Category: 21. Global

Is the pandemic making us more productive?

A big-picture, easy-to-read article just in from the antipodes, published in the Australian ‘Financial Review’ and written by Nathan Sheets, chief economist and head of global macroeconomic research at PGIM Fixed Income – essentially, he agrees with our view that the pandemic, when eventually over, will be seen to have ushered in a sea-change in …

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How Fed Policy Is Wrecking the Economy

The following insightful article was posted by James A. Bacon of baconsrebellion.com – it makes one wonder about the quality of thinking of those on national bridges steering all economies, not just the USA’s Of all known government interventions in the U.S. economy, the most insidious and dangerous is regulation of the price of money (interest …

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How to reverse the productivity slowdown

Thought-provoking views follow from Alistair Dieppe,  Lead Economist in the Development Prospects Group at the World Bank – he considers how global economies got to their current low point, and then ventures some broad solutions, but one has to question who will act on them and be able to make the big quantifiable productivity improvements …

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5 Questions About China That Boards Should Be Asking Right Now

Another thought-provoking  HBR article follows, this time by William J. Holstein and Roger M. Kenny  U.S.-China relations have not been so tense since before President Jimmy Carter and Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping agreed to exchange ambassadors in 1979. Attitudes have hardened especially in the last two months, in part because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and in …

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Will companies shift from China to India?

A tectonic shift in global business supply chains may be about to happen according to an article in the Harvard Business Review by Vijay Govindarajan and Gunjan Bagla   America’s (and other developed nations’) relationship with the two most populous countries in the world, China and India, is undergoing a stark, rapid and perhaps permanent transformation. …

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Coronavirus statistics: what can we trust?

The flurry of figures, graphs and projections surrounding the pandemic is confusing. An article in The Guardian by two experts, Sylvia Richardson and Professor David Spiegelhalter, guides us through the maze The past few weeks has seen an unstoppable epidemic … of statistics. The flood threatens to overwhelm us all, but what do all these numbers …

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The economic impact of CV-19?

An article in the Harvard Business Review by Philipp Carlsson-Szlezak, Martin Reeves and Paul Swartz follows – the bulk that I think I understood makes interesting reading – maybe the rest does too! As the coronavirus continues its march around the world, governments have turned to proven public health measures, such as social distancing, to physically disrupt …

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CV-19 kick starts new mentalist era

CV-19 naturally dominates the news at present – it’s all ‘doom and gloom’ as we wonder if the damned invisible bug will ‘get us’ or not We’re told there are computer models (so they must be right?) being used by experts to determine their advice on what we all should do, the aim being to …

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Capitalism or Communism?

Communism has been defined as a system where: People work according to their ability and receive according to their needs All big decisions are made at the centre All data is processed at the centre   Capitalism, on the other hand, is an alternative where: People are free to buy/ sell/ invest in whatever they like …

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BIF drains, not lines, national coffers

The following are extracts from ‘Divested’ by Ken-Hou Lin and Megan Tobias Neely They claim the BIF – Banking Insurance Finance – sector is draining, not lining, developed nations’ coffers For proof, they look to the USA’s experience Until the 1970s, the financial sector accounted for a mere 15% of all US corporate profits: Banks …

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2020 foresight for fossil-free energy

A report by Kelsey Warner in The National says that, over the next 10 years, the Middle East’s biggest export could become the sun, not oil, thanks to new technology that turns solar power into fuel A new Bill Gates-backed clean energy company, Heliogen, based in Lancaster, California, has concentrated solar energy to exceed 1,500°C …

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Productivity stagnant despite global stimulus

Mark John reports that economies around the world have failed to boost productivity levels despite $10 trillion of central bank stimulus unleashed since the global financial crisis of a decade ago, according to the WEF (World Economic Forum) think tank. Productivity, a measure of an economy’s ability to generate growth, has become of a matter …

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All nations need a National Productivity Centre

An article by Lalin Fernandopulle in Sri Lanka’s Sunday Observer, headed ‘Productivity policy vital for economic growth’, promotes the worth of all nations having a National Productivity Organisation  Sri Lanka is the only APO (Asian Productivity Organisation) member country which does not have an NPO (National Productivity Organisation). Company director Sunil Wijesinghe says: “Setting up a …

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Protectionism ensures slower growth

Excerpts from an article in Forbes by Jeffrey Dorfman, a professor of economics at the University of Georgia. USA , follow Dorfman claims that tariffs help uncompetitive industries because: They put a penalty on imports in the form of a tax Domestic producers that would otherwise lose market share to imports are able to produce …

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NZ shows way for public sector productivity

The New Zealand Productivity Commission was asked by its Government to provide guidance and recommendations on measuring and improving productivity in public services, especially education, health, justice and social welfare which play an important role in promoting individual and community well-being The Commission interviewed multiple current and former senior state sector leaders, carried out case studies to …

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Communism versus Capitalism

Communism has been defined as a system where: People work according to their ability and receive according to their needs All big decisions are made at the centre All data is processed at the centre   Capitalism, on the other hand, is an alternative where: People are free to buy/ sell/ invest in whatever they like …

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UK works longer hours than EU

Of the 168 hours in any week, the average person works (on tasks she needs to be paid for) around 40 hours of that time An average worker’s hourly breakdown per week is guestimated to be 30% work-related/ 70% home related viz: 40 (24%) = Work 10 (6%) = Commute to/ from work 60 (35%) …

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Energy is unlimited

The following is mostly extracted from Dr Yuval Noah Harari’s splendid book Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind which is full of fascinating facts and consequences, and well worth reading We all know energy is vital for economic growth But why do so many doomsayers, nowadays, keep alarming us by saying we’re running out …

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Free trade is good for all nations

“Economists are worried about international trade” according to Harvard Professor Gregory Mankiw in an article printed by the New York Times No less than Adam Smith, in his famous ‘Wealth of Nations’ made the case for free trade, arguing that trade among nations is like trade among people: No one feels compelled to sew his …

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Global recovery good for others too

According to Martin Wolf, the star FT (Financial Times) journalist, the world economy is enjoying a synchronised recovery which is good news not just for the G7 but emerging and developing countries too: Commodity prices have rebounded Trade volumes have recovered FDI capital flows to emerging countries have strengthened   His conclusions are based on precise …

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NZ Productivity Commission slams their public sector

A new NZPC (New Zealand Productivity Commission) report slams parts of their public sector for inefficiency It says the private sector measures its productivity but the public sector falls short despite $40 billion being spent every year on such as health, education, justice, law and order and social welfare “The New Zealand government has been …

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What do the East want from the West?

When we Westerners drop in to Asian countries nowadays, most are staggered by the modernity that confronts us – the numerous sky-scrapers, concrete flyovers, n-lane motorways – and millions of cars and motor-bikes with few of them old bangers Hong Kong, Jakarta, Bangkok, Tokyo, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur are but a few capitals where this applies …

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Japan falls down productivity ladder

Back in the 80s, the West was besotted by the miracle performance levels of Japan’s manufacturing sector and mistakenly concluded that TQM – Total Quality Management – and ‘culture change’ was their secret Actually, it was mostly due to good performance measures, use of basic statistics and common sense in finding best ways to meet …

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How does Germany beat UK at productivity?

Unite, a UK trade union, commissioned a study to establish ‘the most significant reasons for Germany’s high productivity rate’ when compared to the UK The results were as follows: Reason 1 – Skills: Germany has a highly skilled workforce, which their government has invested a lot in: More than 80% have received formal vocational training …

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Productivity Commission (Aus) shows the way

Peter Harris, chairman of Australia’s Productivity Commission (PC), was interviewed on the airwaves The purpose of the APC is to deal with problems that the Government finds too hard – too difficult to solve – based on a fact-based analysis And it’s most important that their views are accepted as being independent The process they follow …

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Dismal productivity trends need not continue

The OECD – Organisation of Economic and Cultural Development – recently painted a dismal G7 economic picture claiming  ‘slowing rates of productivity growth’ in advanced nations over the last ten years or so Other data suggests the same trend is underway in many less affluent nations according to an article by Marc Levinson – his …

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Cheap labour slows productivity growth

A nation’s mix of sectors largely determines its overall productivity and prosperity levels And some sectors are much more productive than others For example, the UK has some highly productive sectors such as manufacturing which are continually improving their (labour) productivity levels by investing in latest technology such as robotics, automation, IoTand AI Japan is …

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National productivity positions built on sand

I read an article about Chinese productivity posted by Bloomberg journalist Michael Schuman and sent him the following email: Michael, I read your article about Chinese productivity with great interest The first step in any major productivity improvement drive is indeed to establish the current position – where are you now? Most ‘expert’ commentators try to do …

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Low Australia productivity affects all, not just a few

New Reserve Bank governor, Philip Lowe, says boosting productivity is essential if Australia is to maintain the living standards it has enjoyed in recent years He warns: “Australia’s remarkable boom times are over and the best way to maintain our standard of living is to have a laser-like focus on productivity”. In his first appearance before …

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Wage levels versus Productivity

President John F. Kennedy believed that “a rising tide lifts all boats” but many question if that remains true today in the business world They point to data showing that productivity has risen sharply since the end of WW2 whilst wages have stagnated and conclude that productivity-driven economic growth does not necessarily benefit USA workers …

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