Die technologischen Entscheidungen in der Industriepolitik sind von großer Tragweite. Die Wege der modernen Industriegesellschaften sind gepflastert mit weitreichenden Fehlentscheidungen. Fehlentscheidungen aus gesellschaftlicher Sicht reihen sich an Verluste für den blauen Planeten. Einzelinteressen sind in diesen technologischen Entscheidungsprozessen zu oft zum Vorteil von Monopolen oder Oligopolen in der Vergangenheit ausgegangen.

Elektroautos gab es lange schon Quelle Spiegel Oktober 2020

Vor 100 und vor 30 Jahren gab es elektrische Prototypen für Individuellen Straßenverkehr. Gegen große Konzerne haben Nischenprodukte wenig Marktchancen sich zu etablieren. Überraschender Weise war das bereits bei der Entwicklung des Internets schon vergleichbar. In den „Comedies françaises“ ist ein anderes französisches Beispiel plastisch beschrieben worden. Solange wir Studierenden nur die Monopolrendite erklären, brauchen wir uns nicht zu wundern. Aufpassen „Winner takes all and forever“ ist dem kommunistischen Wirtschaften vergleichbar. In zu vielen Fällen erweisen sich die Monopolkommissionen als die BaFin im Wirecardskandal. … und dann singen wieder alle: Skandal um Rosi…

LeMonde August 2020

Mehr dazu:

Covid-19 USA

With almost 6 months into COVID-19 in the USA since the first official case, the public health situation is still scary. Data and figures from the official U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, particularly the recent data release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show around 50.000 new cases of Covid-19 every day again (see figure).

By using the data and calculating a simple linear trend shows the following evolution in case no policy change occurs.

Using a seasonality in the calculation of about 3 weeks (=20days) the evolution looks much different with huge margins of error.

Hence, all is possible by chart analysis or the language of investors. Public health analysts would rather look at the disaggregated state by state or even county be county detailed analysis. A seasonality of 3 weeks could make sense. With a high level Covid-19 cases in one state people move (also with Covid-19) to other states for one week exporting the virus. After 2 more weeks incubation, case numbers rise in this receiving area, which will make visitors (and the virus) move back again. A oscilating pattern of the spread of the virus will result, making a nationwide lockdown much more likely. In natural sciences (Video-Link)we call this coupled oscillation, here of Covid-19 between several US-states. (take Florida and New York for example).
Now, let us apply the same simple statistical modelling to the international level. As we enjoy Summer in Europe , in the southern hemisphere of the world Winter, Covid-19 and the flu are spreading there now. When we shall move from Autumn to Winter, we might receive another wave of cases from the other part of the world.
Conclusion: Get prepared for another wave as of now. Helping the global South now, saves lives in Autumn and Winter also in Europe. Simple isn’t it. Let’s just act accordingly (the not so simple part). Train health care professionals (95.000 of them got infected in the US and 500 !!! died).

On Mortality in EU

It is normal business for demographers to deal with mortality and the statistics of mortality. The latest data I found from official European statistics from Eurostat refer back to 2015. They mention 571.000 potentially avoidable deaths in the Europen Union of the 1.7 Million deaths among the population younger than 75 years of age, the lower bound of average life expectancy. A look at the leading causes of preventable death shows that prevention of deaths due to alcohol, smoking and environmental causes beyond suicide could safe more than 200.000 lifes per year! Please pause a while in front of these figures.

In Germany we deplore more than 900.000 deaths each year and according to the statistical office on an average day during the year we have 2100 persons leaving us. In a severe case of influenza these death rates jumped for example in February 2018 to more than 3.100 persons in one day. Hence, keep calm and carry on with taking Covid-19 seriously, but no reason to panic.

Taking a look at our Belgian neighbors, the public health statistics on Belgian Mortality show a cycllical pattern of mortality with peaks in January for the influenza period and sometimes on hot summer days.  

Additionally, there are several severe environmental health hazards which we have gotten used to. Not much fuzz in public about these increased death rates any more. They include many preventable deaths as well. The deadly cocktail of fine particle dust in high traffic countries combined with peaks in temperature and ozone levels yield preventable peaks in death tolls across Europe not just in Belgian, different from region to region and city to city or suburbs or proximity to risky areas. No prove available yet, just coincidence data that need close monitoring. Please follow up on the web page of Epistat and the B-momo project.The EuroMoMo-project and data can be followed on the new webpage, commented by on the 23.4.2020. Late data reporting as accused for UK by the Financial times needs to be followed closely for all countries.

Students should build their statistical methods skill and get ready to use the statistical software R for further analyses useful to produce nice figures and even better advanced analyses.



Die Rückkehr der Ungleichheit

Thomas Piketty ist ein weiteres epochales Werk gelungen. Die französische Ausgabe seines Buches: “Capital et idéologie”, erschien im September 2019 (Éditions du Seuil) und umfasst 1200 Seiten. Die  Fortsetzung von “Capital au XXIème siècle” ermöglicht aufschlussreiche Vergleiche mit anderen Ländern und Kontinenten. Daraus entwickelt Piketty eine Sichtweise auf die ökonomischen Ungleichheiten in Gesellschaften. Eine Perspektive, die ich in die Tradition der politischen Ökonomie einordnen würde. Es ist eindrucksvoll, wie der Anstieg der ökonomischen Ungleicheit seit 1980 dargestellt wird, insbesondere Schaubild 0.3 auf Seite 37. Die Einsicht auf S.39, dass sich die Ungleichheit in 2018 gemessen mit dem Anteil der wohlhabensten 10% einer Gesellschaft am Gesamteinkommen der Gesellschaft zwischen 34% in Europa, 48% in den USA, 55% in Indien, 56% in Brasilien und 64% im Mittleren Osten liegt, erklärt vielleicht schon einige der aktuellen politischen Unruhen.

Besonders intessant wird die Lektüre beispielsweise auf S.758ff. Da wird empirisch die verzerrende Darstellung des Bruttoinlandsprodukts pro Kopf für verschiedenartig ungleiche Gesellschaften dargestellt. Piketty scheut sich nicht die “Instrumentalisierung” einer vereinfachten Darstellung des BIP pro Kopf zu kritisieren. Besonders auf S.760 streicht er die ungleichen (Grund)besitzverhältnisse heraus: “En particulier, la concentration  de la propriété n’a en réalité jamais cessé de se situer à des niveaux impressionnants dans les différents pays européens. Or cette concentration  patrimoniale est en progression depuis les années 1980-1990, avec à peine 5% du patrimoine privé total détenu par les 50% les plus pauvres, contre 505-60% pour les 10% les plus riches.” Als Zusammenfassung  der Daten des 10. Kapitels S. 489ff mit dem Titel: “Die Krise der Gesellschaften der Eigentümer” hat sich der Wert des Eigentums, für alle erlebbar auf den Immobilien und Wohnungsmärkten, insbesondere in großen Städten geutlich zugunsten der Eigentümer entwickelt. Dieser Trend hat insbesondere die Mehrfacheigentümer und obersten 10% der Gesellschaften überproportional begünstigt.

Ungleichheit ist aber nicht unabänderlich. Vielmehr betont Piketty in seiner Schlussfolgerung (S. 1191) in Abgrenzung zum “kommunistischen Desaster” eine soziale Idee oder Sozialismus der Teilhabe und einen sozialen Föderalismus.  Wichtiger Bestandteil ist ebenfalls eine Teilung der Stimmrechte und der Macht in Unternehmen mit den Beschäftigten.

Absolut lesenswert. Die englische Version kommt erst in 2020.


Speculation bubbles

Learning about bubbles is exciting. As kids we jump in the air to burst bubbles, as adults we are delighted to taste sparkling wine. It is easy to know that a bubble has burst (ex post).  Many examples can be quoted in economic and social history on this. When bubbles burst hitting many persons this becomes an issue of political economy. Are we just behaving like “apes” with basic “animal instincts” as suggested by “Jan Bruegel d.J.”? Tulip mania is a part of European history and Bitcoin mania the most recent example of a bubble-like development of a specific market. How about creating your own currency. Here is how to do it. How to get drawn into a bubble can be physically experienced at Floralia-Brussels until 5.5.2019. You won’t look at tulips the same way afterwards.

more images here

Continue reading “Speculation bubbles”

Industrial Policy

Industrial Pioneers Summit: At the Hannover Messe on 2nd April 2019 Professor Detlef Zühlke, Executive Chairman, smartfactory-KL e.V. – Industrie 4.0 & Smart Factory talked about his baby: Industry 4.0, a word like a “cloud in the sky”. According to him the 4th industrial revolution with the smart factory, just like the smart home developments, is the current stage of development of industry. After the previous phase of the 3rd industrial revolution “automization”, which we also know from the home with our washing and coffee machines, we govern our factories and homes more and more from smart connected devices.

With artificial intelligence around the corner, the usual cooperation of users and machines or robots as standard, we need to make careful choices for the “User Interface Design” to develop it into a “User Experience Design”. Well put. The user wants green industries and products. Hence get your CO² footprint right as well. 

Lots of sociology at the fair. Instead of individualization from the 80s and 90s the pioneers of industry now talk about “the segment of one” in production. It just means a specific product for each customer to make the person believe s/he is really individually served.

The nexus of global and local (glocal) politics and consumerism is adapted to production. Glocalization (definition here) in industrial strategy has a different meaning: bring your production very near the consumer or directly to customers, this also beats the mass production advantage of low wage cost countries. With big data from local customers you can tailor-make the product at the edge of your market (sneakers for example). Hannover Messe always worth a visit for sociologist, too. Greening of production not yet really a mainstream trend, but several “Leuchttürme” at places.