Category Archives: Net

Updates from Chicago Booth

What Is the Line Between Self-Interest and Selfishness?
The debate has raged for 300 years and counting.
By John Paul Rollert – The pursuit of self-interest. Sounds like a harmless phrase, right? And yet no matter of modern political economy is more subject to controversy than the moral status of this motive force. What should we make of it?

In my business ethics classes, I tell A Tale of the Two Shirts, an allegory of sorts for the ethics of self-interest and its evolution over the past few hundred years. To set the stage, I take my students back to the 18th century, to the dispute that most inflamed the earliest days of capitalism: whether to embrace commercial self-interest at all.

An infamous fable

Long before paeans to self-interest were a mainstay of microeconomics classes, the instinct was strictly frowned upon. To declare that a zeal for one’s personal affairs should be the spur to a thriving society was to effectively announce that one was wicked and insane. Wicked, because the notion that an individual should be guided by what is best for himself rather than the people around him smacked of the devil’s business. Insane, because the idea that a community propelled by such an instinct wouldn’t soon collapse into chaos was so entirely counterintuitive as to be ridiculous on its face. If, as the philosopher Thomas Hobbes maintained, a world ungoverned by the iron fist of some central authority soon gave way to a war of all against all, private pursuits were a luxury no society could afford. more>

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Updates from CIena

Distribute, virtualise, and optimise your datacentre infrastructure with Interxion’s ‘Managed Wave’ services
More enterprises than ever are distributing their datacentre infrastructure across multiple locations to boost their agility and to get closer to their cloud and content partners. If this is your case, you could benefit from DCI connectivity that’s super-fast, totally reliable, and highly cost effective, such as Interxion’s Ciena-powered Managed Wave solution, says Martin Phelps,
By Martin Phelps – In recent years, we have seen massive changes in enterprise’s collocation and connectivity needs. Until very recently, for example, most organisations only hosted equipment in two remote datacentres for backup or disaster recovery (DR) purposes. Additionally, compute, storage, and network equipment was nearly always hosted in the same facility to avoid latency and other issues that can impact performance.

Now, though, all this has changed.

The new normal is to distribute datacentre infrastructure across two or more geographically distributed locations, and not only for the purpose of DR. This approach to building out infrastructure is being driven by a number of key factors, including:

  1. Availability of datacentre space (or lack of it)
    Lack of space in tier-4 datacentres could be a challenge for Enterprises.  A distributed architecture allows them to overcome this challenge by hosting infrastructure in two or more tier-3 datacentres in active-active mode.
  2. Proximity to cloud providers and other partners
    With distributed architectures, enterprise customers can decide to host additional, virtualised infrastructure that is collocated with cloud ‘on-ramps’. This can minimise their latency and maximise app and workload performance.

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What Makes Life Meaningful? Views From 17 Advanced Economies

Family is preeminent for most publics but work, material well-being and health also play a key role
By Laura Silver, Patrick Van Kessel, Christine Huang, Laura Clancy and Sneha Gubbala – What do people value in life? How much of what gives people satisfaction in their lives is fundamental and shared across cultures, and how much is unique to a given society? To understand these and other issues, Pew Research Center posed an open-ended question about the meaning of life to nearly 19,000 adults across 17 advanced economies.

From analyzing people’s answers, it is clear that one source of meaning is predominant: family. In 14 of the 17 advanced economies surveyed, more mention their family as a source of meaning in their lives than any other factor. Highlighting their relationships with parents, siblings, children and grandchildren, people frequently mention quality time spent with their kinfolk, the pride they get from the accomplishments of their relatives and even the desire to live a life that leaves an improved world for their offspring. In Australia, New Zealand, Greece and the United States, around half or more say their family is something that makes their lives fulfilling. more>

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Updates from McKinsey

The rise and rise of the global balance sheet: How productively are we using our wealth?
Net worth has tripled since 2000, but the increase mainly reflects valuation gains in real assets, especially real estate, rather than investment in productive assets that drive our economies.
By Jonathan Woetzel, Jan Mischke, Anu Madgavkar, Eckart Windhagen, Sven Smit, Michael Birshan, Szabolcs Kemeny, and Rebecca J. Anderson – We have borrowed a page from the corporate world—namely, the balance sheet—to take stock of the underlying health and resilience of the global economy as it begins to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. This view from the balance sheet complements more typical approaches based on GDP, capital investment levels, and other measures of economic flows that reflect changes in economic value. Our report, The rise of the global balance sheet: How productively are we using our wealth?, provides an in-depth look at the global economy after two decades of financial turbulence and more than ten years of heavy central bank intervention, punctuated by the pandemic.

Across ten countries that account for about 60 percent of global GDP—Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States—the historic link between the growth of net worth and the growth of GDP no longer holds. While economic growth has been tepid over the past two decades in advanced economies, balance sheets and net worth that have long tracked it have tripled in size. This divergence emerged as asset prices rose—but not as a result of 21st-century trends like the growing digitization of the economy.

Rather, in an economy increasingly propelled by intangible assets like software and other intellectual property, a glut of savings has struggled to find investments offering sufficient economic returns and lasting value to investors. These savings have found their way instead into real estate, which in 2020 accounted for two-thirds of net worth. Other fixed assets that can drive economic growth made up only about 20 percent the total. Moreover, asset values are now nearly 50 percent higher than the long-run average relative to income. And for every $1 in net new investment over the past 20 years, overall liabilities have grown by almost $4, of which about $2 is debt. more>

‘Buy Now, Pay Later’: Banking on Global Financial Innovation

The new credit payment is the latest Fintech disruptor. Can established legacy banks adapt to keep up with the increased e-commerce demand and the red-hot tech services?
morganstanley.com – The latest Fintech sounds simple enough: Buy a product, take it home, set up payments after. However, the changes this innovation may bring to the financial sector are anything but. In fact, “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) platforms—adopted, so far, mainly by app-loving Millennials and Gen Z—are changing how people shop and spurring financial institutions to keep up.

BNPL is one of the fastest-growing e-commerce segments in Europe and Australia, and it is expanding across the U.S.

“We do expect BNPL to grow faster than traditional credit cards in Europe,” says Giulia Aurora Miotto, a Morgan Stanley European Equity Analyst. “And we think this adds up to the trend of Fintechs slowly ‘skimming the cream’ off different banks’ businesses in Europe.”

That means potential disruption for legacy financial services companies, which must compete to offer similar services to existing customers, while adapting to (and adopting) this type of retail-financing Fintech to grow their customer base. more>

Updates from Ciena

‘Branching Out’ our learning
By Jane Hobbs & Jason Phipps – As part of the initiative to create a culture of happiness, vibrancy, and belonging, I was very excited to launch the People Promise in June 2020, a commitment that we can all make a difference, be empowered, and feel included.

Making it easier for individuals to learn and develop has always been important to us, not just about professional career growth and skill training but also on personal growth and wellbeing.

To support this, we launched this new learning experience, calling it Branch Out, as we saw the topics as a way for people to branch out their learning. Launching this platform was a powerful tool as it came at a time where it could help us cope in different ways with how the pandemic impacted our wellbeing and also still put an emphasis on having learning available 24/7 – important in Global company.

As part of the initiative to create a culture of happiness, vibrancy, and belonging, I was very excited to launch the People Promise in June 2020, a commitment that we can all make a difference, be empowered, and feel included.

Making it easier for individuals to learn and develop has always been important to us, not just about professional career growth and skill training but also on personal growth and wellbeing. more>

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Can the crisis of social reproduction bring the demise of central-European illiberals?

By Weronika Grzebalska – This month, Polish protesters took to the streets after 30-year-old Izabela passed away from septicaemia in a hospital, her foetus having died in her womb. Her death came nine months after abortion in cases of foetal defects was deemed unconstitutional in Poland, under the illiberal Law and Justice (PiS) government.

Women’s rights activists fear that this cruel ruling will increasingly push medical staff to take a wait-and-see approach to women with difficult pregnancies. Population experts also predict it will further lower already falling birth rates, with surveys long reporting that Polish women are having fewer children than they would like to, due to the twin pressures of market capitalism and illiberal pronatalism.

The anti-abortion ruling exposes the cynical contradictions of illiberal family and demographic policy. This is why Polish politicians and anti-abortion advocacy groups have since tried to distance themselves from Izabela’s death, presenting it as a tragic accident unrelated to their radical agenda.

After all, the illiberal right in both Poland and Hungary came to power harnessing material anxieties related to the growing crisis of social reproduction—the declining ability of societies to create and maintain social bonds and provide care between and within generations. By promising to protect ‘family values’ amid the progressive decline of socio-economic security, and by offering families vital endowments, central-European illiberals have rallied even moderate voters behind their agenda. more>

Updates from Ciena

How bold hardware and software innovations are changing the game in optical networking
How are hardware and software advancements helping network operators solve key challenges they face today?
By Paulina Gomez – Communications have come a long way since Western Union took the bold step of implementing the first transcontinental electric telegraph system in October of 1861. Fast forward 160 years and optical networks across the globe are what lay the foundation for modern communications and the way we live, work and play.

Keeping pace with today’s “new normal” customer demands for always-on, anywhere, reliable connectivity requires innovative technologies to deliver open, scalable, and programmable networks, that include next-gen coherent modems to drive down the cost of transport and reconfigurable open line systems, to be able to quickly adapt to changing customer requirements.  However, evolving towards a smarter optical network also requires leveraging advanced analytics with intelligent software automation to not only drive operational simplicity but also actionable insights based on what is happening in the network.

As our customers evolve to more open, programmable, and automated networks they need the right analytical tools at their fingertips to be able to extract the full value of their deployed network assets across all stages of the photonic network lifecycle. Paving the path towards a smarter optical network starts with an SDN domain controller like Ciena’s Manage, Control and Plan (MCP), that lays the foundation for multi-layer, automated, lifecycle operations. Advancements in hardware and software are also required to give more control to end-users so that they can fully operationalize and realize the benefits associated with a modernized network. Let me explain further: more>

Are Policymakers Being Too Patient on Inflation Risk?

The Fed is modestly tapping the brakes on monetary stimulus, but will it do enough to cool a stock market that may be at risk of overheating?
By Lisa Shalett – The Federal Reserve last week made its highly anticipated announcement on “tapering” its asset purchases, the first step in pulling back on the unprecedented support it provided markets and the economy early in the pandemic. Later this month, the Fed will begin reducing its $120 billion-per-month asset-buying program by $15 billion a month.

In his announcement, Fed Chair Jerome Powell largely kept to the script, hitting consensus expectations spot-on regarding the pace of tapering. Powell also acknowledged that the risk of inflation may not be as transitory as the Fed had anticipated earlier this year. But he left interest rate hikes for another day, stressing patience as well as a need for the job market to get back to “maximum employment” before any hikes took place. Stocks rallied to yet more new highs in response to the broadly dovish communique.

Although the Fed is working with some uncertainty around policy choices, we are concerned that the Fed’s emphasis on patience remains disconnected from actual economic data, which could possibly result in policymaking that’s late in raising rates to tame inflation. Consider the following points:
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Europe’s strategic autonomy: A good idea, but poor PR

By Kinga Brudzinska – The idea of EU strategic autonomy originated in the field of security and defence in St. Malo Declaration (1998) and later in the 2016 EU Global Strategy. But it was not until French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech at Paris’ Sorbonne University in September 2017 that the concept has started to evolve and expand to other policy fields (encompassing i.e. industrial and technological independence) and has gained ground in Brussels and the EU capitals.

In the face of the COVID-19 recovery, a rivalry between the US and China on the global stage and the EU’s ambitions to bolster its position in the world, the debate on Europe’s ‘strategic autonomy’ and its freedom to act, has been receiving even more prominence. Not always in a positive sense.

While some European leaders see the EU’s ability to act autonomously and more independently from the United States as a political imperative to enable the continent to decide its own future without overly depending on others, others look at it with more reservation and skepticism.

For example, in Eastern Europe, together with the Baltics – countries’ with a strong pro-American orientation – fear that investing in European strategic autonomy will weaken the long-standing transatlantic bond and will become a synonym for protectionism, especially without the UK in the EU. There is also an old distrust in the EU, including in Eastern Europe, about France’s real intentions. As noticed by the Economist, in short, the idea of “strategic autonomy” and “sovereignty” has exposed old cracks within the European Union over how far Europe should, or could, do more to defend itself. more>