Category : Economy

(FT Big Read) Is the global economy heading for recession?

If Leo Tolstoy were writing about today’s business conditions, he might have noted that happy economies are all alike but every unhappy economy is unhappy in its own way.

China’s growth prospects have been hammered by strict Covid-19 lockdowns in a bid to quell its Omicron outbreak; the US Federal Reserve risks turning an American boom into bust; Europe’s households are enduring a cost of living crisis; and the situation is worse in many poorer emerging markets, where food crises and even famines beckon.

These four different but imposing problems each stalk the global economy as it recovers from the pandemic and it is not surprising the mood is darkening.

According to Robin Brooks, chief economist of the Institute of International Finance, the confluence of these shocks suggests the world economy is already in trouble. “We’re in another global recession scare now, except this time we think it’s for real,” he says.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Globalization

(FT) The truckers who keep our world moving

Archie Norman, chair of Marks and Spencer, said this week: “Some of the descriptors, particularly of animal products, have to be written in Latin and in a certain typeface.” Every sandwich containing butter, he said, requires an EU vet certificate, which means employing 13 vets and budgeting for 30 per cent more driver time.

Six-mile queues at Dover and 18-mile lines at Calais this year were caused by post-Brexit checks, worsened by small numbers of lorries with the wrong paperwork.

We can expect more delays in September, when a new security system may require drivers to leave their vehicles for facial or body scans, and more again next year when trucks will be inspected at the new inland border at Sevington, near Ashford, Kent.

The metaphor of supply “chains” makes the process sound orderly and smooth, but from the first this journey along them was more like an adventure through a wild ecosystem in which we were a prey, dashing between safe habitats such as lorry parks and filling stations, hunted by authorities, legislation and customs rules that sought to charge, delay or stop us.

It was not that the trucks had any deficiency to bother the police or the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, which regulates haulage in Britain. It was that many drivers loathe and avoid the DVSA, and checkpoints of all kinds in all countries. 

“They’re not on your side. They’re out to get you. It’s like they want to punish you for doing your job,” Ian said. “They want to fine you and take your money.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Travel

(Bloomberg) Cracks in US Economy Start to Show as Recession Warnings Mount

The late Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Samuelson once quipped that Wall Street had predicted nine out of the last five recessions. This time, the stock market may be right.

The US economy is starting to show signs of strain under the weight of decades-high inflation and climbing interest rates — raising the risk of a downturn.

Investors are taking note, with equities nosediving this week as earnings gloom at retailers like Walmart Inc. and Target Corp. fueled the growing fears. And the trend could spell trouble for President Joe Biden, whose Democrats must defend thin Congressional majorities in November’s midterm vote.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Economy

(Church Times) Bishops challenge Government on cost-of-living and climate crises

Bishops in the House of Lords continued to challenge the Government’s response to the cost-of-living and climate crises this week, as debates on the Queen’s Speech of last week (News, 13 May) entered a fourth day.

On Monday, debate focused on economic development, energy, and the environment. The Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, the Rt Revd Martin Seeley, said: “The climate crisis is the multiplying factor for all the other crises we face.”

In his maiden speech, Bishop Seeley dedicated much of his time to environmental issues. “Global temperature rises will dramatically increase the global refugee crisis and food shortages, and the geopolitical impact will continue to be magnified,” he said.

“We must pursue the determined course set at COP26, where we take actions —challenging actions — now, for the sake of the long term.”

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, who is the C of E’s lead bishop on the environment, wrote of the agreement at COP26 that “progress was made . . . but not enough” (Comment, 18 November 2021).

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecology, Economy, England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Economist Cover story) The coming food catastrophe

Mr Putin must not use food as a weapon. Shortages are not the inevitable outcome of war. World leaders should see hunger as a global problem urgently requiring a global solution.

Russia and Ukraine supply 28% of globally traded wheat, 29% of the barley, 15% of the maize and 75% of the sunflower oil. Russia and Ukraine contribute about half the cereals imported by Lebanon and Tunisia; for Libya and Egypt the figure is two-thirds. Ukraine’s food exports provide the calories to feed 400m people. The war is disrupting these supplies because Ukraine has mined its waters to deter an assault, and Russia is blockading the port of Odessa.

Even before the invasion the World Food Programme had warned that 2022 would be a terrible year. China, the largest wheat producer, has said that, after rains delayed planting last year, this crop may be its worst-ever. Now, in addition to the extreme temperatures in India, the world’s second-largest producer, a lack of rain threatens to sap yields in other breadbaskets, from America’s wheat belt to the Beauce region of France. The Horn of Africa is being ravaged by its worst drought in four decades. Welcome to the era of climate change.

All this will have a grievous effect on the poor. Households in emerging economies spend 25% of their budgets on food—and in sub-Saharan Africa as much as 40%. In Egypt bread provides 30% of all calories. In many importing countries, governments cannot afford subsidies to increase the help to the poor, especially if they also import energy—another market in turmoil.

The crisis threatens to get worse.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Russia, Ukraine

(CNN Business) Most CEOs are bracing for a Recession

CEO confidence has tumbled to the weakest level since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, The Conference Board said Wednesday.

For the first time during the economic expansion, CEO confidence is now in negative territory.

Worse, business leaders are bracing for a potential downturn caused by the Federal Reserve’s quest to tame inflation.

A staggering 68% of CEOs surveyed by The Conference Board expect the Fed’s war on inflation will eventually trigger a recession. The survey, fielded between April 25 and May 9, measured responses from 133 CEOs of mostly public companies.

The good news is that just 11% of CEOs anticipate a so-called hard landing, marked by a deep recession. The rest expect a “very short, mild” recession.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Psychology

(NYT) Ben Bernanke Sees ‘Stagflation’ Ahead

….he also suggests it is possible the nation could be in for a period of “stagflation,” a word Mr. Bernanke says was invented in the 1970s.

“Even under the benign scenario, we should have a slowing economy,” he said. “And inflation’s still too high but coming down. So there should be a period in the next year or two where growth is low, unemployment is at least up a little bit and inflation is still high,” he predicted. “So you could call that stagflation.”

He is particularly aware that runaway inflation can quickly become a political issue — possibly putting the Federal Reserve in the cross-hairs of the public — in a way that even unemployment doesn’t evoke. “The difference between inflation and unemployment is that inflation affects just everybody,” he said. “Unemployment affects some people a lot, but most people don’t respond too much to unemployment because they’re not personally unemployed. Inflation has a social-wide kind of impact.”

Mr. Bernanke appears to be somewhat concerned about the credibility of the Federal Reserve in the public consciousness, especially given the aggressive approach that he took in 2008 and that Mr. Powell continued during the pandemic. “I had this fantasy conversation in my head between Jay Powell and William McChesney Martin, where I think Martin probably would have had apoplexy or something because of the different things that intervening chairs have done,” he said, referring to Mr. Martin, the chair of the Federal Reserve from 1951 to 1970.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Federal Reserve

(Economist) The Indian economy is being rewired. The opportunity is immense

Over the past three years India has endured more than its share of bad news and suffering. The pandemic has killed between 2.2m and 9.7m people. Lockdowns caused the economy to shrink temporarily by a quarter and triggered the largest internal migrations since partition in 1947, as city workers fled to their villages. Religious tensions have been simmering, stoked by the anti-Muslim chauvinism of the Bharatiya Janata Party (bjp), in power since 2014 under the strongman prime minister, Narendra Modi. Now a heatwave is baking the north of the country and the global oil- and food-price shock is battering the poor.

Yet as our Briefing explains, if you take a step back, a novel confluence of forces stands to transform India’s economy over the next decade, improving the lives of 1.4bn people and changing the balance of power in Asia. Technological leaps, the energy transition and geopolitical shifts are creating new opportunities—and new tools to fix intractable problems. The biggest threat to all this is India’s incendiary politics.

Since India opened up in 1991, its economy has prompted both euphoria and despair. One minute it is the next China: a rising superpower bursting with enterprising geniuses. The next it is a demographic time-bomb unable to generate hope for its young people; or a Wild West where Vodafone and other naive multinationals are fleeced. Over the past decade India has outgrown most other big countries, yet this has been overshadowed by a sense of disappointment. It has not engineered the manufacturing surge that enriched East Asia nor built enough big companies to marshal capital for development. Its fragmented markets and informal firms create few good jobs.

As the country emerges from the pandemic, however, a new pattern of growth is visible. It is unlike anything you have seen before. An indigenous tech effort is key. As the cost of technology has dropped, India has rolled out a national “tech stack”: a set of state-sponsored digital services that link ordinary Indians with an electronic identity, payments and tax systems, and bank accounts. The rapid adoption of these platforms is forcing a vast, inefficient, informal cash economy into the 21st century. It has turbocharged the world’s third-largest startup scene after America’s and China’s.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, India, Politics in General

(Washington Post front page) Oil Sales Remain Russia’s Lifeline

Despite the European Union’s drastic measures to wind down imports of Russian oil, Moscow still has plenty of buyers — and at prices steep enough to keep government revenue high and its coffers flush.

Before the war with Ukraine, Russia sold about half of its 7.85 million barrels a day of crude and refined oil to Europe. But with the war and the E.U.’s vow to abruptly end its reliance on Russian oil and gas, the Kremlin has been benefiting from high world prices while looking for new customers and reorienting its export strategy toward Asia.

The windfall shows how hard it is to punish a major oil and gas power such as Russia when so much of the world — especially developing countries — depends on fossil fuels.

Even with “severe oil production cuts” expected this year, Russia’s tax revenue “will increase significantly to more than $180 billion due to the spike in oil prices,” according to Rystad Energy, an independent research firm advising investors. The figure is 45 percent higher than in 2021.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Foreign Relations, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Russia, Ukraine

(NYT front page) The Federal Reserve Confronts Why It May Have Acted Too Slowly on Inflation

Some Federal Reserve officials have begun to acknowledge that they were too slow to respond to rapid inflation last year, a delay that is forcing them to constrain the economy more abruptly now — and one that could hold lessons for the policy path ahead.

Inflation began to accelerate last spring, but Fed policymakers and most private-sector forecasters initially thought price gains would quickly fade. It became clear in early fall that fast inflation was proving to be more lasting — but the Fed pivoted toward rapidly removing policy support only in late November and did not raise rates until March.

Several current and former Fed officials have suggested in recent days that, in hindsight, the central bank should have reacted more quickly and forcefully last fall, but that both profound uncertainty about the future and the Fed’s approach to setting policy slowed it down.

Officials had spent years dealing with tepid inflation, which made some hesitant to believe that rapidly rising prices would last. Even as they became more concerned, it took the Fed’s large group of policymakers time to come to an agreement on how to respond. Another complicating factor was that the Fed had made clear promises to markets about how it would remove support for the economy, which made adjusting quickly more difficult.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Federal Reserve

C of E to provide up to £3 million to boost diocesan discretionary funds in face of rising cost of living

Decisions about the distribution of grants will be made at diocesan level but it is expected that people from the following groups will be eligible to apply:

–Stipendiary clergy, including curates
–Self-supporting ministers with a provided house (‘House-for-Duty’)
–Salaried lay workers employed by the diocese or parishes such as youth and children’s workers
–Retired clergy carrying out a specific role in support of Diocesan ministry as agreed by or at the request of a Bishop or Archdeacon

A Church of England report published last year backed targeted support for clergy facing financial challenges such as those with larger families or with no additional household income other than the stipend.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Personal Finance & Investing, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

([London] Times) Boomers go on courses to understand young staff

Baby boomer and Generation X bosses are going on courses to help them understand younger employees and get more out of them in the workplace.

Experts say that millennials and Generation Z actually speak a different language to older colleagues, causing friction in the office.

It follows a tribunal last month in which a trainee accountant was sacked after his boss claimed he was “too demanding, like his generation of millennials”.

Dr Elizabeth Michelle, a psychologist who gives workshops on how to handle millennials — a term for people born between 1981 and 1996 — and Generation Z, born from 1997-2012, said: “As a psychologist, I work with so many different things but the main thing people have been interested in is millennials and now Gen Z.

“I think boomers are desperate to be able to work more productively with them and they are very frustrated because they are so different. Managers want to understand their employees better.

Read it all (subscription).

Posted in Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Middle Age, Psychology, Science & Technology, Young Adults

From the Standing Committee of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina

This week, after much prayer and discussion as well as consultation with legal counsel, the Trustees and the Standing Committee of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina unanimously decided not to seek a rehearing of the April 20 opinion from the South Carolina Supreme Court. Many of the parishes have reached this same conclusion, although eight* of those named in the lawsuit filed a petition yesterday for rehearing, based on their specific and unique circumstances. Several questions remain about how this decision will be implemented, including that of the betterments statute, which may have implications on how these issues are finally resolved.

Nevertheless, we are preparing for the next steps in bringing this dispute to a resolution and charting a creative path forward for the entire diocese, especially our affected parishes and our summer camp. These ministries will continue. Ministry does not depend upon geography as much as it depends upon the faithfulness of the Lord and the Spirit working in the people of God.

This news will no doubt be met with mixed emotions. While we are thankful that many of the parishes in the lawsuit have retained their property, we grieve as we face the loss of sacred spaces where generations have worshipped and met Jesus.

In his pastoral letter, Bishop Edgar reminded us that “the ministry of this diocese to a confused and broken world is dependent on God’s mercy and call, not on our property and resources.” This truth does not lessen our grief, but we grieve as a people with hope (1 Thess 4:13). God remains faithful, Christ still sits on the throne, and our mission remains clear – to proclaim the death, resurrection, and Lordship of Jesus. We will continue to do so boldly, even as we grieve, certain of our strong bonds of fellowship and the Easter hope of the resurrected Christ.

The Rev Tyler Prescott, President

The Standing Committee
The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina
Anglican Church in North America
126 Coming Street
Charleston, SC 29413

tylerp [at]goodsamaritansummerville[dot] org

* Parishes filing Petitions
1. Christ Church, Mt. Pleasant
2. Good Shepherd, Charleston
3. Holy Comforter, Sumter
4. Holy Cross, Stateburg
5, Old St. Andrews, Charleston
6. St. Jude’s, Walterboro
7. St. Luke’s, Hilton Head
8 Trinity, Myrtle Beach

Posted in * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry

(BBC) Bradford: Wyke 5G phone mast plan refused for listed church

A 5G phone mast will not be allowed to be built on a 176-year-old Grade II-listed church in West Yorkshire due to concerns it could harm its appearance.

The spire at St Mary’s The Virgin in Wyke, Bradford, already has antennae attached and Cellnex UK had applied for permission to upgrade the base station.

But Bradford Council has rejected the application, saying it would “detract from the church’s architectural form”.

The building, dating back to the 1840s, was a “landmark”, the council said.

Although Cellnex’s planning application said 5G coverage in the area was “essential” and that any visual effect caused by a new mast would be outweighed by the benefits of 5G, Bradford Council’s conservation officer Jon Ackroyd disagreed, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(C of E) ‘It gave me back hope and ambition’– Lichfield Cathedral helps young people

More than 30 six-month work placements were made available by Lichfield Cathedral for 16 to 24-year-olds in the region. The roles available were in the Cathedral, churches, and organisations across the Diocese – providing valuable work experience for those impacted by the pandemic.

For some young people, like Gabriella, this opportunity proved to be life changing.

“In 2019, I began the year homeless” she explained.

“All the stress caused me to end up in hospital, which meant I missed my exams.

“Finding work was difficult to say the least.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Young Adults

Church Commissioners for England invest €30 million in sustainable infrastructure

The Church Commissioners for England have committed €30 million into European sustainable infrastructure with Pioneer Infrastructure Partners SCSp

The investment marks a continuation of the Church Commissioners’ commitment to reaching net zero as a signatory of the UN-convened Asset Owner Alliance

Pioneer Infrastructure Partners SCSp has secured commitments from other large institutional investors, including Texas Municipal Retirement Systems

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ecology, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Stock Market

(NYT) Get Ready for Another Energy Price Spike: High Electric Bills

Already frustrated and angry about high gasoline prices, many Americans are being hit by rapidly rising electricity bills, compounding inflation’s financial toll on people and businesses.

The national average residential electricity rate was up 8 percent in January from a year earlier, the biggest annual increase in more than a decade. The latest figures, from February, show an almost 4 percent annual rise, reaching the highest level for that month and approaching summer rates, which are generally the most expensive.

In Florida, Hawaii, Illinois and New York, rates are up about 15 percent, according to the Energy Department’s latest figures. Combined with a seasonal increase in the use of electricity as people turn on air-conditioners, the higher rates will leave many people paying a lot more for power this summer than they did last year.

The immediate reason for the jump in electric rates is that the war in Ukraine has driven up the already high cost of natural gas, which is burned to produce about 40 percent of America’s electricity. And supply chain chaos has made routine grid maintenance and upgrades more expensive.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Personal Finance

(WSJ) Biden Officials Divided Over Easing China Tariffs to Slow Inflation

The Biden administration is split on whether to pare back tariffs on imports from China in an effort to cut consumer costs and reduce inflation, as the White House gives renewed consideration to a step that has divided officials.

On one side of the debate within the administration are Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, who favor easing the tariffs on some of the roughly $360 billion annually of Chinese imports put in place under the Trump administration, according to people familiar with the matter.

On the other are Trade Representative Katherine Tai and others who are reluctant to relinquish U.S. leverage over China in a continuing effort to reshape Chinese economic behavior, according to the people.

President Biden has been undecided on the question but has recently revisited the issue as the White House looks to reduce the highest inflation in four decades, according to one of the people. The discussions come as the administration on Tuesday started a legally required review of the Trump-era duties. The U.S. Trade Representative is required to study the impact on tariffs first imposed in 2018 on the economy after four years.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., China, Economy, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General

(WSJ) Food Banks Are Serving More People Again as Inflation Squeezes Budgets

Food banks are straining to meet growing demand caused by rising food prices, which are pinching budgets for households and the organizations themselves.

Forgotten Harvest, which serves the metro Detroit area, said demand increased 25% to 45% since December in different areas it serves. In March alone, demand rose 30% compared with the previous month.

Christopher Ivey, a spokesman for the food rescue, says metro Detroit is at the front of the bell curve, experiencing economic ripples before they hit other parts of the U.S.

“The need is growing quickly, as gas prices are continuing to rise,” he said. “As you know, there are shortages in the grocery store and the costs of the commodity goods are going up and up and up,” he said, adding that the organization is challenged by the increased demand but is still able to fulfill the needs of the public.

With inflation at a four-decade high, American households are feeling the pinch of higher prices across a range of products and services. The price of food at grocery stores in March was 10% higher than a year earlier, while food prices at restaurants were 6.9% higher than in March 2021, according to the Labor Department’s most recent consumer-price index.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Personal Finance, Poverty

(NPR) Why there are growing fears the U.S. is headed to a recession

As employers scramble to find scarce workers, they’re bidding up wages, and that’s helping to push inflation even further above the Fed’s target of 2%.

Inflation hits another 40-year high. It’s bad, but older folks say they’ve seen worse
As a result, economist Matthew Luzzetti believes the Federal Reserve will have no choice but to crack down hard, with significantly higher interest rates.

Luzzetti predicts that those aggressive rate hikes will push the economy into a mild recession by late next year.

“It’s probably surprising to be talking about recessions at this point, given the momentum that we’ve seen, particularly in the labor market,” says Luzzetti, chief U.S. economist for Deutsche Bank.

“The ultimate conclusion is that we are having very strong growth, but it is inflationary growth,” he adds.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Economy, Uncategorized

(Economist) The serious business of being a social influencer

t is a sure sign that a hot trend has reached the mainstream when the tax authorities catch up. This week China promised a tax-evasion crackdown on social-media influencers, who are paid by brands to promote products online to armies of followers. One of the big stars, Viya, a 30-something fashionista known as the live-streaming queen, has already been fined $210m for not declaring her income. The size of that levy shows the sheer scale of the industry, which accounts for 12% of online sales in China. Outside China, influencers are also likely to have an enduring role in e-commerce. For all firms with brands—and together those brands are worth over $7trn—it is time to realise that influencing is more than just a hobby.

The use of personal endorsements used to be about harnessing existing celebrity power. Elizabeth Taylor touted Colgate-Palmolive’s shampoo in the 1950s, and Michael Jordan’s deal in 1984 with Nike revolutionised both basketball and branding. Influencers turn the logic on its head: selling things helps make them more famous. Through curated feeds of clipped videos and filtered photos they offer recommendations to consumers, mingled with glimpses into their daily lives that give their artifice an aura of authenticity. Sometimes they disclose how they are paid. Often they do not.

Initially dismissed as credulous Gen-Z folk who had mistaken posting selfies for having a job, these entrepreneurs have become a big business, boosted further by the e-commerce surge from the pandemic.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Psychology, Theology

Archbishop Welby calls for the Government to work with faith groups to achieve net zero carbon

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Stewardship

(Economist) What Florida can teach America

What can Florida reveal about America? In many ways, it is a land apart from the rest of the country. Yet a state as diverse as Florida is also a mini-America, with its political divisions condensed into single blocks. The rise of minor parties and voters with no-party affiliation should be a reckoning for the two main national parties. Immigrants and transplants want a positive message about the future, not a dire one, which should be a wake-up call to Democrats to refine their campaigning to signal optimism and opportunity. The lurch to the right of Mr DeSantis and other Republicans, who prioritise social issues such as abortion over practical economic concerns of ordinary Floridians, is a political calculation that may yet backfire.

Nowhere are the intergenerational divisions that scar America clearer than in Florida. The elderly who retire there feel little connection to the state or much desire to invest in its future. Meanwhile, the young require more than “freedom” (Florida’s favourite rhetorical export) to thrive. With such austere investment in citizens and good government, there is a vast gulf between older migrants who import their fortunes and savings into Florida and those who want to build lives there, but face lower wages.

Florida is a test-bed for the limits of libertarian policies. The early 2020s may be remembered as America’s “Florida years”, with Mr DeSantis’s embrace of policies, such as anti-lockdown provisions, that put his state on the national stage. But now that Florida feels the pain of soaring house prices and displacement of the labour force by new arrivals, some voters’ faith that the free market alone is enough to fix things has been shaken.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Ecology, Economy, State Government

(Economist) A half-a-trillion-dollar bet on revolutionising white-collar work

Two decades ago India’s information-technology (IT) firms were the stars of the rising country’s corporate firmament. The industry’s three giants, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys and Wipro, became household names at home and familiar to chief executives of big businesses abroad, who had outsourced their companies’ countermeasures against the feared “millennium bug”, expected to wreak havoc on computers as the date changed from 1999 to 2000, to Indian software engineers. By the mid-2000s the Indian IT trio’s revenues were growing by around 40% a year, as Western CEOs realised that Indian programmers could do as good a job as domestic ones or better, at a fraction of the price. Then, following the global financial crisis of 2007-09, revenue growth slowed to single digits. For years afterwards the stars seemed to be losing some of their shine.

Now they are back in the ascendant. Having declined as a share of GDP between 2017 and 2019, exports of Indian software services ticked up again as the world’s companies turned to them for help amid the disruption to operations and IT systems wrought by the pandemic. In the last financial year they reached an all-time high of $150bn, or 5.6% of Indian GDP (see chart 1). NASSCOM, a trade body, expects the industry’s overall revenues to grow from $227bn last year to $350bn by 2026.

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Posted in Globalization, India, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology

Jeremy Morris reviews Lord Carey’s memoir ‘The Truth Will Set You Free’

Given the continuing controversy over these matters, and also over the handling of the allegation against the long-dead George Bell (on which Carey also has much to say), most readers will be tempted to skim through the early chapters, which deal mostly with Carey’s involvement post-retirement with the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, and the World Faiths Development Dialogue.

That is a pity, because Carey was deeply involved in these matters, and casts an interesting light on the tensions that bedevil those who want to assert the continuing importance of faith in international relations and economic development. Given his own background as the first truly working-class archbishop in many centuries, and not a product of public school and Oxbridge, his participation in these circles is testimony to an extraordinary career — something perhaps not always appreciated by his critics. He gives little sense here of any lack of confidence.

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Posted in Archbishop of Canterbury, Books, Church of England (CoE), Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(NPR) As a nurse faces prison for a deadly error, her colleagues worry: Could I be next?

Four years ago, inside the most prestigious hospital in Tennessee, nurse RaDonda Vaught withdrew a vial from an electronic medication cabinet, administered the drug to a patient and somehow overlooked signs of a terrible and deadly mistake.

The patient was supposed to get Versed, a sedative intended to calm her before being scanned in a large, MRI-like machine. But Vaught accidentally grabbed vecuronium, a powerful paralyzer, which stopped the patient’s breathing and left her brain-dead before the error was discovered.

Vaught, 38, admitted her mistake at a Tennessee Board of Nursing hearing last year, saying she became “complacent” in her job and “distracted” by a trainee while operating the computerized medication cabinet. She did not shirk responsibility for the error, but she said the blame was not hers alone.

“I know the reason this patient is no longer here is because of me,” Vaught said, starting to cry. “There won’t ever be a day that goes by that I don’t think about what I did.”

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Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues

(Economist) Why loafing can be work–Daydreaming, promenading and zoning out pay rich dividends

….time to muse is valuable in virtually every role. To take one example, customer-service representatives can be good sources of ideas on how to improve a company’s products, but they are often rated on how well they adhere to a schedule of fielding calls. Reflection is not part of the routine.

The post-pandemic rethink of work is focused on “when” and “where” questions. Firms are experimenting with four-day workweeks as a way to improve retention and avoid burnout. Asynchronous working is a way for individuals to collaborate at times that suit them. Lots of thought is going into how to make a success of hybrid work.

The “what is work” question gets much less attention. The bias towards familiar forms of activity is deeply entrenched. But if you see a colleague meandering through the park or examining the ceiling for hours, don’t assume that work isn’t being done. What looks like idleness may be the very moment when serendipity strikes.

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Posted in Anthropology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

P&O: Joint statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Dover

Ill-treating workers is not just business. In God’s eyes it is sin.

P&O has sacked 800 people in Dover, a town dependent on shipping. Dover is a major part of the Diocese of Canterbury which we serve as Bishops.

The extraordinary move is at the command of DP World, the Dubai based and owned parent company, which made record profits last year. The move is cynically timed for a moment when world attention is on Ukraine. Done without warning or consultation it is inhumane, treats human beings as a commodity of no basic value or dignity and is completely unethical.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Religion & Culture

A Reflection on Saint Joseph the Worker by Tarcisio Giuseppe Stramare for his Feast Day

ZENIT spoke with Father Tarcisio Giuseppe Stramare of the Congregation of Oblates of Saint Joseph, director of the Josephite Movement, about Tuesday’s feast of St. Joseph the Worker….

ZENIT: What does “Gospel of work” mean?

Father Stramare: “Gospel” is the Good News that refers to Jesus, the Savior of humanity. Well, despite the fact that in general we see Jesus as someone who teaches and does miracles, he was so identified with work that in his time he was regarded as “the son of the carpenter,” namely, an artisan himself. Among many possible activities, the Wisdom of God chose for Jesus manual work, entrusted the education of his Son not to the school of the learned but to a humble artisan, namely, St. Joseph.

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Posted in Anthropology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(WSJ) Investors Dial Up Pressure Over Companies’ Climate Lobbying

Many companies are still lobbying against the Paris Agreement, according to InfluenceMap, a nonprofit group that pushes for corporate action on climate. It says only 14% of 375 companies it tracks have aligned their detailed climate-policy engagement activities with the Paris Agreement.

“Corporate political engagement continues to represent one of the key barriers to delivering the Paris Agreement’s goals,” said Ed Collins, director of corporate lobbying at InfluenceMap.

Having a shared standard will make it easier for companies to show their public climate promises are serious, said Adam Matthews, chief responsible investment officer at the Church of England Pensions Board.

But companies that don’t sign up may face more shareholder pressure.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecology, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Stewardship, Stock Market