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Posts Tagged ‘Project Syndicate’

The Exceptionalism of American Higher Education

Posted by hkarner - 21. Mai 2018

David F. Labaree

David F. Labaree is Professor of Education at Stanford University, and the author of A Perfect Mess: The Unlikely Ascendancy of American Higher Education.

Every major performance indicator has America’s universities leading the world. Unfortunately for those who seek to emulate the US system, the American model reflects unique historical, political, and financial factors.

STANFORD – In the second half of the twentieth century, American universities and colleges emerged as dominant players in the global ecology of higher education, a dominance that continues to this day. In terms of the number of Nobel laureates produced, eight of the world’s top ten universities are in the United States. Forty-two of the world’s 50 largest university endowments are in America. And, when ranked by research output, 15 of the top 20 institutions are based in the US.

Given these metrics, few can dispute that the American model of higher education is the world’s most successful. The question is why, and whether the US approach can be exported.2 Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Europe Must Confront America’s Extraterritorial Sanctions

Posted by hkarner - 18. Mai 2018

Jeffrey D. Sachs, Professor of Sustainable Development and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University, is Director of Columbia’s Center for Sustainable Development and of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. His books include The End of Poverty, Common Wealth, The Age of Sustainable Development, and, most recently, Building the New American Economy.

Europe’s biggest challenge in resisting US sanctions on Iran is not legal or even geopolitical. It is psychological: European leaders act as if the US still cares about a trans-Atlantic alliance of shared interests, values, and approaches.

NEW YORK – Donald Trump’s renunciation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran and the reimposition of US sanctions on that country threaten global peace. Europe’s security depends on defending the agreement with Iran despite the US withdrawal. That, in turn, requires Europe, along with Russia, China, and other United Nations member states, to ensure that economic relations with Iran can develop. And that can happen only if Europe confronts, and ultimately overturns, America’s extraterritorial sanctions, which aim to deter trade and financial activities with Iran by non-US actors.

The purpose of Trump’s move is clear and indeed explicit: to topple the Iranian regime. Given this folly, European citizens accurately sense that Europe’s security interests are no longer closely aligned with those of the United States.

America’s bullying approach to Iran has been seconded – indeed championed – by two Middle Eastern allies of the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Israel invokes US power to avoid having to make any compromises with the Palestinians. Saudi Arabia invokes US military power to contain its regional rival, Iran. Both are hoping for a direct US war with Iran. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Known Unknowns of US Sanctions Against Iran

Posted by hkarner - 18. Mai 2018

Anatole Kaletsky is Chief Economist and Co-Chairman of Gavekal Dragonomics. A former columnist at the Times of London, the International New York Times and the Financial Times, he is the author of Capitalism 4.0, The Birth of a New Economy, which anticipated many of the post-crisis transformations of the global economy. His 1985 book, Costs of Default, became an influential primer for Latin American and Asian governments negotiating debt defaults and restructurings with banks and the IMF.

The sanctions against Iran reinstated by US President Donald Trump raise two all-important questions that have no convincing answers. But they also raise a third question, about which financial markets are likely to be wrong.

BEIJING – The sanctions against Iran reinstated by US President Donald Trump raise two all-important questions that have no convincing answers. First, will this action make the world safer, as Trump claims, or will it further destabilize the Middle East and undermine future efforts to limit nuclear weapons, as argued by most geopolitical experts not directly employed by the US, Israeli, or Saudi governments? And, second, will US efforts to compel foreign companies to observe its sanctions against Iran prove as tough as Trump’s belligerent rhetoric?

The Iran sanctions could of course turn out to be an empty gesture. As a former Chinese ambassador to Iran recently put it: “For more than a year, Trump’s diplomacy, from the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact and the Paris climate deal to the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and the Syrian civil war, can be described as loud thunder but little rain.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Preventing an AI Apocalypse

Posted by hkarner - 17. Mai 2018

Seth Baum

Seth Baum is the executive director of the Global Catastrophic Risk Institute (GCRI), a think tank focused on extreme global risks. He is also affiliated with the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science and the University of Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk.

The view that AI-driven machines will outsmart humanity, take over the world, and kill us all – a staple of dystopian science fiction – is easy enough to dismiss, given that humans remain firmly in control. But many AI experts take the apocalyptic perspective seriously, and they are right to do so.

NEW YORK – Recent advances in artificial intelligence have been nothing short of dramatic. AI is transforming nearly every sector of society, from transportation to medicine to defense. So it is worth considering what will happen when it becomes even more advanced than it already is.

The apocalyptic view is that AI-driven machines will outsmart humanity, take over the world, and kill us all. This scenario crops up often in science fiction, and it is easy enough to dismiss, given that humans remain firmly in control. But many AI experts take the apocalyptic perspective seriously, and they are right to do so. The rest of society should as well.

To understand what is at stake, consider the distinction between “narrow AI” and “artificial general intelligence” (AGI). Narrow AI can operate only in one or a few domains at a time, so while it may outperform humans in select tasks, it remains under human control. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Debt Shackles Return

Posted by hkarner - 16. Mai 2018

Michael Heise is Chief Economist of Allianz SE and the author of Emerging From the Euro Debt Crisis: Making the Single Currency Work.

The only sustainable debt burden is one that can be managed even during cyclical downturns. Yet governments continue to repeat the same mistakes, treating debt as a boon for long-term growth, rather than what it is: a source of massive long-term risks.

MUNICH – Global growth is accelerating. But before we break out the champagne, we should acknowledge the long-term risks to sustained expansion posed by rising private and public debt.

Market analysts view the uptick in private lending in most emerging and some developed economies as a sign of higher demand and a precursor of faster growth. But, while this is true in the short run, the relentless rise of overall debt remains among the most serious problems burdening the global economy.

Despite years of deleveraging after the 2008 global financial crisis, debt remains very high – and yet we have now returned to an expansionary credit cycle. According to the Bank for International Settlements, total non-financial private and public debt amounts to almost 245% of global GDP, having risen from 210% before the financial crisis and around 190% at the end of 2001. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Steuerung der Risiken eines erstarkenden Dollars

Posted by hkarner - 16. Mai 2018

Mohamed A. El-Erian, Chief Economic Adviser at Allianz, the corporate parent of PIMCO where he served as CEO and co-Chief Investment Officer, was Chairman of US President Barack Obama’s Global Development Council. He previously served as CEO of the Harvard Management Company and Deputy Director at the International Monetary Fund. He was named one of Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. He is the author, most recently, of The Only Game in Town: Central Banks, Instability, and Avoiding the Next Collapse.

NEWPORT BEACH – Die Regierung des argentinischen Präsidenten Mauricio Macri hat den Internationalen Währungsfonds um einen Kredit gebeten, um – so ihre Hoffnung – dem Verfall des Pesos Einhalt zu gebieten, der die Zinsen in die Höhe getrieben hat, die Konjunktur bremsen wird und das Reformprogramm bedroht. Diese Trendwende für die Volkswirtschaft spiegelt teilweise, aber keinesfalls völlig, den von der jüngsten Aufwertung des US-Dollar ausgehenden umfassenderen Druck wider – ein Prozess, der sich beschleunigen wird, weil sowohl die Geldpolitik als auch die Unterschiede bei der Wachstumsentwicklung inzwischen die USA begünstigen.

Die US Federal Reserve normalisiert ihre Geldpolitik schon seit einer Weile, und damit deutlich früher als andere systemisch wichtige Notenbanken: Sie erhöht die Zinsen, stellt ihre Wertpapierkäufe ein und hat den mehrjährigen Prozess einer Schrumpfung ihrer Bilanz eingeleitet. Dies wurde in diesem Jahr durch einen anderen Katalysator der jüngsten Dollaraufwertung verstärkt: eine wachsende und weniger günstige Divergenz zwischen den Wirtschaftsdaten und -erwartungen in der übrigen Welt.

In 2017 mühten sich die Märkte größtenteils, zu den Wachstumsindikationen außerhalb der USA aufzuschließen, die deutlich günstiger waren als erwartet. Infolgedessen wertete die meistbeachtete Messgröße eines handelsgewichteten Dollarindex im letzten Jahr um 10% ab. Die Kapitalflüsse nach Europa und in wichtige Schwellenvolkswirtschaften nahmen zu, da die Anleger von dem Wachstum zu profitieren suchten und zugleich in den Genuss höherer Renditen und der Möglichkeit von Kapitalerträgen aus Währungsschritten kommen wollten. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Germany’s Great European Heist

Posted by hkarner - 16. Mai 2018

Adam Tooze

Adam Tooze, Professor of History at Columbia University, is the author of The Deluge: The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916-1931. His study of the 2008 financial crisis, Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World, will be published by Penguin Random House in August 2018.

Shahin Vallée, a former economic advisor to the French Minister of Economy, is a senior economist at Soros Fund Management.

Two seemingly reasonable principles guide German thinking about eurozone integration: responsibilities and control must be aligned; and legacy risks must be settled before any pooling of risks among euro members takes place. But what if France applied Germany’s approach to eurozone integration to the question of mutualizing defense commitments?
NEW YORK – Two mantras guide German thinking about eurozone integration: responsibilities and control must be aligned (so no mutualization of risk without shared jurisdiction); and legacy risks must be settled before any pooling of risks among euro members takes place. Since 2010, these two refrains have shaped the entire discussion of how to shore up the euro, and they largely account for the anemic progress being made on the creation of a European banking union. Germany is ready to embark on a common future, its leaders say, but only if Europe starts from a clean slate.

At first sight, that proposition seems reasonable enough. But to understand its full implications, try applying the same logic to another policy field: security and defense. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Costa Rica macht es richtig

Posted by hkarner - 14. Mai 2018

SAN JOSÉ – Autoritarismus und Protofaschismus sind in so vielen Teilen der Welt auf dem Vormarsch, dass es ermutigend ist ein Land zu sehen, in dem sich die Bürgerinnen und Bürger den demokratischen Prinzipien nach wie vor zutiefst verpflichtet fühlen. Derzeit ist diese Nation bestrebt, ihre Politik für das einundzwanzigste Jahrhundert neu zu definieren.

Costa Rica, ein Land mit weniger als fünf Millionen Einwohnern, hat im Lauf der Jahre weltweite Beachtung für seine progressive Staatsführung gefunden. 1948, nach einem kurzen Bürgerkrieg, schaffte Präsident José Figueres Ferrer das Militär ab. Seitdem hat sich Costa Rica als Forschungszentrum für Konfliktverhütung und -beilegung etabliert und ist Sitz der unter dem Mandat der Vereinten Nationen entstandenen Friedensuniversität. Auch in Bezug auf die Umwelt hat Costa Rica mit seiner reichen Biodiversität eine weitsichtige Politik betrieben und auf Wiederaufforstung gesetzt, ein Drittel des Landes zum Naturschutzgebiet erklärt und bezieht fast seinen gesamten Strom aus sauberer Wasserkraft.

Es deutet nichts darauf hin, dass sich die Costa Ricaner von ihrem fortschrittlichen Erbe lösen wollen. Bei den mit einer hohen Wahlbeteiligung durchgeführten jüngsten Präsidentschaftswahlen konnte sich Carlos Alvarado Quesada mit über 60% der Stimmen gegen einen Kontrahenten durchsetzen, der das langjährige Engagement für die Menschenrechte mit seiner Weigerung, gleichgeschlechtliche Ehen anzuerkennen zurückgeworfen hätte. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Eine Lösung für das Produktivitäts-Puzzle

Posted by hkarner - 13. Mai 2018

James Manyika

James Manyika is Chairman of the McKinsey Global Institute and a senior partner in McKinsey & Company’s San Francisco Office.

Myron Scholes, a Nobel laureate in economics, is the Frank E. Buck Professor of Finance, Emeritus, at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and co-originator of the Black-Scholes options pricing model.

SAN FRANCISCO – Seit Jahren ist eines der großen Rätsel in der Wirtschaft für das sinkende Produktivitätswachstum in den Vereinigten Staaten und anderen fortgeschrittenen Volkswirtschaften verantwortlich. Ökonomen haben eine Vielzahl von Erklärungen vorgeschlagen, von ungenauen Messungen über „säkulare Stagnation” bis hin zu der Frage, ob die jüngsten technologischen Innovationen produktiv sind.

Aber die Lösung des Rätsels scheint darin zu liegen, wirtschaftliche Zusammenhänge zu verstehen, anstatt einen einzigen Schuldigen zu identifizieren. Und in diesem Punkt kommen wir möglicherweise der Frage auf den Grund, warum sich das Produktivitätswachstum verlangsamt hat.

Betrachtet man das Jahrzehnt seit der Finanzkrise 2008 – eine Zeit, die für die starke Verschlechterung des Produktivitätswachstums in vielen Industrieländern bemerkenswert ist -, so lassen sich drei herausragende Merkmale feststellen: ein historisch niedriges Wachstum der Kapitalintensität, die Digitalisierung und eine schwache Nachfrageerholung. Zusammengenommen erklären diese Merkmale, warum das jährliche Produktivitätswachstum zwischen 2010 und 2014 um durchschnittlich 80 % auf 0,5 % gesunken ist, gegenüber 2,4 % ein Jahrzehnt zuvor. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Macron’s Internationalism and the New Politics

Posted by hkarner - 12. Mai 2018

Kemal Derviş, former Minister of Economic Affairs of Turkey and former Administrator for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), is Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

French President Emmanuel Macron initially described his new political movement as being “neither on the right nor on the left,” and now says that it is “on both the right and the left.” But he won’t be able to fudge it indefinitely: sooner or later, he will have to pick a side with which to ally.

WASHINGTON, DC – French President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to the United States last month was a study in contrasts. Despite the friendly dynamic, Macron’s agenda and rhetoric were almost diametrically opposed to US President Donald Trump’s. But Macron’s leadership is subject to an even more fundamental challenge; how he manages it could point the way forward for liberal-democratic politics.

Addressing the US Congress in English, Macron articulated a staunchly internationalist worldview, calling for stronger international institutions, a recommitment to the rules-based system of international trade, and a general embrace of globalization. With regard to Iran, he reiterated the need to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal, from which Trump has just withdrawn, though he did call for complementary agreements on topics that the existing agreement does not address.

Macron has also signaled that he will pursue a pan-European campaign for the 2019 European Parliament election. As a democrat, he believes that the deepening of the European Union must go hand in hand with the development of a truly European political space. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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