Featured Articles Archive

Keynes was right about technological unemployment 80 years ago.

Combating Technological Unemployment

Date: 22 January 2016

At a time of global economic insecurity, an insightful commentator identified the existential threat that technology poses to work:

We are being afflicted with a new disease of which some readers may not yet have heard the name, but of which they will hear a great deal in the years to come – namely, technological unemployment. This means unemployment due to our discovery of means of economising the use of labour outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses for labour.

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Major companies lay off thousands to appeal to shareholders, but then suffer.

Short-term Gain and Long-term Pain

Date: 22 January 2016

Barclays, Pearson and Virgin Media have all announced significant job cuts as part of a growing pressure to cut costs, adding up to more than 6,000 job cuts in total. Firms are increasingly turning to cost-reduction strategies as a coping mechanism for competitive and difficult economic conditions.

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Can the umbrella soldiers mobilize to power in Hong Kong?

What Happened to the Umbrella Movement?

Date: 22 January 2016

In November 2015, Hong Kongers went to the polls for the first time since an uprising of pro-democracy sentiment gripped the city during the Umbrella Movement in late 2014. The district council elections drew a record 47 percent turnout rate, but neither the pro-establishment camp nor the mainstream opposition turned this high turnout in their favour.

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So far the EU/PiS issues have been minor skirmishes, but that could change.

EU not Wanting to Give PiS a Chance

Date: 22 January 2016

ECB President Draghi made clear at yesterday's press conference that new risks have materialized and the central bank's job to reaching its mandate is far from over. Current efforts may not suffice to achieve its legal prescribed mandate. Monetary policy will be reviews and reassessed at the next meeting in March, when new staff forecasts will also be available.

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Brazil, Mexico and Argentina provided the Emerging Markets news this week.

Brazil's Monetary Policy Course Reversal Highlights EM News

Date: 22 January 2016

1) Malaysia’s central bank kept rates steady at 3.25%, as expected, but cut bank reserve ratios from 4% to 3.5%, 2) S&P downgraded Poland one notch to BBB+ with negative outlook, 3) Brazil’s central bank did a complete about-face and left rates steady at 14.25%, 4) Mexico may tweak its FX auction program again when it is extended this month, 5) Argentine officials met with IMF chief Lagarde at the World Economic Forum in Davos

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At least market participants will have two days off until it starts again.

Can the Week be Over Please?

Date: 22 January 2016

Like a car ignition that finally catches after several attempts, the global markets are building on the recovery seen in North America yesterday.  Asian stocks rallied, with the Nikkei leading the way with a 5.9% rally.  More modest 1.25% gains from the Shanghai Composite, allowed Chinese stocks to finish the week with small gains.

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Pop-Up retail is the rage, but the risks are high.

Do You Have a FoMO? Get in Line

Date: 21 January 2016

The In-N-Out Burger pop-up in Sydney this week is a case study in how to do this kind of retail.  Devoted fans who have sampled the fast food outlet in the US and In-N-Out newbies have whipped up a social media storm, and this is exactly the viral word-of-mouth marketing that In-N-Out burger would have been hoping for.

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It's time for the world's most powerful people to tackle global risks.

Global Risks Collide with the Powerful at the WEF

Date: 21 January 2016

The World Economic Forum (WEF) published its annual Global Risks Report in the run up to its annual meeting in Davos. Food and water crises, energy price shocks, biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse, extreme weather events and failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation, it said, are the biggest threats facing society.

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Africa's informal economy is huge, and growing, but it has detractors.

Support Gives Way to Antagonism for Africa's Informal Economy

Date: 21 January 2016

The informal economy in Africa is big business. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that its average size as a percentage of gross domestic product in sub-Saharan Africa is 41%. This ranges from under 30% in South Africa to 60% in Nigeria, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

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The British steel industry is circling the drain.

British Steel Appears on its Way Out

Date: 21 January 2016

The announcement of over 1000 job losses at Tata Steel – the vast majority at the Port Talbot plant in South Wales – has understandably provoked heated debate. Yet this is just the latest incident in the industry’s spiral of decline, which has recently seen redundancy plans made at other companies including SSI, Caparo and Sheffield Forgemasters. The future of the industry in Wales, and other regions across the UK, is in jeopardy. In addition, there has been no shortage of suggestions as to what could, or should, be done.

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Nepal's constitutional protests have escalated and turned violent.

Constitutional Controversy Dogs Nepal

Date: 21 January 2016

While the earthquake that hit Nepal in April thrust the country into the spotlight, in many ways it wasn’t the biggest challenge Nepal faced in 2015. The violence that has engulfed the southern plains following the country’s new constitution threatens to create a humanitarian crisis more deadly than the earthquake. Since the constitution was promulgated on 20 September, over 50 people have died and almost 1000 have been injured in protests or related conflict.

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Not paying attention to North Korea would probably be best.

Does North Korea Have a Nuclear End Game?

Date: 21 January 2016

Shortly after North Korea detonated a nuclear device at 10am local time on 6 January 2016, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) proclaimed that the device was a hydrogen bomb, and that such devices served as defence against external enemies. While one should not discount the Kim regime’s siege mentality, the defensive justification for periodic testing serves as a thin legitimising veneer for what are essentially domestic and negotiative drivers for nuclear demonstrations.

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Though there may be action from the ECB, now not so much from the Fed.

Meeting the Mandate Still a Priority for Draghi

Date: 21 January 2016

ECB President Draghi has sent the euro back down into the lower end of the recent range as he gave a strong signal that additional action could come as early as March, the next meeting.  The euro had approached the upper end of its range yesterday and now is slipping through $1.08.

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The ECB meeting is the headline, but Asia's ills remain in the news.

Your Main Event: the ECB Meeting

Date: 21 January 2016

The Asian equity markets failed to retain the early gains that had at least partially been fueled by the US equities recouping half of their losses.  The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index lost about 1.7% and finished at new 3.5 year lows.

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Place your bets here that the digital economy expands rapidly in 2016.

Doing Digital Business in 2016

Date: 20 January 2016

Every year seems like an accelerated version of the previous one. Every year we think we have reached the peak and then following year comes, paling everything before it.

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Interest is growing in the creative industries to provide economic growth.

The Economic Benefits of Art and Culture

Date: 20 January 2016

There is growing international interest in the potential of the cultural and creative industries to drive sustainable development and create inclusive job opportunities. An indication of this is a recent set of UNESCO guidelines on how to measure and compile statistics about the economic contribution of the cultural industries.

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