz in action.

That seems unfair. The well-coiffed Mr Kurz may have swallowed large parts of the FPÖ’s platform, but he never rails against elites or dabbles in George Soros conspiracy theories. Inside Austria, many see him more as opportunist than grand schemer. “I’m not sure Kurz has a strategy for Europe beyond trying to remain chancellor of Austria,” says Laurenz Ennser-Jedenastik of the University of Vienna. Yet all agree on his remarkably well-tuned political antennae. Mr Kurz detected earlier than his counterparts, such as Angela Merkel in Germany, that illegal immigration demanded a firm response from the mainstream right. “It’s not a question of left or right,” he told Charlemagne this week from his office in Vienna. “It’s just a question of rational politics.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Smart Immigration for Europe

Posted by hkarner - 6. Juli 2018

An essential commentary. Is the only realistic (also economic migration is needed!), but it adds one more dimension of complexity to the problem! (hfk)

Sami Mahroum

Sami Mahroum is Director of the Innovation & Policy Initiative at INSEAD, a member of the WEF Regional Strategy Group for the Middle East and North Africa, and Non-Resident Fellow at The Lisbon Council. He is the author of Black Swan Start-ups: Understanding the Rise of Successful Technology Business in Unlikely Places.

The immigration issue has long been a thorn in the EU’s side, not least because of the fear-mongering and emotional manipulation that have impeded constructive debate. But a new social contract for economic migrants – which protects their rights, while restricting their social privileges – could finally remove the thorn.

PARIS – Immigration-related headlines have become a staple in Europe, whether the story is of an illegal Malian immigrant scaling a Paris building to rescue a toddler or the formation of a populist government in Italy that aims to deport a half-million migrants. And yet, despite the constant coverage of the issue – or, more likely, precisely because of it – the immigration policy debate remains beset by misconceptions and politicization.

In the United Kingdom, the Brexit vote was fueled partly by false and distorted claims, such as that unrestrained migration from the rest of Europe was driving down wages. Since the vote, however, the anti-Brexit camp has engaged in similar distortions, warning that, once it has left the European Union, the UK will face a skills shortage. But plenty of countries – such as Australia, Canada, and Singapore – do just fine without agreements guaranteeing freedom of movement from other countries, by issuing skills-matching visas. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Real Threats to the EU

Posted by hkarner - 3. Juli 2018

Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong and a former EU commissioner for external affairs, is Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

The European Union must address a slew of challenges – from immigration to eurozone reform – that risk causing systemic problems lethal to the bloc. Given this, sensible leaders can be forgiven for politely sending the UK on its way, and focusing their attention on threats to the EU’s long-term cohesion and fundamental values.

LONDON – In the United Kingdom, Brexit looms large, with everyone from government ministers to tabloid newspapers frothing daily about the deal that will be struck with the European Union and the effects that it will have. But the EU faces too many pressing challenges to be obsessing about Britain.

The UK’s concern is understandable: evidence is mounting of the likely damage a departure from the single market and customs union will do to the UK economy. According to new research from the Centre for European Reform, the UK economy is already 2.1% smaller than it would have been had voters chosen to remain. The hit to public finances totals £440 million ($579 million) per week.

The lack of information about how Brexit will play out has businesses worried. The CEO of Siemens UK, Jürgen Maier, recently urged British leaders to clarify how trade with the EU will work, urging them to ensure that the country remains in the customs union. Airbus has warned that a “no deal” outcome would force it to reassess its long-term position in the country, putting thousands of British jobs at risk. BMW has affirmed its commitment to remaining in the UK, but warned that costs could rise. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Italy’s Upstart Parties Set Possible Collision Course With Europe

Posted by hkarner - 19. Mai 2018

Date: 18-05-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

The 5 Star Movement and the League seal a coalition agreement that mixes euroskeptic economic policies and billions in tax cuts and spending

Two anti-establishment parties poised to take power in Italy have finalized a coalition agreement that challenges the constraints of the euro, setting up a possible fight with European leaders who only recently steered the common currency through a deep crisis.

The upstart 5 Star Movement and the hard-right League sealed an agreement Friday that seeks to reboot one of Europe’s most troubled economies with a mix of euroskeptic economic policies and tens of billions in tax cuts and stimulus spending.

The would-be coalition partners’ challenge to the European Union on economic policy shows how the bitter legacy of the debt crisis, especially in Southern Europe, continues to fuel antiestablishment politics, in combination with voter anxiety about immigration. A potential confrontation between Italy and the European authorities could revive concerns about the future of the eurozone.

The two parties now must agree on who to seat as the prime minister. Matteo Salvini, the firebrand leader of the League, and Luigi Di Maio, the 31-year-old head of 5 Star, plan to meet with Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Monday to inform him they are ready to form a government. A new government could be in place by the end of next week. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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