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posted on 30 July 2016

Early Headlines: Destructive Neoliberalism, Most Important US Election, Is US Auto Boom Ending?, Russian Humanitarian Ruse, Helicopter Euros, Apple's China Problems And More

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Early Bird Headlines 30 July 2016

Econintersect: Here are some of the headlines we found to help you start your day. For more headlines see our afternoon feature for GEI members, What We Read Today, which has many more headlines and a number of article discussions to keep you abreast of what we have found interesting.



Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you'll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is?

Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007‑8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness, the collapse of ecosystems, the rise of Donald Trump. But we respond to these crises as if they emerge in isolation, apparently unaware that they have all been either catalysed or exacerbated by the same coherent philosophy; a philosophy that has - or had - a name. What greater power can there be than to operate namelessly?


  • The Massive Prop Barely Holding up the US Economy Cracks (Wolf Street) The auto sector, which has propped up GDP growth for years, is slowing down. For the first six months, total car and light truck sales, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 17.5 million vehicles, are lagging behind last year by 100,000 units. Over the first half, fleet sales to rent-a-car companies and big fleet buyers were up industry wide. But retail sales fell 2%. On Thursday, it was Ford that waved a red flag. Global sales were up 6% in the second quarter. But they're struggling in the US, where it paid out 28% more in incentives to move the iron. So cost of sales and other expenses rose 8%, and net profit fell 9%. The author suggests this heralds the end of the auto loan borrowing boom which has been supporting the economy since 2010.

  • Clinton campaign part of DNC hack (The Hill) Hillary Clinton's campaign had its computer network hacked as part of the cyberattack on Democratic organizations, Reuters reported Friday. A federal law enforcement official told The New York Times that the hack appears to have come from Russia. Econintersect: We have two questions - (1) Is Hillary's private server from 2012 involved; and (2) Do they think it is Russia because no "red" state politicians have been hacked?

  • Clinton Speech Draws 27.8 Million to Big Networks, Behind Trump (Bloomberg) Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech last night for the Democratic party's presidential nomination drew an estimated total of 30 million TV viewers, Nielsen said Friday, falling short of the 32.2 million viewers across 10 networks who tuned in last week to see Trump accept the Republican nomination.

  • Trump to Clinton: 'No more Mr. Nice Guy' (Reuters) U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said he was taking the gloves off in his battle against Democrat Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House after taking a scorching from speakers at the Democratic National Convention. Trump wrapped up a five-day, seven-state campaign swing in Colorado on Friday, where for a fifth straight day his supporters chanted "lock her up" whenever he brought up Clinton's name. Trump supporters say Clinton deserves to be prosecuted for her handling of U.S. foreign policy as President Barack Obama's first-term secretary of state and for her use of a private email server while in that office.

  • 2016 Campaign: Strong Interest, Widespread Dissatisfaction (Pew Research Center) The last time voter satisfaction with presidential candidates was lower than 2016 was 24 years ago when Bill Clinton faced George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot. But in 2016 voter interest is at an all-time high, at least for recent history.

  • Why Are the Highly Educated So Liberal? (The New York Times) Econintersect: If you don't like these three suggestions, you'll have to read the article to get some more ideas. (1) Not enough have read Ayn Rand; (2) Too many read Karl Marx without the Cliff Notes; or (3) They were simply brainwashed.

  • U.S. Tech Billionaires Lead 2016 Gains to Reshape Wealth Ranks (Bloomberg) Technology billionaires are making a run for the top of the global wealth rankings as surges for Facebook Inc., Inc. and Google parent Alphabet Inc. added $5.6 billion to their founders' fortunes this week. Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin gained a combined $2.7 billion after the search engine's ad business reported a growing user base and better cost controls. Jeff Bezos added $1.4 billion on Amazon's results while Mark Zuckerberg's net worth rose $1.5 billion after the social networking giant's second-quarter earnings trounced analysts' estimates. Together with Larry Ellison, whose Oracle Corp. announced this week it would buy NetSuite Inc. for $9.3 billion, their combined net worth has risen by 9% in 2016. That's more than double the combined gains recorded this year by the 395 other members of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.


"For hundreds of years central banks have injected money in the economy through either banks and/or markets. That is what we know, and so we will certainly consider these ideas that are being discussed."

  • How a Currency Intended to Unite Europe Wound Up Dividing It (The New York Times) It was started in the name of forging a greater sense of union among the disparate nations of Europe. It was supposed to enhance commercial ties, erode borders and foster a spirit of collective interest, furthering the evolution of former wartime combatants into fellow nations of a united Europe. But the euro, in the 17 years since the common currency came into existence, has instead reinvigorated conflicts, yielding new crises, fresh grievances and a spirit of distrust. So argues the Nobel laureate economist Joseph E. Stiglitz in a timely new book, "The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe."


  • U.S. worries Russian humanitarian operation in Syria may be 'ruse' (Reuters) The United States is trying to determine whether a Russian plan for a humanitarian operation in Syria is sincere, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday, adding that if it proves a "ruse" it could ruin cooperation between Moscow and Washington. The 250,000 civilians trapped for weeks inside the besieged rebel-held sector of Aleppo have so far stayed away from "safe corridors" that Moscow and Damascus promised for those trying to escape the most important opposition stronghold in the country. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government and its Russian allies declared a joint humanitarian operation for the besieged area on Thursday, bombarding it with leaflets telling fighters to surrender and civilians to leave.


  • Apple's Chinese Revenue Problems (Investopedia) Apple suffered a steep 33 percent decline in revenues to $8.85 billion from $13.23 billion in China from the same period a year ago. According to the latest report from research firm Canalys, the company's ranking in the Chinese market has slipped to fifth behind local smartphone makers. Apple now trails Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi. Apple's China problem is explained by a complex market and increased competition. The Chinese market is large enough to contain the two broad ends of quality-conscious customers and competitive pricing. Samsung Electronics and Huawei, which primarily makes phones using the Android operating system, have focused on price-conscious customers. Recently these companies offered features or capabilities similar to or more advanced than that of the iPhone at much cheaper prices. And that is the basis of of Apple's China problem.

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