Britain’s economy remains a long way from ‘strong and sustainable recovery’, the International Monetary Fund has warned. (continue reading…)
There are now over 1,500
technology companies, employing more
than 53,000 people, in Cambridge’s “Silicon Fen”. They’re attracted
by a combination of entrepreneurialism and innovation “unrivalled
probably anywhere outside the US”, according to Charles Cotton,
technology investor and author of The Cambridge
Phenomenon: 50 Years of Innovation and Enterprise. For more
than 50 years — since Tim Eiloart and David Southward set
up Cambridge Consultants in 1960, in Eiloart’s words to
“put the brains of Cambridge University at the disposal of the
problems of British industry” — the city has been host to some of
the most important names in the UK’s technology sector, including
Acorn Computing, Sinclair Research, Aveva, ARM and
Autonomy. To date, it has produced 12 companies with market
capitalisations of more than $1bn (£600m). ARM Holdings alone has a
£13.5bn market cap; and Autonomy sold, controversially, for $11bn
(£7.2bn) to HP.
By: David Baker, Edited by: Kadhim Shubber
In the spirit of the NCAA college basketball tournament, ESPN aired a documentary on the bittersweet careers of University of Michigan’s “Fab Five.” During the documentary, former Michigan star, and current Huffington Post contributor, Jalen Rose expressed his feelings about his team’s rivalry with Duke when he said, “For me Duke was personal. I hated Duke and I hated everything I felt Duke stood for. Schools like Duke didn’t recruit players like me. I felt like they only recruited black players that were Uncle Toms.” Rose’s comments became fodder for those looking to emphasize the growing income and education gap amongst African-Americans (continue reading…)
Barack Obama at times seems to be the unluckiest person on the face of the earth. He just can’t catch a break. Or maybe his bad luck is a result of ignoring his progressive base and scientific evidence and instead trying to negotiate and compromise with congressmen who are financially motivated toward helping banks and corporations more than our own people. When bad events happen that scientists and academics have been warning about for years it is difficult to chalk them up to bad luck (continue reading…)
It was a privilege to participate in the IMF conference devoted to rethinking policy frameworks in the wake of the crisis. Highly encouraging was the openness of the discussion, the range of views, the willingness to question orthodoxy, and the posture of humility.
One gets the impression that the crisis has triggered a response that it should trigger, and we have embarked on a path of rethinking conceptual frameworks and policy choices in a way that will contribute to the stability of the system.
That said, the good news is that we recognize that in finance and parts of macroeconomics the models or frameworks are incomplete. That represents a challenge to the academic community. But it also means that, in the short run, participants and regulators will be operating with incomplete models (continue reading…)
I wonder if other economic observers were shaken to the extent I was by recent comments by seemingly disparate actors, William Dudley, president of the New York Fed, and President Obama. The former sought to downplay the extent of price inflation by explaining that as is true with iPad devices and other consumer electronics, we are often receiving more for our money today than in the past.
“Today you can buy an iPad 2 that costs the same as an iPad 1 that is twice as powerful,” he said referring to Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) latest handheld tablet computer hitting stories on Friday.
“You have to look at the prices of all things,” he said.
The latter, referred to cars getting eight or ten MPG as having poor fuel economy.
When our policy-makers are out of touch with economic reality to this extent and not even embarrassed about it, it’s hard to be confident about our economic future. Mr (continue reading…)
All small businesses are not the same. Until this is registered and embraced by our legislators, this country will not succeed in its efforts to promote economic growth through innovation or unleash our full capacity to compete globally.
As a participant in Treasury’s Access to Capital Conference held Tuesday in Washington D.C., I was invited to speak on a panel about fostering growth and innovation for high growth small businesses, with a specific focus on the role that debt can play. I was appreciative of the opportunity to represent the needs of truly innovative companies that contribute substantially to U.S. GDP, U.S (continue reading…)
The reign of lawlessness continues in Wisconsin.
Last week, a local court issued a temporary restraining order blocking the implementation of Governor Scott Walker’s radical proposal to do away with most collective bargaining rights for public workers and cripple labor’s ability to collect union dues. The court put a halt to the publication of the bill (an act performed by the Secretary of State), so there could be a hearing on whether or not the Wisconsin Senate violated the state’s strong open meetings law in its rush to ram the bill through.
This week, Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen charged into court in defense of secret government. He argued that when legislators break the law — the courts can’t do anything about it. Apparently legislators, like Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, have “immunity” from the enforcement of their very own laws.
Welcome to Fitzwalkerstan, where novel interpretations of long established law is a daily occurrence and the billable hours are stacking up.
Pleadings from Fitzwalkerstan
Wisconsin’s open meetings law requires 24 hours’ public notice of meetings or two hours in emergencies (continue reading…)
On Wednesday the Republicans on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee are holding a “public” hearing about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at the state capitol in Harrisburg, Penn. Except they’re not there to listen to the public and people like Pennsylvania’s Stacie Ritter, whose family had good insurance and still had to file for bankruptcy because of massive medical bills.
Stacie and her husband Ben had to pay huge fees for the treatments their twin little girls, Hannah and Madeline, needed when they were diagnosed with leukemia. At the same time, Ben had to take time from work to help care for the twins and their other children (continue reading…)
The most remarkable aspect of the recent conference at the IMF on Macro and Growth Policies in the Wake of the Crisis was the broad consensus that the macroeconomic models that had been relied upon in the past and had informed major aspects of monetary and macro-policy had failed. They failed to predict the crisis; standard models even said bubbles couldn’t exist — markets were efficient.
Even after the bubble broke, they said the effects would be contained. Even after it was clear that the effects were not “contained,” they provided limited guidance on how the economy should respond (continue reading…)
In the last couple of years our country has elected our first black president, and witnessed the appointments of our first Latina Supreme court justice and our first openly gay White House Social Secretary. After centuries marked by slavery, segregation and other forms of legalized inequality it seemed as though our country was finally headed in a direction in which fewer groups would feel the need to request federal civil rights protection simply to survive. But recently progress was tapped on the shoulder by our friend, cold, hard reality and told, “Not so fast.”
Last week Representative Hank Johnson introduced legislation that would add another group to those already protected by the 1964 Civil Rights Act: the unemployed. The Fair Employment Act of 2011 would make discrimination against the unemployed a civil rights violation, on par with discrimination on the basis of race or gender.
The reason? Because just as some signs outside of restaurants, stores and job postings used to declare “No Coloreds Allowed,” some employers are now declaring, “No Unemployed Allowed.” (Click here to see a list of current U.S (continue reading…)
In President Abraham Lincoln’s famous “Gettysburg Address” in November of 1863, he wound up his short speech by exclaiming that the living be dedicated to and increase their devotion to the “unfinished work” that the brave soldiers died for: that a government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth. Almost 150 years later, our country seems still at odds about what that kind of government really means.
Of the people? That could mean the voters electing fellow citizens to office. By the People? Those same voters having a say in what their government does or doesn’t do via their votes or support of a candidate for office (continue reading…)
On Saturday, President Obama met with business executives in Brasilia, a modernist architectural marvel, and on Sunday he visited City of God, a notorious shantytown in Rio de Janeiro. This daring juxtaposition of progress and poverty suggested a clear agenda, shared by Brazil and the United States, of fostering dynamic economic growth and fighting poverty simultaneously.
Obama’s economic team focused on US trade and investment opportunities in Brazil’s booming economy, poised to expand still further in energy, infrastructure for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, agricultural and mineral exports, and consumer goods for the growing middle class. And as the President watched a capoeira performance and played soccer with neighborhood kids in City of God, he looked out over one of the hemisphere’s most poverty-stricken and violent landscapes and called for inclusion.
But if Obama keeps these agendas separate, he will miss the chance to contribute to a genuinely new future. In Latin America, as in most of the developing world — and the US today — economic growth all too often perpetuates inequality (continue reading…)
I gave a talk at the Stanford Graduate School of Business as part of Entrepreneurship Week on the Democratization of Entrepreneurship. The first 11 minutes or so of the talk (see video below) covers the post I wrote called “When It’s Darkest, Men See the Stars.”
In it, I observe that the barriers to entrepreneurship are not just being removed. They’re being replaced by innovations that are speeding up each step, some by a factor of ten.
My hypothesis is that we’ll look back on this decade as the beginning of a revolution built on entrepreneurship and innovation.
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As spring dawns, the economy’s green shoots have been trampled once again, first by the economic fallout from Japan’s tsunami, and again by rising worldwide commodity prices.
The disruption of Japan’s production revealed the soft underbelly of globalization — the reliance on vulnerable global supply chains only as strong as their weakest link. Rising food and energy prices produce a toxic stew of inflation and unemployment.
This depressing news, of course, has political as well as economic consequences. Politically, it means that the incumbent party — Obama’s — faces even tougher going in 2012.
Economically, rising inflation makes it that much harder for the Federal Reserve to keep resorting to very low interest rates to levitate a sick economy (continue reading…)
All too frequently these days, I am asked whether our past polling at Zogby International gave us any advance clues to the uprisings that have occurred in several Arab countries. The answer, of course, is no. We were surprised, as, I believe, were the demonstrators themselves by the outpouring of support and the rapid growth of their movements in Tunisia, Egypt and beyond.
But while our polling couldn’t predict the uprisings, it nevertheless has been helpful in contributing to our understanding of the issues and concerns that define the political landscape in countries across the region.
In preparing for a talk on Bahrain earlier this week, I took a look at a survey of the “middle class” in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain we conducted a few years ago for McKinsey and Company. It was most instructive (continue reading…)
During the 1992 Presidential election, Bill Clinton’s campaign team hit on a slogan that was easy to pronounce and just as easy for people to understand: “It’s the economy, stupid!” By that time, the trickle-down economics of the Reagan era had proven to be a ridiculous theory. The fact that President George H.W. Bush had no idea what the price of milk was didn’t help matters, either.
As the Internet has grown and computers have taken on spectacular efficiencies in moving money, global economies have seen financial transactions increase in their speed and societal impact. Fraudulent practices like Bernie Madoff’s exclusive pyramid scheme for the wealthy — or the implosion of the real estate market due to wild gambling with credit default swaps — have caused the fortunes and financial security that many investors and homeowners took for granted to evaporate into thin air.
On December 5, 1996, Alan Greenspan (who was then Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board) asked an audience at the American Enterprise Institute: “How do we know when irrational exuberance has unduly escalated asset values, which then become subject to unexpected and prolonged contractions as they have in Japan over the past decade?” Although Greenspan’s use of the term “irrational exuberance” has been referred to quite often since the global financial meltdown of 2008, if you really want to see what “irrational exuberance” looks like you should start with this clip from Busby Berkeley’s 1933 movie musical, 42nd Street (in which Ginger Rogers sings one verse of “We’re In The Money” in pig latin):
Need another example? How about Ethel Merman asking “Could You Use Any Money Today?” in Irving Berlin’s 1950 hit musical, Call Me Madam?
The past decade has produced numerous documentaries about the perils of the new global economy (continue reading…)
Moving to Southwest Washington State where I built a house on the beach with my hands and the skill and hands of a couple of excellent German expatriates, I was struck with the attitude of locals toward storm surge and possible tsunami. It had never happened the locals said, dismissively. Last week a tsunami happened, and, thankfully, we were spared. We weren’t so in 2007 when a hurricane force storm hit and denuded the surrounding tree farms of hundred year old trees and took 30 feet out of the barrier dunes (continue reading…)
There is no question that the devastation caused by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accidents in Japan, already estimated at $180 billion, will get worse before it gets better. With thousands dead and hundreds of thousands displaced, the damage is staggering and heartbreaking.
Japan will require a massive reconstruction, including a dramatic reconstruction effort to rebuild the nation with the world’s third largest economy. They will need the help of the world, and the U.S (continue reading…)
Secretaries of Labor are often unstoppable cheerleaders for the job market, seeing blue skies ahead. Former US Representative, now cabinet secretary Hilda Solis has learned from two years on the job during tough economic times: No blue sky forecasts unless they are absolutely guaranteed. Here’s what she sounds like now: “I don’t think that right now the Federal Government or the Congress is in a position to say that we’re somehow going to be able to address all that. We’re all going to have to come to the table, all make hard decisions, and tighten our belt.”
Who can blame her? When the stimulus money for state and local governments ran out, public workers started to get laid off (continue reading…)
Citigroup just sent me its annual statement and ballot to vote on suggestions from its Board of Directors, which, among other things, extends its flirtation with a reverse split that began two years ago.
For those unaware, a reverse split is the opposite of a split, which is when stock prices get too high and the price might be split in half with each stockholder getting a doubling of shares. When this happens it’s a sign the company is doing well, but because the share price might be too high for a lot of action, halving the price makes it more affordable and shareholders get a chance at continued upward movement with more stock.
With a reverse split, a company is in trouble and stockholders lose their shares proportionately to effect a rise in the cost of the stock. So, if you had 1,000 shares of AIG when it split 1:20 in 2009, you wound up with fifty shares, but the price went from $1.15 to $23.
Here’s the rub. Everyone knows the new price is artificial and they’re not fooling anyone (continue reading…)
The November elections sent a decisive message to our elected officials–or at least it should have. Here’s what I heard Americans saying: we are frustrated with a government that seems wholly disconnected from the challenges middle class families face. We want our leadership to focus on rebuilding an economy that creates jobs now, and opportunity for future generations. We expect you–our government–to do what We the People are doing in these challenging times: tightening our belt, cutting the extras and prioritizing the things that really matter (continue reading…)
Democratic Members of Congress, through the Democratic Caucus New Media Working Group, will be participating in a Congressional Twitter Town Hall, Thursday (tomorrow), from noon-1 PM EST, and I wanted to personally invite you to join us. We’re taking questions with the #AskDems hashtag. You’ll be able to follow Democratic responses here.
We’re focusing on budget issues and spending priorities (continue reading…)
In 2009, Jeffrey Erb left his management position at a premier New York City design firm to branch out and start his own business, Jeffrey Erb Landscape Design, which creates artful urban landscapes and garden designs. Though Jeffrey plans to hire and expand his young business in the future, current economic conditions necessitate that he remain a “one man shop.”
Jeffrey’s situation is becoming increasingly common. The layoffs of the Great Recession have prompted more and more people to set off on their own, trying their hand at running a business. New data from the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity indicate that startup activity rose to record highs in 2008 and 2009 (continue reading…)