Economy

Economic Instability Endangers Democracy

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The world’s leading consolidated democracies have seen rates of economic growth consistently and persistently decline over the past forty years Jordan Willcox  The National Interest In recent years, a foreign-policy community once focused on a managed decline in U.S. global predominance has witnessed the birth of disquieting new phase. The European community is closing its borders and debating Brexit; nationalism and ethnocentrism is on the rise in rich-nation political parties; the Trump administration is working to exit major trade agreements. The Western ... Read More »

Brexit: SNP minister wants united Holyrood voice for single market bid

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Scotland’s Brexit minister has called on rival parties to unite and “speak with one voice” in a bid to keep the UK in the single market as political turmoil continued over Britain’s departure from the European… Russel Jackson The Scotsman Mike Russell said there was “overwhelming support” for this both at Holyrood and among the public as he urged Labour and the Tories to back the whole UK remaining in both the European single market and customs… He spoke out ... Read More »

Brexit Creates a Game of Risk for European Banks

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A hard Brexit represents a potential shock to the international financial system and has both direct and indirect consequences for the United Kingdom’s economy Scott B. MacDonald The National Interest While the government of Theresa May seeks to restart negotiations with the European Union on December 5, time is marching on. This is important as risk managers are looking at their watches and are increasingly concerned about London’s inability to come forward with a credible Brexit bill in the eyes of Europeans. The result could be ... Read More »

France is now the testing ground for Europe’s labor policies

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ROME — In September, French President Emmanuel Macron’s government launched its controversial reform of the French labor market, having won support in the French Parliament to pass these reforms by decree. Matt Browne The Washington Post With these reforms, Macron seeks to boost the competitiveness of the French economy and address unemployment, which has hovered persistently at just around 10 percent for years — almost twice the level of many other major European economies. Many believe that France’s existing labor ... Read More »

Is China’s Economic Power a Paper Tiger?

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The People’s Republic of China has surely seen faster GDP growth than the United States for most of the past forty years Derek M. Scissors  The National Interest It’s the value of that growth that’s questionable. The people complaining about U.S. decline in the face of China’s rise under President Obama have been replaced by new people complaining about the same thing under President Trump. The debate over policy in the two administrations plainly matters, but it should not obscure basic facts. The ... Read More »

Australia knocks UK Brexit trade plan

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Australia has criticised the UK’s post-Brexit trade plans to split quotas of food imports from around the world BBC EU rules allow for a certain amount of goods to be brought in from countries outside of the Union without charging full tariffs After Brexit, the UK and EU want to split these quotas, based on where the goods are mostly consumed. But Australian trade minister Steven Ciobo said it would impose unacceptable restrictions on their exports. He told BBC Radio ... Read More »

Blackmail — the business plan for cheaper wages

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Underpaying migrant workers has become a business practice for unscrupulous employers David Chau ABC For some employers, it is an easy way to boost the bottom line with a low risk of getting caught — hence there is little incentive to comply with industrial laws. It has even been described as a “business model” by worker advocates. “There are employers out there structuring the cost of doing business through stealing wages,” said Ged Kearney, president of the Australian Council of ... Read More »

Venezuela: Hunger by Default

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Economic mismanagement, corruption and dwindling reserves have forced Venezuela into penury and now into missed payments and partial default on its debts ICG Full-scale, internationally supervised negotiations involving a restored parliament are essential to pave the way to a debt restructuring and a free, fair presidential election. What happened?  On 14 November, credit ratings agencies declared Venezuela in partial default on its foreign debt, after the country failed to meet a $200 million payment to bondholders. Why did it happen?  Economic mismanagement ... Read More »

Public jittery as Turkish lira slides rapidly over political, economic issues

A change office staff shows Turkish lira on his hand on December 2, 2016 in Istanbul.
Turks have over the past three months nervously watched the steady decline in value of the Turkish lira against the dollar, seeing it haemorrhage more than 10 percent in the past month alone. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

The lira was trading at around 3.95 to the US dollar on Tuesday In May 2013, it traded at approximately 1.92 to the US dollar Middle East Eye ISTANBUL, Turkey – The spectre of economic hardship – if not outright crisis – is looming large yet again as the Turkish lira continues its rapid slide against the US dollar and euro, with some people already displaying signs of panic by talking of withdrawing their savings from banks as politicians revert to ... Read More »

How to future-proof the West’s economies

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Top economic thinkers from the U.S. and Europe say we need to start by fixing our politics Sure, growth could be more robust. MAURA REYNOLDS Politico Sure, some workers are getting left behind. Sure, corporate debt is high and markets look frothy. But those problems aren’t the biggest threat facing the economies of the United States and Europe. What is? The answer from a group of top economic thinkers convened by POLITICO isn’t something in the economy. It’s politics. At a ... Read More »

World’s Biggest Wealth Fund Wants Out of Oil and Gas

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The $1 trillion fund that Norway has amassed pumping oil and gas over the past two decades wants out of petroleum stocks. Sveinung Sleire Bloomberg Norway, which relies on oil and gas for about a fifth of economic output, would be less vulnerable to declining crude prices without its fund investing in the industry, the central bank said Thursday. The divestment would mark the second major step in scrubbing the world’s biggest wealth fund of climate risk, after it sold most of its ... Read More »

Revenge of the TPP?

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership is back on the menu for a number of Asia-Pacific countries Scott B. MacDonald  And with America on the sidelines, U.S. exports could suffer. The National Interest One of the first actions that Donald Trump did when he came into office was to pull the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade deal he called a “disaster.” According to him, past U.S. leaders were inept on trade and his administration’s approach would strike tougher, ... Read More »

Why does Sweden produce so many startups?

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What do Spotify, Minecraft and Candy Crush Saga have in common? John McKenna World Economic Forum They were all made in Sweden. Skype was co-founded by Swedes and SoundCloud started in Stockholm before moving to its current home in Berlin. Sweden is home to Europe’s largest tech companies and its capital is second only to Silicon Valley when it comes to the number of “unicorns” – billion-dollar tech companies – that it produces per… Why does Sweden… Read More »

Green finance? Why global banks are pledging billions to fight climate change

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Banking giant HSBC has pledged US$100 billion (£76 billion) to “fight climate change”, to be spent on sustainable finance and investment over the next eight years. Simon Wilde The Conversation It also commits to increasing its own use of renewable energy and to reducing its funding of coal projects. HSBC is following a growing trend among investment banks which includes a US$200 billion funding commitment from JP Morgan Chase, the acquisition of the UK’s Green Investment Bank by Macquarie, and ... Read More »

Society relies on a social compact. Time for tax-avoiding multinationals to sign up

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Pat Leahy: The political centre needs to force big business to pay its way The Irish Times Pat Leahy Western countries are by and large the most civilised, comfortable and desirable places to live in the history of mankind. If, in a version the “veil of ignorance” thought experiment, you could choose any time or place to live, not knowing your race, abilities, talents or gender, you’d be mad not to choose to be born into a modern western country, ... Read More »

Yanis Varoufakis, the Bad-Boy Former Finance Minister, Is Back

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In a new book, a star of the European left argues that Greek’s financial crisis prefigured the fissures afflicting Europe today. Rachel Donadio The Atlantic PARIS — In the often-dismal European landscape of technocrats and party hacks, few figures are as colorful and polarizing as Yanis Varoufakis. Remember him? The bad-boy Greek finance minister who, in a heated moment in the European debt crisis in 2015, showed up to meet the chancellor of the exchequer in a long black leather ... Read More »