World Bank – Scientific and technological advances are transforming lives: they are even helping poorer countries close the gap with rich countries in life expectancy. But, poorer countries still face tremendous challenges, as almost a quarter of children under five are malnourished, and 60 percent of primary school students are failing to achieve even a rudimentary education.
In fact, more than 260 million children and youth in poorer countries are receiving no education at all.
“Human capital” – the potential of individuals – is going to be the most important long-term investment any country can make for its people’s future prosperity and quality of life.
In many countries, the workforce is unprepared for the future that is fast unfolding.
This is a key insight from the World Bank’s forthcoming World Development Report 2019: The Changing Nature of Work. The frontier for skills is moving faster than ever before. Countries need to gear up now to prepare their workforces for the tremendous challenges and opportunities that are being driven by technological change. more>
Posted in Broadband, Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, History, Leadership, Science, Technology
Tagged Broadband, Capital, Government, Internet, Jobs, Leadership, Skills, Technology
By Michael Maiello – Yale University’s Bryan T. Kelly, Chicago Booth’s Dacheng Xiu, and Booth PhD candidate Shihao Gu investigated 30,000 individual stocks that traded between 1957 and 2016, examining hundreds of possibly predictive signals using several techniques of machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence.
They conclude that ML had significant advantages over conventional analysis in this challenging task.
ML uses statistical techniques to give computers abilities that mimic and sometimes exceed human learning. The idea is that computers will be able to build on solutions to previous problems to eventually tackle issues they weren’t explicitly programmed to take on.
“At the broadest level, we find that machine learning offers an improved description of asset price behavior relative to traditional methods,” the researchers write, suggesting that ML could become the engine of effective portfolio management, able to predict asset-price movements better than human managers.
Of almost 100 characteristics the researchers investigated, the most successful predictors were price trends, liquidity, and volatility. more>
By Robert Reich – What’s the most worrisome foreign intrusion into the United States—unauthorized immigrants, Chinese imports, or interference in our democracy?
For Trump, it’s immigrants and imports. He doesn’t care much about the third.
Yet Trump continues to assert that talk of Russian meddling in American elections is “a big hoax.” And his White House still has no plan for dealing with it.
In fact, Trump has it backwards.
Illegal immigration isn’t the problem he makes it out to be. Illegal border crossings have been declining for years.
And if the Chinese want to continue to send us cheap imports that we pay for with U.S. dollars and our own IOUs, that’s as much of a potential problem for them as it is for us.
But Russian attacks on our democracy are a clear and present threat aimed at the heart of America. more>
Posted in Business, CONGRESS WATCH, Economy, History, Media, Net
Tagged Business, Congress Watch, Government, Internet, Leadership, Super regions, United States
By Annie Lowrey – Stock buybacks are eating the world. The once illegal practice of companies purchasing their own shares is pulling money away from employee compensation, research and development, and other corporate priorities—with potentially sweeping effects on business dynamism, income and wealth inequality, working-class economic stagnation, and the country’s growth rate. Evidence for that conclusion comes from a new report by Irene Tung of the National Employment Law Project (NELP) and Katy Milani of the Roosevelt Institute, who looked at share buybacks in the restaurant, retail, and food industries from 2015 to 2017.
Buybacks occur when a company takes profits, cash reserves, or borrowed money to purchase its own shares on the public markets, a practice barred until the Ronald Reagan administration.
The regulatory argument against allowing the practice is that it is a way for companies to manipulate the markets; the regulatory argument for it is that companies should be able to spend money how they see fit.
In recent years, with corporate profits high, American firms have bought their own stocks with extraordinary zeal.
Federal Reserve data show that buybacks are now equivalent to 4 percent of annual economic output, up from zero percent in the 1990s. Companies spent roughly $7 trillion on their own shares from 2004 to 2014, and have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on buybacks in the past six months alone. more>
Posted in Banking, Business, CONGRESS WATCH, Economic development, Economy, History, Leadership, Regulations
Tagged Banking reform, Capital, Financial crisis, Government, Regulations, Stock buyback, United States
By Zhang Jun – In the West, many economists and observers now portray China as a fierce competitor for global technological supremacy. They believe that the Chinese state’s capacity is enabling the country, through top-down industrial policies, to stand virtually shoulder-to-shoulder with Europe and the US.
This is a serious misrepresentation.
While it is true that digital technologies are transforming China’s economy, this reflects the implementation of mobile-Internet-enabled business models more than the development of cutting-edge technologies, and it affects consumption patterns more than, say, manufacturing.
In fact, Western observers – not just the media, but also academics and government leaders, including US President Donald Trump – have fundamentally misunderstood the nature and exaggerated the role of China’s policies for developing strategic and high-tech industries. Contrary to popular belief, these policies do little more than help lower the entry cost for firms and enhance competition. In fact, such policies encourage excessive entry, and the resulting competition and lack of protection for existing firms have been constantly criticized in China. Therefore, if China relies on effective industrial policies, they would not create much unfairness in terms of global rules.
Clearly, there is a big difference between applying digital technologies to consumer-oriented business models and becoming a world leader in developing and producing hard technology. more>
Posted in Broadband, Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, History, Leadership, Media, Science, Technology
Tagged Business, Capital, China, Credit, Government, Jobs, Manufacturing, Super regions