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Reflections from Spain - Econlib

The quickest way to explain Spain to an American: Spain is the California of Europe.  I grew up in Los Angeles, and often found myself looking around and thinking, “This could easily be California.”  The parallel is most obvious for geography – the deserts, the mountains, the coasts.  But it’s also true architecturally; the typical building in Madrid looks like it was built in California in 1975.  And at least in summer, the climates of Spain and California match closely.  Spain’s left-wing politics would also resonate with Californians, but Spain doesn’t seem very leftist by European standards.  Indeed, Spaniards often told me that their parents remain staunch Franco supporters.
espagna  europe  economy  immigration  opinion  travel  optimism  spanish 
3 days ago by aries1988
香港这座城市还有救吗?
赵皓阳 大浪淘沙

我非常非常享受这种对香港同龄人、台湾同龄人智商上的降维打击,我觉得他们太蠢了,基本的历史不了解,基本的政治常识不知道,就只会喊喊口号打打鸡血。就像我这样的,随随便便就碾压他们,特别享受他们那种毫无还手之力的快感。

香港整个地方太小了,太闭塞了;而本地人又因为曾经得天独厚的地理历史因素,弥漫着一种发达过后弄弄的傲慢情绪。可以说整个地区的人都丧失了批判性与反思性,固步自封。如果抛去了香港优越的先天环境,香港年轻人(除0.1%的精英外)所受的教育和专业素养,至完全不足以在一个大市场中与大陆青年竞争的。同时香港长久以来受到西方价值观的冲击,普通民众很容易被蛊惑,上一次街,游一次行,就能获得一些虚伪的满足感,觉得自己多光荣多正义多威武霸气了,然后继续用自己的血肉去供养地产资本家,被人卖了还替人数钱还可开心呢。

人口红利,不是单纯的人多,而是能够达到工业化生产要求、能够纳入经济体系的劳动力多,这才是真正的“红利”。义务教育带来的是高素质劳动力,这个“高素质”不一定是要读到本科硕士之类,而是针对经济活动来说的。

现在社会其实有一些很不好的端倪了,国家对医疗和教育的财政支持不够,医生待遇低,用药品回扣、滥开检查来弥补;教师待遇低,优秀老师纷纷流入私立学校,而公立学校师资力量越来越弱,老师越来越混日子划水;精英子女要么出国要么去昂贵的私立学校。看看美国和日本,公立学校都是什么样子,这样下来社会更加固化,精英永远是精英,屁民就在看不起病、上不起学的泥潭里烂掉了。
2019  capitalism  hongkong  manif  politics  youth  critic  anecdote  economy  immobilier  education  feelgood 
25 days ago by aries1988
郑力轩:战争的昭和、暧昧的平成,曙光初露的令和|深度|端传媒 Initium Media
历经了战前超民族主义的狂热与破灭之后,战后昭和则是透过许多日本独特制度,展开了受到世界瞩目的高速发展,奠定了日本认同。在昭和时期“日本第一”的呼声下,日本成为兼顾成长与平等、品质与效率、传统与现代的代名词。到了平成时期,这些具日本特色的制度遇到种种危机,然而是否要引入国外制度,特别是美国的制度,又让日本在复杂的自尊与疑虑间持续纠结。

平成年间日本,就是处在这样的暧昧情境下,既没有墨守成规,但也很难说大刀阔斧的改变,而是在不同方向的拉扯中缓步向前。

昭和时期日本政治社会经济体制是以追赶欧美发展为核心,而有以下几个特征:在经济上,以大企业为中心的日本式资本主义,不仅促进了高速成长,也因其独特的运作型态受到全球广泛的注目;在政治上则是以1955年自由民主党结成时形成的55年体制,由民选议员、官僚与企业组组成的铁三角稳定控制日本政局,形成了民主国家中罕见的一党长期执政;在家庭上则形成所谓近代家族,也就是具有明确性别分工的核心家庭。

在雇用上采取长期雇用、不轻易裁员的制度。员工(通常限定在男性)在学校毕业后集体进入企业,到55岁前享受安定雇用的保障。其次,在企业治理上,日本企业主要由终身在同一公司工作的经理人所控制,许多董事会(取缔役会) 成为经理人升迁的一部份,而非欧美式股东利益的代表。也因此,日本企业的决策往往出现以“从业员福祉”而非“股东利润”为核心的运作型态。

在经济上,1985年的广场协定加上国内宽松的金融,导致许多日本企业放弃了之前众所称道的长期视野,转向操作财务技术以获取短期利润,带来严重的土地与股市泡沫。在社会上,对女性职涯的高度压抑,随着女性教育程度提高而形成严重扞格,带来少子化的现象。昭和时代的落幕,正是伴随着诸多过往体制积弊的爆发;而平成时代的序幕,正是由昭和时代所累积诸多问题的爆发所揭开。

2009年,民主党以“彻底改革”的诉求获得压倒性胜利上台,带来平成时期第二次政党轮替,但在内外失调以及311大地震处理的失败,在2012年底选举惨败,政党走向瓦解收场。

总体而言,相较于昭和时期日本主流社会以“追赶发展”为职志,平成时代的日本不仅必须面对各种昭和体制所遗留的问题,就社会发展方向,而言也呈现出更复杂、更多样的风貌。这个追赶完成以及面对未知后所产生的多元取向,是平成暧昧性的根源,也是日本社会将持续面临的问题。
analysis  history  japan  epoch  politics  economy  society  policy  comparison 
7 weeks ago by aries1988
How one building reflects the Chinese economy’s struggle with itself

It was only in the 1990s that China settled on a model that has, in many respects, persisted to this day. It started evaluating local officials by how quickly the economy grew under their watch. They, in turn, competed with each other to woo firms, offering them cheap land, tax breaks and low-cost labour. Transforming the bureaucracy into something more like a large startup business, hungry to expand, yielded dramatic results. China accounted for 4% of the global economy in 1990; now that is close to 18%.

Tax reforms would also help. The government does not tax the investment earnings and property of the rich, which are basic revenue sources in developed economies. Officials seem more fearful of angering rich urbanites than of neglecting poor farmers.

There is an even bigger concern about the way that China wields its market power: as a lever to get companies to give up their technology. This is one of the core grievances behind America’s trade war with China. The American and European chambers of commerce estimate that a fifth of their members have faced such demands, and in high-tech sectors as many as two-fifths.

China is not the first country to steal intellectual property or demand tech transfers. Brazil, India and Mexico insist on joint ventures in various industries. China, though, is unusual in its heft. If the behaviour of, say, Malaysia or Argentina seems unreasonable, foreign firms can leave. Forgoing China is tougher.

Take the joint ventures. Perhaps the most notable fact is how rarely they have been effective. Despite an array of aviation partnerships, China has failed to create a decent passenger jet even after years of trying. A former industry minister famously described carmakers’ joint ventures as opium: Chinese firms are hooked on them for profits and make little of value themselves. Even theft only gets China so far. IMAX, for instance, believes the 3D technology stolen by its former employee is now outdated and that its Chinese rival has failed to keep up with its latest advances.
analysis  china  economy  today  finance 
february 2019 by aries1988
Prêts à des entreprises d'origines différentes
Risque conjoncturel : Les niveaux de défaut des paiements des PME dans les trois pays n’est pas le même. 4% des prêts aux PME en France font défaut par an, 9,5% en Espagne et 18,5% en Italie
numbers  pme  europe  espagna  italia  france  investment  economy 
november 2018 by aries1988
‘Why Nations Fail’

the geography hypothesis

our revisionist take on the Neolithic Revolution, based on the idea that sedentary life and social complexity came before farming, suffers from a complete absence of evidence when in fact it is now the conventional wisdom amongst archaeologists.

Diamond suggests that, by eschewing geographic determinism, our theory is as if institutions appeared randomly.

our book explains how institutional variation today is largely a systematic outcome of historical processes

characteristics of diamonds and oil notoriously promote corruption and civil wars more than do characteristics of iron and timber.

Although their letter describes institutional variation today as a systematic outcome of historical processes, much of their book is actually devoted to relating story after story purportedly explaining how institutional variation developed unsystematically and at random, as a result of particular events happening in particular places at critical junctures.

cannot account for differences in prosperity today, which are huge within Eurasia

Acemoglu and Robinson are correct that the timing of the Neolithic Revolution doesn’t account for prosperity differences within Eurasia today;
theory  debate  inequality  world  economy 
october 2018 by aries1988
Karl Marx, Yesterday and Today | The New Yorker

interpretation of his work made after his death by people like Karl Kautsky, who was his chief German-language exponent; Georgi Plekhanov, his chief Russian exponent; and, most influentially, Engels. It was thanks mainly to those writers that people started to refer to Marxism as “scientific socialism,” a phrase that sums up what was most frightening about twentieth-century Communism: the idea that human beings can be reëngineered in accordance with a theory that presents itself as a law of history. The word the twentieth century coined for that was totalitarianism.
politics  book  revolution  ideology  uk  19C  leader  communism  economy  capitalism  utopia 
october 2018 by aries1988
访谈|彭慕然:中国为什么这么大?

《东方历史评论》:在您的著作中,我注意到您很强调两个因素,一个是环境因素,另一个是制度因素,您怎样看待环境与制度之间的关系呢?对于以道格拉斯·诺斯为代表的制度经济学派的观点(当然也包括赵鼎新教授对您的批判)您怎么看呢?

彭慕然:诺斯提出的“制度经济学”概念非常的重要,但是它过于狭隘,甚至于有些过于僵化。我认为,这种僵化(包括你提及过的赵的观点)在于毫无道理地认为,在各种情况下,相同类型的制度都是最理想的。从可以在现实世界抽象出理论模型的经济学角度看 ,你当然可以认为,一系列的制度运作可以应对各种情况,但是现实情况并不是这样。《大分流》尤其想要说明的是,在一定情况下,一系列的制度运作可以发挥作用,但是在其他情况下,这样的制度则不行。

中国在长期的统治中意识到,要比较充分地维持北方边境的成本非常高,仅凭华北的财力物力,根本无力承担。维持边境所需的军队规模、首都的规模都远远超出了华北所能产出的农业剩余(agricultural surplus)

如果你在18世纪初或18世纪50年代问那些汉人士大夫,新疆、蒙古、东北甚至像云南的部分山区,都能说是你所处世界的一部分吗?他们会说:当然不是

我认为新清史的缺点在于,他们能够解释为何清朝可以在1683年至1759年将版图扩大了两倍,但却无法解释那些区域在清朝走向衰落以后,为何依然是中国的一部分。要理解这个问题,你需要了解汉人精英阶层为何会认为,那些地方是国家的一部分。这种观点并不是自然而然就出现的。
qing  book  nation  mentality  china  comparison  economy  england  debate  research  theory 
september 2018 by aries1988
这是今年最犀利的演讲:国家命运与个人命运
我认为,马克思在一百多年前的一些关于资本主义发展的具体结论有些时空的局限性,但马克思主义的基本原理是正确的,那就是生产力决定生产关系、经济基础决定上层建筑。美国经济结构的变化决定社会结构变化,也一定决定着美国政治利益、国家核心利益的变化。

从这个意义上讲,即便特朗普两年或者六年后下台,美国也不会因为更换总统而在战略上改变对中国的基本立场。这是我的一个基本看法。

经济全球化时代国家间竞争的本质是什么?二十几年前我就提出是制度竞争,即看谁的制度安排更有利于经济增长和发展。因此,改革那些阻碍创新的制度安排,创建更加包容、可以自主经营、自主选择和自主流动的现代市场经济体系是至关重要的。

欧洲人出口的是古老的贵族文明积淀下来的审美,几乎所有的奢侈品都来自欧洲。审美是一种历史积淀,前提是一个国家历史、文化的连续性。

这个话题其实是很沉重的,在此我只想谈谈自己的体会。对个人而言,审美是一种品质和修养。一个审美能力低下的民族不仅素养、品格不高,道德水准也会有问题。

一个人做好自己每一个人生阶段中应该做好的事情,把自己喜欢做的事情尽可能地做到极致甚至像清教徒那样对待自己喜欢的职业并愿意为此努力一生,你就是一个具有使命感的人。所谓工匠精神,本质上与这种对职业的敬畏和使命感的理解与坚守密不可分。
talk  china  usa  economy  today  opinion  youth  self  patriotism  advice  2018  trump 
july 2018 by aries1988
Bright Lights, Big Shoulder Pads: A Timid Japan Recalls Its Bubble Era - The New York Times
She performs in a pop-music duo called Bed In that borrows heavily from the keyboard lines, electric drums and power chords of the ’80s. They dress ’80s, too: The shoulder pads are big, the skirts are mini and the hues are Day-Glo when they aren’t just plain shiny.

That era came to an abrupt end. Japan’s stock market crashed in 1990, and property prices plummeted. The period that followed is often called the Lost Decade, as Japan grappled with falling prices, slow growth and burdensome debt.

“I feel like back then, people weren’t afraid to be noticed,” said one dancer, Nanako Meguro, 18, who recently graduated from Tomioka High School in Osaka, about 250 miles southwest of Tokyo. “They wanted to be No. 1. I think that compared to people nowadays, everyone seemed to have a lot more confidence.”
1980s  japan  japanese  music  today  economy  mentality  future  youth  dance 
april 2018 by aries1988
胡平:如何解读中国之崛起-墙外楼

用托克维尔在《旧制度与大革命》中的话来讲:一个坏政府最危险的时候,不是它政绩最恶劣的时候,而是它试图改革的时候。因为改革本身,使它的弱点显露于天下,改革本身会释放出一些原来被压制的力量,所以反而会促成它的灭亡。这是一个一般性的规律。

在中国,由于采用了权贵私有化,倒是一步到位地解决了这个问题。它没有通过大众私有化,把资产分给大家,再通过市场运作把资产集中到少数人手里,而是直截了当地把资产分给了党委,给了党委书记,所以中国成了这个样子,共产党成了中国的唯一的大股东,党委会成了董事会,书记成了CEO,免除了大众私有化过程中资产零碎化的问题。因此在它的经济发展中,就没有资产零碎化导致的经济衰退,得以保持持续的发展。当然这种转变是特别恶劣的,因为共产党就是靠打倒地主资本家起家的,现在你怎么成了地主资本家了呢?所以这种做法,如果没有六四造成的那种威慑背景,根本不可能发生。但是因为中国有那么一个背景,这个情况就在我们眼前发生了。

避免了大众私有化造成的资产零碎化所带来的问题。它使得大资本一步到位地从所谓的全民的手中集中到了少数权贵的手中,就完成了资本主义的变化。

环球日报写得很清楚,实行民主对于别的国家就是政党轮替的问题,对于中国就是翻天覆地。因为它很清楚,它整个的统治,都是建立在这种压制之上的。现在不谈它政治上的压迫引起人们的反感,单单它的经济上、财富上的这种配置,就是建立在高压之下,完全是不公不义的。

大部分就是建立在对所谓全民资产的这种掠夺之上的。尤其是在六四之后,这种掠夺几乎是公开进行的。因此这些权贵不得不担心,一旦政治开放了,且不说以前当局犯下的政治错误会受到追究,单单是目前这种不合理的财富分配的格局,人们就不可能接受。也就是说,一旦中国人民有了发言权,他们很有可能就会要求对过去的经济问题进行清算,要求获得不义之财的权贵们把不义之财交出来。这一点让权贵们更难以接受。因此他们对政治的自由化、政治开发就抱有比原来更为敌视的态度。
opinion  china  politics  state  party  history  1990s  economy  future 
december 2017 by aries1988
Where Millennials Come From

Millennials, according to recent headlines, are killing hotels, department stores, chain restaurants, the car industry, the diamond industry, the napkin industry, homeownership, marriage, doorbells, motorcycles, fabric softener, hotel-loyalty programs, casinos, Goldman Sachs, serendipity, and the McDonald’s McWrap.

Parents overemphasized self-esteem and happiness, while kids took their cues from an era of diversity initiatives, decentralized authority, online avatars, and reality TV. As a result, millennials have become irresponsible and fundamentally maladjusted. They believe that every job will be fulfilling and then can’t even find a boring one. They must lower their expectations and dim their glittering self-images in order to become functional adults.

the notion of disruptive self-interest

a homeowner with negative equity: in possession of an asset that is worth much less than what she owes.

Millennials, in other words, have adjusted too well to the world they grew up in; their perfect synchronization with economic and cultural disruption has been mistaken for the source of the disruption itself.
millennials  politics  habit  generation  work  cliche  young  crisis  economy 
november 2017 by aries1988
Panda politics: the hard truth about China’s cuddliest diplomat

Far more money, time and effort has been spent on saving the giant panda from extinction than on any other animal. As such, it is considered a touchstone species — if humans can’t rescue such an icon with all of this exertion, then what hope is there for less charismatic fauna?

“For China, pandas are the equivalent of the British royal family,” Nye tells the FT. “Like the royals, they are a terrific asset because you can put them on display. You trot them around the world and they add an enormous amount to the country’s soft power.”

In fact, the first recorded example of panda diplomacy dates back much further to 685 AD, when Empress Wu Zetian of the Tang dynasty presented a pair of live bears to neighbouring Japan.

Australia, France and Canada all received pandas after agreeing to sell nuclear technology and uranium to China. Scotland accepted a pair of pandas in 2011 as part of an agreement to share offshore drilling technology and supply salmon to China, while the Dutch loan this year came as the Netherlands agreed to supply advanced healthcare services.

Chinese and western experts all agree there is no scientific reason for producing so many animals in captivity if they cannot be released in the wild. But after struggling for so many years to produce even a few surviving cubs, the machinery of panda production is now almost unstoppable, thanks to financial incentives and rivalry between competing agencies.
zoo  chinese  politics  diplomacy  animal  reportage  analysis  numbers  economy 
november 2017 by aries1988
The challenge of Xi Jinping’s Leninist autocracy

Will this combination of Leninist politics with market economics go on working as China develops? The answer must be: we do not know. A positive response could be that this system not only fits with Chinese traditions, but the bureaucrats are also exceptionally capable. The system has worked spectacularly so far. Yet there are also negative responses. One is that the party is always above the law. That makes power ultimately lawless. Another is that the corruption Mr Xi has been attacking is inherent in a systems lacking checks from below. Another is that, in the long run, this reality will sap economic dynamism. Yet another is that as the economy and the level of education advances, the desire for a say in politics will become overwhelming. In the long run, the rule of one man over the party and that of one party over China will not stand.

Second and far more important, the west (fragile as it is today) has to recognise — and learn from — the fact that management of its economy and politics has been unsatisfactory for years, if not decades. The west let its financial system run aground in a huge financial crisis. It has persistently under-invested in its future. In important cases, notably the US, it has allowed a yawning gulf to emerge between economic winners and the losers. Not least, it has let lies and hatred consume its politics.

It must create more inclusive and dynamic economies, revitalise its politics and re-establish anew the fragile balance between the national and the global, the democratic and the technocratic that is essential to the health of sophisticated democracies. Autocracy is the age-old human norm. It must not have the last word.
world  china  politics  economy  challenge  government  comparison 
november 2017 by aries1988
The Interpreter Thursday, October 12, 2017
Rapid modernization means more than rising incomes. It means rural-to-urban migration, population density and shifting social hierarchies. This changes how society and politics work. Of course, most countries manage to modernize without committing atrocities. But in countries already predisposed to sectarian conflict, modernization can trigger terrible violence.

Economic change disrupts how people organize themselves socially and therefore relate to one another. Identity becomes more salient as people search for new ways to root themselves. This means that contradictions or faultlines in identity — for example, between Myanmar’s ethnic majority and the minority Rohingya, long seen as outsiders — become more salient as well.

As we wrote earlier in the week, this is not to say that the people of Myanmar are inherently predisposed to sectarian conflict or were unready for modernization. Rather, these developments reflect the weakness of institutions, as well as political and social norms, that are meant to safeguard societies through turbulence. When they are not up to that task, as in Myanmar, the consequences can be severe.
modernization  society  ethnic  economy  banyan  crisis  2017 
october 2017 by aries1988
Capitalists need the nation-state more than it needs them – Dani Rodrik | Aeon Essays

Among the intelligentsia, the nation-state finds few advocates. Most often, it is regarded as ineffectual – morally irrelevant, or even reactionary – in the face of the challenges posed by globalisation. Economists and centrist politicians tend to view globalism’s recent setbacks as regrettable, fuelled by populist and nativist politicians who managed to capitalise on the grievances of those who feel they have been left behind and deserted by the globalist elites.

The globalist worldview is grounded in the argument that an interconnected world economy requires collective action at the global level. But this premise is largely false.

Global governance remains crucial in some areas, for example climate change or health pandemics, where the provision of global public goods is essential. But in the economic sphere the best way in which nations can serve the global good is by putting their own economic house in order.

The best definition of the nation remains that of Abbé Sieyès, one of the theorists of the French Revolution: ‘What is a nation? A body of associates living under one common law, and represented by the same legislature.’ Ethno-nationalists, with their emphasis on race, ethnicity or religion as the basis of nation, have it backward.

Institutional design comes with a fundamental trade-off. The diversity of social needs and preferences push governance down, to the local level. Meanwhile, the scale and scope of market integration push governance up, to the global level. An intermediate outcome, a world divided into diverse polities, is the best that we can do.
instituition  economy  today  opinion  politics  nation 
october 2017 by aries1988
Driven to despair — the hidden costs of the gig economy

Multiple studies have shown that genuine flexibility is good for one’s health. Francis Green, professor of work and education economics at University College London, says data from the long-running European Working Conditions Survey (which covers 44,000 workers in 35 countries) show a remarkable link between wellbeing and the option to take an hour or two off during working hours to take care of personal or family matters.

In the case of food-delivery bike riders, demand often peaks at times when conditions are most hazardous. People will often order takeaway meals when it is cold, dark and wet.

Yet one of the defining features of gig-economy work is the lack of human line managers.

He says drivers’ average fares are £15 an hour after Uber’s fee and, even after costs, the average driver took home well over the national living wage of £7.50 an hour.
work  uber  numbers  debate  economy 
october 2017 by aries1988
If your pay is not yours to keep, then neither is the tax – Philip Goff | Aeon Essays

Here’s where we’re up to: to make sense of the idea that taxation is (moral) theft, we have to make sense of the idea that each person has a moral claim on the entirety of her gross income, and this can be made sense of only if property rights are natural rather than mere human constructions. We need, therefore, to defend a theory of natural property rights.

In theory, Right-wing libertarianism does entail that people have a moral claim on their pre-tax income, and hence that taxation is theft, but only in hypothetical societies where there is zero or minimal state interference in the economy. In states in which the government intervenes in the economy through taxation – ie, in almost every developed state – market transactions are tainted and so are morally void. The Right-wing libertarian is perfectly entitled to campaign for the day when her minimal-government Utopia is brought about, but until that day she cannot consistently argue that she has a right to her pre-tax income, and hence cannot consistently complain that the government is taking what is hers by right.

Still, the vast majority happily vote for low taxes, rejoicing that they get to keep their morsel while in reality all they’ve done is protect the spoils of a tiny minority at the top. The result is our failure to create what we really need: a tax system that – as part of the wider economy – creates a just society.
tax  ethic  question  debate  economy  money  work  politics  philosophy  liberalism 
september 2017 by aries1988
What Makes Countries Rich or Poor?

Acemoglu and Robinson, generalize from these examples of bordering countries and deduce that good institutions also explain the differences in wealth between nations that aren’t neighbors and that differ greatly in their geographic environments and human populations.

why have some countries ended up with good institutions, while others haven’t? The most important factor behind their emergence is the historical duration of centralized government.

The various durations of government around the world are linked to the various durations and productivities of farming that was the prerequisite for the rise of governments.

the reversal of fortune,

in formerly poor countries with sparse native populations, such as Costa Rica and Australia, European settlers had to work themselves and developed institutional incentives rewarding work.

In the New World the two north temperate countries (the US and Canada, average incomes respectively $47,390 and $43,270) and the three south temperate countries (Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina, respectively $10,590, $10,120, and $8,620) are all richer—on the average five times richer—than almost all of the intervening seventeen tropical countries of mainland Central and South America (incomes mostly between $1,110 and $6,970).

biological characteristics of the responsible microbes have made it easier to develop vaccines against major infectious diseases of temperate areas than against tropical diseases; we still aren’t close to a vaccine against malaria, despite billions of dollars invested.

glaciers repeatedly advanced and retreated over temperate areas, creating young nutrient-rich soils.

It costs roughly seven times more to ship a ton of cargo by land than by sea

Young fertile volcanic and alluvial soils are exceptions

inclusive institutions are required for sustained growth based on technological change.

Acemoglu and Robinson’s view of history is that small effects at critical junctures have long-lasting effects, so it’s hard to make predictions. While they don’t say so explicitly, this view suggests that good institutions should have cropped up randomly around the world, depending on who happened to decide what at some particular place and time.

In their Chapter 5, Acemoglu and Robinson use one of those exceptional patterns (that for the Fertile Crescent) to assert, in the complete absence of evidence, that those particular hunter/gatherers had become sedentary because, for unknown reasons, they happened to develop innovative institutions through a hypothesized political revolution.

They take these maps to mean that the ancestors of barley and wheat were distributed along a long arc beyond the Fertile Crescent, hence that the Fertile Crescent’s unique role in agriculture’s origins was not determined by the availability of plant and animal species.

My overall assessment of the authors’ argument is that inclusive institutions, while not the overwhelming determinant of prosperity that they claim, are an important factor.
review  critic  book  debate  economy  inequality  question  instituition  environment 
september 2017 by aries1988
The Secret Economic Lives of Animals

Economists study human behavior. Nobody ever saw a dog make a fair and deliberate exchange of one bone for another with another dog, Adam Smith sniffed in The Wealth of Nations.
economy  animal  research  debate 
august 2017 by aries1988
Young Men Are Playing Video Games Instead of Getting Jobs. That's OK. (For Now.)

Games, with their endless task lists and character-leveling systems, their choice architectures and mission checklists, are purpose generators. They bring order to gamers' lives.

Video games, you might say, offer a sort of universal basic income for the soul.

There's a fine line between that psychology and good game design." This was true long before the rise of computer gaming. "People will never stop playing chess, because it's a great game. The discussions I hear are more about how can we keep these games interesting to keep playing."

One way to do that, it turns out, is to give people a sense of earned achievement. "What games are good at—what they are designed to do—is simulate being good at something," Wolpaw says.

Did all those hours playing games make me feel fulfilled? Did they make me feel as if I had made good decisions in my life? Yes—and no. At times, I found video games an entertainment experience as smart and satisfying as any novel or movie or television show I have ever absorbed. At other times, I have let go of my controller late at night, overcome by existential emptiness and the realization that I have, yet again, just spent the better part of a day engaged in an activity of no practical value to me or anyone else. I enjoy games, but not without some reservation. Sometimes I go weeks without playing. And if I had to choose between gaming and work, I know I'd pick the latter.
comparison  gaming  work  opinion  story  life  job  psychology  man  unemployment  society  economy  thinking  wellfare  question  individual 
july 2017 by aries1988
Back on his pedestal: the return of Friedrich Engels

Finally they came to Mala Pereshchepina, where the local authorities were only too glad to get rid of what was by now a legally toxic artefact.

The artist’s timing is impeccable. June’s UK general election saw a surge of support for the Labour party led by the far-left Jeremy Corbyn. Like Bernie Sanders in last year’s US Democratic primaries, this ageing socialist appealed first of all to the young.

Even now, when — for all the excesses of capitalism — the stark exploitation Engels evoked has disappeared in the western world, The Condition of the Working Class is an uncomfortable read. The homelessness of the rising generation; the precariousness of freelance work; the feared mass unemployment once artificial replaces human intelligence; the long, spiky tail of the banking collapse of 2008; the end of the postwar expectation that children will ascend further and richer than their parents — these are plausibly presented by the left as a 21st-century equivalent of the Condition of the Working, and even Middle Class of England, and the rest of the capitalist world.

It’s the only building left where Engels definitely was. He worked with Marx at a table, still there, with the books they both used. When I take Chinese visitors to see it, some of them cry.
uk  politics  communist  leader  thinking  russia  today  sculpture  economy  crisis  history  art  manchest  artist 
july 2017 by aries1988
Southeast Asia enters the danger zone
what is good about Southeast Asia — including kindness to strangers, humour, inclusiveness and flexibility — but rather that he sees these very qualities being eclipsed by a mixture of old-fashioned tyranny and baneful new influences from abroad.

inequality — and the selfishness of the business-political elites that have benefited disproportionately from economic growth both before and after Asia’s financial crisis.

America, in Brexit Britain and in oligarchical Hong Kong, so the 40 per cent of Indonesians clustered around a poverty

the 40 per cent of Indonesians clustered around a poverty earnings line of $2 a day are easy prey for demagogues. It is true that prosperity has also swollen the ranks of Asia’s middle class, but this aspiring and increasingly educated bourgeoisie is governed by the same set of authoritarian leaders and their coterie of tycoons. “This is not a sustainable paradox,” the author writes. It sounds like a recipe for revolution.

As for religion, the increasing influence of extremist Sunni interpretations of Islam over the past 30 years is startlingly visible in the dress codes and religiosity of the Muslims who make up 40 per cent of the region’s population
asia  banyan  geopolitics  today  book  opinion  economy  politics  religion  numbers  crisis  inequality 
july 2017 by aries1988
The End of Globalisation, the Return of History - Public lectures and events

Globalisation, long considered the best route to economic prosperity and the apparent norm for decades, may not be as inevitable as we think. It now threatens to go abruptly into reverse. What went wrong? And what is the likely impact upon our future prosperity?
china  globalization  future  history  economy  today  opinion  talk  video  podcast 
june 2017 by aries1988
The Great Hanoi Rat Massacre of 1902 Did Not Go as Planned
A vintage photograph of Rue Paul Bert (now Trang Tien Street), Hanoi. Public Domain In 1897, Paul Doumer arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam. A 40-something French…
animal  death  killing  city  vietnam  story  français  health  economy 
june 2017 by aries1988
India’s long road to prosperity
if incomes per head could grow at 7 per cent a year, India would achieve high-income status, at the level of Portugal, within a quarter of a century. Only three economies have achieved something close to this in the past: Taiwan, South Korea and China.
india  future  economy  book  comparison  asia  china 
june 2017 by aries1988
L’Allemagne se trompe : « Il ne s’agit pas pour elle d’aider la France, mais de sauver l’Europe »
Sans nier les défis économiques, politiques et sociétaux auxquels le pays fait face depuis une dizaine d’années – ni les insuffisances des réponses apportées sous les deux précédents quinquennats –, la France va mieux et elle est désormais sur une bonne pente.

Du coup, l’idée que « l’aide » de l’Allemagne serait nécessaire au succès du nouveau président est non seulement un brin condescendante mais sans doute très éloignée de la disposition d’esprit qui est la sienne. Non seulement ce dernier est-il probablement persuadé de sa capacité à redresser le pays par ses propres moyens et confiant dans la vertu « transformatrice » de sa propre élection, mais on peut supposer que son analyse le conduit à estimer que la France, pour peu que les réformes nécessaires soient menées à bien, peut réussir durablement dans une zone euro dont les critères de stabilité seraient inchangés.

Une analyse que confirment les évolutions de longue durée : si « décrochage » franco-allemand il y a eu depuis 2009, ce n’est pas vraiment le cas à l’aune des vingt-cinq ou trente dernières années, le ratio économique entre les deux pays (mesuré en termes de PIB comparés) étant resté grosso modo équivalent depuis la réunification allemande.
france  deutschland  economy  europe  today  future  opinion  euro  germany 
may 2017 by aries1988
Industrial Revolution Comparisons Aren't Comforting

The early to mid-19th century saw the rise of socialist ideologies, largely as a response to economic disruptions. Whatever mistakes Karl Marx made, he was a keen observer of the Industrial Revolution, and there is a reason he became so influential. He failed to see the long-run ability of capitalism to raise living standards significantly, but he understood and vividly described the transition costs and the economic volatility.

along the way the intellectual currents of the 19th century produced a lot of overreaction in other, more destructive directions. The ideas of Marx fed into the movements behind the Soviet Union, Communist China and the Khmer Rouge. Arguably, fascist doctrine also was in part a response to the disruptions of industrialization in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

an estimated 38 percent of the EU budget will be going to farm subsidies. Farms as a share of total employment are quite small (about 2 percent), but farmers as an interest group have not gone away, even hundreds of years after agricultural employment started to decline.
opinion  automation  revolution  industry  future  crisis  job  workforce  comparison  history  money  agriculture  economy 
february 2017 by aries1988
Thomas Piketty : « De l’inégalité en Chine »

Exprimé en parité de pouvoir d’achat et en euros de 2015, le revenu national par habitant est passé d’à peine 150 euros par mois en 1978 à près de 1 000 euros par mois en 2015. Si le revenu moyen du pays reste entre 3 et 4 fois plus faible qu’en Europe ou en Amérique du Nord, les 10 % des Chinois les plus aisés – soit 130 millions de personnes tout de même – disposent, eux, d’un revenu moyen équivalent à celui des pays riches.

En 2007, seule l’Italie avait un capital public négatif (avec des dettes supérieures aux actifs). En 2015, c’est le cas des Etats-Unis, du Royaume-Uni et du Japon (la France et l’Allemagne ont un capital public à peine positif). Autrement dit, les propriétaires privés détiennent non seulement la totalité du capital national, mais ont également un droit de tirage sur les recettes fiscales futures. Cela grève sérieusement la capacité régulatrice de la puissance publique.
china  numbers  economy  inequality 
february 2017 by aries1988
Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems

despite its lavish funding, neoliberalism remained at the margins. The postwar consensus was almost universal: John Maynard Keynes’s economic prescriptions were widely applied, full employment and the relief of poverty were common goals in the US and much of western Europe, top rates of tax were high and governments sought social outcomes without embarrassment, developing new public services and safety nets.

But in the 1970s, when Keynesian policies began to fall apart and economic crises struck on both sides of the Atlantic, neoliberal ideas began to enter the mainstream.

After Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan took power, the rest of the package soon followed: massive tax cuts for the rich, the crushing of trade unions, deregulation, privatisation, outsourcing and competition in public services. Through the IMF, the World Bank, the Maastricht treaty and the World Trade Organisation, neoliberal policies were imposed – often without democratic consent – on much of the world. Most remarkable was its adoption among parties that once belonged to the left: Labour and the Democrats, for example. As Stedman Jones notes, it is hard to think of another utopia to have been as fully realised.

But, as Hayek remarked on a visit to Pinochet’s Chile – one of the first nations in which the programme was comprehensively applied – my personal preference leans toward a liberal dictatorship rather than toward a democratic government devoid of liberalism.

Freedom from trade unions and collective bargaining means the freedom to suppress wages. Freedom from regulation means the freedom to poison rivers, endanger workers, charge iniquitous rates of interest and design exotic financial instruments. Freedom from tax means freedom from the distribution of wealth that lifts people out of poverty.

from those who make their money by producing new goods or services to those who make their money by controlling existing assets and harvesting rent, interest or capital gains. Earned income has been supplanted by unearned income.

Neoliberalism’s triumph also reflects the failure of the left. When laissez-faire economics led to catastrophe in 1929, Keynes devised a comprehensive economic theory to replace it. When Keynesian demand management hit the buffers in the 70s, there was an alternative ready. But when neoliberalism fell apart in 2008 there was ... nothing. This is why the zombie walks. The left and centre have produced no new general framework of economic thought for 80 years.

the flaws exposed in the 70s have not gone away; and, most importantly, they have nothing to say about our gravest predicament: the environmental crisis. Keynesianism works by stimulating consumer demand to promote economic growth. Consumer demand and economic growth are the motors of environmental destruction.
capitalism  economy  ideology  crisis  theory  history  opinion  politics  liberalism 
november 2016 by aries1988
German lessons | The Economist
Sennheiser, which makes headphones and microphones, recently passed to a new generation of Sennheisers, Andreas and Daniel, who stress the importance of “being global in everything we do”. They want to learn from “innovative customers” around the world: the Japanese are particularly demanding when it comes to sound, and Americans when it comes to fashion.
german  explained  economy  company  highlight  export 
november 2016 by aries1988
Rethinking Franco-German Relations - The New York Times
French and German people don’t speak each other’s language, and literally don’t understand one another. That’s not just a linguistic issue; it is one that appears in every political and economic discussion. It also follows that politicians and central banks talk about economics in English, a foreign language in both nations, and so it’s hardly surprising that ordinary people feel excluded and lost.
comparison  diplomacy  france  germany  economy  history  economist  today  debate 
october 2016 by aries1988
资本主义是怎么诞生的?历史社会学家这么说 | 政见 CNPolitics.org

为了回答这个问题,二十世纪中后期的一大波研究转而强调农业生产力发展的作用。在这批学者看来,十八世纪英国的特殊性不在于城市工商业精英的活跃,而在于农业生产力出现了质的飞跃。一方面,农业生产力发展解放了大量剩余劳动力;另一方面,农业生产创造了大量价值,这些价值进一步转化为工商业投资,这才有了工业革命。

彭慕兰给出了一个“资源决定论”的解释:将英国和中国区分开的关键因素是自然资源。英国在十八世纪发现了大量容易开采、运输的煤炭,同时美洲殖民地也向英国源源不断输送各种资源,这才使得英国在经济发展中占据关键优势。

孔诰烽认为,资本主义要想兴起,农业生产力的发达确实是必要的,但这只是必要条件之一。相对独立而活跃的城市工商业精英阶层,是另一个必要条件。农业发达、工商业精英活跃,这两个条件缺一不可。在孔诰烽看来,这一分析框架,能很好地解释英国、中国和日本在发展轨迹上的差异。

清代中后期的一个普遍趋势是,商人发家致富之后,往往热衷于办学校、鼓励子孙后代考科举、在农村购置地产。大量的商人家庭致力于转型成为吃俸禄的官僚阶层或者吃地租的士绅地主阶层,愿意代代经商的少之又少——这种现象在徽商群体中尤其突出。这一现象造成的结果是,虽然不断有平民通过经商致富,但商业资本无法一代一代地积累起来,也无法持续转化为工商业投资,而是最终“转回”到农业中。

孔诰烽指出,政府在处理城市阶级矛盾时倾向底层的立场,是导致工商业精英更愿意放弃经商、积极向官僚和地主士绅转型的重要因素。而工商业精英普遍热衷于向官僚和地主士绅转型,使得十八世纪的中国不存在真正独立而活跃的城市工商业精英阶层,也就无法将农业产出有效转化为自我增殖的工商业资本。

这样看来,明治维新之后的日本之所以能走上资本主义的发展道路,是因为政府通过繁重的农业税负将农业产出集中起来、进行工商业投资,在此过程中培育出相对活跃的城市工商业精英阶层。这个由国家“制造”的工商业精英,成为了日本迈向资本主义的关键。

针对孔诰烽的观点,另一位历史社会学家Mark Cohen提出了不同意见。在2015年发表于《美国社会学评论》的研究中,Cohen指出,要想真正弄清楚资本主义是如何到来的,就必须对前资本主义经济体的运行模式有更加透彻的理解。

在Cohen看来,前资本主义经济体的特征可以总结为两个基本要素。第一,农业生产是最为主要的生产活动,而作为农业生产直接参与者的农民,基本上是自给自足的——他们通过自己的生产来满足各种物质需要,基本不依赖于市场交换。第二,精英群体的收入来源是从农民那里掠夺他们农业产出的一部分,而这种掠夺主要通过政治手段完成——精英们的“掠夺权”来自于他们的政治地位或者手中所掌握的暴力工具,他们本身不直接介入农业生产。

前资本主义经济体中出现繁荣的商业并不奇怪,但这种商业有着特定的政治经济基础。随着农业生产力发展,政治精英们从农民手中掠夺的财富越来越多,他们的消费需求也越来越旺盛。前资本主义经济体中之所以出现商业,本质上是为了满足这些政治精英的消费需求,因为广大农民自给自足、基本上没有市场消费需求。

前资本主义经济体中的商业不可能一直繁荣,商人群体和商业财富也不可能通过工商业投资而持续扩大生产规模和市场贸易规模。(中国:科举+政治环境不稳定+私有财产保护法律欠缺)导致家族财产继承甚至不能得到保障)某种程度上说,转型成握有政治权力、靠掠夺农民为生的精英士绅阶层,根本就是商人群体所能选择的最为保险的长期策略。在Cohen看来,这是前资本主义经济体的普遍现象。

从Cohen的理论框架看,“活跃的城市工商业精英”本身并不是历史变革的逻辑起点,而只是一种更深层变革的表面现象。

在满足了“农业生产力持续发展”的物质条件之后,资本主义转型的核心问题,不在于城市工商业精英是否活跃,而在于这个倚仗政治权力的、不直接参与农业生产的、纯靠吃地租等方式掠夺农业产出的传统精英阶层——这个前资本主义经济体中最为关键的行动者群体——能否被消灭。

更深层的变革,便是打破前资本主义社会中“自给自足的小农——掠夺农民的精英”这个二元格局。只要这个二元格局不被打破,“活跃的城市工商业精英”就不可能出现。

历史社会学家Vivek Chibber指出,在十七世纪早期之前,英国的主要农业生产方式就已经变成了由土地所有者直接组织雇佣工人进行生产、通过市场交易将产出变为利润的“类资本主义”方式,“自给自足的小农——掠夺农民的精英”二元格局已不复存在。

Cohen, M. (2015). Historical sociology’s puzzle of the missing transitions: A case study of early modern Japan. American Sociological Review, 80(3), 603-625.
Hung, H. F. (2008). Agricultural revolution and elite reproduction in Qing China: The transition to capitalism debate revisited. American Sociological Review, 73(4), 569-588.
sociology  modern  history  uk  china  japan  debate  theory  economy  development  comparison 
october 2016 by aries1988
The Economics of Dining as a Couple
It is, to be sure, an advanced technique, which requires a fairly intimate knowledge of your partner, and a certain generosity of spirit.
tips  howto  life  economy  restaurant  couple  moi  money  share 
october 2016 by aries1988
The meaning of trust in the age of Airbnb — FT.com
One of the underrated achievements of the modern world has been to develop ways to extend the circle of trust by depersonalising it. Trust used to be a very personal thing: you would trust your friends or friends of friends. But when I withdrew €400 from a cash machine, it was not because the bank trusted me but because it could verify that my bank would repay the money. This is a cold corporate miracle.

Over the past few years, people have been falling in love with a hybrid model that allows a personal reputation to work even between strangers. One example is Airbnb, which lets people stay in the homes of complete strangers, a considerable exercise of trust on both sides.
trust  economy  airbnb  discrimination  race 
august 2016 by aries1988
War and peace in Asia — FT.com
he was also keen to reassure his audience that China’s rise would not lead to conflict with the outside world — “We all need to work together to avoid the Thucydides trap — destructive tensions between an emerging power and established powers,” he insisted.

Xi’s reference to “Thucydides’ trap” showed that he (or his staff) had been following the American debate about the rise of China. Graham Allison, a Harvard professor, had coined the phrase with reference to the ancient Greek historian’s observation that the war between Athens and Sparta in the fifth century BC was caused by Sparta's fears of a rising Athens. He has calculated that in 12 of 16 cases since 1500, the rivalry between a great power and a rising power had ended in war.

In the Middle East, a state-system largely constructed by Britain and France in the early 20th century — and which was then maintained by American power after 1945 — is now crumbling, amid violence and political anarchy.

The red thread connecting these seemingly regional crises is the west’s growing inability to function as a pole of stability and power, imposing order on a chaotic world.

The fundamental reason for the shift in economic power to Asia is simple: weight of numbers. By 2025 some two-thirds of the world’s population will live in Asia. By contrast the US will account for about 5 per cent of the world’s population and the European Union about 7 per cent.

Hans Rosling of Sweden’s Karolinska Institute puts it nicely when he describes the world’s pin code as “1114” — meaning that of the planet’s 7bn people, roughly 1bn live in Europe, 1bn live in the Americas, 1bn in Africa and 4bn in Asia. By 2050, the world’s population is likely to be 9bn, and the pin code will change to 1125, with both Africa and Asia adding a billion people.

stalwarts of the US foreign policy establishment, such as Madeleine Albright and Tom Donilon, make it clear that the maintenance of open global markets and the US alliance system remain the twin pillars of American foreign policy — as since 1945.
today  geopolitics  world  china  usa  europe  opinion  conflict  future  asia  economy  military 
august 2016 by aries1988
Three-piece dream suit | The Economist
After years of falling prices and fitful growth, Japan’s nominal GDP was roughly the same in 2015 as it was 20 years earlier. America’s grew by 134% in the same time period; even Italy’s went up by two-thirds. Now Japan is in the spotlight for a different reason: its attempts at economic resuscitation.

Japanese seem to prefer kaizen, or continuous improvement, to kaikaku, a pejorative word for reform.
2016  japan  leader  reform  state  economy  opinion 
july 2016 by aries1988
Baidu uses millions of users' location data to make predictions | New Scientist
The researchers hand-labelled thousands of areas of interest – offices, shopping centres and industrial zones – across China. Then they studied location data from the end of 2014 to the middle of 2016 to see how many people were at those places at each time, and how that changed through the year.
data  baidu  study  chinese  economy  opinion 
july 2016 by aries1988
Out of the Master’s shadow

THE Master said, ‘I transmit rather than innovate. I trust in and love the ancient ways’. Those words from Confucius seem to offer a cultural explanation for why China is an innovation laggard.

how does he explain the rise of outstanding Chinese firms? Mr Fuller believes that ethnic Chinese, foreign-invested firms…are the hidden dragons driving China’s technological development. He argues that the best ones are only partly Chinese, with hybrid structures that allow access to capital and talent from outside the mainland.

talent from Hong Kong or Taiwan, who blend knowledge of Chinese culture with global sophistication.

Unlike those in established markets, they are quite forgiving of mistakes, which lets firms experiment, fail and learn quickly.
china  economy  innovation  book 
july 2016 by aries1988
The end of the line
Call centres have created millions of good jobs in the emerging world. Technology threatens to take those jobs away again
job  economy 
february 2016 by aries1988
Three wise men | The Economist
WHATEVER image you may have of the reformists hoping to shake up China’s creaking economic system, it is probably not one of octogenarians who fiddle with their hearing aids and take afternoon naps. But that is a fair description of three of the country’s loudest voices for change: Mr Market, Mr Shareholding and the most radical of all, the liberal. With growth slowing, the stockmarket once again in trouble and financial risks looking more ominous, their diagnoses of the economy, born of decades of experience, are sobering.

Wu Jinglian, Li Yining and Mao Yushi—their real names—were born within two years of each other in 1929 and 1930 in Nanjing, then China’s capital. Whether it was that or pure coincidence, all three grew up to demand an end to Soviet-style central planning and to propose, to varying degrees, capitalism in its place. Their influence has waned with age, but their powers of analysis remain sharp. And they do not much like what they see.
chinese  expert  economy  opinion  future  reform  liberalism 
january 2016 by aries1988
Belgium: a nation divided by more than two languages
This was not always the case. Wallonia was among the first regions in northern Europe to industrialise in the 19th century, with industries such as glass making and coal mining. By contrast, the largely agrarian Flanders fell behind. But Flanders boomed in the postwar era, attracting much foreign investment. The Walloon economy, meanwhile, collapsed as the region’s main heavy industries faltered. Between 1980 and 2010, the number of jobs in manufacturing halved from one in four to just one in 10. Although Wallonia has well-regarded universities in Liège, Mons and Namur, the ones that are at the top of global rankings — such as Leuven and Ghent — are in Flanders. While wealth plays a role, the real divide is linguistic. The majority of people in Belgium speak Dutch as their first language. Nearly 60 per cent of Dutch speakers also speak French, but barely one in five of Belgium’s francophone population can speak Dutch.
history  explained  numbers  belgique  analysis  economy  benelux  language  industry  français 
november 2015 by aries1988
Why welcoming more refugees makes economic sense for Europe | New Scientist
Any pull is insignificant compared to push – such as the ever-increasing hardship in Middle-Eastern refugee camps, Goldin says.

Germany had 200,000 more deaths than births in 2012, more than compensated by 391,000 immigrants. In contrast, UK prime minister David Cameron bowed to public pressure and this week said the country would take just 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020.

Those travelling on their own can look up how-to guides written by others who’ve made it. One refugee showed a reporter at Public Radio International a video explaining, step-by-step, how to get across the Serbian-Hungarian border. Others post real-time updates about what areas are safe to travel through – where water is safe to drink, for example.
2015  refugee  middle-east  europe  analysis  economy  opinion  population  germany  numbers 
september 2015 by aries1988
Lunch with the FT: Thomas Piketty - FT.com
Germany and France, that benefited from debt cancellations after the second world war: a move that allowed 30 years of growth on the continent. “There’s some sort of collective amnesia,” he says, getting more animated. “It is this cancellation that allowed them to invest in education, innovation and public infrastructure. And now, those same countries tell Greece that it will have to pay 4 per cent of its GDP for 30 years. Who can believe this?

A 90 per cent tax rate would not bother me,” he says. “There would still be a lot left, since we’re talking about several millions. I benefited from an education system, public infrastructure. I got lucky, too . . . This idea that Bill Gates invented the computer alone, it’s a joke. Without computer sciences researchers who did not patent their work, who would have invented it?
interview  economy  economist  europe 
august 2015 by aries1988
中国各省经济差异加大 - 新闻与分析 - FT中文网
黑龙江就属于经济表现最糟糕的地区之一。在一季度中国名义同比增长率降至5.8%之际(这是自全球金融危机以来的最低水平),黑龙江省的名义GDP实际上收缩了3.2%。

在哈尔滨市中心的一家大型豪华购物中心,多家商铺的门脸已经用木板钉上。购物中心内部,除了一家豪华家具店和一家宾利(Bentley)代理商以外,其他店铺已被弃用。而在那家宾利代理商的店铺内,三名销售人员正在拐角的沙发上打瞌睡。

目前,哈尔滨平均月工资水平只有大约4500元人民币。

Wigram Capital创始人罗德尼•琼斯(Rodney Jones)表示:“事实证明,居民消费水平较高的富有省份和地区的抵抗力要强一些。较贫穷省份对经济下行的体会最强烈,这些省份的赤字最高,其增长对投资的依赖也最大。”琼斯曾任索罗斯基金管理公司(Soros Fund Management)的亚洲研究部门主管。

他估计,今年第一季度,在中国31个省级行政区中,11个省区的经济在扣除物价因素之后低于前一季度——尽管上海和北京等富裕地区的经济表现相当不错。
2015  china  economy  manchuria  numbers  province 
may 2015 by aries1988
Back in the cold | The Economist
The north-east has, to a certain extent, been a victim of geography. Unlike the east and south of China, which straddle major international trading lanes, the north-eastern provinces’ two foreign neighbours are North Korea and the sparsely populated far east of Russia and it is not far from the equally desolate expanse of Mongolia. Their dominant commercial relations have been with Japan, but heightened tensions between China and Japan in the past couple of years have got in the way. Japanese investment in Liaoning was 33.5% lower year-on-year in the first three quarters of 2014. South Korean investment, about a third of Japan’s, fell even more sharply. Demography has also started to hurt. China as a whole is struggling to adapt as the working-age population peaks. The birth rate in the north-east, however, is less than one child per woman: a third lower than the national average. Even Japan’s, at 1.4, is higher. The north-east is beginning to age rapidly. And it is suffering from emigration, with a net 2m residents working in other parts of China, according to Peking University researchers.
economy  analysis  china  today  manchuria 
may 2015 by aries1988
China migration: At the turning point - FT.com
As a share of its population, Guang’an was the biggest contributor to China’s “migrant miracle”, three decades of breakneck economic growth underpinned by an unprecedented flow of labour from countryside to city, according to a Financial Times analysis of data from China’s 2010 census. Nearly a third of Guang’an’s 4.7m registered inhabitants no longer live here.
capital  labor  China  work  generation  population  economy  analysis 
may 2015 by aries1988
The red and the black: copper v oil
The red metal is known as Dr Copper for its supposed ability to predict where the world economy is going. Copper crops up in everything from cars to phones to computer chips. A fall in its price, the theory goes, suggests global demand is slowing.
economy  price  explained  resource 
january 2015 by aries1988
World economy: Past and future tense | The Economist
The world economy in 2015 will carry troubling echoes of the late 1990s
economy  2015 
december 2014 by aries1988
Croissance : l’Europe décroche des Etats-Unis
Les États-Unis et la zone euro n'en finissent pas de diverger. Leurs profils de croissance étaient restés assez proches jusqu'à la fin 2010. Depuis, la divergence de leurs économies s'est spectaculairement creusée au point qu'elle constitue l'un des faits économiques majeurs de l'après-crise. Les écarts sont impressionnants. La reprise américaine gagne en robustesse mois après mois, quand les risques d'une nouvelle récession ou d'une période de " stagnation prolongée " augmentent, selon l'Organisation de Coopération et de Développement Économiques (OCDE), dans une zone euro en perte de vitesse.
europe  economie  economy  comparison  today  usa 
november 2014 by aries1988
James Surowiecki: The Surprising Complexity of Lobster Prices : The New Yorker
The key, though, is that restaurants are able to adopt such strategies only because the restaurant business is not, at heart, a commodity market. few customers who are making decisions about where to go based solely on the price of lobster. And restaurants, obviously, can add value to the lobster they serve with unique recipes, décor, dockside location, and so on.
restaurant  economy  instapaper_favs  explained 
october 2013 by aries1988
Italo-German Ties: Face the Music
The current crisis is driving a wedge between Germans and Italians. Newspapers are filled with reciprocal accusations and criticism, and the gap between the two countries is getting wider and wider. Time to focus on a powerful commonality: Music. Contrary to any other crisis in the last eight decades, this one is taking a decisive cultural turn. Some Germans claim it is due to the Italian passion for complaining and not delivering, and Italians believe it is due to a German desire for supremacy. Italians coming home carry with them stories of what they perceive to be a “German closed society.” Think about what could happen in Germany if the country joins the recession bunch, and jobless Germans would have to face the competition of millions of foreigners that have entered the country in the previous years.
italia  economy  today  deutschland  history  germany 
july 2013 by aries1988
A New Yorker Interactive
IDEA OF THE WEEK INEQUALITY AND NEW YORK’S SUBWAY
data  infographics  economy  rich  newyorker 
april 2013 by aries1988
Germany’s labour market: Wunderreform | The Economist
WHEN Gerhard Schröder took to the podium in the Bundestag on March 14th, 2003, Germany was called the “sick man of Europe”. More than 4m Germans (11.6% of the workforce) were on the dole. A widespread assumption was that unemployment could never be defeated, merely “administered,” says Wolfgang Clement, who was the former chancellor’s labour and economics minister. Countering that spirit, Mr Schröder unveiled a package of reforms that he called Agenda 2010. The leader of the opposition, a little-known physicist from east Germany called Angela Merkel, derided it as unambitious. But it soon became clear that the agenda would transform Germany’s labour market.
from:kindle  economy  germany 
april 2013 by aries1988
Episode 431: A Billion-Dollar Bet Against Weight-Loss Shakes : Planet Money : NPR
Herbalife, a company that sells weight loss shakes, vitamins and other similar products, is worth billions of dollars. The company has been around for more than 30 years, and it's traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Bill Ackman thinks the whole thing is a pyramid scheme.Not surprisingly, Herbalife disagrees. Ackman manages a hedge fund that has shorted more than a billion dollars' worth of Herbalife stock. If the stock falls — and Ackman says he thinks it will fall all the way to zero — the fund will make money. On today's show, we talk to Ackman and to Herbalife. And we consider what it means when an investor bets that a company will fail.
explained  economy  podcast  story  amway 
january 2013 by aries1988
So much to do, so little time | The Economist
Yet there is also a much more positive side to the country. It is the world’s fifth-biggest economy and sixth-biggest exporter. In the first half of 2012 it was the fourth-biggest recipient of foreign direct investment. It has more big multinational companies in the global Fortune 500 than Britain. The French are especially strong in top-end goods and services: luxury goods, food processing, pharmaceuticals, fashion. The infrastructure, especially in transport and energy, is second to none. Although many universities are mediocre, the grandes écoles, such as the Polytechnique and the HEC business school, are world class. The health system is widely admired. And unlike most other European countries France has a relatively favourable demographic outlook, with a birth rate just above replacement level.
future  france  economy  infographics  numbers  explained 
november 2012 by aries1988
The decade of Xi Jinping | Gavyn Davies
In fact, the handover has been described by Citigroup economists as the first complete and orderly transition of power in the 91-year history of the Chinese Communist party. During President Hu’s decade, China’s real GDP per capita rose at 9.9 per cent per annum. China accounted for 24 per cent of the entire growth in the global economy, and Chinese annual consumption of many basic commodities now stands at about half of the world total. China’s re-emergence as a global economic powerhouse is by now fairly well understood. Following the Deng Xiaoping reforms after 1978, and the opening of the economy to domestic and international markets, China has engaged in a process of economic catch-up similar to that which Japan and Korea achieved in earlier decades. The supply of under-employed labour in rural areas will be drained, the growth of manufacturing will peak, and the ability to import superior technology from other economies will run out of rope. Although the Hu administration was able to maintain the growth rate of real GDP, it did so after 2008 only by boosting the ratio of fixed investment in the economy to compensate for the declining share of net trade and the sluggish performance of household consumption. Fixed investment is now about 50 per cent of GDP, with consumption standing at only 35 per cent. ...suggesting that returns on capital are falling. He thinks there has been substantial over-investment and estimates that the desirable share of fixed investment in GDP is only about 33-34 per cent.
future  economy  china 
november 2012 by aries1988
Israel 2012 vs. London 1944 - By Michael Peck | Foreign Policy
The irony is that while smart bombs are supposed to be the pinnacle of warfare, it's the dumb bombs that are the real pains. If the V-1s or Hamas rockets were precision-guided weapons, the British and Israelis could guess their enemies' likely targets and concentrate their defenses accordingly. But when a rocket has an equal chance of striking an empty field or an apartment building, it is difficult to know which can be ignored and which must be destroyed. Low-tech is low-tech, but it is an effective way to wage warfare.
googlereader  economy  comparison  economie  war  history 
november 2012 by aries1988
European economy guide
The Economist: Daily chart: Our interactive guide to Europe's economies Currency Economy - GDP per person - Unemployment - Youth unemployment Debt - Public debt - Budget balance - Primary balance Growth - Latest GDP change - 2012 GDP forecast - 2013 GDP forecast http://www.instapaper.com/read/338615919
economy  comparison  showcase  europe 
november 2012 by aries1988
The world in 2060: The OECD's forecasts | The Economist
Daily chart: How countries' per person will compare in 2060 Even so the Chinese and Indians will still be much less well-off than Americans (see chart). The same forecasts show GDP per person in China at 59% of that in America; in India it will be only 27%. And Americans will increase their lead over the citizens of some developed countries like France and Italy.
europe  future  numbers  usa  economy  comparison  gdp  rich 
november 2012 by aries1988
Electricity in Myanmar: Area of darkness | The Economist
Why a satellite of at night tells more about the economy than official statistics
macro  data  economy  asia  satellite 
october 2012 by aries1988
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