Archive for novembro \29\UTC 2008

What Keynes would have done? (O que Keynes teria feito?)

novembro 29, 2008

Um interessante artigo do Prof. Greg Mankiw em seu blog, e que vai sair amanhã em The New York Times!

======================

What Keynes would have done?

 

Published: November 28, 2008

IF you were going to turn to only one economist to understand the problems facing the economy, there is little doubt that the economist would be John Maynard Keynes. Although Keynes died more than a half-century ago, his diagnosis of recessions and depressions remains the foundation of modern macroeconomics. His insights go a long way toward explaining the challenges we now confront.

David G. Klein

 

According to Keynes, the root cause of economic downturns is insufficient aggregate demand. When the total demand for goods and services declines, businesses throughout the economy see their sales fall off. Lower sales induce firms to cut back production and to lay off workers. Rising unemployment and declining profits further depress demand, leading to a feedback loop with a very unhappy ending.

The situation reverses, Keynesian theory says, only when some event or policy increases aggregate demand. The problem right now is that it is hard to see where that demand might come from.

The economy’s output of goods and services is traditionally divided into four components: consumption, investment, net exports and government purchases. Any expansion in demand has to come from one of these four. But in each case, strong forces are working to keep spending down.

CONSUMPTION The Conference Board reports that consumer confidence is near its record low. It is easy to understand why consumers are so scared. House values have declined, 401(k) balances have shrunk and unemployment is up. For many people, the sense of economic uncertainty is greater than they’ve ever experienced. When it comes to discretionary purchases, like a new home, a car, or a washing machine, wait-and-see is the most rational course.

A bit more saving is not entirely unwelcome. Many economists have long lamented the United States saving rate, which is low by international and historical standards.

For the overall economy, however, a recession is not the best time for households to start saving. Keynesian theory suggests a “paradox of thrift.” If all households try to save more, a short-run result could be lower aggregate demand and thus lower national income. Reduced incomes, in turn, could prevent households from reaching their new saving goals.

INVESTMENT In normal times, a fall in consumption could be met by an increase in investment, which includes spending by businesses on plant and equipment and by households on new homes. But several factors are keeping investment spending at bay.

The most obvious is the state of the housing market. Over the past three years, residential investment has fallen 42 percent. With house prices continuing to decline, increased building of new homes is not likely to be a source of robust demand over the next few years.

Business investment has lately been stronger than residential investment, but it is unlikely to pick up the slack in the near future. With the stock market down, interest rates on corporate bonds up and the banking system teetering on the edge, financing new business projects will not be easy.

NET EXPORTS Not long ago, it looked as if the rest of the world would save the United States economy from a deep downturn. From March 2004 to March 2008, the dollar fell 19 percent against an average of other major currencies. By increasing the price of foreign goods in the United States and reducing the price of American goods abroad, this depreciation discouraged imports and bolstered exports. Over the last three years, real net exports have increased by about $250 billion.

In the coming months, however, the situation may well go into reverse. As the United States financial crisis has spread to the rest of the world, fast-moving international capital has been looking for a safe haven. Ironically, that haven is the United States. Since March, the dollar has appreciated 19 percent, a move that will put a crimp in the export boom.

GOVERNMENT PURCHASES That leaves the government as the demander of last resort. Calls for increased infrastructure spending fit well with Keynesian theory. In principle, every dollar spent by the government could cause national income to increase by more than a dollar if it leads to a more vibrant economy and stimulates spending by consumers and companies. By all reports, that is precisely the plan that the incoming Obama administration has in mind.

The fly in the ointment — or perhaps it is more an elephant — is the long-term fiscal picture. Increased government spending may be a good short-run fix, but it would add to the budget deficit. The baby boomers are now starting to retire and claim Social Security and Medicare benefits. Any increase in the national debt will make fulfilling those unfunded promises harder in coming years.

Keynesian economists often dismiss these long-run concerns when the economy has short-run problems. “In the long run we are all dead,” Keynes famously quipped.

The longer-term problem we now face, however, may be more serious than any that Keynes ever envisioned. Passing a larger national debt to the next generation may look attractive to those without children. (Keynes himself was childless.) But the rest of us cannot feel much comfort knowing that, in the long run, when we are dead, our children and grandchildren will be dealing with our fiscal legacy.

So what is to be done? Many economists still hope the Federal Reserve will save the day.

In normal times, the Fed can bolster aggregate demand by reducing interest rates. Lower interest rates encourage households and companies to borrow and spend. They also bolster equity values and, by encouraging international capital to look elsewhere, reduce the value of the dollar in foreign-exchange markets. Spending on consumption, investment and net exports all increase.

But these are not normal times. The Fed has already cut the federal funds rate to 1 percent, close to its lower bound of zero. Some fear that our central bank is almost out of ammunition.

Fortunately, the Fed has a few secret weapons. It can set a target for longer-term interest rates. It can commit itself to keeping interest rates low for a sustained period. Most important, it can try to manage expectations and assure markets that it will do whatever it takes to avoid prolonged deflation. The Fed’s decision last week to start buying mortgage debt shows its willingness to act creatively.

It is hard to say how successful monetary and fiscal policy will be in avoiding a deep downturn. But as events unfold, you can be sure that policymakers in the Fed and Treasury will be looking at them through a Keynesian lens.

In 1936, Keynes wrote, “Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slave of some defunct economist.” In 2008, no defunct economist is more prominent than Keynes himself.

 

N. Gregory Mankiw is a professor of economics at Harvard. He was an adviser to President Bush and advised Mitt Romney in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

Anúncios

2002-08: 60% Growth in World Per-Capita Real GDP (2002 – 2008: 60% de Crescimento no PIB Mundial Per-Capita)

novembro 29, 2008

Mais um post interessante de ontem do blog do Prof. Mark Perry! E ainda tem gente que acredita no Brasil que o país cresceu por conta da “inteligência” administrativa do governo Lula! Mal sabem que este crescimento mundial foi o que realmente puxou nosso crescimento recente!

================

2002-08: 60% Growth in World Per-Capita Real GDP

 

In his book “The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse,” Gregg Easterbrook, senior editor at the New Republic and contributing editor to The Atlantic, castigates the media for dwelling on minor problems without celebrating the broader, more upbeat context in which they exist. One of the broader, more upbeat events of recent years is the significant and dramatic increase in real GDP per-capita worldwide.

Using world GDP data from the IMF and world population data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the chart above shows real world GDP per-capita from 1985 to 2013 (data from 2008 – 2013 are estimated). After remaining constant at about $5,000 for 15 years from 1987 to 2002, real GDP per capita will increase 60% from $5,000 in 2002 to an estimated $8,000 this year. After leveling out for a year in 2009 due to the global economic slowdown (see arrow above), growth in per-capita real output is expected to resume in 2010 and exceed $9,000 by 2013.

Bottom Line: The 60% growth in world per-capita real GDP between 2002 and 2008 is probably one of the greatest periods of economic growth in such a short period of time in history, and is definitely part of the broader, more upbeat context of this period in history.

Ray Ozzie Wants to Push Microsoft Back Into Startup Mode (Ray Ozzie quer colocar a Microsoft de volta ao modo start up)

novembro 28, 2008

ff_ozzie_f

Uma fascinante matéria está nas ruas (e no ar) com a nova cara da Microsoft. É uma longa matéria da nova revista Wired com o substituto de Bill Gates, Ray Ozzie, e você pode acessar aqui.

O resumo da ópera é o abaixo:

==================

Ray’s Plan: 4 Ways to Win

Not long after Ray Ozzie arrived at Microsoft in 2005, he wrote a memo declaring that the company’s survival hinged on a shift to cloud computing. Three years later, Ozzie and Microsoft are finally announcing (though for the most part not yet releasing) key products designed to fulfill that promise.

Read more on Monkey Bites: PDC 2008 — More Nitty Gritty Details on Azure

1 Windows Azure

Microsoft’s long-awaited “operating system for the cloud” doesn’t run on a laptop—it runs on the company’s thousands of servers. Customers develop their Web-based businesses to operate on Microsoft’s data centers, and Windows Azure allocates resources as needed.
Expected launch date: Late 2009
The competition: Google App Engine and Amazon EC2; already available

2 “Zurich”

Codename for Azure Services Platform, a set of sophisticated tools to help developers manage their own cloud-based services and Web apps.
Availability Now (in limited preview)
The competition Free open source tools

3 Live Mesh

A service built on Red Dog that allows people (PC and Mac users) to synchronize all their files, photos, and music with all their devices.
Expected launch date 2009; now in public beta
The competition Apple MobileMe

4 Office Web Apps

The next major Office release will include relatively complete Web versions of Microsoft’s crown jewels—Excel, PowerPoint, Word. Users can subscribe or access free versions supported by ads.
Expected launch date 2010; some apps may appear earlier
The competition Google Docs, Yahoo Zimbra, and Zoho—all available now

Not ye olde banners (Vocês não velhos banners)

novembro 28, 2008

 A The Economist começa, como nós aqui do blog, a despertar para a “Economia da Propaganda Online”.  Vejam os comentários que ela faz em sua mais recente edição, bem como os números que apresenta sobre a evolução do setor!

================

Online advertising

Not ye olde banners

Nov 27th 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO
From The Economist print edition

Internet advertising will be relatively unscathed in the downturn

 

Illustration by David Simonds

AT THE beginning of the year Jeff Zucker, the boss of NBC Universal, a big television and film company, told an audience of TV executives that their biggest challenge was to ensure “that we do not end up trading analogue dollars for digital pennies”. He meant that audiences were moving online faster than advertisers, thus leaving media companies short-changed. Now, near the end of the year, the situation looks even worse, as the recession threatens to turn even the analogue dollars into pennies. Will this hasten the shift towards internet advertising, or will it decline too?

Advertising rises and falls with the economy, though how much is a matter of debate. Randall Rothenberg, the boss of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a trade association for digital advertisers, points to the remarkable stability of advertising at about 2% of GDP since 1919, when the data began to be collected. This would suggest that ad budgets will move roughly in line with economic output.

But Mary Meeker, an internet analyst at Morgan Stanley, believes that modern ad budgets rise and fall much more than GDP does. According to her estimates, if the economy stops growing, ad spending is likely to fall by 4%. If the economy shrinks by 2%, overall ad spending may fall by 10%. As for the online segment, recent history is cause for pessimism. Between 2000 and 2002, during the dotcom recession, online ad spending in America fell by 27%.

Yet the web has changed a lot since 2002. Back then, gaudy display “banners” on web portals such as Yahoo! and MSN were the preferred technology. These still exist, but they now account for less than 20% of online ad spending. More than half goes to search advertising on Google and rival search-engines, which place small text ads next to results based on the keyword of the query, and charge only when a user clicks on them. In brand advertising, “rich media” ads are taking over from banners. These allow users to interact by clicking, so their engagement can be tracked.

All this makes spending on advertising much less speculative, so that it starts to be treated instead as a cost of sales. This is one reason why online advertising should suffer less than other sorts. This week eMarketer, a market-research firm, predicted that online-advertising spending in America, which makes up about half the global total, will increase by 8.9% in 2009, rather than the 14.5% it had forecast in August. The firm thinks search advertising will grow by 14.9% and rich-media ads by 7.5%, whereas display ads will grow by 6.6%. In short, online advertising will continue to expand in the recession—just not as quickly as previously expected.

Another reason for optimism, says Mr Rothenberg, is that online advertising is making obsolete the old distinction between marketing spending “above the line” and “below” it. In the jargon, above-the-line spending drives brand “awareness” (probably on television) or “consideration” by a consumer planning a purchase (probably in a newspaper). Such spending is often slashed in recessions. Below-the-line spending includes promotions or coupons to whet the consumer’s “preference” for the brand as he nears a purchase, or schemes such as frequent- flyer miles to increase his “loyalty” afterwards. These budgets are more robust.

Online marketing increasingly aims for awareness, consideration, preference and loyalty all at once. Mr Rothenberg gives the example of a rich-media ad for Kraft, a food company, in which a yummy image raises brand awareness, a click reveals a recipe that increases consideration, another click provides coupons and yet another click initiates a game that can be shared with friends. Marketing managers can therefore defend their online budgets as being both above and below the line.

The industry is also cautiously excited about two new forms of online advertising. The first is video. So far nobody has found a way to advertise inside online clips on a large scale. YouTube, which Google bought for no less than $1.65 billion two years ago, is “a huge end-user success,” says Eric Schmidt, Google’s boss, “and we’re awaiting the monetisation.” This is his way of saying that YouTube, despite showing 5 billion video clips a month, has trivial ad revenues. The site is experimenting with text “overlays” inside clips and sponsored videos for specific search terms, but it is early days. “If only we could schedule the revolution,” jokes Larry Page, one of Google’s founders.

If something close to one is in fact near, it may not come from YouTube. Ads on Hulu, a video site that is a joint venture between Mr Zucker’s NBC Universal and News Corp, another media giant, appear to be selling well. Hulu is different from other video sites in that it only shows professionally produced videos, such as programmes and films from NBC, Fox, MGM and Warner Brothers. It runs a relatively small number of short, fun “pre-roll” ads. These incorporate some of the advantages of the web. Viewers can, for instance, vote on how good a particular ad was.

The lesson appears to be that the problem was not the format but the fact that so much of the footage online, especially on YouTube, is “user-generated”. Brands are wary of putting their ads next to amateur clips because they may be boring or offensive. This is less likely to be a problem with professional content. From a small base, says Mr Rothenberg, online-video ads grew from 1% to 3% of all interactive ads in America in the first half of the year.

The other hope is for ads on social networks such as MySpace and Facebook. They are experimenting with a variety of advertising formats, though none has yet proved very successful. Their big weakness is that users go to social-networking sites to socialise, not to shop (as they might on search engines). Their biggest strength is that users spend so much time there. Two years ago 11% of time spent online was at Yahoo! and MSN, two web portals; now their share is down to 5%, and 5% of online time is spent at YouTube and Facebook.

Online traffic, in other words, is moving towards sites where advertising has so far proved ineffective and is therefore cheap. This, says Ms Meeker, presents an opportunity for innovation and arbitrage by clever marketing managers as they cut their conventional ad budgets. It may also provide a glimmer of hope for the advertising industry as it enters recession.

PEC No. 31/2007 e o Setor de TICs no Brasil

novembro 27, 2008

Você tem alguma idéia do que é a PEC No. 31/2007? 

Pois bem, a PEC-Proposta de Emenda à Constituição 31, apresentada à Câmara Federal no dia 09/04/2007, pelo Deputado Virgílio Guimarães e co-autores, tem como objetivo alterar o Sistema Tributário Nacional, unificando a legislação do Imposto Sobre Operações Relativas à Circulação de Mercadorias e Sobre Prestações de Serviços de Transporte Interestadual e Intermunicipal-ICMS, dentre outras providências.

No seu estado original (tal como fora apresentada: ver aqui) tinha os seguintes pontos principais:

  • unificar e nacionalizar a legislação do ICMS;
  • transformar o PIS/PASEP e a COFINS em um único imposto federal com a mesma hipótese de incidência das referidas contribuições;
  • permitir o aproveitamento recíproco de créditos acumulados do ICMS, do IPI, do ISS e do imposto que substituirá o PIS/PASEP e a COFINS;
  • transformar a CPMF em contribuição permanente, com caráter primordialmente fiscalizatório;
  • estabelecer uma série de mecanismos com o objetivo de melhorar a administração tributária, controlar a carga tributária, proteger o meio ambiente e combater a desigualdade regional;
  • reforçar as finanças públicas federal, estaduais e municipais, flexibilizando as vinculações de receitas da União e dos Estados e Distrito Federal e criando sistema especial de pagamento de pagamento de precatórios municipais.

Tudo ia bem no Congresso, com os parlamentares fazendo suas discussões e tudo mais.  Até que, no dia 28/02/2008, o Governo Federal resolveu apresentar a sua versão da Reforma Tributária, a PEC 233 (ver aqui, e ver defesa desta PEC pelo Ministro da Fazenda aqui, bem como cartilha lançada pelo Ministério da Fazenda, aqui), logicamente, acredito, para manter a velha tradição no país de que quem legisla no Brasil é o Executivo, e não o Congresso.

Os objetivos principais da PEC 233 eram: “simplificar o sistema tributário nacional, avançar no processo de desoneração tributária e eliminar distorções que prejudicam o crescimento da economia brasileira e a competitividade de nossas empresas, principalmente no que diz respeito à chamada “guerra fiscal” entre os Estados. Adicionalmente, a Proposta amplia o montante de recursos destinados à Política Nacional de Desenvolvimento Regional e introduz mudanças significativas nos instrumentos de execução dessa Política Com estas mudanças, pretende-se instituir um modelo de desenvolvimento regional mais eficaz que a atração de investimentos através do recurso à “guerra fiscal”, que tem se tornado cada vez menos funcional, mesmo para os Estados menos desenvolvidos”.  

Para atingir estes objetivos, a proposta do governo federal introduz uma série de mudanças na estrutura de tributos da União e dos Estados, as quais são detalhadas no documento acima apresentado pelo Ministro da Fazenda.

Para que não existissem duas propostas de emenda à Constituição tratando do mesmo assunto, a bancada do governo tratou de conciliar as duas, e, no dia 24/04/2008, a PEC 233 foi apensada à PEC 31.

A PEC 31 vem sendo discutida no Congresso Nacional e várias personalidades e instituições vêm se posicionando em relação a ela.  A Confederação Nacional da Indústria-CNI tem se mostrado favorável à PEC 31, tendo até preparado um panfleto em defesa da mesma (ver aqui) e um manifesto em defesa da mesma (ver aqui).  Apesar deste apoio da CNI, a mais rica de suas filiadas, a Federação das Indústrias do Estado de São Paulo-FIESP, vem fazendo críticas, e vem defendendo mudanças na mesma (ver aqui).

As questões que podemos colocar em relação às tecnologias de informação e comunicação-TICs, e mais especificamente ao setor de software, do país são as seguintes:

1. O que está sendo desenhado nesta Reforma Tributária para o setor de software?
2. Que impactos isso pode ter na economia do setor, no Brasil?
3. Como é que software e serviços de software são tributados mundo afora?

Em estudo que fizemos em 2006 para a empresa Microsoft/Brasil apontamos que a carga tributária que incide sobre a chamada “cadeia digital” (ou seja, que vem desde a placa-mãe dos PCs até os serviços de uso da Internet) no Brasil é uma das mais elevadas do país, e, dentre outras coisas, destacamos que:

 a) A elasticidade preço da demanda por TIC’s é de -0,5, significando que para cada 1% de redução no preço do produto (tendo como pressuposto a redução dos impostos) composto de TIC’s, a demanda por TIC’s aumenta em 0,5%; e

b) A elasticidade renda da demanda dos consumidores no Brasil é igual a 0,5, significando que para cada 1% de aumento na renda, a demanda por TIC’s aumenta em 0,5%. Isto evidencia que TIC’s é um bem normal (aqueles para os quais um aumento da renda implica que os consumidores querem aumentar o consumo do bem).

Será que este setor, que contribui tanto para o país (apesar dos atuais impostos) vai ser penalizado nesta Reforma que está sendo discutida no Congresso?

Eis aí uma boa pergunta?

Internet Advertising Revenues in Q3 ’08 at Nearly $5.9 Billion (Receitas de Propaganda Online no terceiro trimestre de 2008 nos EUA é perto de US$ 5,9 bilhões)

novembro 27, 2008

Vejam uma das razões pelas quais estarei dando um mini-curso sobre “Economia da Propaganda Online” no Recife Summer School, um evento do Cesar.Edu, em janeiro de 2009!  O post é do www.iab.net (explicado abaixo).

==============

November 20, 2008

Internet Advertising Revenues in Q3 ’08 at Nearly $5.9 Billion

11% Increase from Q3 ’07, Up Slightly from Q2 ’08 Despite U.S. Economic Woes

NEW YORK, NY (November 20, 2008) — The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) today announced that Internet advertising revenues reached almost $5.9 billion for the third quarter of 2008, representing an 11 percent increase over the same period in 2007. While double-digit annual growth continues, the quarter-to-quarter curve remains relatively flat compared to recent past performance. The Q3 2008 figures, published in the IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report, are 2 percent higher than the Q2 2008 results. Set against strong economic headwinds in the U.S. economy, Q3 ’08’s $5.9 billion represents nonetheless the second-highest quarter results ever. For the first nine months of 2008, revenues totaled $17.3 billion, up from $15.2 billion in the same period a year ago and surpassing the record set in the first nine months of 2007 by nearly 14 percent.

The growth of interactive advertising that we’ve been experiencing over the past few years has stabilized due in large part to the difficult current economic climate,” said Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO of the IAB. “Interactive advertising continues to be the most measurable and cost-effective way to reach consumers, and we see more and more marketers seeking to harness its power.”

David Silverman, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, added that, “a weakening economy will continue to be a challenge to all forms of advertising-supported media. However, the Internet should be better poised to withstand the storm given its ability to combine performance-based advertising along with broad-based branding.”

Quarterly $ Revenue Growth Comparison – 2000-2008 YTD

pwc_chart_q3_08
Source: PwC/IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report (www.iab.net)

Conducted by the New Media Group of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Internet Advertising Revenue Report was launched in 1996 by the IAB and aggregates data from all companies that report meaningful online advertising revenues. The results are considered the most accurate measurement of interactive advertising revenues as the data are compiled directly from information supplied by companies selling advertising on the Internet. The survey includes data concerning online advertising revenues from Web sites, commercial online services, ad networks, free e-mail providers, and other companies selling online advertising. First- and third-quarter revenue reports are estimates, with actual figures released with the second- and fourth-quarter data respectively. PwC does not audit the information and provides no opinion or other form of assurance with respect to the information.

About PricewaterhouseCoopers:
PricewaterhouseCoopers (www.pwc.com) provides industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services to build public trust and enhance value for its clients and their stakeholders. More than 155,000 people in 153 countries across our network share their thinking, experience and solutions to develop fresh perspectives and practical advice.

“PricewaterhouseCoopers” refers to the network of member firms of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited, each of which is a separate and independent legal entity.

About the IAB:
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is comprised of more than 375 leading media and technology companies who are responsible for selling 86% of online advertising in the United States. On behalf of its members, the IAB is dedicated to the growth of the interactive advertising marketplace, of interactive’s share of total marketing spend, and of its members’ share of total marketing spend. The IAB educates marketers, agencies, media companies and the wider business community about the value of interactive advertising. Working with its member companies, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City with a Public Policy office in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.iab.net.

IAB Media Contact:
Marla Aaron
Marketing Communications Director
212.380.4714
marla@iab.net

Quantitative Easing: Interest Rates Head to Zero? (Facilitação Quantitativa: Taxas de Juros caminhando para Zero?)

novembro 27, 2008

Eis aí um fenômeno econômico de dimensões históricas: a taxa de juros nos EUA está caminhando para próximo de zero.  Algo não visto lá nos EUA há uns 50 anos. É o que aponta a evidência registrada ontem no blog do Prof. Mark Perry!

=====================

Quantitative Easing: Interest Rates Head to Zero?

 

FT.Com Financial markets notched up another historic milestone on Wednesday as the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury debt fell below 3% for the first time in 50 years (since March 1956, see chart above). The decline in yields – to a low of 2.98% – comes in response to unconventional policy measures taken by the US Federal Reserve this week aimed at pushing short-term and long-term interest rates lower. This so-called “quantitative easing” is a strategy central banks use to fight deflation, the dreaded combination of declining growth and falling asset prices.

“It is astonishing that yields are so low,” said Michael Chang, interest rate strategist at Credit Suisse. “The current environment is not like anything we’ve seen before. The Fed’s being very aggressive in quantitative easing, and the fall in yields is the result.”
On Tuesday, the Fed said it would buy $600 billion of mortgage bonds issued or guaranteed by government agencies such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This pushed mortgage rates sharply lower. The lower rates threaten to trigger a wave of refinancing of mortgages, the prospect of which in turn pushes investors to hedge that risk by buying 10-year Treasury debt, a benchmark for many mortgage rates.
Weak economic data released on Wednesday reinforced the gloomy economic outlook and the potential for declines in growth. The latest wave of data showed collapses in new home sales, consumer spending and orders for durable goods in October. Such evidence of crisis in the US economy will fuel the Fed to try and stem declines in growth by pushing interest rates lower.

MP: See chart below illustrating the “quantitative easing” of expansionary growth of M2 and 3-month T-bill yields going to zero.

 

The Return of Larry Summers (O Retorno de Larry Summers)

novembro 26, 2008

Sobre o retorno do Prof. Larry Summers, da Universidade de Harvard, ao topo da política econômica dos EUA (ontem em The New York Times)!

==========

ls

The Return of Larry Summers

 

Published: November 25, 2008

A few weeks ago, I called a well-known economist with a question about the financial crisis. “I hope the only reason you’re calling me,” he said, “is that you couldn’t reach Larry.”

Larry would be Lawrence Summers, the intellectually fierce economist whom Barack Obama named this week as his lead economic adviser inside the White House. Until recently, it would have been hard to imagine Mr. Summers — who held a higher-ranking job in the Clinton administration and was very publicly forced out as the president of Harvard only two years ago — in this particular job.

Yet there he was at a news conference on Monday, standing just over Mr. Obama’s left shoulder. And the comment made by that well-known economist goes a long way toward explaining why.

Over the last two years, Mr. Summers has carved out a role unlike anyone else’s in the Democratic Party. He has been something of a shadow economic minister, laying out in real time how a Democratic administration would have responded to the financial crisis. When other economists and policy makers have questions, they often call Mr. Summers.

He is also the centrist who has made it safe for other centrist Democrats to move to the left. Both times I’ve interviewed Mr. Obama this year, he has brought up Mr. Summers, unbidden, and pointed out that Mr. Summers was now writing a lot more about the plight of the middle class than about budget deficits. At Monday’s news conference, Mr. Obama called him “a thought leader.”

Below is an issue-by-issue guide to Mr. Summers. Before we get to it, though, there is a broader point.

Years ago, Henry Kissinger suggested that Mr. Summers be given a White House post in which he was charged with shooting down or fixing bad ideas. Mr. Summers’s loyal protégés — Timothy Geithner, who beat him out to become the next Treasury secretary; Peter Orszag, the next budget director; Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook; and others — say that Mr. Summers can make them smarter in ways that almost no else can.

“I find that five minutes of talking to Larry is often more valuable than an hour of talking to someone else,” Mr. Geithner says.

But Mr. Summers also has a habit of alienating some people who could have been his allies. His ill-considered, though also sometimes exaggerated, remarks about women and science are the best-known example. (For more on what he did say, go to nytimes.com/economix.)

If he can avoid such mistakes — and be careful to criticize ideas rather than people — he may find himself ideally suited to the moment. The stakes are clearly huge. And given that the Obama administration is planning to spend $600 billion or so stimulating the economy over the next two years, some less-than-great ideas will doubtless be making the rounds.

On to the issues:

THE FINANCIAL CRISIS Back in December 2007, when officials at the Federal Reserve and in the Bush administration were saying a recession was unlikely, Mr. Summers gave a speech with a different forecast. He said that it was “distinctly possible we’re headed into a period of the worst economic performance since the stagflation of the late 1970s and recessions of the early 1980s.” More recently, he predicted that the financial markets wouldn’t return to normal for a long time.

Expect him to urge Mr. Obama to be aggressive and creative in trying to jump-start lending — and to avoid the rosy predictions that have made the Bush administration appear to be out of touch. Mr. Summers likes to say that there is no silver bullet. He is instead likely to argue for trying many different things and erring on the side of overreaction.

(One example: Unlike many Democrats, he is a longtime critic of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Yet he still says they need to get even bigger during the crisis, to keep mortgage lending flowing.)

The lesson of the Depression and of Japan’s “lost decade,” Mr. Summers says, is that governments facing a credit squeeze are usually too meek. If you wait to take radical action, like the new $800 billion program to promote lending, until it seems unavoidable, you have usually waited too long.

INEQUALITY Mr. Summers has spent much of his career tweaking fellow liberals with arguments he considers unpleasant truths — on the dangers of budget deficits, the benefits of capitalism and other subjects. But he seems to have decided that conservative orthodoxies have become a vastly bigger threat to good economic policy than liberal ones. His favorite argument today is one that instead drives some conservatives nuts.

It goes like this: To undo the rise in income inequality since the late ’70s, every household in the top 1 percent of the distribution, which makes $1.7 million on average, would need to write a check for $800,000. This money could then be pooled and used to send out a $10,000 check to every household in the bottom 80 percent of the distribution, those making less than $120,000. Only then would the country be as economically equal as it was three decades ago.

The lack of middle-class income growth during that span is “the defining issue of our time,” Mr. Summers has said, in a tacit admission that liberals were ahead of him on this issue. He is likely to be front and center in Mr. Obama’s push to reduce taxes on the middle class and create good jobs. Mr. Summers may also push the administration to work with foreign governments to crack down on tax shelters.

REGULATION On this topic, he still sounds like a centrist Democrat. As Treasury secretary starting in 1999, he shepherded a couple of bills that helped deregulate financial markets, and he has made it clear that he doesn’t buy the notion that these laws caused the financial crisis.

I wish he and other Clinton administration alumni were a bit more introspective about what they might have done differently. But they are fundamentally right that the deregulation of the 1990s does not deserve the Garden of Eden status that is sometimes ascribed to it. Trading of derivatives, to take one example, began to soar well before a law was passed in 2000 that clarified some of the legal questions about them.

The more relevant question is how Mr. Summers will advise Mr. Obama to rewrite the regulatory framework once the immediate crisis lifts. And Mr. Summers is likely to support big changes. He has said any system that created the Mexican peso crisis, the Asian financial crisis and the current troubles needs to be changed.

One theme is that banking regulators shouldn’t try to prevent the failure of individual firms. They won’t succeed. They should instead write rules to contain the damage caused by any failure.

So Mr. Summers favors tighter rules on how much debt financial firms can take on. The more debt a firm takes on, the more lenders it leaves holding the bag — and the greater the consequences for the entire system. That helps explain the earthquakes caused by Lehman Brothers.

THE LONG-TERM ISSUES The best way to describe Mr. Summers may be to call him a skeptical aggressor. He is skeptical of any argument that’s presented as inherently obvious. But once he is persuaded, he tends to go for big, bold solutions.

Before he joined the Obama team, he said that the logical next step for health care was an expansion of employer-based insurance (as Mr. Obama has proposed) — but in the end, the employer-based system would probably fall apart and the government would need to insure people. He thinks schools and teachers aren’t accountable enough for their performance — but the huge inequities in school financing have to be a part of any serious education plan.

Mr. Summers’s formal title will be director of the National Economic Council, a job created by Bill Clinton in 1993. But there really is no precedent for Mr. Summers’s role. He is a former cabinet official who has also done well-received academic research on many of today’s pressing topics. Whatever his flaws, he has the kind of mind that the Obama administration will need.

In the best case, Mr. Obama will encourage Mr. Summers to play the role of fearless truth teller. And Mr. Summers will be sure to surround himself with his own squad of truth tellers.

Eric Schmidt on what’s ahead in 2009 (Eric Schmidt sobre o que vem pela frente em 2009)

novembro 25, 2008

Eis abaixo o que vem propondo o CEO do Google, Eric Schmidt, para superação da crise nos EUA!

====================

Eric Schmidt on what’s ahead in 2009

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 at 3:20 PM

There is no shortage of people coming to Washington these days with ideas for how to address some of the serious challenges we face. Today in D.C. our CEO Eric Schmidt offered some of his own ideas for how policy makers might approach some of those challenges. He said that despite these concerns, he is an optimist, citing the combination of new technology and “the genius of the American people.”

In a talk sponsored by the New America Foundation, Eric noted that for years there’s been a debate in Washington about the proper role of government in our economy — but now we’ve reached a consensus that the free market must be the engine of economic growth but government has a critical role to play in supporting growth and creativity.

To address our economic problems and create jobs, Eric continued, we need to put innovation first. He identified these priorities:

  • Broadband and infrastructure. We need to invest in a 21st century infrastructure, going beyond the usual litany of roads and bridges to new communications and information networks. Government should free up more spectrum for broadband, and we need a universal broadband strategy that includes targeted incentives to increase competition.
  • Research and development. Noting that his own graduate student research was partially funded by federal agencies, Eric called for increased federal funding for R&D in science and engineering and technical education; making the R&D tax credit permanent; and modernizing our legal framework by passing patent reform legislation.
  • Energy. Discussing Google’s Clean Energy 2030 proposal, Eric recommended attempting to reduce demand through energy efficiency; increasing support for clean energy (wind, solar and enhanced geothermal); deploying smart electric grids; and putting millions of plug-in electric vehicles on the road.
  • Restoring public trust in government. The 2008 elections demonstrated how technology can increase political participation. Eric called for applying that power to making government more accountable, by making government information more accessible online, and using the Internet to increase citizen participation.

We released a booklet today spelling out these 2009 policy priorities and more. We’ll post video of Eric’s speech soon, but in the meantime, tell us you think of these ideas What other things should policymakers be doing to promote economic growth in 2009?

Update (11/20): Here’s video of Eric’s talk.

Web 3.0: what it means for journalists- part 1 (Web 3.0: o que isto significa para jornalistas- parte 1)

novembro 25, 2008

Encontrei este post no blog http://www.journalism.co.uk/5/articles/532631.php , e diz muito respeito às novas tendências que os jornalistas estão abraçando!  A parte 2 está indicada ao final do post!

Web 3.0: what it means for journalists (part 1)

Posted: 22/10/08 By: Colin Meek

Journalists use the internet to network, research, communicate and monitor web content. Tools for all of these tasks are being transformed with the emergence of semantic technology and the evolution of the semantic web or ‘web 3.0’.

The terminology used to describe the semantic web is often hard to penetrate, but the best way to understand it is to view the technology as an attempt to link up various clouds of information: flight times, weather forecasts, social network bookmarks and news stories are all delivered in different formats and readable only by different applications.

The semantic web is an engineering solution that will allow this data to be meshed and available for use by machines globally.

Various organizations (spearheaded by the World Wide Web Consortium or W3C) have developed semantic tools and languages to enable this integration to take place, but nobody has offered a really coherent vision about what the early semantic web will look like – until recently that is.

In the past year companies and organizations have launched polished products and web tools that have helped us grasp how the internet may really look in five years.

Theory is being transformed into practical application. You are probably already using semantic technology without realizing it and many of these developments have profound implications for our work as journalists.

While the complete picture of the semantic web may be some way off, here we describe some of the tools and semantic applications that may help us make the most of the web today and make full use of the semantic web tomorrow.   

Semantic language
Projects that are central to the semantic web project include: OpenID, Friend of a Friend (FOAF) and Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities (SIOC).

OpenID is a free way to use a single digital identity to log in to your favourite websites. Nearly 10,000 sites support this technology including Technorati and Dopplr.

FOAF and SIOC are ground-breaking initiatives that give online communities the ability to share data in ways that computers across the globe can understand.

FOAF gives us the chance to, for example, use our profile data from one site to create our identity on another. It also may mean that we will be able to make better use of our information from various sites by meshing it together in one identity.

SIOC is creating the language necessary to allow online community sites to do the same. Social networks, discussion groups and bloggers currently function like islands where the information in their databases is isolated. SIOC will enable community sites to merge their data.

A practical consequence of SIOC might be that you can do a search in Facebook using the term ‘bog-snorkelling’ and gets results back from within that site, but also blog results from Technorati, comments from Flickr albums and YouTube videos.

Application
“In the semantic web, it is not just people who are connected together in some meaningful way, but documents, events, places, hobbies, pictures, you name it! And it is the commercial applications that exploit these connections that are now becoming interesting,” John Breslin, the founder of the SIOC project, told Journalism.co.uk.

The development of the semantic web will make a big impact beyond online: “A lot of the focus from the public or media regarding the semantic web has been in relation to search.

“But it’s not solely about finding those relevant objects (people, places, etc) through ‘Google killers’, and it’s not only about the internet (despite being called web 3.0), but it’s also about providing ways to allow systems (on the desktop, or the web, or media servers – whatever) to inter-operate with each other as well,” says Breslin, who is also a member of the W3C Advisory Committee, lecturer at the National University of Ireland and an associate researcher on the semantic web at the Digital Research Institute in Galway.

Quite soon your RSS reader may automatically scan blog posts and news stories for names that are also in your contacts file. One application may soon give you the option of sending them messages via Twitter, email or Facebook.

Like others close to the developments, John Breslin sees semantic web applications becoming genuinely mainstream.

To find out more about applications for the semantic web and their use for journalists read ‘Web 3.0: what it means for journalists (part 2)’. Read Colin’s full interview with John Breslin at this link.


%d blogueiros gostam disto: