Andy Pollak: Vacuous Brexit talk could yield to creative solution

Resp 1a

Regulatory line of Irish Sea far easier and less disruptive than land border The challenge of preventing a “hard” border between the two parts of Ireland is among the obstacles preventing the UK and the EU moving on to the second phase of Brexit talks, the future trading relationship that the former is so desperate to find agreement on. Andy Pollak The Irish Times When they think about Ireland at all, the British side is still talking vacuously about a ... Read More »

Oxfam urges Australian fashion brands to end worker exploitation

Leven 2b

The Bangladeshi factory worker who may well have made your t-shirt could be earning as little as 39 cents an hour Sarah Farnsworth  That is the sobering message coming from non-for-profit organisation Oxfam Australia’s “What She Makes” report released today. ABC Deloitte Access Economics was engaged by Oxfam to analyse Australia’s garment supply chain and work out what proportion of the cost of a garment ends up in the pocket of the person who made it. It found in the ... Read More »

Scottish economy ‘fundamentally strong and ready to face Brexit’

Del 2b

Scotland’s economy is “fundamentally strong” and ready to meet the challenges of Brexit, the Economy Secretary has said Lucinda Cameron Keith Brown told the Unite conference on Saturday that the economy is growing while the number of people in employment has risen and unemployment has fallen. The Scotsman However he said withdrawal from the EU posed some “serious headwinds” and warned that a no-deal Brexit would be “catastrophic”. He said Scotland would lose an estimated £11 billion a year by ... Read More »

How Islamic Finance Can Save the Global Economy

Faul 1a

You can’t make money from money forever: The case for the Islamic financification of global markets. Ashby Monk Institutional Investor The market for financial derivatives is valued at a quadrillion dollars, give or take a few hundred trillion. I can’t contemplate how big that is or what it even means. Where is that money? I know you can’t physically touch it — just as you can’t touch a company’s market capitalization or an index. But is it real? The financial ... Read More »

World’s witnessing a new Gilded Age as billionaires’ wealth swells to $6tn

Fira 1a

Not since the time of the Carnegies, Rockefellers and Vanderbilts at the turn of the 20th century was so much owned by so few Rupert Neate The Guardian The world’s super-rich hold the greatest concentration of wealth since the US Gilded Age at the turn of the 20th century, when families like the Carnegies, Rockefellers and Vanderbilts controlled vast fortunes. Billionaires increased their combined global wealth by almost a fifth last year to a record $6tn (£4.5tn) – more than ... Read More »

Expansion of Gaza fishing zone ‘pointless PR stunt’

Umf 2b

For the 4,000 registered fishermen in the besieged Gaza Strip, a proposed Israeli plan to let them temporarily fish farther out from shore is “far from enough”. Farah Najjar Al Jazeera Fishermen told Al Jazeera that Israel’s move to slightly expand the fishing zone limit from six to nine nautical miles, implemented this week, will have little effect in reality. “It makes no difference whatsoever to us,” Nizar Ayash, head of Gaza’s fishermen’s union, told Al Jazeera. “It’s economically pointless, and this is ... Read More »

Should central banks have a ‘representative of the poor’?

Kavl 3c

The Reserve Bank of Australia should have a board member whose job it is to “represent the poor”, says Catholic Social Services Australia in a report released this week. Usman W. Chohan The Conversation  This hasn’t been tried before but it’s an interesting proposal and worth considering – particularly as recent central banking programs like quantitative easing have inflated the value of assets belonging to the very rich, exacerbating inequality and even threatening democracy. The report is part of a ... Read More »

Capitalism is ending because it has made itself obsolete, former Greek finance minister Yannis Varoufakis says

Yanis Varoufakis 2b Getty LLLL

Exclusive: Former economics professor says rise of artificial intelligence will spell end of neoliberal system Tom Embury-Dennis The Independent  Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has claimed capitalism is coming to an end because it is making itself obsolete. The former economics professor told an audience at University College London that the rise of giant technology corporations and artificial intelligence will cause the current economic system to undermine itself. Mr Varoufakis, who took on EU institutions over Greek debt repayments in 2015, said companies ... Read More »

Austerity benefit freezes and Brexit inflation to cost lower-income households £300 next year

Money coins UK 1a Getty LLLL

The benefit freeze ‘risks ushering in a period of rising inequality on a scale not seen since Margaret Thatcher’s final term,’ says think tank The Independent  Charlotte Beale  Poorer households could be £300 worse off next year, due to benefit freezes and a predicted rise in inflation. Half of all families with children will be affected, warns think tank the Resolution Foundation, meaning seven million children in total. 800,000 people looking for work and 2.4 million disabled people will also be hit. ... Read More »

Costello wants govt to run workers’ super

PeC 2b

The Turnbull government won’t say if it backs a call for it to assume control of billions of dollars in workers’ compulsory superannuation contributions now being managed by banks and industry funds Australian Associated Press Herald Sun Former treasurer Peter Costello is critical of the way default funds are being run and wants a new government agency to instead invest the money About $2.3 trillion in workers’ super is sitting in private accounts as part of the former Keating government’s ... Read More »

New market prices on renewable energy means 2030 targets can be set even higher

Aurs 1a

A healthy development in offshore wind has enabled steep cost reductions in wind power, creating the opportunity to exceed the current 2030 European RES target. Aske Chiko Wong  Politico The EU agreement stating that 27 percent of the energy supply should come from renewable energy sources was made on the assumption of a cost level that would reach €123/MWh in 2020. However, current costs are much lower, as recent development in offshore wind has made it possible to deliver green ... Read More »

Energy independence: is Lithuania getting away with state aid?

Refo 1a

The EU says Lithuania can levy funds from gas consumers to finance its own energy companies. Achema, Lithuania’s largest consumer, disagrees. Ramunas Miliauskas, chief executive officer, Achema Politico The European Commission and the European Court of Justice are currently considering state aid complaints against Lithuania. The outcome could have repercussions for every gas consumer in the country and massive ramifications for one company in particular. Achema is the largest fertilizer producer in the Baltic states, and part of a group ... Read More »

Mexico warns that abandoning Nafta could end broader cooperation with US

Nuf 2b

Mexico’s foreign minister has warned that terminating Nafta could bring relations with the US to a breaking point, raising the prospect that bilateral cooperation against drug trafficking and illegal migration could be adversely affected by Donald Trump’s bellicose trade rhetoric. David Agren in Mexico City The Guardian The threat from the foreign minister, Luis Videgaray, came as Donald Trump once again threatened to tear up the three-country trade treaty between the US, Canada and Mexico ahead of a fourth round ... Read More »

IMF raises growth forecast for all advanced economies except UK

Lere 3c

The pound has made gains despite a flurry of gloomy economic reports, while advances among bank stocks helped the wider market push higher Holly Williams The Scotsman Official figures showing disappointing trade data, but a stronger-than-expected performance from the manufacturing sector, saw the pound make strong gains against the US dollar and hold firm against the euro. Sterling lifted 0.6% to 1.32 US dollars and was flat at 1.12 euros. The FTSE 100 Index closed the session 30.4 points higher ... Read More »

Explainer: how our understanding of risk is changing

UpSiseDown 1a EPA AAP LLLL

Under the traditional notion of risk, people react predictably based on how risk-tolerant they are. Here, risk is calculated by combining the probability of something occurring (such as rolling a six with a pair of dice) with the value of the outcome (how much you have wagered). Robert Hoffmann  Adrian R. Camilleri  But our understanding of risk is changing. The Conversation We now know that a whole host of factors, from your personal history to your mood and age, all ... Read More »

Chiefs To Offer Sacrifices To Thank The gods For ITLOS Victory

Praust 8h

Chiefs in the Western region have hailed the aftermath of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (I TLOS) ruling which gives Tullow Ghana Limited the go-ahead to activate its plans to drill more wells to improve production in the TEN fields. Modern Ghana Paramount Chief of Nsein Traditional Area, Awulae Agyevi Kwame II, informed a meeting with the Paramount Chiefs in the Region that a day will be set aside to commemorate the victory. He said they ... Read More »