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Economy

Future of Work: Next Election Agenda 2022

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During the last millennia, never ever before did the global populace ended up inside one single test tube? Observe, the commonality of the pandemic problems, nation-by-nation, city-by-city and person-by-person how  simultaneously and harmoniously the sufferings spread out arousing questions, forcing new thinking on global focalism demanding new alternates for losing faith in institutions and their own governments and economic models.

Every few decades, now and then, there have been many similar shifts of continental restlessness but never ever on such an entire global scale with so many identical similarities. Ignoring this global behavior by national leaderships will become a big jolt in time. Now Covidians; pandemic experienced fighters and survivors of body bags, sufferers of isolation, quarantine, or occupational displacement replacement, and misplacement now harmoniously they are calling out…aloud.

The world may hear their callings; listening is now for the national leaderships:  The global populace today is far more knowledgeable about what current political punditry capable of measuring and alternately prefers using dog-whistle rhetoric to score points on tribalism. If there are some 200 nations, some 10,000 cites, there are also some 100 national elections scheduled within the next 500 days… national leadership must demonstrate their literacy to read futurism. Identify their local teams with the right expertise to address national challenges, urgently respond with right answers, and develop clear narrative to address realities.

Here are some cold facts and some warm realities.

The New World: The post pandemic vaccinated ‘world’ would be a dramatically different world; some 50% of the workers of the world may not return. Some 50% of big and small businesses simply may never open and some 50% of “business + real estate + education + travel + consumption” models may change forever. The behavioral economical impact may linger for decades. So what will happen?

The New Economies: The Post pandemic ‘economies’ will be dramatically different; before the pandemic, in slow motion, the middle class economies the western world systematically destroyed, now current cycles making the upper gatekeepers of the cash flow many, many times stronger and the bottom feeders many, many times weaker. The wide chasms will create divides, force new thinking. So what will happen?

The New Technologies: The post pandemic ‘technology’ will morph the new world with new speed; execution and deployments in all directions, because the top layers of wealth have now all the required budgets powers and skills far more greater than what their own national leaderships can ever handle. National leaderships must demonstrate enough skills or obediently become Oligaristan and take orders.  Observe how many big and small countries already trapped like this today. The future is also about global-age speed. Such global scale transformation would be comparable to when ‘horses’ were replaced by ‘trains’ but it took over a century. This time such styles of behavioral transformations will happen just one afternoon. Like a switch, either you are in or out. Humanly adjustments will create shocks strong enough to slowly crack open the mind to face the new truth.

The New Future of Work:

Observe the hyper-accelerated advancements of technologies around the world and deduce how within this decade it will easily eliminate all physical involvement of humans from daily ‘work’. The human body, physicality and muscularity, the hands, feet, pushing, lifting, moving, stuffing, all taken over by technology and thus leaving humankind all alone, segregated, isolated as an advanced specimen of unique experiences and sufferings no matter how fallible the outcome becomes but left only  to ‘think’.What will happen next when the global populace becomes “thinker-gatherers”?

Occupationalism: in search of new definitions and meanings on the future of work: The centuries old 9-5 model morphing into a 24x7x365 virtually alive model.  Banned, should be commuting and cubical-slavery as inhumane, a new world of efficient-productivity and respectful occupationalism arises. Is now the time to get rid of HR as a fake abstract power of pushing and channeling human bodies in bureaucratic mazes rather uplifting to entrepreneurial adventures and global-age performances? Is this time to throw away mismatch-business-titles and find real experienced tactically trained coaches and experts to reorganize business models, where superior performances to compete on global stages become the basic platform of the enterprises?

If the vaccinated world is a few years away, the normality of economies still decade away. Stop currency-printing presses as without productivity nations start looking like dominos lined up for a fall. Now survival is not money but real performances on real value creation and not value-manipulations.

Election Agendas: only smart Leaderships will create smart economies: Rejuvenation of a nation only achieved with grassroots prosperity resulting in socio-economic-cultural progress, able to strive dreams to create harmony. No, this is not a Normal Rockwell’s canvas, this is an awakening reality; where hungry for honest work for honest living and starved for respectable occupation on principles of common good, screaming in silence is the global populace. Are the national leaderships ready to hear this low frequency calling.

Unlimited printing of currencies will never save economies; It is the upskilling of citizens and reskilling of small and medium businesses and mini-micro-medium manufacturing intensely deployed to catch up the skills gaps lost during the last many decades. Only possible when all national agencies already mandated to foster economic growth reflect appreciation and equally all trade groups, associations, chambers type related bodies have the necessary skills to articulate and practice in such specialized arenas. A new global map of economy is emerging, calling new expertise.

Primarily, pandemic recovery also taught us new global-age mantra; “Constant learning, constant disruption, constant advancements, constant dialogues” All moving in simultaneous synchronization and with collaborative engagements for common good, all designed for all to grow together, hence, now new definitions urgently required;

Key Questions: Are cities and national regions ready for national mobilization of entrepreneurialism?  Are national Chambers and associations in agreement on upskilling small medium enterprises? Is there a national agenda to quadruple innovative excellence and exportability?  How skilled are local leaderships of agencies on such national-global deployments? How fast-track upskilling will add digital-mindedness and create quality exports centricity? How simultaneous synchronization uplifts upskill 1000 to 100,000 SME on a fast track basis? How these issues are not new funding hungry, they are execution starved, and so what is stopping?  How a national umbrella created via Live Roundtable discussions and streamed to 100,000 stakeholders?
Stillness is death: How continuous disruption brings perpetual life to enterprises.  How continuous optimization of self-discovery achieves new heights? How does continuous quality production open global doors on exportability?“Allow Million qualified foreign entrepreneurs to park within your nation for 5-10 years under a special full tax-free visa and stay program. Which nations have qualified dialogue on such affairs? Observe how hard, during the last two decades, nations across the world have tried incubators; today, mostly empty real estate projects. Governments and Academia were unable to create entrepreneurialism; however, the same governments created great armies. Trained to dig trenches in rain and sleep in open fields, they developed great officers, but not by drawing pictures of tanks on white boards or running around with water pistols in the classrooms. Bring in, land million entrepreneurs in your nation, and create 10 million plus jobs and new wealth in following years. Let your own institutions and frontline management learn how such economic developments created.  Be bold, as the time to strategize passed now time to revolutionize has arrived”. “Excerpted from keynote lecture by Naseem Javed, Global Citizen Forum, Dubai, 2013.”

Now, reading the new trade winds: Allowmicro-small-medium enterprises a tax-free window on the first USD$5-10 million revenues in exports, this will create local jobs and bring foreign exchange. Allow National Mobilization of Entrepreneurialism Protocols mandated to engage trade and exports bodies. AllowNational Scoring of entrepreneurialism to measure, differentiate talents, and separate pretenders. Allowmicro-small-medium enterprises free access to all dormant Intellectual Property, Patents rolled up due to lack of commercialization as Academic Experts on innovative technologies and related skills on free voucher programs.

The astonishing new math in commerce today: AUS$1000, investment in technology buys digital solutions, which were million dollars, a decade ago. A $1000 investment buys on global-age upskilling on export expansion that were million dollars a decade ago. A $1000 investment on virtual-events buys what took a year and cost a million dollar a decade ago. Today, any micro-small-medium-enterprise capable of remote working models can save 80% of office and bureaucratic costs and suddenly operate like a mini-multi-national with little or no additional costs.

Now, the urgency demands qualified execution; Success at times is failure management; failure is often about a lost battle, but not about a lost war, the ultimate success is not necessarily about winning a war, success more about understanding of the battlefield, as the real victory hidden outside the war.

Observe the nations of the world; are they real countries when their own constitution stays framed but not followed?  Are they real nations when they have laws but no rules? Are they countries when they have national borders without any protections? Are they nations where they produce no real goods of any real value? Are they nations when they have shining economies that produce no real value creation or grassroots prosperities? Are they just open fields where people assembled seeking some latter day miracle? Are they some special grand schemed land projects serving special interests? The global populace now needs to clarify. A united and collaborative world needs new definitions of global maps and nations as the global populace seeks global common good to face the future.

Summary: Covidians are smarter as their sufferings have now influenced new global mindshare. The biggest ever loss to any nation today is ignoring untapped hidden talents of its citizenry, uplifting, upskilling and reskilling will save nations. This is an advanced intellectualism on human productivity, performances and creating real-value-creation, not to be confused with current techno-corrupt pamphlets based on crypto-economic ignoring human work over artificial intelligence and robotization. In response to such urgencies, Expothon Worldwide relentless in pursuit and authoritative in action is tabling a special “high-level-global-debate-series” via virtual events in coming months.  Key players and gatekeepers from various countries, ready to highlight their talents and wisdom on such grassroots economic development frontiers should contact with some details. Save your own nations and study more on Google.

The rest is easy

Naseem Javed is a corporate philosopher, Chairman of Expothon Worldwide; a Canadian Think tank focused on National Mobilization of Entrepreneurialism Protocols on Platform Economy and exportability solutions now gaining global attention. His latest book; Alpha Dreamers; the five billions connected who will change the world.

Economy

Reforms Key to Romania’s Resilient Recovery

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Over the past decade, Romania has achieved a remarkable track record of high economic growth, sustained poverty reduction, and rising household incomes. An EU member since 2007, the country’s economic growth was one of the highest in the EU during the period 2010-2020.

Like the rest of the world, however, Romania has been profoundly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, the economy contracted by 3.9 percent and the unemployment rate reached 5.5 percent in July before dropping slightly to 5.3 percent in December. Trade and services decreased by 4.7 percent, while sectors such as tourism and hospitality were severely affected. Hard won gains in poverty reduction were temporarily reversed and social and economic inequality increased.

The Romanian government acted swiftly in response to the crisis, providing a fiscal stimulus of 4.4 percent of GDP in 2020 to help keep the economy moving. Economic activity was also supported by a resilient private sector. Today, Romania’s economy is showing good signs of recovery and is projected to grow at around 7 percent in 2021, making it one of the few EU economies expected to reach pre-pandemic growth levels this year. This is very promising.

Yet the road ahead remains highly uncertain, and Romania faces several important challenges.

The pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of Romania’s institutions to adverse shocks, exacerbated existing fiscal pressures, and widened gaps in healthcare, education, employment, and social protection.

Poverty increased significantly among the population in 2020, especially among vulnerable communities such as the Roma, and remains elevated in 2021 due to the triple-hit of the ongoing pandemic, poor agricultural yields, and declining remittance incomes.

Frontline workers, low-skilled and temporary workers, the self-employed, women, youth, and small businesses have all been disproportionately impacted by the crisis, including through lost salaries, jobs, and opportunities.

The pandemic has also highlighted deep-rooted inequalities. Jobs in the informal sector and critical income via remittances from abroad have been severely limited for communities that depend on them most, especially the Roma, the country’s most vulnerable group.

How can Romania address these challenges and ensure a green, resilient, and inclusive recovery for all?

Reforms in several key areas can pave the way forward.

First, tax policy and administration require further progress. If Romania is to spend more on pensions, education, or health, it must boost revenue collection. Currently, Romania collects less than 27 percent of GDP in budget revenue, which is the second lowest share in the EU. Measures to increase revenues and efficiency could include improving tax revenue collection, including through digitalization of tax administration and removal of tax exemptions, for example.

Second, public expenditure priorities require adjustment. With the third lowest public spending per GDP among EU countries, Romania already has limited space to cut expenditures, but could focus on making them more efficient, while addressing pressures stemming from its large public sector wage bill. Public employment and wages, for instance, would benefit from a review of wage structures and linking pay with performance.

Third, ensuring sustainability of the country’s pension fund is a high priority. The deficit of the pension fund is currently around 2 percent of GDP, which is subsidized from the state budget. The fund would therefore benefit from closer examination of the pension indexation formula, the number of years of contribution, and the role of special pensions.

Fourth is reform and restructuring of State-Owned Enterprises, which play a significant role in Romania’s economy. SOEs account for about 4.5 percent of employment and are dominant in vital sectors such as transport and energy. Immediate steps could include improving corporate governance of SOEs and careful analysis of the selection and reward of SOE executives and non-executive bodies, which must be done objectively to ensure that management acts in the best interest of companies.

Finally, enhancing social protection must be central to the government’s efforts to boost effectiveness of the public sector and deliver better services for citizens. Better targeted social assistance will be more effective in reaching and supporting vulnerable households and individuals. Strategic investments in infrastructure, people’s skills development, and public services can also help close the large gaps that exist across regions.

None of this will be possible without sustained commitment and dedicated resources. Fortunately, Romania will be able to access significant EU funds through its National Recovery and Resilience Plan, which will enable greater investment in large and important sectors such as transportation, infrastructure to support greater deployment of renewable energy, education, and healthcare.

Achieving a resilient post-pandemic recovery will also mean advancing in critical areas like green transition and digital transformation – major new opportunities to generate substantial returns on investment for Romania’s economy.

I recently returned from my first official trip to Romania where I met with country and government leaders, civil society representatives, academia, and members of the local community. We discussed a wide range of topics including reforms, fiscal consolidation, social inclusion, renewably energy, and disaster risk management. I was highly impressed by their determination to see Romania emerge even stronger from the pandemic. I believe it is possible. To this end, I reiterated the World Bank’s continued support to all Romanians for a safe, bright, and prosperous future.

First appeared in Romanian language in Digi24.ro, via World Bank

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Economy

US Economic Turmoil: The Paradox of Recovery and Inflation

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The US economy has been a rollercoaster since the pandemic cinched the world last year. As lockdowns turned into routine and the buzz of a bustling life came to a sudden halt, a problem manifested itself to the US regime. The problem of sustaining economic activity while simultaneously fighting the virus. It was the intent of ‘The American Rescue Plan’ to provide aid to the US citizens, expand healthcare, and help buoy the population as the recession was all but imminent. Now as the global economy starts to rebound in apparent post-pandemic reality, the US regime faces a dilemma. Either tighten the screws on the overheating economy and risk putting an early break on recovery or let the economy expand and face a prospect of unrelenting inflation for years to follow.

The Consumer Price Index, the core measure of inflation, has been off the radar over the past few months. The CPI remained largely over the 4% mark in the second quarter, clocking a colossal figure of 5.4% last month. While the inflation is deemed transitionary, heated by supply bottlenecks coinciding with swelling demand, the pandemic-related causes only explain a partial reality of the blooming clout of prices. Bloomberg data shows that transitory factors pushing the prices haywire account for hotel fares, airline costs, and rentals. Industries facing an offshoot surge in prices include the automobile industry and the Real estate market. However, the main factors driving the prices are shortages of core raw materials like computer chips and timber (essential to the efficient supply functions of the respective industries). Despite accounting for the temporal effect of certain factors, however, the inflation seems hardly controlled; perverse to the position opined by Fed Chair Jerome Powell.

The Fed already insinuated earlier that the economy recovered sooner than originally expected, making it worthwhile to ponder over pulling the plug on the doveish leverage that allowed the economy to persevere through the pandemic. The main cause was the rampant inflation – way off the 2% targetted inflation level. However, the alluded remarks were deftly handled to avoid a panic in an already fragile road to recovery. The economic figures shed some light on the true nature of the US economy which baffled the Fed. The consumer expectations, as per Bloomberg’s data, show that prices are to inflate further by 4.8% over the course of the following 12 months. Moreover, the data shows that the investor sentiment gauged from the bond market rally is also up to 2.5% expected inflation over the corresponding period. Furthermore, a survey from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) suggested that net 47 companies have raised their average prices since May by seven percentage points; the largest surge in four decades. It is all too much to overwhelm any reader that the data shows the economy is reeling with inflation – and the Fed is not clear whether it is transitionary or would outlast the pandemic itself.

Economists, however, have shown faith in the tools and nerves of the Federal Reserve. Even the IMF commended the Fed’s response and tactical strategies implemented to trestle the battered economy. However, much averse to the celebration of a win over the pandemic, the fight is still not through the trough. As the Delta variant continues to amass cases in the United States, the championed vaccinations are being questioned. While it is explicable that the surge is almost distinctly in the unvaccinated or low-vaccinated states, the threat is all that is enough to drive fear and speculation throughout the country. The effects are showing as, despite a lucrative economic rebound, over 9 million positions lay vacant for employment. The prices are billowing yet the growth is stagnating as supply is still lukewarm and people are still wary of returning to work. The job market casts a recession-like scenario while the demand is strong which in turn is driving the wages into the competitive territory. This wage-price spiral would fuel inflation, presumably for years as embedded expectations of employees would be hard to nudge lower. Remember prices and wages are always sticky downwards!

Now the paradox stands. As Congress is allegedly embarking on signing a $4 trillion economic plan, presented by president Joe Bidden, the matters are to turn all the more complex and difficult to follow. While the infrastructure bill would not be a hard press on short-term inflation, the iteration of tax credits and social spending programs would most likely fuel the inflation further. It is true that if the virus resurges, there won’t be any other option to keep the economy afloat. However, a bustling inflationary environment would eventually push the Fed to put the brakes on by either raising the interest rates or by gradually ceasing its Asset Purchase Program. Both the tools, however, would risk a premature contraction which could pull the United States into an economic spiral quite similar to that of the deflating Japanese economy. It is, therefore, a tough stance to take whether a whiff of stagflation today is merely provisional or are these some insidious early signs to be heeded in a deliberate fashion and rectified immediately.

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Economy

Carbon Market Could Drive Climate Action

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Authors: Martin Raiser, Sebastian Eckardt, Giovanni Ruta*

Trading commenced on China’s national emissions trading system (ETS) on Friday. With a trading volume of about 4 billion tons of carbon dioxide or roughly 12 percent of the total global CO2 emissions, the ETS is now the world’s largest carbon market.

While the traded emission volume is large, the first trading day opened, as expected, with a relatively modest price of 48 yuan ($7.4) per ton of CO2. Though this is higher than the global average, which is about $2 per ton, it is much lower than carbon prices in the European Union market where the cost per ton of CO2 recently exceeded $50.

Large volume but low price

The ETS has the potential to play an important role in achieving, and accelerating China’s long-term climate goals — of peaking emissions before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality before 2060. Under the plan, about 2,200 of China’s largest coal and gas-fired power plants have been allocated free emission rights based on their historical emissions, power output and carbon intensity.

Facilities that cut emissions quickly will be able to sell excess allowances for a profit, while those that exceed their initial allowance will have to pay to purchase additional emission rights or pay a fine. Putting a price tag on CO2 emissions will promote investment in low-carbon technologies and equipment, while carbon trading will ensure emissions are first cut where it is least costly, minimizing abatement costs. This sounds plain and simple, but it will take time for the market to develop and meaningfully contribute to emission reductions.
The initial phase of market development is focused on building credible emissions disclosure and verification systems — the basic infrastructure of any functioning carbon market — encouraging facilities to accurately monitor and report their emissions rather than constraining them. Consequently, allocations given to power companies have been relatively generous, and are tied to power output rather than being set at absolute levels.

Also, the requirements of each individual facility to obtain additional emission rights are capped at 20 percent above the initial allowance and fines for non-compliance are relatively low. This means carbon prices initially are likely to remain relatively low, mitigating the immediate financial impact on power producers and giving them time to adjust.

For carbon trading to develop into a significant policy tool, total emissions and individual allowances will need to tighten over time. Estimates by Tsinghua University suggest that carbon prices will need to be raised to $300-$350 per ton by 2060 to achieve carbon neutrality. And our research at the World Bank suggest a broadly applied carbon price of $50 could help reduce China’s CO2 emissions by almost 25 percent compared with business as usual over the coming decade, while also significantly contributing to reduced air pollution.

Communicating a predictable path for annual emission cap reductions will allow power producers to factor future carbon price increases into their investment decisions today. In addition, experience from the longest-established EU market shows that there are benefits to smoothing out cyclical fluctuations in demand.

For example, carbon emissions naturally decline during periods of lower economic activity. In order to prevent this from affecting carbon prices, the EU introduced a stability reserve mechanism in 2019 to reduce the surplus of allowances and stabilize prices in the market.

Besides, to facilitate the energy transition away from coal, allowances would eventually need to be set at an absolute, mass-based level, which is applied uniformly to all types of power plants — as is done in the EU and other carbon markets.

The current carbon-intensity based allocation mechanism encourages improving efficiency in existing coal power plants and is intended to safeguard reliable energy supply, but it creates few incentives for power producers to divest away from coal.

The effectiveness of the ETS in creating appropriate price incentives would be further enhanced if combined with deeper structural reforms in power markets to allow competitive renewable energy to gain market share.

As the market develops, carbon pricing should become an economy-wide instrument. The power sector accounts for about 30 percent of carbon emissions, but to meet China’s climate goals, mitigation actions are needed in all sectors of the economy. Indeed, the authorities plan to expand the ETS to petro-chemicals, steel and other heavy industries over time.

In other carbon intensive sectors, such as transport, agriculture and construction, emissions trading will be technically challenging because monitoring and verification of emissions is difficult. Faced with similar challenges, several EU member states have introduced complementary carbon taxes applied to sectors not covered by an ETS. Such carbon excise taxes are a relatively simple and efficient instrument, charged in proportion to the carbon content of fuel and a set carbon price.

Finally, while free allowances are still given to some sectors in the EU and other more mature national carbon markets, the majority of initial annual emission rights are auctioned off. This not only ensures consistent market-based price signals, but generates public revenue that can be recycled back into the economy to subsidize abatement costs, offset negative social impacts or rebalance the tax mix by cutting taxes on labor, general consumption or profits.

So far, China’s carbon reduction efforts have relied largely on regulations and administrative targets. Friday’s launch of the national ETS has laid the foundation for a more market-based policy approach. If deployed effectively, China’s carbon market will create powerful incentives to stimulate investment and innovation, accelerate the retirement of less-efficient coal-fired plants, drive down the cost of emission reduction, while generating resources to finance the transition to a low-carbon economy.

(Martin Raiser is the World Bank country director for China, Sebastian Eckardt is the World Bank’s lead economist for China, and Giovanni Ruta is a lead environmental economist of the World Bank.)

(first published on China Daily via World Bank)

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