16 December 2016
5 insightful op-eds or articles to help make sense of today’s world
Mohamed El-Erian, “How to Make This Stock-Market Rally Last”
(Bloomberg View - 12 December 2016)
The columnist / economist explains that what is primarily driving stocks is a “hope trifecta” that relates to liquidity, growth and inflation. The markets’ optimism can only be sustained by the successful implementation of difficult policy measures. If not, the markets will suffer the fate of the unfortunate Black Knight in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (reads in 5-7 min).
Elizabeth Kolbert, “Our automated future”
(The New Yorker - 19 December 2016)
This article addresses a question taken up by a number of recent books: How long will it be before you lose your job to a computer? The common answer is: not long. The “threat of a jobless future” is almost as old as technology, but economic history suggests that, as one occupation vanishes, another comes into being, but normally not without a good deal of suffering. This is a must-read to make sense of what’s coming, filled with quotes and references (reads in 9-13 min).
Barry Eichengreen, “The age of hyper-uncertainty”
(Project Syndicate - 14 December 2016)
On the 40th anniversary of the publication of John Kenneth Galbraith’s “The Age of Uncertainty”, the Berkeley professor observes that viewed from a 2017 perspective the uncertainty of 1977 seems almost enviable! In this short article that reads in less than 5 min he explains why and what is different.
Richard Haass, “World Order 2.0”
(Foreign Affairs (metered paywall) - 31 January 2017)
This article is adapted from “A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order”, a book from the president of the Council of Foreign Relations to be published early next year. In it Haass argues that the globe’s traditional operating system, built around the protection and prerogatives of states, is increasingly inadequate in today’s globalized world. He makes the case for “sovereign obligation”, calling for an updated operating system (World Order 2.0) that includes not only the rights of sovereign states but also those states’ obligations to others (reads in 10-15 min).
Andrew Clark, Sarah Fleche, Richard Layard, “Origins of happiness: Evidence and policy implications”
(VOXeu - 12 December 2016)
More and more, the economics of happiness is attracting the interest of policy-makers. This article discusses evidence indicating that the things that matter most are people’s social relationships and their mental and physical health; and that the best predictor of an adult’s life satisfaction is their emotional health as a child. The five authors call for a new focus for public policy: not ‘wealth creation’ but ‘wellbeing creation’ (reads in 7-10 min).