Sunday Thoughts VIII (June 11-17)

A selection of links and thoughts that I stumble upon throughout the week – everything from economics to politics to philosophy to the occasional music video.

I. The Great Fiscal Escape

In a new paper, the researchers Tørsløv, Wier, and Zucman find that close to 40% of multinational profits are shifted to tax havens each year. They also argue that it’s profits and not productive capital that is moved across borders, and thus a tax cut will most likely fail to substantially create new jobs. You can read about it in The New York Times and the Washington Post, and Paul Krugman also wrote about the topic in his New York Times column – he also discusses the relatively minor effect corporate tax rates have on business investment decisions in general.

The researchers also note that, throughout the world, for one $ 1.00 in wages paid, US multinationals say they make around $ 0.50 cents in (pre-tax) profits – except in Ireland, Bermuda, Luxembourg and the like, where they say they make $ 3.50. These tax havens surely have some crazy-productive workers. Continue reading “Sunday Thoughts VIII (June 11-17)”

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Sunday Thoughts VII (June 4-10)

A selection of links and thoughts that I stumble upon throughout the week – everything from economics to politics to philosophy to the occasional music video.

I. Wind of Change

The Western Consensus that has governed the world for decades, for better or for worse, is dead – at least as long as the United States are run by the erratic Cadet Bone Spurs, who understands diplomacy as a zero-sum game to be won and seems to relish in insulting his closest allies (New York Times). Japan, Canada, and the European countries have to accept the fact that they can no longer count on the US to lead them, to offer military protection, or to be a strong, reliable partner in general. But this can also be an opportunity: It is high time to implement a European Union of two speeds in which those countries that truly share the same democratic values unite, fix their currency system, and tighten their political, social, and military ties. I know that’s wishful thinking. But who could have dreamed of more than seventy years of peace and prosperity in Europe following the atrocities of the Second World War? Continue reading “Sunday Thoughts VII (June 4-10)”

Sunday Thoughts VI (May 28-June 3)

A selection of links and thoughts that I stumble upon throughout the week – everything from economics to politics to philosophy to the occasional music video.

I. Italian Immediacy

After the highly questionable move of Italian president Sergio Mattarella to veto Giuseppe Conte’s suggested finance minister Paolo Savona (because of concerns about how “the markets” would react to the latter’s anti-Euro stance, one which he shares with other respectable economists, by the way), a government formed by the populist parties Northern League and Five Star Movement was finally sworn in on Friday (Guardian). Meanwhile, the euro is still broken and the immigration crisis still remaining unresolved. Continue reading “Sunday Thoughts VI (May 28-June 3)”

Sunday Thoughts V (May 21-27)

A selection of links and thoughts that I stumble upon throughout the week – everything from economics to politics to philosophy to the occasional music video.

I. Plastic Pollution

The oceans of our earth are drowning in plastic waste. Especially microplastics have become ubiquitous in the marine world: “On some beaches on the Big Island of Hawaii, as much as 15 percent of the sand is actually grains of microplastic.” National Geographic runs a forceful piece on this topic in its June issue. The biggest problem are plastics used for packaging materials: “That trash now accounts for nearly half of all plastic waste generated globally; most of it never gets recycled or incinerated.”

I was also reminded of an article I read years ago about Ivan Macfadyen’s voyage through a dead, silent Pacific Ocean, which left a lasting impression on me.
Continue reading “Sunday Thoughts V (May 21-27)”

Sunday Thoughts IV (May 14-20)

A selection of links and thoughts that I stumble upon throughout the week – everything from economics to politics to philosophy to the occasional music video.

I. Besieged and Desperate

On Monday, while Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu declared with a smile, “What a glorious day”, merely 100 km away,  58 Palestinians were killed by Israeli gunfire, and more than 1,200 wounded. The incident speaks volumes about the despair that the people in Gaza must be feeling and the lack of a peaceful perspective. On Friday, the Guardian published a long article by Sarah Helm about the suicide of a young Palestinian writer that offers a measured look at another lost generation and the misery in Gaza at large. Continue reading “Sunday Thoughts IV (May 14-20)”

Sunday Thoughts III (May 7-13)

A selection of links and thoughts that I stumble upon throughout the week – everything from economics to politics to philosophy to the occasional music video.

I. Cadet Bone Spurs’ Thirst for War

To the day seventy-three years after the US came out victorious of the Second World War in Europe, they have now all but abandoned the allies they once celebrated this victory with. In line with the billionaires that back him, the Comb-Over Caudillo has announced on Tuesday that the US will reimpose sanctions on Iran. Good luck receiving trust in future international treaties… Together with the apparently war-thirsty Israeli government, Agent Orange and his hawks (Pompeo, Bolton, etc.) are trying to fan fear of weapons of mass destruction in Iran – without a shred of evidence, of course – and are preparing for war. This reminds me so much of the 2003 war crimes, it makes me sick. Continue reading “Sunday Thoughts III (May 7-13)”

Sunday Thoughts II (April 30-May 6)

A selection of links and thoughts that I stumble upon throughout the week – everything from economics to politics to philosophy to the occasional music video.

I. New News

John Micklethwait, the editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News, writes about the transformation of journalism in the digital age. He stresses the importance of the subscription business model and the automation and personalisation of news. His views are of course biased towards optimism, but are readworthy nonetheless.

Meanwhile, Robert Shrimsley laments in the Financial Times the erosion of an outside mentality among journalists which makes the media complaisant and untrustworthy for the people it is supposed to keep informed. Continue reading “Sunday Thoughts II (April 30-May 6)”