Showing posts with label Economic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Economic. Show all posts

19 February 2017

Imagining India’s first 100 Million City

Saurabh Chandra

Countries need moonshots. Without a goal in the future that excites a lot of young people (and we have a LOT of young people in India), things can get pretty restive and eventually messy. A feeling of a fixed pie focuses people into grabbing more of its share. Moonshots that can tremendously grow the pie focus people into thinking — how do I become a part of that. An obvious moonshot in front of humanity is a colony on Mars. For India, an obvious moonshot is available here on earth itself — world’s first 100 Million city.

The original moonshot was a leap of technology and it created a whole lot of technology spinoffs that created utilitarian justification for the Apollo programme. Making a 100 Million city is also a technological challenge but the benefits are humongous in the outcome itself and we don’t have to justify it in terms of spin-offs to the bean counters. Cities produce wealth and higher density of living is environmentally more sustainable (since we can optimise per person consumption).

The challenge is also not mere technological. It is sociological, political and even administrative. And that is what is great about this idea — it is a grand challenge in multiple dimensions and solving it will pull up our capabilities in all those terms. Compared to making 100 cities, creating exceptions and special laws for 1 is much more feasible. It also plays to India’s strengths and weaknesses where we have been far better at concentrating our best talent on a few problems and running them on mission mode.

13 January 2017

Choose the best tax saving instrument for you

Babar Zaidi

So many options, so little time. If you have still not completed your tax planning for 2016-17, don’t panic. 

ET Wealth’s annual ranking of tax saving instruments cuts through the clutter and tells you which is the most suitable option for you. 

ET Wealth Ratings 

6 January 2017

The end of capitalism has begun

Paul Mason

Without us noticing, we are entering the postcapitalist era. At the heart of further change to come is information technology, new ways of working and the sharing economy. The old ways will take a long while to disappear, but it’s time to be utopian 

The red flags and marching songs of Syriza during the Greek crisis, plus the expectation that the banks would be nationalised, revived briefly a 20th-century dream: the forced destruction of the market from above. For much of the 20th century this was how the left conceived the first stage of an economy beyond capitalism. The force would be applied by the working class, either at the ballot box or on the barricades. The lever would be the state. The opportunity would come through frequent episodes of economic collapse.

Instead over the past 25 years it has been the left’s project that has collapsed. The market destroyed the plan; individualism replaced collectivism and solidarity; the hugely expanded workforce of the world looks like a “proletariat”, but no longer thinks or behaves as it once did.

24 December 2016

Raghuram Rajan Takes On Critics, Again, And Shows Chart By Chart Why They're Wrong

Rimin Dutt

Governments should protect the independence of central banks and look beyond uninformed criticism, he says 

Outgoing Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan took on critics again Tuesday and defended the key policies undertaken by the central bank during his tenure, going into extraordinary detail explaining the context of many of the bank's decisions.

Specifically, he addressed concerns about interest rates, which many of his critics say have been too high, hurting credit growth and spending, and the RBI-mandated clean-up of bad loans and balance sheets at banks, which some critics allege has compounded the credit growth slowdown.

"The RBI, of course, stands by its policies," Rajan said addressing the 10th Statistics Day conference at the RBI headquarters. "Nevertheless, this debate is very important because it could shape policy directions in India over the medium term."

Economic Conditions Snapshot, December 2016: McKinsey Global Survey results

In the face of political transitions and concerns over trade, executives expect improvements at home and a stable global economy—with some regional divergences. 

As executives look ahead to a new year, they see political transitions as a leading risk to global and domestic growth—and among the more pressing threats to their businesses—in McKinsey’s latest survey on economic conditions.1In parallel, slowing trade also has risen as a threat to global growth, especially for respondents in China and developed Asia.2Despite these uncertainties, executives are more positive than negative about economic prospects at home and, as they have all year long, expect global economic conditions to hold steady. Across regions, though, outlooks can vary. Respondents in China and the United States report increasingly positive expectations for their economies and believe growth rates will improve in coming months, while opinions on the eurozone are mixed. Nearly everyone sees more global volatility on the way. 
Political transitions at the fore 

2 December 2016

2017 Index Of Economic Freedom: Trade And Prosperity At Risk – Analysis

By Bryan Riley and Ambassador Terry Miller*

The latest rankings of trade freedom around the world, developed by The Heritage Foundation in the forthcoming 2017 Index of Economic Freedom,[1] once again demonstrate that citizens of countries that embrace trade freedom are better off than those in countries that do not. The data continue to show a strong correlation between trade freedom and a variety of positive indicators, including economic prosperity, low poverty rates, and clean environments.

Worldwide, the average trade freedom score improved just barely over the past year, from 75.6 to 75.9 out of a maximum score of 100. The improvement was due to a small decline in average tariff rates among the countries measured.
Why Trade Freedom Matters

A comparison of economic performance and trade scores in the 2017 Index of Economic Freedomdemonstrates the importance of trade freedom to prosperity and well-being. Countries with the most trade freedom have higher per capita incomes, lower incidences of hunger in their populations, and cleaner environments.

29 November 2016

Five Stages Of Climate Grief – OpEd

NOVEMBER 28, 2016

Ever since the elections, our media, schools, workplaces and houses of worship have presented stories showcasing the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Liberal-progressive snowflakes are wallowing in denial, anger and depression. They cannot work, attend class or take exams. They need safe “healing” spaces, Play-Doh, comfort critters and counseling. Too many throw tirades equating Donald Trump with Adolph Hitler, while too few are actually moving to Canada, New Zeeland or Jupiter, after solemnly promising they would.

Nouveau grief is also characterized by the elimination of bargaining and acceptance – and their replacement by two new stages: intolerance for other views and defiance or even riots. Sadly, it appears these new stages have become a dominant, permanent, shameful feature of liberal policies and politics.

The Left has long been intolerant of alternative viewpoints. Refusing to engage or debate, banning or forcibly removing books and posters, threatening and silencing contrarians, disinviting or shouting down conservative speakers, denying tax exempt status to opposing political groups, even criminalizing and prosecuting climate change “deniers” – have all become trademark tactics. Defiance and riots were rare during the Obama years, simply because his government enforced lib-prog ideologies and policies.

Liberals view government as their domain, their reason for being, far too important to be left to “poorly educated” rural and small-town voters, blue-collar workers or other “deplorable” elements. Liberals may not care what we do in our bedrooms, but they intend to control everything outside those four walls.

Trump’s Economic Plan: This Isn’t Going To Work – OpEd

NOVEMBER 28, 2016

Will Donald Trump be good for the US economy?

The American people seem to think so. According to a recent survey taken by Gallup “Americans have relatively high expectations (of) the president-elect… Substantial majorities (upward of 60%) believe the Trump administration will improve the economy and create jobs. A slim majority (52%) say he’ll improve the healthcare system.”

Even more impressive, the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index spiked to a 93.8 -high in November, signaling a significant improvement in overall consumer attitudes about the economy.

Analysts attribute this change in outlook to the recent presidential election which showed a marked-uptick in optimism “across all income and age subgroups across the country.”

“The initial reaction of consumers to Trump’s victory was to express greater optimism about their personal finances as well as improved prospects for the national economy,” said Richard Curtin, the survey’s chief economist.

So, people are not just giving Trump the benefit of the doubt, they genuinely think their economic situation is going to get better under the new president.

The results are particularly significant when we realize that the economy not only topped the list of important issues going into the November elections, but that also (according to a survey conducted by Edison Research) “Three in five voters said the country was seriously on the wrong track and about the same number said the economy was either not good or poor. Two-thirds said their personal financial situation was either worse or the same as it was four years ago. About one in three voters said they expected life to be worse for the next generation.”

27 November 2016

League of nationalists

Nov 19th 2016 

AFTER the sans culottes rose up against Louis XVI in 1789 they drew up a declaration of the universal rights of man and of the citizen. Napoleon’s Grande Armée marched not just for the glory of France but for liberty, equality and fraternity. By contrast, the nationalism born with the unification of Germany decades later harked back to Blut und Boden—blood and soil—a romantic and exclusive belief in race and tradition as the wellspring of national belonging. The German legions were fighting for their Volk and against the world.

All societies draw on nationalism of one sort or another to define relations between the state, the citizen and the outside world. Craig Calhoun, an American sociologist, argues that cosmopolitan elites, who sometimes yearn for a post-nationalist order, underestimate “how central nationalist categories are to political and social theory—and to practical reasoning about democracy, political legitimacy and the nature of society itself.” 

It is troubling, then, how many countries are shifting from the universal, civic nationalism towards the blood-and-soil, ethnic sort. As positive patriotism warps into negative nationalism, solidarity is mutating into distrust of minorities, who are present in growing numbers (see chart 1). A benign love of one’s country—the spirit that impels Americans to salute the Stars and Stripes, Nigerians to cheer the Super Eagles and Britons to buy Duchess of Cambridge teacups—is being replaced by an urge to look on the world with mistrust.

20 November 2016

An Economic Ultimatum for the Arab World

NOV 16, 2016 2

WASHINGTON, DC – If Middle Eastern countries do not start making real progress on fundamental political and economic reforms, further regional turmoil is inevitable. With the rentier systems that governments have maintained for decades now at a breaking point, policymakers must begin the difficult, but not impossible, process of establishing new social contracts.

That contract in Arab countries started to erode at the turn of the century, when governments with inflated budgets and bloated bureaucracies could no longer provide an adequate supply of basic services such as health care and education, create a sufficient number of jobs, or sustain food and fuel subsidies. But, despite diminished state benefits, most leaders have continued to insist that their countries’ people uphold their end of the contract by not participating meaningfully in public life.

Arab governments were able to sustain inefficient economies for decades because they were propped up by oil revenues. In recent decades, most Arab countries have benefited in some way from the Middle East’s abundant oil and gas reserves. Hydrocarbon-producing countries used their profits to buy their citizens’ loyalty and establish what were effectively welfare states; and non-oil producers enjoyed the benefits of aid, capital inflows, and remittances sent back by their nationals working in resource-rich countries.

Because the governments of oil-producing countries used revenues to provide for most of their people’s needs – including jobs, services, and favors – these governments fostered a culture of dependency, rather than encouraging self-reliance and entrepreneurship to expand the private sector. What’s more, because they did not need to tax their citizens to generate revenues, people had little recourse to challenge authoritarianism. The political culture reflected a simple principle: “no taxation, no representation.”

16 November 2016

Asia Frets over Trump, But There’s an Economic Upside

November 14, 2016

Donald Trump’s surprise election win sent shockwaves through Asian markets, while his apparent intent to cancel the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has not helped sentiment either. But providing he avoids provoking a trade war with China, a Trump administration could actually be beneficial to Asia’s economy.

Here is a quick look at the positives and negatives for the world’s most dynamic economic region.

Positives: U.S. Economic Growth

A stronger U.S. economy would not only benefit Americans. Providing Trump does not follow through on threats to slap tariffs of up to 45 percent on Chinese imports, Asia’s major exporters, including China, Japan and South Korea, would all benefit should America’s consumers increase spending, along with the promised boost to U.S. infrastructure.

Accounting for nearly a quarter of global gross domestic product, any pickup in the United States, the world’s largest economy, would help propel global GDP higher and lift millions more out of poverty in Asia.

The last two presidents to expand America’s role in the global economy were Clinton and Reagan, with U.S. GDP accounting for around 32 percent of the global economy when Clinton left office. (It was 34 percent under Reagan). Reversing that slide would help global trade start recovering and the world economy get back to at least trend growth, after two years of subpar performance.

Stronger Dollar

13 November 2016

GCC States To Boost Economic Integration

NOVEMBER 11, 2016

Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, second deputy premier and minister of defense, said GCC as a bloc has the potential to become the sixth largest economy in the world if it acts wisely in the coming years.

He was speaking at the first meeting of the GCC’s Commission of Economic and Developmental Affairs at the Conference Palace in Riyadh on Thursday.

The prince said: “Today we should try to take advantage of opportunities, knowing that we live in an era of many economic fluctuations around the world, and we are in need of cementing a bloc in the era of blocs.
“We want, through this meeting, to proceed toward realizing the goal of the GCC leaders and people, which is to achieve growth and prosperity.”

The deputy crown prince stressed that many achievements have been attained recently, “which have had positive returns and benefits for our countries and people,” adding that many more opportunities can be grasped in order to ensure further economic prosperity, growth and security in the GCC countries.

The meeting was attended by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, UAE’s deputy prime minister and minister of presidential affairs; Nasser bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, representative of the King of Bahrain for humanitarian and youth affairs; Khalid bin Hilal bin Saud Al-Bousaeedi, minister of the Royal Court of Oman and his country’s representative at the commission; Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassem Al-Thani, Qatari minister of foreign affairs; Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, Kuwaiti minister of state for Cabinet affairs; and Abdullatif Al-Zayani, secretary-general of the GCC.

30 October 2016

Thailand: ‘Sufficiency Economics’ King Bhumibol’s Best Legacy – Analysis

By Lim Kooi Fong* 
OCTOBER 27, 2016

One of the most enduring images of the late Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej is that he is almost always seen with a camera around his neck or in his hand during his time visiting regions within Thailand, checking on projects, which he personally supported and followed up.For over 70 years of his reign,

Thailand’s much loved monarch kept a promise – the promise that he would reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the Siamese people.

In 1997 when Thailand suffered its worst economic crisis in living memory, he came up with his now trademark ‘Sufficiency Economics’ theory, based on Buddhist principles to help alleviate the suffering of his people – especially the mental condition. The theory was based on the experience of over 40 years in helping his people to adopt a sustainable development model.

As of 1998, there were 2,159 royal development projects initiated by the King and implemented throughout the country. Most of the projects are aimed at improving the living conditions of his subjects, particularly those in the remote rural areas.

Sometimes he would use his own funds in the early stages to help a project get off the ground. In 1988, he established the Chaipattana Foundation to fund and help in accelerating rural development projects that are beneficial to the people and the country as a whole.

The off-shoot of his passion for the deprived sections of the Thai people is his ‘New Theory’ in land management and the development of water sources for agricultural purposes. The ‘New Theory’ was a simple formula: 30-30-30-10.

The Made-in-America Global Security and Economic System Still Serves U.S. Interests

October 26, 2016

When the new president takes office next January, a world of troubles awaits. Violent extremism, irresponsible adventurism by China, an aggressive and authoritarian Russia, economic uncertainty and racial unrest at home, to name a few issues, will give no peace to the White House's new occupant, Democrat or Republican.

The new president will also inherit a global system of security and economic institutions.

There is no doubt this system has been good for the world, producing 70 years without a great power war—the longest such stretch in modern history—a standard of living in the West that is the highest ever achieved, and billions lifted out of poverty around the globe.

But less remarked upon is the fact that it has also been good for America.

This system has been good for the world, producing 70 years without a great power war.

Carefully built and tended following the destruction and horror of World War II, the system has kept America out of devastating foreign wars in Europe and Asia. It has enabled Americans to attain lifestyles that the last generation that fought a global war could never have imagined as they suffered horrific casualties at Iwo Jima or wondered if they would survive the Battle of the Bulge.

Even less remarked upon is that the global system was designed by and made in America. The United States built it and has sought to sustain and expand it, joined in partnership with a voluntary association of a large and diverse array of the richest, freest, most advanced countries in history, all of which find it in their interest to work with the United States. Because of it, the United States enjoys a remarkable position of power and possibilities.

23 October 2016

Washington’s Global Economic Wars – OpEd

OCTOBER 21, 2016

During most of the past two decades Washington has aggressively launched military and economic wars against at least nine countries, either directly or through its military aid to regional allies and proxies. US air and ground troops have bombed or invaded Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon.

More recently Washington has escalated its global economic war against major economic rivals as well as against weaker countries. The US no longer confines its aggressive impulses to peripheral economic countries in the Middle East, Latin America and Southern Asia: It has declared trade wars against world powers in Asia, Eastern and Central Europe and the Gulf states.

The targets of the US economic aggression include economic powerhouses like Russia, China, Germany, Iran and Saudi Arabia, as well as Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, Cuba and the Donbas region of Ukraine.

There is an increasingly thinner distinction between military and economic warfare, as the US has frequently moved from one to the other, particularly when economic aggression has not resulted in ‘regime change’ – as in the case of the sanctions campaign against Iraq leading up to the devastating invasion and destruction.

10 October 2016

How digital finance could boost growth in emerging economies

By James Manyika, Susan Lund, Marc Singer, Olivia White, and Chris Berry
September 2016 

How digital finance could boost growth in emerging economies

Delivering financial services by mobile phone could benefit billions of people by spurring inclusive growth that adds $3.7 trillion to the GDP of emerging economies within a decade. 

Two billion individuals and 200 million micro, small, and midsize businesses in emerging economies today lack access to savings and credit. Even those with access must often pay high fees for a limited range of products. Economic growth suffers. But a solution is right in people’s hands: a mobile phone. Digital finance—payments and financial services delivered via mobile phones and the Internet—could transform the lives and economic prospects of individuals, businesses, and governments across the developing world, boosting GDP and making the aspiration of financial inclusiona reality. 

A new report from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), Digital finance for all: Powering inclusive growth in emerging economies, is the first attempt to quantify the full impact of digital finance. In addition to extensive economic modeling, the report draws on the findings of field visits to seven countries—Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, Mexico, Nigeria, and Pakistan—and more than 150 expert interviews. It also lays out the key conditions that will need to be met to capture the benefits. 

The research finds that widespread adoption and use of digital finance could increase the GDPs of all emerging economies by 6 percent, or a total of $3.7 trillion, by 2025. This is the equivalent of adding to the world an economy the size of Germany, or one that’s larger than all the economies of Africa. This additional GDP could create up to 95 million new jobs across all sectors of the economy. 

3 October 2016

Economic Conditions Snapshot, September 2016: McKinsey Global Survey results

Executives in emerging markets are newly optimistic for the future of their home economies, while respondents globally expect stable conditions in the world economy.

For the first time since 2014, executives in emerging markets are more optimistic about their home countries’ prospects than are their peers in developed markets—and Latin America is a particular bright spot, according to McKinsey’s latest survey on economic conditions.1Respondents in the region,2long the most downbeat on economic conditions at home, report increasingly positive views on the state of their countries’ economies and are among the most bullish on future conditions.

At the same time, executives in Latin America report increasing concerns over political issues at home—none too surprising, since Brazil’s Senate voted to impeach President Dilma Rousseff the same week the survey was in the field. Political risks (specifically, leadership transitions and domestic political conflicts) also top the overall list of threats to domestic growth. Despite these risks, respondents predict stability in the global economy in the coming months, with emerging-market respondents again more positive than developed-market executives.

1 October 2016

Has Hong Kong's Economy Peaked?

The sun may be setting on Hong Kong's once indomitable economy.

From 1981 to 2015, Hong Kong sustained an annual growth rate of almost 5 percent, despite numerous global recessions. It was a testament to the power of economic freedom.

For twenty-one consecutive years, The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom has ranked Hong Kong’s economy as the freest in the world—and for good reason. The overall tax burden is only 15.7 percent of GDP. The average tariff rate is 0 percent. The entrepreneurial environment remains one of the world’s most transparent and efficient. Hong Kong also serves as a very important banking and financial center in the Asia-Pacific region. And underpinning its free-wheeling business and trade environment are property rights rated among the strongest in the world.

In recent years, however, Hong Kong’s underlying economic statistics show clear signs of deterioration. Over the last five years, despite modest global economic expansion, Hong Kong’s economy has grown at an annualized rate of only 2.3 percent, roughly equivalent to that of the United States. The government forecasts that Hong Kong’s economic growth will drop to 1 or 2 percent this year, and exports are projected to decline by 4 percent.

Hong Kong’s gross national savings rate declined from 36 percent in 2008 to 25 percent in 2015, leaving fewer funds for domestic investment. The fertility rate (per 1,000 females aged 15 to 45), has fallen from 65.2 in 1981 to 35.9 in 2014, dramatically reducing the growth of the working-age population. More importantly, productivity growth, which ultimately determines living standards, faltered to a paltry 0.8 percent during the past four years. 

A look at Hong Kong's real GDP growth in recent years is also quite revealing. According to John Tsang, Hong Kong’s financial secretary, the economy now faces the “worst time in 20 years.” The big question is: Why the pronounced slowdown in the world’s freest economy?

Egypt's Economy Is in Big Trouble

September 28, 2016

Three years ago this summer, Egyptians took to the streets en masse to vent their frustration at the government of then president Mohamed Morsi. The source of their discontent was the widespread economic stagnation and ideologically driven policies that came to punctuate Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood–dominated government. The result was nothing short of a counterrevolution, as Morsi was ousted by the country’s powerful military in an almost-coup led by his then minister of defense, Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

But now, Egypt’s post-Islamist government is facing a remarkably similar situation. Beset by worsening economic conditions and rising discontent among the country’s youth, the Egyptian regime, now headed by Sisi, is decidedly on the skids—with potentially dire consequences for the country, and the region as a whole.

Egypt’s woes begin with the country’s ailing economy. Indeed, statistics recently compiled by the Bloomberg news agency show just how deep the problems run.

Tourism, the lifeblood of the Egyptian economy, remains lackluster, clocking in at just a fraction of what it was during the reign of former president Hosni Mubarak (1981-2011), and lower even than levels witnessed under Morsi (despite the chilling effect of the latter’s draconian policies on everything from the consumption of alcohol to bathing attire).

The culprits are legion, among them mounting instability in the Sinai Peninsula and the very public downing of a Russian jetliner over Egyptian airspace by the Islamic State terrorist group this past October. The cumulative impact, however, has been nothing short of devastating. According to Egypt’sAl-Ahram newspaper, overall tourism declined by 15 percent in 2015, taking with it more than a billion dollars in badly needed government revenue.

20 September 2016

Minding The Gaps: The Risks And Rewards Of Information

In last week's Security Weekly, I talked about the threat posed by skilled and imaginative terrorists who are capable of conceiving, planning and conducting sophisticated attacks. Countering these novel means and tactics takes an equally creative approach to crafting security measures.

This idea dovetails nicely with a presentation I gave Sept. 14 at an InfraGard conference in Orlando on the dangers and limitations of using information found on the internet. The key point of my talk was that although a lot of data is available online and can be used by those planning an attack, there are also critical pieces of information that cannot be found on any website and can be gleaned only through physical surveillance.

Where these two topics intersect is the terrorist attack cycle. No matter how innovative a terrorist planner is or how sophisticated his tradecraft, he is still bound by the constraints inherent to the attack cycle. Furthermore, though information found on the internet can greatly assist terrorists and reduce the amount of physical surveillance required, gaps between what is available online and what is needed to plan an attack remain. By identifying and monitoring these gaps, security personnel can detect attack preparations in time to stop a plot in its tracks.

The Importance of Information