a must read!
Keywords: Monetary Policy, Central Banking
..."Right now there are 4,062 new regulations at various stages of implementation, of which 224 are deemed "economically significant," i.e., their economic impact will exceed $100 million.
The cost of all this, Mr. Crews estimates, is $1.8 trillion annually—that's on top of the federal government's $3.5 trillion in outlays, so it is equivalent to an invisible 65% surcharge on your federal taxes, or nearly 12% of GDP. Especially invidious is the fact that the costs of regulation for small businesses (those with fewer than 20 employees) are 36% higher per employee than they are for bigger firms.".. Source: Wall Street Journal
Keywords: United States, Regulation, Cost of Regulation
MIT researcher Wei Pan about why many cities grow more than linearly:
..."There have been plenty of theories. Adam Smith famously figured that people become more productive when we’re able to specialize, each of us honing a separate area of expertise. And when lots of us elbow into cities, we’re able to specialize in ways that we can’t when a rural farmer must also double as his own butcher, accountant and milkmaid. Other economists have suggested that cities become great agglomerators of industry when factories cluster together around economies of scale and communal access to transportation.
"We think there’s an underlying completely different way of thinking here, which is very different from the economist’s way of thinking," says Pan, a doctoral candidate in computational social science in the MIT Media Laboratory's Human Dynamics Lab. Previous work by researchers at the Santa Fe Institute has proven the math behind the power of cities: As they grow in population, all kinds of positive outcomes like patents and GDP and innovation (and negative ones like STDs and crime) grow at an exponential factor of 1.1 to 1.3.".. Source: The Atlantic
Keywords: Economic Growth, Growth of Cities, Connected Economy, Innovation
.............. "Many believe that a financial crisis will force spending limits. But those probably won’t come until it’s too late to correct the system. The solution is to rebuild the legal restraints on federal activities using the Tenth Amendment and a rewritten debt limit that forces politicians to make spending choices across both discretionary and entitlement accounts." Source: Forbes
Read full article in Forbes
Keywords: Government Power, Government Spending
"The country's tepid growth in its gross domestic product isn't creating enough good jobs to build a strong middle class, according to a UCLA report released Wednesday.
"Growth in GDP has been positive, but not exceptional," UCLA economists wrote in their quarterly Anderson Forecast. "Jobs are growing, but not rapidly enough to create good jobs for all."
The report, which analyzed long-term trends of past recoveries, found that the long-anticipated "Great Recovery" has not yet materialized.
Real GDP growth — the value of goods and services produced after adjusting for inflation — is 15.4% below the 3% growth trend of past recoveries, wrote Edward Leamer, director of the UCLA Anderson Forecast. More robust growth will be necessary to bring this recovery in line with previous ones.
"It's not a recovery," he wrote. "It's not even normal growth. It's bad." read more in LA Times
Keywords: US Economy, US Recovery
"With public confidence in the European project waning, the idea of initiating a ‘civil dialogue’ with the public emerged in the mid-1990s as a way of bolstering the EU’s democratic legitimacy.
Citizens have not been consulted directly, however. Instead they have been ventriloquised through ‘sock puppet’ charities, think tanks and other ‘civil society’ groups which have been hand-picked and financed by the European Commission (EC). These organisations typically lobby for closer European integration, bigger EU budgets and more EU regulation.
The composition of ‘civil society’ at the EU level is largely dictated by which groups the Commission chooses to fund. There has been a bias towards centre-left organisations, with a particular emphasis on those promoting policies that are unpopular with the public, such as increasing foreign aid, restricting lifestyle freedoms and further centralising power within EU institutions.
The EC’s favoured civil society organisations are also marked by a homogeneous worldview and similarity of jargon. The literature and websites of these groups suffocate the reader with vague rhetoric about ‘stakeholders’, ‘sustainability’, ‘social justice’, ‘capacity building’, ‘fundamental rights’, ‘diversity’, ‘equity’ and ‘active citizenship’.
Many of the groups which receive the Commission’s patronage would struggle to exist without statutory funding. For example, Women in Europe for a Common Future received an EC grant of €1,219,213 in 2011, with a further €135,247 coming from national governments. This statutory funding made up 93 per cent of its total income while private donations contributed €2,441 (0.2 per cent) and member contributions just €825 (0.06 per cent).
There is virtually no funding for organisations which seriously question the Commission’s direction of travel. By contrast, groups that favour closer union and greater centralisation are generously funded. The ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme which ‘gives citizens the chance to participate in making Europe more united, to develop a European identity, to foster a sense of ownership of the EU, and to enhance tolerance and mutual understanding’ has a €229 million budget for 2014-20.
Substantial EU funds are also used to support organisations that share the Commission’s environmentalist agenda. The Green 10 represent the largest of Europe’s environmental lobby groups, but dozens, if not hundreds, of like-minded ecological organisations also receive EU funding. The Commission freely admits that funds are given to environmental groups ‘to support policy development’.
Civil society groups in non-member countries are another funding priority for the Commission. In 2012/13, its Neighbourhood Civil Society Facility had a €22 million budget to be distributed to groups in Eastern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, later increased to €45.3 million. Many Youth in Action grants have been given to projects in potential new member states such as ‘Unite Unite Europe!’ (Serbia), ‘Be Active, Be European!’ (Albania) and ‘Citizen of my country, citizen of my Europe!!’ (Kosovo).The EC’s policy of picking allies and supporting them with taxpayers’ money has made the system more elitist and less democratic."
Keywords: European Union, EU
...."The notion that these challenges are new -- that there was some golden era when Americans were prepared to kick up their feet and enjoy retirement in financial security -- is a myth. By some measures, retirees are in a better position today than at any other time in modern history"...
read more on The Motley Fool:
Keywords: Retirement, Pension Funds
You find below selected feeds of think tanks, institutes and institutions which support the idea of liberty and free markets.
You find here comprehensive lists of libertarian think tanks around the globe:
Podcast feed of the Cato Institute (United States)
US public debt is skyrocketing. Future reduction due to economic improvement wishful thinking?
Keywords: US Employment, US Oil and Gas Extraction, Fracking
Great comparison of budget proposals:
With the recent release of President Obama’s FY 2014 budget, it is important to put the budget numbers from the various proposals into proper perspective. These charts compare the patterns of future spending projections from the Senate Democratic budget by Chairman Patty Murray, House Republican budget by Chairman Paul Ryan, Senator Rand Paul’s budget, and the president’s budget. read more on the homepage of Mercatus Center
Keywords: US 2014 Budget, US Deficit, US Spending
Agnew, Lauryn, Impact Investing for Small, Place-Based Fiduciaries: The Research Study Initiated by the United Way of the Bay Area (December 30, 2012). Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Working Paper No. 2012-05 . Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2222862
"This research discusses the process used to develop model equity and fixed income portfolios that could, if adopted by an organization, align 100% of the assets in its endowment fund with a mission to reduce poverty in the San Francisco Bay Area. Given that endowments funds must follow fiduciary standards of maximizing risk-adjusted performance, the model portfolios in the study were analyzed and tested against traditional, institutional non-impact benchmarks and portfolios and were found to provide similar risk and return expectations.
The stock and bond model portfolios studied were screened for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors that are proxies for a poverty alleviation mission and for a geographic focus on the San Francisco Bay Area. The custom universe was analyzed and portfolio of equities was optimized against the Russell 3000. The tracking error was measured to indicate a low degree of risk associated with these constraints (less than 2%). The model fixed income portfolio of Bay Area-based affordable housing and community development bonds was deemed to be more likely to show higher levels of impact than the equity portfolio, but the equity portfolio was deemed, by those participating in the study, to be a viable and prudent part of an overall impact investing endowment strategy.This research could result in an increased interest in impact investing by fiduciaries of institutional assets, such as large endowments, private wealth pools, and defined benefit plans. It can also provide a rationale for institutions to develop a process and strategy for making impact investments in local or regional opportunities. Attracting the large investors to impact investing missions could provide a significant new source of funds to offer liquidity and to help identify and fund solutions to some of the social issues our communities face."
Keywords: Impact Investing, Micro Finance
Keywords: Reason, Rationality,Freedom, Libery
US public debt is skyrocketing. Future reduction due to economic improvement wishful thinking?
Keywords: US Debt, US Economy
Mercatus Center published a good article on the relationship between economic prosperity and freedom:
Keywords: Freedom, Growth, Wealth, Prosperity
Previous MarketObservation posts, covering the subject of "economic freedom":
Most of the globe may still be reeling from the great recession, but one continent is booming. Surprise—it’s Africa. Jake Bright on what’s driving the growth, and whether the opportunities are trickling down. read more in The Daily Beast
Keywords: Africa, Resources, African Institutions, Trade with Africa, Free Markets
Keywords: Megatrends, Re-Balancing, Economic Development
Source: Intel Free Press
Keywords: Technology, China
Highly relevant article of Megan McArdle on the demographic shift in the US - a problem which also other Western civilizations face:
Birthrates are falling. Will the economy follow
....... "Start with a simple equation: economic growth equals the growth in the workforce plus the growth in the productivity of that workforce. If the workforce shrinks, then productivity growth needs to be higher, in order to compensate; otherwise your economy shrinks. In theory, we can compensate for the coming demographic shift with higher productivity. A shrinking population, after all, means a higher capital to worker ratio.
But this doesn't quite work, because our population will not simply get smaller; it will also get older. If everyone was going to suddenly die at 45, we might be able to get the requisite productivity boost. But as the population ages, it will change dramatically, becoming less innovative, more risk averse, less physically capable. Just as we desperately need productivity to speed up, it is probably going to slow down.".... Source: Excerpt of Megan McArdle article
Keywords: Population, Western Economies, Economic Growth, Demographics
Keywords: US Economy, Regulation, Fiscal Uncertainty
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