End the Fed’s War on Paychecks

By Ralph Benko

fedThe Democratic Party has made “income inequality” a signature issue for the 2014 (and, presumably, 2016) election cycle.  Democrats, en masse, shout “J’accuse!” at Republicans. There is a very different story to tell. “Income inequality” is a crude, and twisted, heuristic for stagnant median family income.   “Income inequality” does not really resonate with voters, as noted by the Washington Post‘s own Catherine Rampell, with a mountain of evidence showing that Americans don’t begrudge the wealthy their wealth, just are frustrated at the lack of widespread economic opportunity. So let’s get down to cases.  Stagnant median family income is not the GOP’s fault.  It’s the Fed who done it. Continue reading “End the Fed’s War on Paychecks”

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OECD recommends how to fight tax avoidance

logooecd_enThe OECD released its first recommendations for a co-ordinated international approach to combat tax avoidance by multinational enterprises, under the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project designed to create a single set of international tax rules to end the erosion of tax bases and the artificial shifting of profits to jurisdictions to avoid paying tax. Continue reading “OECD recommends how to fight tax avoidance”

Mexican Navy orders two more Damen vessels

damenmexicoIn August 2014 the Mexican Navy (Secretaría de Marina in Spanish) and Damen Shipyards Group (the Netherlands) signed contracts for the delivery of the design, material package, technical assistance and training for two vessels that will be built by the Mexican Navy, using the Damen Technical Cooperation programme, which enables customers to build their vessel on the location of their choice. Continue reading “Mexican Navy orders two more Damen vessels”

Erasmus University rises in worldwide rankings

logoeurErasmus University Rotterdam has risen slightly in the QS World University Rankings. In this year’s  ranking of approximately 800 universities worldwide, the university is ranked at 90, two places higher than last year. The 90th place is the highest position of the Erasmus University in the QS World University Rankings since 2006. The Rotterdam based university is the fifth ranked Dutch university in the list. Continue reading “Erasmus University rises in worldwide rankings”

The Origins and Implications of the Scottish Referendum

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanThe idea of Scottish independence has moved from the implausible to the very possible. Whether or not it actually happens, the idea that the union of England and Scotland, which has existed for more than 300 years, could be dissolved has enormous implications in its own right, and significant implications for Europe and even for global stability. Continue reading “The Origins and Implications of the Scottish Referendum”

Global growth continuing at a moderate pace

logooecd_enA moderate expansion is underway in most major advanced and emerging economies, but growth remains weak in the euro area, which runs the risk of prolonged stagnation if further steps are not taken to boost demand, according to the OECD’s latest Interim Economic Assessment. Continue reading “Global growth continuing at a moderate pace”

A Money Revolt is needed: Fix The Dollar With Gold

By Ralph Benko

gold-standard-liberty-coinThe Tax Revolt has run its course. A Money Revolt is needed. Steve Forbes, with Elizabeth Ames, in Money: How the Destruction of the Dollar Threatens the Global Economy—and What We Can Do About It has thought the issues through. So has, among others, Lewis E. Lehrman (founder and chairman of the Lehrman Institute, whose monetary policy website this columnist professionally edits) in The True Gold Standard  and Money, Gold, and History. Continue reading “A Money Revolt is needed: Fix The Dollar With Gold”

Spain on the road to recovery, says OECD

logooecd_enSpain is emerging from a protracted recession, marked by a return to moderate growth and rising international competitiveness. Decisive banking and fiscal reforms, coupled with supportive monetary policy from the European Central Bank, have reduced financial tensions and improved public finance. But to ensure that the recovery is sustained and unemployment returns to much lower levels, full implementation of on-going structural reforms and further measures to improve productivity and competitiveness are now needed, according to the latest OECD Economic Survey of Spain. Continue reading “Spain on the road to recovery, says OECD”

IMF: strong reform and robust nonoil growth in Angola

imf_sealAfter a strong growth in 2013 estimated at 6.8 percent, economic growth in 2014 is projected at 3.9 percent despite a decline in oil output. Robust growth in the nonoil economy, mainly driven by a very good performance in the agricultural sector, is expected to offset a temporary but considerable drop in oil production. Ongoing investments in agriculture are expected to pay off with an increase in agriculture production by about 11½ percent in 2014. Other sectors such as manufacturing, electricity and services, are also expected to contribute. Inflation projected to reach 7½ percent by end-2014 is well within the Banco Nacional de Angola (BNA)’s objective. The overall fiscal balance, which was in surplus in the last four years, is expected to deteriorate substantially in 2014, reaching a deficit of around 4 percent of GDP. Oil revenue fell by 14 percent during January-May 2014, mainly due to a 10 percent decline in oil production related to unscheduled maintenance and repair work in some oil fields. International reserves at the BNA remain adequate at an equivalent of 7¾ months of imports. Continue reading “IMF: strong reform and robust nonoil growth in Angola”

ECT handles 150,000,000th TEU

ectcranesECT handled the 150 millionth TEU (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit, the unit of measure for containers) in Rotterdam since its inception in 1967. With that, ECT is the first container terminal operator in Europe to achieve this remarkable milestone. 150 million TEU equals a line of containers more than 900,000 kilometres long. Or: from here to the moon and back, and then a few times around the world. Continue reading “ECT handles 150,000,000th TEU”

The Virtue of Subtlety: A U.S. Strategy Against the Islamic State

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanU.S. President Barack Obama said recently that he had no strategy as yet toward the Islamic State but that he would present a plan on Wednesday. It is important for a president to know when he has no strategy. It is not necessarily wise to announce it, as friends will be frightened and enemies delighted. A president must know what it is he does not know, and he should remain calm in pursuit of it, but there is no obligation to be honest about it. This is particularly true because, in a certain sense, Obama has a strategy, though it is not necessarily one he likes. Strategy is something that emerges from reality, while tactics might be chosen. Given the situation, the United States has an unavoidable strategy. There are options and uncertainties for employing it. Let us consider some of the things that Obama does know. Continue reading “The Virtue of Subtlety: A U.S. Strategy Against the Islamic State”

Dutch remain 8th in Global Competitiveness

RSM+logo+1jpgThe Dutch remain in the eighth place in the Global Competitiveness Report compiled by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The Report assesses the competitiveness of 144 economies, providing insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity. Data for the Netherlands was collected by research institute INSCOPE: Research for Innovation at Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), and was led by Professor Henk Volberda. Continue reading “Dutch remain 8th in Global Competitiveness”

Ukraine, Iraq and a Black Sea Strategy

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanThe United States is, at the moment, off balance. It faces challenges in the Syria-Iraq theater as well as challenges in Ukraine. It does not have a clear response to either. It does not know what success in either theater would look like, what resources it is prepared to devote to either, nor whether the consequences of defeat would be manageable. A dilemma of this sort is not unusual for a global power. Its very breadth of interests and the extent of power create opportunities for unexpected events, and these events, particularly simultaneous challenges in different areas, create uncertainty and confusion. Continue reading “Ukraine, Iraq and a Black Sea Strategy”

Royal IHC starts building dredger for stock

ihcworlddredgerRoyal IHC (IHC) is constructing the first vessel in its range of competitively priced standard trailing suction hopper dredgers (TSHD). It has started to build the Easydredge™ 2700 for stock in response to the increasing global demand for TSHDs with an extremely short delivery time. The new vessel will be supplied with a “world-dredging package”, which includes bottom doors, a bow coupling and a dredging depth of 25m. This makes her suitable for a wide range of tasks, from the maintenance of ports and channels, to land reclamation. Continue reading “Royal IHC starts building dredger for stock”

Who is Rand Paul?

by Ralph Benko

randpaulFor starters, Rand is short for Randal, not an allusion to Ayn Rand, after whom Sen. Paul was not named by his libertarian (not Objectivist) father Ron Paul. Reportedly, growing up he was called Randy … until his wife shortened the diminutive to Rand. Washington, ordinarily, is committed to maintaining the status quo or making, at best, incremental changes. As we struggle with the political consequences of the end of an era of all-out war the old political status quo is ripe for transformation. Continue reading “Who is Rand Paul?”

Terrorism as Theater

By Robert D. Kaplan

kaplanThe beheading of American journalist James Foley by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq was much more than an altogether gruesome and tragic affair: rather, it was a very sophisticated and professional film production deliberately punctuated with powerful symbols. Foley was dressed in an orange jumpsuit reminiscent of the Muslim prisoners held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay. He made his confession forcefully, as if well rehearsed. His executioner, masked and clad in black, made an equally long statement in a calm, British accent, again, as if rehearsed. It was as if the killing was secondary to the message being sent.

Continue reading “Terrorism as Theater”