A statement on Wed April 25th by Benny Gantz, Chief of Staff of the IDF (Israel Defence Force) indicate a potential deescalation of the conflict associated with the Iranian nuclear program. According to Gantz, Iran has not decided yet to build a nuclear weapon. Despite other military tensions around the world, especially in the South China Sea, the acute risk of a larger military conflict might be considered as significantly reduced at least for this year in the Middle East.
Signs of a strategic change of French and Dutch politics besides a more easing ECB monetary policy has left behind the German austerity approach. Europe seems to be on the way now to come closer to Obama’s QE and job creation policies. The US JOBS ACT was signed April 5th this year.
Given the highly volatile situation in Spain, the ever harder recession in Greece and the negative signals from Great Britain, it starts to become visible even for hawkish observers that austerity measures have strangulated economies all over Europe. The power to stay this rigid course is about to end. Stimulus might not be back but it might become a necessity if stability and living conditions should not be sacrificed.
A closer look to the ratified American job act shows the differences between the European and the US approach that evolved already years before. It gives an impressive insight regarding priorities and the willingness to act:
The White House provided a fact sheet which summarizes the key provisions of the $447 billion bill. Some of its elements include:
Cutting and suspending $245 billion worth of payroll taxes for qualifying employers and 160 million medium to low income employees.
Spending $62 billion for a Pathways Back to Work Program for expanding opportunities for low-income youth and adults.
$49 billion – Extending unemployment benefits for up to 6 million long-term beneficiaries.
$8 billion – Jobs tax credit for the long term unemployed.
$5 billion – Pathways back to work fund.
Spending $50 billion on both new & pre-existing infrastructure projects.
Spending $35 billion in additional funding to protect the jobs of teachers, police officers, and firefighters
Spending $30 billion to modernize at least 35,000 public schools and community colleges.
Spending $15 billion on a program that would hire construction workers to help rehabilitate and refurbishing hundreds of thousands of foreclosed homes and businesses.
Creating the National Infrastructure Bank (capitalized with $10 billion), originally proposed in 2007, to help fund infrastructure via private and public capital.
Creating a nationwide, interoperable wireless network for public safety, while expanding accessibility to high-speed wireless services.
Creating additional regulations on businesses who discriminate against hiring those who are long-term unemployed.
Loosening regulations on small businesses that wish to raise capital, including through crowdfunding, while retaining investor protections.
In total the legislation includes $253 billion in tax credits (56.6%) and $194 billion in spending and extension of unemployment benefits (43.4%).
The Berlin conference (April 12-15) by the Institute of New Economic Thinking (INET) entitled “Paradigm Lost: Rethinking Economics and Politics” might not have reached the fundamental impact on economics worldwide, yet. Besides the overwhelming interest and attention of reform orientated economists worldwide and some political interest groups the relatively small scaled coverage by world media and the limited readiness of traditional institutions to adopt the paradigms discussed were obvious.
There was no participation of political key figures, nor any manifesto or plan that evolved from the meeting.
Anyhow, the approach, financed mainly by the Soros Foundation up to now, showed all signs of a growing interest and a much larger potential in the future.
A press release by the Institute stated that INET Governing Board member William Janeway, Senior Advisor at the venture capital firm Warburg Pincus, and his wife, Weslie, have decided to contribute $25 million to INET’s core funding. In turn, INET’s governing board has committed to raise $75 million over the next eight to nine years, giving INET $100 million in total additional funds. Further, INET Co-Founder George Soros has decided to contribute an additional $50 million, bringing the total capital infusion to $150 million, which essentially will double the resources available to the organization over the next decade.
One of the contents during the conference was the subject of inequality and the challenge of employment.
James Heckman, Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, University of Chicago speaking at the (INET) Paradigm Lost Conference in Berlin. April 14, 2012.
There are no charts available showing growth figures of crowdfunding and crowdinvestment projects worldwide. But his new way of financing undoubtly has gained a lot more relevance since its first establishment in 2000. The public (or the crowd, the fans, the target group or just the ‘small investors‘) frequently finance hundreds of projects. An increasing number of investment platforms has emerged. Crowdfunding has been extended to crowdinvestment with new technologies to create returns.
The exotic hype character of the new way turned to a growing structure of innovation pools implementing much faster and much more flexible ways of participation than in traditional financing. Participation has become more face-to-face for investors, the growth of an idea and its communication now synchronized by ‘intuitive’ interfaces.
As a typical ‘web 2.0′ invention crowdfinancing is still fully decentralized; there is no association or banking organisation streamlining or analyzing data. Maybe this is the main reason why some critics still describe crowdfinancing as a temporary hype without sustainable potential. But less conservative ‘new economists’ do not insist on traditional data at first place but have realized the need of radically new financing models worldwide and the need of synchronized communication.
Checking out successful funding and ongoing investment campaigns on existing sites is the best way to get a clear picture of a method and a growing scene that sends signals of a fundamental change:
www.artistshare.com, www.kickstrater.com, www.indiegogo.com, www.rockethub.com, www.fundbreak.com, www.sonicangel.com, www.sellaband.com, www.startnext.de, www.inkubato.com, www.mysherpas.de,www.pling.dewww.visionbakery.com
With a rapidly growing middle class in most African countries the continent and the impact of IT technologies the continent has gained more attention of institutional investors in the last three years. Still described as a ‘frontier market’ and mostly confused by economic observers as a more or less homogeneous entity, the African patterns of modernization still need a much more differentiating analytical view than they have been established since the end of the colonial centuries.
The usual way of including South Africa in the economic development reports, a country that is generating its trade revenues by more than 85% with non-African countries can’t provide a sufficient picture. Impressive improvements of governance for example in Ghana and Botswana with corruption levels lower than in many Eastern European countries, the ongoing oil boom in Angola and visible progress in Ethiopia and Nigeria are still not fully recognized in the portfolios of most institutional investors.
Best performing Africa Fonds
|Name||Valor||Performance 3 years|
|Lyxor Pan Africa A ETF||FR0010636464||51,5%|
|Van Eck Africa Index ETF||US57060U7871||22,1%|
|JPM Africa Equity B||LU0355585190||17,3%|
|DWS Invest Africa FC||LU0329759921||15,3%|
Source: Morningstar and etinfo.com