Vocational lessons from Germany and France
Germany is praised as a model of vocational training, with youth unemployment of just over 6 percent. France, where 22 percent of young people don’t have jobs, has long known that its own vocational education system needs fixing. A comparison of how these two great European economies prepare pupils to become future employees may provide a useful guide for other countries.
No easy way back for U.S. manufacturing
President Donald Trump declared on October 1 that the new trade deal with Canada and Mexico signifies the return of the United States as a “manufacturing powerhouse.” U.S. manufacturing has indeed changed dramatically since 1992, when the three countries signed their original trade pact. But the complex and varied factors that have reshaped factory production in the U.S. cannot be summarily reversed.
German exports slow down: Should Europe celebrate?
Those European leaders who like to complain about the ongoing trade surpluses of the German economy should not celebrate the recent slowdown in Germany’s exports and GDP growth. Higher labor costs and tensions in international trade may cause trouble for German exporters, but they are already investing in new production facilities in low-cost countries. If German exports slow down, their market share might be taken by German producers outside of Germany, while the productivity gap between Germany and the rest of Europe will widen.
Low productivity puts Western economies at a crossroads
Productivity is the key to economic success and the main determinant of future growth. In Europe and North America, however, this economic driver has been weakening for decades, despite scientific and technological progress. Unless Western countries want to take a back seat to rising Asian economies, they must look hard at their educational, social welfare and regulatory systems.
Opinion: Ready for the next recession?
Economists enjoy delivering bad news. The current favorite being shared by academics and financial experts is that the world is headed for a recession, in 2020 or 2021 at the latest. But we regard this as unlikely, unless there is a major political accident – such as a trade war or turmoil in China. While a slowdown is always possible, especially in Western Europe, that does not make a recession.
Japan’s closed door to immigrants heralds population decline
Japan faces a daunting demographic challenge. Both the general populace and the working-age population are graying and rapidly decreasing in size. In recent years, the number of deaths has outpaced the number of births by around 300,000 per year. If the country’s birth rate remains constant, this figure will continue to rise by tens of thousands annually. ...
Global Trends: China tightens up as its economy falters
If you thought that the crisis facing China’s equity and currency markets – so evident last summer – was over, renewed turmoil in the first weeks of 2016 shows that there is still a long way to go, writes GIS Guest Expert Nick Fielding. Government support has helped slow the price collapse, and there have even been some scattered signs of stabilization in real esta...
Global trends: Europe’s weak spots ready to become new crises
Europe’s leaders have failed to solve the structural problems revealed by the crisis of 2008. Nor have they grappled with issues that have emerged in recent years. Examples include high public debt, the stock market bubble and distorted risk perceptions caused by the eurozone’s artificially low interest rates. For now, the situation has stabilized. Financial market...