Free trade and inequality
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Geopolitical role of trade deals is often overdramatised - Alan Beattie in Financial Times

Geopolitical role of trade deals is often overdramatised - Alan Beattie in Financial Times | Free trade and inequality | Scoop.it
The fear that a state-of-the-art US model will be replaced by an inferior Chinese system of rules looks overdone. Beijing does not have an extensive rival set of laws to propagate. Its favoured trade pact, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, is known to negotiators as “the stapler”. It does little more than gather together existing bilateral and regional agreements and has little content beyond cuts in goods tariffs.

The “China model” is not a new and disturbing diversion from a move towards deeper economic integration: it is essentially the status quo. If TPP does fail, the US will have fumbled a chance to liberalise some trade in services and restrain state-owned enterprises from distorting markets. But that is a missed opportunity, not a catastrophe.
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Stedman Jones, D.: Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics. (eBook and Hardcover)

Stedman Jones, D.: Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics. (eBook and Hardcover) | Free trade and inequality | Scoop.it
How did American and British policymakers become so enamored with free markets, deregulation, and limited government? This book--the first comprehensive transatlantic history of the rise of neoliberal politics--presents a surprising answer. Based on archival research and interviews with leading participants in the movement, Masters of the Universe traces the ascendancy of neoliberalism from the academy of interwar Europe to supremacy under Reagan and Thatcher and in the decades since. Daniel Stedman Jones argues that there was nothing inevitable about the victory of free-market politics. Far from being the story of the simple triumph of right-wing ideas, the neoliberal breakthrough was contingent on the economic crises of the 1970s and the acceptance of the need for new policies by the political left.

Masters of the Universe describes neoliberalism's road to power, beginning in interwar Europe but shifting its center of gravity after 1945 to the United States, especially to Chicago and Virginia, where it acquired a simple clarity that was developed into an uncompromising political message. Neoliberalism was communicated through a transatlantic network of think tanks, businessmen, politicians, and journalists that was held together by Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman. After the collapse of Bretton Woods in 1971, and the "stagflation" that followed, their ideas finally began to take hold as Keynesianism appeared to self-destruct. Later, after the elections of Reagan and Thatcher, a guileless faith in free markets came to dominate politics.
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Health Equity Assessment Toolkit (HEAT)

The Health Equity Assessment Toolkit (HEAT) is a software application for use on desktop or laptop computers and mobile devices (minimum screen size of 7.9 inches recommended). It was developed to facilitate the assessment of within-country health inequalities. HEAT is organized around two main components:

Explore inequality, which enables users to explore the situation in one country of interest to determine the latest situation of inequality and the change in inequalities over time.Compare inequality, which enables users to benchmark, i.e. compare the situation in one country of interest with the situation in other countries.

Inequalities can be assessed using disaggregated data and summary measures that are visualized in a variety of interactive ways, including tables and graphs. Customized results can be exported and saved in different formats.


Via Giuseppe Fattori
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Financing Healthcare - Our World In Data

Health is a fundamental driver of our overall quality of life. In this entry we focus on healthcare – one of the most important inputs to produce health. There are many other factors affecting health, and you can read more about some of them in our entries about health.

Publicly funded healthcare is a legacy of the Age of Enlightenment.1 The first examples of legislation on health insurance date back to the late 19th century.2 Data from these early systems shows that healthcare expenditure only began rising several years after the expansion of insurance coverage, with the discovery of powerful new treatments.3
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Life expectancy vs. health expenditure over time, 1970-2014

Life expectancy vs. health expenditure over time, 1970-2014 | Free trade and inequality | Scoop.it

The following graph visualizes the relationship between life expectancy and health expenditure, for a number of OECD countries across the period 1970-2014. Two points are worth mentioning. Firstly, all countries in this graph have followed an upward trajectory (life expectancy increased as health expenditure increased), but the U.S. stands out as an exception following a much flatter trajectory; gains in life expectancy from additional health spending in the U.S. were much smaller than in the other high-income countries, particularly since the mid-1980s. And secondly, the gains for all countries (except for the U.S.) were not diminishing, as in the previous graph. This suggests that there are many other factors affecting life expectancy, that are not determined by healthcare spending. Indeed, as we have pointed out before, healthcare is just one of many inputs to produce health.here to edit the content

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Jeff French's curator insight, August 11, 3:39 AM
Its not just how much you spend
Alex O. Awiti's curator insight, August 12, 12:27 AM
Public investments in healthcare matter!
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A popular conspiracy theory is spreading in the Trump family. It’s totally false.

A popular conspiracy theory is spreading in the Trump family. It’s totally false. | Free trade and inequality | Scoop.it
The unemployment rate is not a conspiracy. It is not manipulated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And anyone who suggests otherwise is either uninformed, or trying to misinform others.

Which is to say that you shouldn't listen to Donald Trump & Co. For a year now, the alleged billionaire has insisted that the "real" unemployment rate is something like 42 percent instead of the 4.9 percent it actually is.
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Anti-Competitive Effects of Common Ownership | The Julis-Rabinowitz Center for Public Policy and Finance

Anti-Competitive Effects of Common Ownership | The Julis-Rabinowitz Center for Public Policy and Finance | Free trade and inequality | Scoop.it
In the United States, institutional investors hold between seventy to eighty percent of US publicly traded firms.  Moreover, it is common for a single institutional investor to be a major shareholder of different firms competing within the same industry. BlackRock, for example, is the largest shareholder in each of the largest three banks in the United States, while pharmacy rivals CVS and Walgreens have the exact same top five shareholders.  Could this result in anti-competitive behavior and higher prices for consumers?

According to a  study presented by Martin Schmalz, University of Michigan,  at JRCPPF’s Fifth Annual Conference the answer is a resounding yes. 
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Thanks For the M.R.E.'s - [US privatization 2003]

Thanks For the M.R.E.'s - [US privatization 2003] | Free trade and inequality | Scoop.it
Military corner-cutting is part of a broader picture of penny-wise-pound-foolish government. When it comes to tax cuts or subsidies to powerful interest groups, money is no object. But elsewhere, including homeland security, small-government ideology reigns. The Bush administration has been unwilling to spend enough on any aspect of homeland security, whether it's providing firefighters and police officers with radios or protecting the nation's ports. The decision to pull air marshals off some flights to save on hotel bills -- reversed when the public heard about it -- was simply a sound-bite-worthy example. (Air marshals have told MSNBC.com that a ''witch hunt'' is now under way at the Transportation Security Administration, and that those who reveal cost-cutting measures to the media are being threatened with the Patriot Act.)

There's also another element in the Iraq logistical snafu: privatization. The U.S. military has shifted many tasks traditionally performed by soldiers into the hands of such private contractors as Kellogg Brown & Root, the Halliburton subsidiary. The Iraq war and its aftermath gave this privatized system its first major test in combat -- and the system failed.
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G20-Gipfel: Deutschland will die globale Finanzsteuer

G20-Gipfel: Deutschland will die globale Finanzsteuer | Free trade and inequality | Scoop.it
ChengduDeutschland ergreift die Initiative für eine Besteuerung von Finanztransaktionen auf globaler Ebene. Da eine solche Steuer allein in Europa wenig bringe, machte Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) beim Treffen der Finanzminister und Notenbankchefs der führenden Industrie- und Schwellenländer (G20) überraschend einen entsprechenden Vorstoß. Bei ihren zweitägigen Beratungen im südwestchinesischen Chengdu berieten die Top-Wirtschaftsmächte auch über die Auswirkungen des geplanten britischen Ausstieg aus der Europäischen Union und die Folgen des Putschversuches in der Türkei.
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Now EU faces ANOTHER referendum: Irish demand vote on controversial trade deal

Now EU faces ANOTHER referendum: Irish demand vote on controversial trade deal | Free trade and inequality | Scoop.it
In another body blow to the EU project the powerful Unite union is calling for a full referendum on whether to implement the highly contentious Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). 

The hugely controversial deal, being cooked up in secret between Brussels and the US, has been met with furious opposition over fears it will allow American corporations to break up public services. 

And top lawyers in Ireland are already at work forming a case that the TTIP deal is so wide-ranging and intrusive that it should automatically trigger a referendum under the country’s constitution. 
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Voters Deserve Responsible Nationalism Not Reflex Globalism

Voters Deserve Responsible Nationalism Not Reflex Globalism | Free trade and inequality | Scoop.it
A new approach has to start from the idea that the basic responsibility of government is to maximise the welfare of citizens, not to pursue some abstract concept of the global good. People also want to feel that they are shaping the societies in which they live. It may be inevitable that impersonal forces of technology and changing global economic circumstances have profound effects, but it adds insult to injury when governments reach agreements that further cede control to international tribunals. This is especially the case when, for reasons of law or practicality, corporations have disproportionate influence in shaping global agreements.

If Italy’s banking system is badly undercapitalised and the country’s democratically elected government wants to use taxpayer money to recapitalise it, why should some international agreement prevent it from doing so? Why should not countries that think that genetically modified crops are dangerous get to shield people from them? Why should the international community seek to prevent countries that wish to limit capital inflows from doing so? The issue in all these cases is not the merits. It is the principle that intrusions into sovereignty exact a high cost.
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TTIP-Verhandlungen in Brüssel: Ein langsamer Tod

TTIP-Verhandlungen in Brüssel: Ein langsamer Tod | Free trade and inequality | Scoop.it
Die SPD würde dem Abkommen offenbar keine Träne nachweinen. Der SPD-Vorsitzende und Wirtschaftsminister Sigmar Gabriel richte sich bereits auf den Abbruch der Verhandlungen ein, meldet die FAZ. Er habe schon seit Wochen den Eindruck, dass es auf Seiten der Amerikaner keine echte Bewegung gebe. Und nach allem, was man von den Unterhändlern aus Brüssel hört, dürfte das Ergebnis der laufenden Runde erneut überaus mager ausfallen.
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José Manuel Barroso’s new job at Goldman Sachs angers EU

José Manuel Barroso’s new job at Goldman Sachs angers EU | Free trade and inequality | Scoop.it
“These shameful revolving doors between politics and business foster doubts on the integrity of democratic politics,” said Sven Giegold, a Green MEP. “Barroso’s quick change-over damages the reputation of the European Commission.”

Jean Quatremer, the EU affairs correspondent for the French daily Libération, was harsher. In an opinion piece, he wrote: “Barroso has given Europe the finger.”

Even a trade union of EU staffers, Unity Union, said his appointment would “discredit our institution.”

According to an EU diplomat, the current Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was not told in advance and “probably [he] was not happy,” but the two men called each other after Barroso’s appointment was announced.
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Monopolist behavior - Kommentar: Når Falcks blå blink bliver en samfundsskadelig affære

Kommentar: Med særdeles uortodokse metoder har Falck gang på gang forsvaret sit monopol. Men fremfærden er uacceptabel, for gevinsten ender hos Falcks ejere, mens skatteyderne betaler regningen.
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Neoliberalism: the deep story that lies beneath Donald Trump’s triumph | George Monbiot

Neoliberalism: the deep story that lies beneath Donald Trump’s triumph | George Monbiot | Free trade and inequality | Scoop.it
Those who tell the stories run the world. Politics has failed through a lack of competing narratives. The key task now is to tell a new story of what it is to be a human in the 21st century. It must be as appealing to some who have voted for Trump and Ukip as it is to the supporters of Clinton, Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn.

A few of us have been working on this, and can discern what may be the beginning of a story. It’s too early to say much yet, but at its core is the recognition that – as modern psychology and neuroscience make abundantly clear – human beings, by comparison with any other animals, are both remarkably social and remarkably unselfish. The atomisation and self-interested behaviour neoliberalism promotes run counter to much of what comprises human nature.

Hayek told us who we are, and he was wrong. Our first step is to reclaim our humanity.
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How Far Should We Push Globalisation?

How Far Should We Push Globalisation? | Free trade and inequality | Scoop.it
A more fundamental issue that arises here and which has not sufficiently been addressed in the discussions around CETA has to do with the question of  how far we should push globalization?
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VERTEILUNGSKAMPF – Warum Deutschland immer ungleicher wird

VERTEILUNGSKAMPF – Warum Deutschland immer ungleicher wird | Free trade and inequality | Scoop.it
In der deutschen Marktwirtschaft wird mit gezinkten Karten gespielt – wirklichen marktwirtschaftlichen Wettbewerb gibt es immer weniger. Die neue deutsche Marktwirtschaft zeigt ihr wahres Gesicht in einer stark zunehmenden Ungleichheit. In kaum einem Industrieland der Welt sind vor allem Chancen, aber auch zunehmend Vermögen und Einkommen ungleicher verteilt als in Deutschland. Diese Ungleichheit stellt nicht nur ein gesellschaftliches, sondern ein massives wirtschaftliches Problem dar. Sie schwächt unser Wachstum, verhindert mehr Investitionen und bessere Jobs. Dieser Schaden ist eine Realität, die Deutschland vor riesige Herausforderungen stellt.
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Sundaram: The Trans-Pacific Shell Game

Sundaram: The Trans-Pacific Shell Game | Free trade and inequality | Scoop.it
The TPP’s advocates have, for years, been grossly exaggerating the deal’s projected benefits, while downplaying its potentially high risks and costs, most of which will be incurred by ordinary citizens. The reality is that the TPP will have a barely perceptible impact on GDP, benefit large corporations almost exclusively, and significantly constrain the policy space governments need to accelerate economic development and protect the public interest. Some partnership that is.
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Gastbeitrag: Die neue Macht der Fondsgesellschaften

Gastbeitrag: Die neue Macht der Fondsgesellschaften | Free trade and inequality | Scoop.it
Weil große Vermögensverwalter Hunderte oder sogar Tausende Unternehmen in ihrem Portfolio führen, identifizieren sie sich nicht mit „ihrer“ Firma, wie es Adam Smiths Bäcker mit seiner Bäckerei getan hat. Sie interessieren sie sich nicht einmal für die Gewinne oder Risiken eines einzelnen Unternehmens. Relevant ist vielmehr der Wert ihres gesamten Portfolios. Wenn die Vermögensverwalter breit in einer Branche investiert haben, wird dieser aber nicht einfach dadurch maximiert, dass jedes Portfolio-Unternehmen egoistisch und aggressiv seinen eigenen Gewinn maximiert. Der Gewinn einer ganzen Branche ist im Gegenteil dann am größten, wenn der Drang jedes einzelnen Unternehmens, den anderen Unternehmen in derselben Branche Konkurrenz zu machen, wirksam ausgeschaltet wird.
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Devisenskandal: HSBC-Manager in New York festgenommen

Devisenskandal: HSBC-Manager in New York festgenommen | Free trade and inequality | Scoop.it
Ein ranghoher Manager der britischen Großbank HSBC ist in New York in Zusammenhang mit Betrugs-Ermittlungen im Devisenhandel festgenommen worden. Er und ein weiterer Manager werden den Gerichtsunterlagen zufolge beschuldigt, einen Kunden in einem 3,5 Milliarden Dollar schweren Devisengeschäft betrogen zu haben. Mark J. sei am Dienstagabend am New Yorker Flughafen John F. Kennedy verhaftet worden, sagte eine Sprecherin der US-Behörden. Die zweite Person, Stuart S., sei nicht festgenommen worden.
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New Report: Gilead Sciences Price Gouger, Tax Dodger

New Report: Gilead Sciences Price Gouger, Tax Dodger | Free trade and inequality | Scoop.it

A new investigative report finds that in the last two years Gilead Sciences has raked in billions in profits from exorbitantly priced hepatitis C medications that were developed with taxpayer dollars, and then shifted those profits to offshore tax havens where it dodges U.S. taxes.

“Gilead is making a fortune selling essential drugs to the very government and taxpayers that helped pay to develop them, and then dodging taxes on the resulting profits,” said Americans for Tax Fairness Executive Director Frank Clemente. “Congress should stop this assault on the American people’s health and pocketbooks by curbing the company’s flagrant drug-price gouging and tax dodging.”

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How Amazon keeps tax collectors at bay - Luxembourg, Juncker

But documents from the Seattle court case show a very different version of events. In a brief to the tax court in Seattle, the IRS says Juncker met with four senior Amazon tax officials between September 9 and 12, 2003. The officials included Bob Comfort, a key player in setting up Amazon’s European tax structure; Jocelyn Krabbenschmidt, who served as Amazon’s director of global direct tax from 1999 until 2012; and Jeroen Pit, Amazon’s head of EU VAT (value-added tax). “Amazon tax executives met with the Luxembourg prime minister,” the documents state.

This evidence of a meeting between Juncker and Amazon’s top tax officials at a key moment in the company’s negotiations with Luxembourg could hasten the work already underway by the European Parliament’s Special Committee on Tax Rulings, which has questioned Juncker and a host of multinational companies—including McDonald’s, Google and Apple—about how they calculate their taxable revenues.
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Freihandelsabkommen: "TTIP ist faktisch tot"

Freihandelsabkommen: "TTIP ist faktisch tot" | Free trade and inequality | Scoop.it
Auch Hans-Jürgen Papier, der frühere Präsident des Bundesverfassungsgerichts, empfahl im Handelsblatt "aus verfassungspolitischen Gründen" eine Denkpause bei TTIP. Der Jurist forderte mehr Transparenz und Öffentlichkeit bei den Verhandlungen. "Die Öffentlichkeit hat das Gefühl, es droht Rechtssetzung in so weitreichendem Maße ohne wirklichen parlamentarischen Gesetzgeber", sagte er der Zeitung. Dagegen sprach sich der Präsident des Deutschen Industrie- und Handelskammertages (DIHK), Eric Schweitzer, nachdrücklich für das Projekt aus. "Wir brauchen ein Abkommen, das wegweisend ist für das Welthandelssystem", sagte er der Neuen Osnabrücker Zeitung.
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Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie: Start der 14. TTIP-Verhandlungsrunde

Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie: Start der 14. TTIP-Verhandlungsrunde | Free trade and inequality | Scoop.it
Das Themenspektrum für die Verhandlungsrunde ist breit angelegt, Verhandlungen werden in allen Bereichen fortgeführt. Einen Schwerpunkt der Verhandlungsrunde bilden regulatorische Fragen und Regelungen für technische Handelshemmnisse. Daneben sollen auch die Diskussionen im Bereich Marktzugang fortgeführt werden, etwa bei Dienstleistungen und Beschaffungsmärkten. Von europäischer Seite werden Textvorschläge für ein Energie- und Rohstoffkapitel sowie zu digitalem Handel in die Verhandlungen eingebracht. Eine wichtige Rolle spielen auch die Kapitel zu Nachhaltigkeit, kleinen und mittelständischen Unternehmen, der Schutz geografischer Herkunftsangaben sowie Fragen der Zoll- und Handelserleichterungen. Für das Nachhaltigkeitskapitel schlägt die Europäische Kommission wichtige Ergänzungen zum Klimaschutz vor. 
Zur Beseitigung technischer Handelshemmnisse wird die Europäische Kommission erstmals eine Reihe von Textvorschlägen für eine engere Zusammenarbeit in wichtigen Sektoren wie dem Automobilbereich, Maschinenbau, bei Medizinprodukten, Chemikalien, Kosmetika und Textilien einbringen. Die Texte werden nach Abschluss der Verhandlungsrunde mit erläuternden Materialien veröffentlicht. 
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