Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

Unkonventionelle Lösungen für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft

Posts Tagged ‘Inequality’

The African youth boom: what’s worrying Bill Gates

Posted by hkarner - 19. September 2018

Date: 18-09-2018
Source: The Guardian

The philanthropist warns that stability in Africa makes a huge difference to the world, and that investing in the health and education of its young people is vital

What worries Bill Gates most? The booming population of Africa looms over his foundation’s latest global survey. By the end of this century there will be 4 billion more people on Earth – and 3 billion of these extra souls will be born in Africa. The challenge, he says, is that “Africa must almost quadruple its agricultural productivity to feed itself. That’s very daunting.”

The philanthropist is torn between sending out a message of hope and a message of fear when I meet him at his foundation’s spacious campus in the heart of his hometown, Seattle.

He is reaching for what works best to revive the west’s faltering conscience in the face of “America first” nationalism and rising pull-up-the-drawbridge populism in Europe. The spirit of generosity is under assault as government aid budgets come under constant sniper fire from right-wing politicians and their media.

Half of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation spending goes to Africa. The funds put into the foundation by themselves and fellow philanthropist Warren Buffett now amount to more than than $50bn (£38bn). Until last year Gates, the Microsoft founder, was the world’s richest man. He has now been overtaken by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.

Gates’ first instinct is optimism. Just consider the astonishing story of how far and how fast people have been brought out of abject poverty in a very short time. Since 2000, a billion people have been taken well over the line of $1.90-a-day wretchedness (£1.45), with the same uplift among those previously living on $3.20 a day.

The foundation’s report bursts with remarkable data – too few people know about the galloping progress of humankind. Take India, where only 18 years ago almost one in five children were not enrolled in primary school – now, 97% attend classes. Look at the indicators on the report’s global scorecard for the UN’s sustainable development goals for 2030, and most things are improving almost everywhere. But there is a marked variation in the future trajectory: progress depends on the level of future investment. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Human Promise of the AI Revolution

Posted by hkarner - 16. September 2018

Date: 15-09-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal By Kai-Fu Lee

Artificial intelligence will radically disrupt the world of work, but the right policy choices can make it a force for a more compassionate social contract.

Artificial intelligence is a technology that sparks the human imagination. What will our future look like as we come to share the earth with intelligent machines? Our minds gravitate to extremes, to the sharply contrasting visions that have captured public attention and divided much of the technological community. As a longtime AI researcher and venture capitalist in China and the U.S., I’ve observed these two camps across continents and over many decades.

Utopians believe that once AI far surpasses human intelligence, it will provide us with near-magical tools for alleviating suffering and realizing human potential. In this vision, super-intelligent AI systems will so deeply understand the universe that they will act as omnipotent oracles, answering humanity’s most vexing questions and conjuring brilliant solutions to problems such as disease and climate change.

But not everyone is so optimistic. The best-known member of the dystopian camp is the technology entrepreneur Elon Musk, who has called super-intelligent AI systems “the biggest risk we face as a civilization,” comparing their creation to “summoning the demon.” This group warns that when humans create self-improving AI programs whose intellect dwarfs our own, we will lose the ability to understand or control them. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The New Tribalism and the Crisis of Democracy

Posted by hkarner - 19. August 2018

Date: 17-08-2018
Source: Foreign Affairs By Francis Fukuyama
Subject: Against Identity Politics

Beginning a few decades ago, world politics started to experience a dramatic transformation. From the early 1970s to the first decade of this century, the number of electoral democracies increased from about 35 to more than 110.

Over the same period, the world’s output of goods and services quadrupled, and growth extended to virtually every region of the world. The proportion of people living in extreme poverty plummeted, dropping from 42 percent of the global population in 1993 to 18 percent in 2008.

But not everyone benefited from these changes. In many countries, and particularly in developed democracies, economic inequality increased dramatically, as the benefits of growth flowed primarily to the wealthy and well-educated. The increasing volume of goods, money, and people moving from one place to another brought disruptive changes. In developing countries, villagers who previously had no electricity suddenly found themselves living in large cities, watching TV, and connecting to the Internet on their mobile phones. Huge new middle classes arose in China and India—but the work they did replaced the work that had been done by older middle classes in the developed world. Manufacturing moved steadily from the United States and Europe to East Asia and other regions with low labor costs. At the same time, men were being displaced by women in a labor market increasingly dominated by service industries, and low-skilled workers found themselves replaced by smart machines. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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A Better World Is Here

Posted by hkarner - 17. August 2018

Bjørn Lomborg, a visiting professor at the Copenhagen Business School, is Director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, which seeks to study environmental problems and solutions using the best available analytical methods. He is the author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, Cool It, How to Spend $75 Billion to Make the World a Better Place and The Nobel Laureates‘ Guide to the Smartest Targets for the World, and was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2004.

The belief that everything is getting worse paints a distorted picture of what we can do, and makes us more fearful. But while getting the facts wrong – or willfully misrepresenting them – often results in misguided policies, fact-based recognition of what humanity has achieved encourages policies that can achieve the most good.

SKANDERBORG, DENMARK – It’s very easy to form the view that the modern world is coming apart. We are constantly confronted with an onslaught of negativity: frightening headlines, alarming research findings, and miserable statistics.

There are indeed many things on the planet that we should be greatly concerned about. But fixating on horror stories means that we miss the bigger picture.

The United Nations focuses on three categories of development: social, economic, and environmental. In each category, looking back over the last quarter-century, we have far more reason for cheer than fear. Indeed, this period has been one of extraordinary progress. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Marxist World: What Did You Expect From Capitalism?

Posted by hkarner - 19. Juli 2018

Date: 18-07-2018
Source: Foreign Affairs By Robin Varghese

After nearly every economic downturn, voices appear suggesting that Marx was right to predict that the system would eventually destroy itself. Today, however, the problem is not a sudden crisis of capitalism but its normal workings, which in recent decades have revived pathologies that the developed world seemed to have left behind.

Since 1967, median household income in the United States, adjusted for inflation, has stagnated for the bottom 60 percent of the population, even as wealth and income for the richest Americans have soared. Changes in Europe, although less stark, point in the same direction. Corporate profits are at their highest levels since the 1960s, yet corporations are increasingly choosing to save those profits rather than invest them, further hurting productivity and wages. And recently, these changes have been accompanied by a hollowing out of democracy and its replacement with technocratic rule by globalized elites. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Getting the Inequality We Want

Posted by hkarner - 7. Mai 2018

Roland Kupers

Roland Kupers is an adviser on complexity, resilience, and energy transition, and is associated with the Institute of Advanced Studies in Amsterdam.

Far from establishing – or even debating – a specific level to which to reduce inequality, politicians continue to allow it to rise. This will change only when policymakers treat inequality more like GDP growth, health care, or climate-change mitigation: as the subject of serious debate and concrete action.

AMSTERDAM – Everyone, it seems, is talking about inequality. Media outlets publish article after article on the topic. Politicians include it in their speeches and platforms. Yet, even though economists like Thomas Piketty and Joseph E. Stiglitz have proved, through meticulous research, the causal link between inequality and policy choices, politicians have yet to establish what level of inequality they consider ideal.

Eliminating inequality, after all, is not the point. Too much inequality impedes social mobility, thereby potentially stoking political instability; as Stiglitz has often pointed out, it also tends to lead to weaker economic performance. Yet some amount of inequality is vital to create appropriate incentives, support competition, and provide reasonable rewards. That is why it is important to define what level of inequality is fair, and work actively to achieve it. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Financial inclusion in the rich world

Posted by hkarner - 4. Mai 2018

Date: 03-05-2018
Source: The Economist

Tech and data offer hope of more financial inclusion in developed countries, too

HACKNEY IN NORTH-EAST London prides itself on being one of the capital’s most ethnically diverse boroughs. The council identifies only 36% of the population as “white British”. Dalston Junction, a now-trendy part of the borough, buzzes with a down-at-heel sort of cosmopolitanism: a Caribbean bakery; the Halal Dixy Chicken shop; the Afro World wig-and-extensions parlour; dozens of outlets for Lycamobile (“call the world for less”) and for money-transfer firms.

It is also diverse in wealth. Nearby gentrification is sprouting in a few trendy coffee bars and a sleek creperie. But Hackney is also, on a measure of “multiple deprivation”, the 11th most deprived of more than 400 local-authority areas in Britain. Dalston has more than the usual number of charity-run second-hand shops and at least four pawnbrokers.

Competing with this last group is a branch of Oakam, a British lender set up in 2006. It advertises itself as an “alternative to doorstep lenders”, the traditional financiers for those beneath the bar set by mainstream banks. Originally aimed at recent immigrants, it extended its reach to the rest of those “lacking access to basic financial services”—a group it puts at 12m across Britain. A report published in March 2017 by a House of Lords committee estimated that 1.7m adult British residents have no bank account; 40% of the working-age population have less than £100 ($140) in cash savings; and 31% show signs of financial distress. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Globalization Is Not in Retreat

Posted by hkarner - 28. April 2018

Quite essential! (hfk)

Date: 28-04-2018
Source: Foreign Affairs By Susan Lund and Laura Tyson
Digital Technology and the Future of Trade

By many standard measures, globalization is in retreat. The 2008 financial crisis and the ensuing recession brought an end to three decades of rapid growth in the trade of goods and services. Cross-border financial flows have fallen by two-thirds. In many countries that have traditionally championed globalization, including the United States and the United Kingdom, the political conversation about trade has shifted from a focus on economic benefits to concerns about job loss, dislocation, deindustrialization, and inequality. A once solid consensus that trade is a win-win proposition has given way to zero-sum thinking and calls for higher barriers. Since November 2008, according to the research group Global Trade Alert, the G-20 countries have implemented more than 6,600 protectionist measures.

But that’s only part of the story. Even as its detractors erect new impediments and walk away from free-trade agreements, globalization is in fact continuing its forward march—but along new paths. In its previous incarnation, it was trade-based and Western-led. Today, globalization is being driven by digital technology and is increasingly led by China and other emerging economies. While trade predicated on global supply chains that take advantage of cheap labor is slowing, new digital technologies mean that more actors can participate in cross-border transactions than ever before, from small businesses to multinational corporations. And economic leadership is shifting east and south, as the United States turns inward and the EU and the United Kingdom negotiate a divorce. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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What’s Been Stopping the Left?

Posted by hkarner - 11. April 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.

If progressive political parties had pursued a bolder agenda in the face of widening inequality and deepening economic anxiety, perhaps the rise of right-wing, nativist political movements might have been averted. So why didn’t they?

CAMBRIDGE – Why were democratic political systems not responsive early enough to the grievances that autocratic populists have successfully exploited – inequality and economic anxiety, decline of perceived social status, the chasm between elites and ordinary citizens? Had political parties, particularly of the center left, pursued a bolder agenda, perhaps the rise of right-wing, nativist political movements might have been averted.

In principle, greater inequality produces a demand for more redistribution. Democratic politicians should respond by imposing higher taxes on the wealthy and spending the proceeds on the less well off. This intuition is formalized in a well-known paper in political economy by Allan Meltzer and Scott Richard: the wider the income gap between the median and average voter, the higher the taxes and the greater the redistribution. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Investing in Poverty Reduction

Posted by hkarner - 19. März 2018

Laura Tyson, a former chair of the US President’s Council of Economic Advisers, is a professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior adviser at the Rock Creek Group.

Lenny Mendonca, Chairman of New America, is Senior Partner Emeritus at McKinsey & Company.

After almost a year of accomplishing nothing, the Republican-led US Congress has managed to enact a far-reaching tax law and budget legislation that will shape the contours of future government spending. Neither will solve America’s most pressing economic challenges, but each does include at least one sensible idea for tackling poverty.

BERKELEY – The tax legislation that US President Donald Trump signed into law last December will dramatically increase inequality and the federal budget deficit. Yet, hidden within it – and within budget legislation enacted in February – are two promising programs for helping state and local governments address the needs of disadvantaged Americans.

The new tax law creates generous incentives to encourage private investment in distressed urban and rural areas; and a provision in the budget package will establish a competitive grant program to help states fund “pay-for-success” contracts. Both ideas have their roots in the Democratic administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama; but they attracted congressional Republican support because they empower state and local governments, rely on public-private partnerships, and encourage rigorous impact assessments. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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