Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

Unkonventionelle Lösungen für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft

Posts Tagged ‘Productivity’

No, Robots Aren’t Killing the American Dream

Posted by hkarner - 22. Februar 2017

Date: 21-02-2017
Source: The New York Times

Defenders of globalization are on solid ground when they criticize President Trump’s threats of punitive tariffs and border walls. The economy can’t flourish without trade and immigrants.

But many of those defenders have their own dubious explanation for the economic disruption that helped to fuel the rise of Mr. Trump.

At a recent global forum in Dubai, Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, said some of the economic pain ascribed to globalization was instead due to the rise of robots taking jobs. In his farewell address in January, President Barack Obama warned that “the next wave of economic dislocations won’t come from overseas. It will come from the relentless pace of automation that makes a lot of good middle-class jobs obsolete.”

Blaming robots, though, while not as dangerous as protectionism and xenophobia, is also a distraction from real problems and real solutions. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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A group of elite firms has established a sustained lead. This is not a good thing

Posted by hkarner - 12. November 2016

Date: 10-11-2016
Source: The Economist: Schumpeter
Subject: The great divergence

ONE of Joseph Schumpeter’s best-known observations was that successful businesses stand on ground that is “crumbling beneath their feet”. A danger is that standing still and resting on your laurels can precipitate a swift tumble. Rivals, meanwhile, can draw on the available stock of knowledge and technology to catch up with the leaders. To stay ahead, front-runners must keep inventing new things. This means that capitalism is inherently unforgiving: today’s leader is tomorrow’s failure. But it also means that it is inherently progressive, since clever ideas are quickly spread through the economy.

Some striking new research suggests that this Schumpeterian mechanism may have broken down. The leaders are staying ahead much longer than is desirable. A group of researchers at the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries, examined the performance of a representative set of companies in 24 of its 35 member countries between 2001 and 2013. They discovered that the top 5% of them, dubbed “frontier firms”, have continued to increase their productivity while the other 95% (the laggards) have been stagnant in this regard. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Die nachhaltige Produktivitätskrise der Industrieländer – United we stand, divided we fall

Posted by hkarner - 3. November 2016

Georg ErberUlrich Fritsche und Patrick Harms, 31. Okt. 2016 Ökonomenstimme

Seit den siebziger Jahre befinden sich die Industrieländer nun bereits in einer eigentlichen Produktivitätskrise. Um diesen Trend zu brechen, bräuchte es eine koordinierte Wachstumsstrategie aller Länder, wie dieser Beitrag zeigt.

Spätestens seit dem Ausbruch der globalen Wirtschafts- und Finanzkrise im Jahr 2008 hat das globale Wirtschaftswachstum erneut deutlich an Geschwindigkeit verloren. Nicht nur die USA als Ausgangspunkt der Finanzkrise, sondern auch Europa im Zuge der Eurokrise, die insbesondere die sogenannten PIIGS-Staaten[ 1 ] in eine tiefe Rezession stürzten, konnten nur für einige Jahre mit massiven weltweiten Konjunkturprogrammen nach dem Pittsburgh-Gipfel stabilisiert und teilweise zu einem Wirtschaftsaufschwung zurückgeführt werden.

Die USA und die VR China nahmen dabei als die zwei größten Volkswirtschaften eine Schlüsselrolle ein. Allerdings zeigte sich sehr rasch, dass mit dem sukzessiven Auslaufen der Programme, der selbsttragende Aufschwung in der Mehrzahl der Länder insbesondere in Europa sowie auch in Japan, welches schon seit Beginn der Balance-Sheet-Rezession zu Beginn der 1990er[ 2 ] Jahre an einer langanhaltenden Wachstumsschwäche leidet, nicht zurückgekehrt sind. Das durch schubweise diskretionäre Fiskalpolitik induzierte Wirtschaftswachstum scheint jedoch immer mehr an seine Grenzen zu stoßen.[ 3 ] Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Die Regierung verspielt leichtfertig Deutschlands Zukunft

Posted by hkarner - 18. Oktober 2016

Date: 18-10-2016
Source: Die Welt

Die Bundesregierung hatte mit einer stabilen Wirtschaft und historisch niedrigen Zinsen im Rücken die einmalige Chance, den Standort Deutschland zukunftsfest zu machen. Doch das hat sie nicht getan.

Deutschland, so schien es, war das letzte verbliebene Erfolgsmodell in einer Europäischen Union voller ökonomischer Krisenherde. Bankenbeben in Italien, Schuldenstreit in Griechenland, Währungscrash in Großbritannien. Hierzulande jedoch stiegen die Produktion, die Exporte, die Beschäftigung – und auch die Löhne.

Zu Recht, möchte mancher sagen, die Arbeitnehmer hätten schließlich eine Belohnung dafür verdient, dass sie immer mehr und immer bessere Güter produzieren, die den deutschen Unternehmen auf dem Weltmarkt geradezu aus den Händen gerissen werden.

Irgendwie ist das Land noch immer im Agenda-2010-Modus, der aus dem „kranken Mann Europas“ einen gesunden gemacht hatte. Doch genau hier liegt das Problem.

Produktivität reicht nicht für steigende Löhne Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Barack Obama: The way ahead

Posted by hkarner - 8. Oktober 2016

Date: 07-10-2016
Source: The Economist

America’s president writes for us about four crucial areas of unfinished business in economic policy that his obama-cc2successor will have to tackle

WHEREVER I go these days, at home or abroad, people ask me the same question: what is happening in the American political system? How has a country that has benefited—perhaps more than any other—from immigration, trade and technological innovation suddenly developed a strain of anti-immigrant, anti-innovation protectionism? Why have some on the far left and even more on the far right embraced a crude populism that promises a return to a past that is not possible to restore—and that, for most Americans, never existed at all?

It’s true that a certain anxiety over the forces of globalisation, immigration, technology, even change itself, has taken hold in America. It’s not new, nor is it dissimilar to a discontent spreading throughout the world, often manifested in scepticism towards international institutions, trade agreements and immigration. It can be seen in Britain’s recent vote to leave the European Union and the rise of populist parties around the world. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Escaping the New Normal of Weak Growth

Posted by hkarner - 1. Oktober 2016

Photo of Michael Spence

Michael Spence

Michael Spence, a Nobel laureate in economics, is Professor of Economics at NYU’s Stern School of Business, Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, Academic Board Chairman of the Asia Global Institute in Hong Kong, and Chair of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on New Growth Models. He was the chairman of the independent Commission on Growth and Development, an international body that from 2006-2010 analyzed opportunities for global economic growth, and is the author of The Next Convergence – The Future of Economic Growth in a Multispeed World.

SEP 30, 2016, Project Syndicate

MILAN – There is no question that the recovery from the global recession triggered by the 2008 financial crisis has been unusually lengthy and anemic. Some still expect an upswing in growth. But, eight years after the crisis erupted, what the global economy is experiencing is starting to look less like a slow recovery than like a new low-growth equilibrium. Why is this happening, and is there anything we can do about it? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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We’re in a Low-Growth World. How Did We Get Here?

Posted by hkarner - 10. August 2016

Date: 10-08-2016
Source: The New York Times

Economic growth increases wealth and improves living standards, driven by additional workers, work hours and technological advancements that increase productivity. But economic growth and income have slowed for the world’s most advanced economies, and the trends contribute to rising inequality and populist movements. Economists are trying to determine if supply or demand issues contribute to low growth, or both. “It increasingly looks as if something fundamental is broken in the global growth machine – and that the usual menu of policies, like interest rate cuts and modest fiscal stimulus, aren’t up to the task of fixing it (though some well-devised policies could help),” writes Neil Irwin for the New York Times. “As a matter of arithmetic, the slowdown in growth has two potential components: people working fewer hours, and less economic output being generated for each hour of labor. Both have contributed to the economy’s underperformance.” Some analysts suggest that the economy is stuck in “secular stagnation” with low demand. The bottom line is that jobs are not plentiful – especially jobs that are challenging and creative. – YaleGlobal

To create jobs, policymakers must understand the source of economic growth and whether challenges like secular stagnation are due to supply or demand issues

Neil Irwin

One central fact about the global economy lurks just beneath the year’s remarkable headlines: Economic growth in advanced nations has been weaker for longer than it has been in the lifetime of most people on earth. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Italy’s productivity conundrum: The role of resource misallocation

Posted by hkarner - 30. Juni 2016

Sara Calligaris, Massimo Del Gatto, Fadi Hassan, Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, Fabiano Schivardi 28 June 2016, voxeu

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Populists and Productivity

Posted by hkarner - 5. Juni 2016

Photo of Nouriel Roubini

Nouriel Roubini

Nouriel Roubini, a professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business and Chairman of Roubini Macro Associates, was Senior Economist for International Affairs in the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers during the Clinton Administration. He has worked for the International Monetary Fund, the US Federal Reserve, and the World Bank.

JUN 3, 2016, Project Syndicate

NEW YORK – Since the global financial crisis erupted in 2008, productivity growth in the advanced economies – the United States, Europe, and Japan – has been very slow both in absolute terms and relative to previous decades. But this is at odds with the view, prevailing in Silicon Valley and other global technology hubs, that we are entering a new golden era of innovation, which will radically increase productivity growth and improve the way we live and work. So why haven’t those gains appeared, and what might happen if they don’t?

Breakthrough innovations are evident in at least six areas:

  • ET (energy technologies, including new forms of fossil fuels such as shale gas and oil and alternative energy sources such as solar and wind, storage technologies, clean tech, and smart electric grids).
  • BT (biotechnologies, including genetic therapy, stem cell research, and the use of big data to reduce health-care costs radically and allow individuals to live much longer and healthier lives).
  • IT (information technologies, such as Web 2.0/3.0, social media, new apps, the Internet of Things, big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality devices).
  • MT (manufacturing technologies, such as robotics, automation, 3D printing, and personalized manufacturing).
  • FT (financial technologies that promise to revolutionize everything from payment systems to lending, insurance services and asset allocation).
  • DT (defense technologies, including the development of drones and other advanced weapon systems).

At the macro level, the puzzle is why these innovations, many of which are already in play in our economies, have not yet led to a measured increase in productivity growth. There are several potential explanations for what economists call the “productivity puzzle.”

First, some technological pessimists – such as Northwestern University’s Robert Gordon – argue that the economic impact of recent innovations pales in comparison to that of the great innovations of the First and Second Industrial Revolutions (the steam engine, electricity, piped water and sanitation, antimicrobial drugs, and so on). But, as economic historian Joel Mokyr (also at Northwestern) has argued, it is hard to be a technological pessimist, given the breadth of innovations that are occurring and that are likely to occur in the next few decades.

A second explanation is that we are overlooking actual output – and thus productivity growth – because the new information-intensive goods and services are hard to measure, and their costs may be falling faster than standard methods allow us to gauge. But if this were true, one would need to argue that the mis-measure of productivity growth is more severe today than in past decades of technological innovation.

So far, there is no hard empirical evidence that that is the case. Yet some economists suggest that we are not correctly measuring the output of cheaper software – as opposed to hardware – and the many benefits of the free goods associated with the Internet. Indeed, between search engines and ubiquitous apps, knowledge is at our fingertips nearly always, making our lives easier and more productive.

A third explanation is that there is always a lag between innovation and productivity growth. In the first Internet revolution, the acceleration in productivity growth that started in the technology sector spread to the overall economy only many years later, as business- and consumer-facing applications of the new digital tools were applied in the production of goods and services far removed from the tech sector. This time, too, it may take a while for the new technologies to become widespread and lead to measured increases in productivity growth.

There is a fourth possibility: Potential growth and productivity growth have actually fallen since the financial crisis, as aging populations in most advanced economies and some key emerging markets (such as China and Russia), combined with lower investment in physical capital (which increases labor productivity), have led to lower trend growth. Indeed, the hypothesis of “secular stagnation” proposed by Larry Summers is consistent with this fall.

A related explanation emphasizes the phenomenon that economists call hysteresis: A persistent cyclical downturn or weak recovery (like the one we have experienced since 2008) can reduce potential growth for at least two reasons. First, if workers remain unemployed for too long, they lose their skills and human capital; second, because technological innovation is embedded in new capital goods, low investment leads to permanently lower productivity growth.

The reality is that we don’t know for sure what is driving the productivity puzzle or whether it is a temporary phenomenon. There is most likely some merit to all of the explanations on offer. But if weak productivity growth persists – and with it subpar growth in wages and living standards – the recent populist backlash against free trade, globalization, migration, and market-oriented policies is likely to strengthen. Thus, advanced economies have a large stake in addressing the causes of the productivity slowdown before it jeopardizes social and political stability.

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Why Is Productivity So Weak? Three Theories

Posted by hkarner - 29. April 2016

Date: 29-04-2016
Source: The New York Times: Neil Irwin

More than 151 million Americans count themselves employed, a number that has risen sharply in the last few years. The question is this: What are they doing all day?

Because whatever it is, it barely seems to be registering in economic output. The number of hours Americans worked rose 1.9 percent in the year ended in March. New data released Thursday showed that gross domestic product in the first quarter was up 1.9 percent over the previous year. Despite constant advances in software, equipment and management practices to try to make corporate America more efficient, actual economic output is merely moving in lock step with the number of hours people put in, rather than rising as it has throughout modern history.

We could chalk that up to a statistical blip if it were a single year; productivity data are notoriously volatile. But this has been going on for some time. From 2011 through 2015, the government’s official labor productivity measure shows only 0.4 percent annual growth in output per hour of work. That’s the lowest for a five-year span since the 1977-to-1982 period, and far below the 2.3 percent average since the 1950s.

Productivity is one of he most important yet least understood areas of economics. Over long periods, it is the only pathway toward higher levels of prosperity; the reason an American worker makes much more today than a century ago is that each hour of labor produces much more in goods and services. Put bluntly, if the kind of productivity growth implied by the new data published Thursday were to persist indefinitely, your grandchildren would be no richer than you.

But it is also really hard to measure, particularly for service firms. (How productive were employees at Facebook, or your local bank, last quarter? Have fun trying to figure it out.) Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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