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Filtered by tag: Economics

SWEDEN APPLIES FOR IMF BAILOUT

Published on: 17 May 2018 1 Comment

Nordic nation runs out of money for UBI program

Dateline: 24 November 2029

Six years after voting to implement a universal basic income (UBI) of 5,200 Swedish Krona per citizen, Sweden has applied for an International Monetary Fund bailout. "UBI has bankrupted us!" said Jarl Johansson, spokesperson for the Swedish National Debt Office (Riksgälden). The first-of-its kind national UBI scheme pays every Swedish resident over the age of 13, regardless of working status and formal citizenship, a monthly living wage. The program was hailed as a progressive social success when ...

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CHINESE MILLENNIALS OVERRUN THE WORLD

Published on: 10 May 2018

Tourism is the new addiction for affluent young Chinese

Dateline: 5 June 2025

In just over two decades China has grown from small fry in travel terms to the world's biggest outbound market, leapfrogging and outpacing the United States. "May you live in interesting times!" is an ancient Chinese curse, a bit like a reverse compliment. Now it should be "May you be visited by many Chillennials!" It's a double-edged sword, both a blessing and a curse. Chinese millennials, as a segment or cohort, have more spending power than their American or European counter-parts; partly due to ...

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INNOVATION IS NOT A GOOD IDEA

Published on: 22 March 2018

It's about working on a really great problem

Dateline: 5 April 2023

You might have a great idea, and be obsessed with it, to the extent that you can't sleep, can barely eat, and all your conscious hours are spent on thinking how you can improve on this idea, and share it with the world. Stop. This is not how innovation, truly great, disruptive innovation, works. It's all very well to be obsessed; but be obsessed with a problem, a real problem. Like how to feed the world, or solve water scarcity, or make a car that gets 100 miles to the gallon, and costs 1,000 ...

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THE GARDEN OF REASON (OR IS IT TREASON?)

Published on: 15 February 2018 1 Comment

Urban farming is here to stay, and that's a good thing, isn't it?

Dateline: 1 March 2021

For some time now, various cities have been experimenting with vertical farming, rooftop farming, and even basement farming with LED lighting. Now it's maturing into a fully-fledged industry, just like fish farming. Farming without land, or even soil, sounds like a contradiction in terms, but hydroponics is not a new idea - it's just become more profitable. Being physically close to the consumers is the ultimate competitive advantage. Beyond the need for land, traditional farming has to contend ...

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CONTROLLING THE DIGITAL ECONOMY

Published on: 1 February 2018

Government tries to follow the money

Dateline: 1 February 2021

Now that the bulk of the so-called 'capitalist political economy' operates on digital platforms and through digital channels, it's inevitable that government wants more influence and control. But will it work? In the aftermath of the dotcom boom, everybody wanted more access and better networks, and it wasn't long before broadband came to be regarded as a basic human right. Wireless networks and smartphones connected everyone else, and suddenly the whole world was on the 'net! Sure, some ...

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WHO TURNED OFF THE NIGHT?

Published on: 4 January 2018

Greenpeace calls for light curfew to bring back the dark

Dateline: 9 January 2023

What happened to those lovely dark nights, when all the stars came out? They're gone, along with hurricane lamps and black outs. Now that LED lighting has conquered the world, seen from space our planet is a bright, glittering jewel at night. Even darkest Africa is filled with a billion points of light, and more's the pity. It's unnatural and astronomers hate it. The obsession with climate change has waned, and activists are focusing heavily on pollution, especially light pollution. They want ...

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FARMING THE HIGH SEAS WITH ROBOTS

Published on: 16 November 2017

That's no tasty tuna, it's Robofish

Dateline: 12 September 2027

When is a robofish actually a cowboy or a sheepdog? When it looks after your fish, farmed in the open sea. Fishing as a food source has long been big business, but wild stocks have been severely over exploited in some areas, and fish farming has become a viable alternative. But farming fish in sheltered estuaries and bays offers limited scope for improving global food security. The best place for serious fish farming is the open sea, in deep water, but the infrastructure costs were considered ...

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THE CARBON BUBBLE BURSTS

Published on: 20 July 2017 3 Comments

Stocks crash as executive orders bite

Dateline: 5 February 2021

US President Bernie Sanders has signed a series of Executive Orders designed as emergency measures to combat climate change. The net effect is to make fossil fuels way too costly to produce and consume, forcing emissions lower and a massive swing to nuclear and renewable power. On top of that, the plummeting cost of solar has convinced many consumers, even those skeptical about global warming, to switch to a system of distributed power generation and consumption. These micro-grids and rooftop panels ...

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NERDS TRIUMPH OVER COWS

Published on: 29 June 2017

Clean meat comes to market

Dateline: 28 June 2019

It's common cause that the meat industry is not very kind to animals, and intensive cattle farming is not very good for the environment in general. What's more, more than enough food is grown globally to adequately feed the world's growing population, but a large part of crop production goes to feeding cows, so that affluent people can enjoy nice juicy steaks. All this while the poor go hungry and survive on foreign aid in times of drought. In the interests of social justice and animal humanity, ...

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FAREWELL BANKS, HELLO BANKING

Published on: 15 June 2017 1 Comment

New players dominate financial services

Dateline: 26 August 2022

It was Microsoft founder Bill Gates who famously said in 1994 that we need banking, but we don't need banks. It's taken nearly 30 years, but he was dead right. Worldwide, financial services have moved out of the hands of traditional banks and into an array of mobile, FinTech and data companies. Some forward-thinking banks grasped the new world of collaboration and entered into early partnerships and have survived, albeit in a different form. Others have failed or, at best, become simply the ...

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ELECTRIC CARS CAN'T STEER THE CLIMATE

Published on: 1 June 2017 1 Comment

But they're driving the Energy Internet and saving the city

Dateline: 2 June 2030

It's official. It's now cheaper, on average, to buy a new electric car than one that burns gasoline, without subsidies. But it's not having any effect on climate change. It seems the global climate runs on its own largely unexplained clock, and nothing we do affects it much. Electric cars have become the vehicle of choice for two reasons; cheaper, more efficient batteries, and charging convenience. Now that the vast majority of electric power comes from renewable sources, it makes sense to put the ...

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ONE BELT FOR A NEW WORLD ORDER

Published on: 18 May 2017

China leads the push for Globalization 2.0

Dateline: 4 July 2035

It's taken two decades, but the demise of the United States as top nation was predicted way back in 2015. Now China is firmly #1 in economic terms, and the west looks decidedly lower-middle class. The global power shift to the east has been driven partly by demographics, but also by China's determination to expand its sphere of economic influence, and to co-opt key nations en route. Central to this ambition was the 'One Belt, One Road' initiative, which links up dozens of nodes from Guangzhou to ...

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WATER IS NO LONGER THE NEW OIL

Published on: 27 April 2017

Water in plentiful supply as 'Star Wars' tech makes it out of fresh air

Dateline: 24 April 2020

The first Star Wars movie featured Vaporators on the planet Tatooine for water farming from the atmosphere. Now they are available on Earth, although they look slightly different in real life. It's been known for many decades that condensing water vapor from the air holds the key to water supplies in arid, inland areas; but getting that water from dry rather than humid air was the challenge. By the same token, desalination has offered a solution for coastal cities, but only at substantial energy ...

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THE NEW GOLD OF THE 21st CENTURY

Published on: 21 April 2017 1 Comment

Data drives massive profits for the new corporate titans

Dateline: 23 October 2026

It's certainly not oil, it's not even water. The new 'gold' of the 21st century is data. And a range of corporate giants are using it to drive massive profits. Yuval Noah Harari, author of the 2016 book 'Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow', was right on the mark when he wrote: "One of the most important questions in the world is who owns the data of humankind. Maybe the most important asset of the 21st Century is not land, and it's not money, it's really data." At the turn of the century, ...

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HOORAY FOR THE MACHINES! THEY'VE CREATED MILLIONS OF NEW JOBS

Published on: 17 March 2017 3 Comments

Fears of jobless growth recede as markets demand new human skills

Dateline: 17 June 2023

The prophets of doom have been hard at work for the past decade, telling us that automation, robotics and machine learning are going to destroy jobs and leave millions of people unemployed and destitute. The reality has been somewhat different! Yes, some jobs have been taken over by the machines. But they're the dirty and dangerous jobs that most people did not want to do. Who wants to be a farm labourer or a production-line worker? It also true that many higher-level jobs have changed. AI systems ...

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ROSES ARE RED, BATTERIES ARE GREEN

Published on: 9 March 2017

A field of daffodils can power a town

Dateline: 8 March 2023

Once we thought that batteries were made of corrosive chemicals and heavy metals. But what happens when you can grow e-plants that store solar energy like super-capacitors? Back in 2017, scientists discovered they could grow nanowires inside a red rose, using the plant's own capillary system to create an internal network, and absorb electrolyte. It's a little like that old school lab experiment, where you run an LED off a potato - natural, organic electricity. Except that, in the case of e-plants, ...

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WALLS GO UP, TRADE COMES DOWN

Published on: 23 February 2017

Global downturn follows isolationist resurgence

Dateline: 7 March 2021

Brexit, Trump and now Le Pen. As the old, established economies turn inward and nationalist, global trade and co-operation suffer. It's been left to the new, New World, what used to be called Emerging Markets, to carry the torch of free trade. As Tim Harford notes: "The first and most fundamental insight is that all human civilisation is built on some sort of trade." ALL human civilisation. Productivity and progress rely on exploiting comparative advantages with trade, to everyone's gain. But the ...

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EMERGING MARKETS RACE FOR DIGITAL CURRENCY FIRST PLACE

Published on: 16 February 2017 3 Comments

Who will lead the global chaincash system?

Dateline: 13 March 2019

Several emerging economies are in a desperate tech race to be the first to establish a blockchain based fiat currency with global acceptance. The contenders, perhaps surprisingly, are the new giants, China and India, and little-known South Africa. Rich countries are too rigid in their financial structures and too protective of their established reserve currency status to risk a game changing innovation like this. An upsurge in nationalism and rejection of globalisation by America, Britain and Europe ...

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SUMMER'S SUN WILL KEEP YOU WARM IN WINTER

Published on: 26 January 2017 1 Comment

New energy storage system saves summer's heat for winter's chill

Dateline: 25 January 2021

We humans like our comforts, and temperature is one of the most important. In summer, we want our homes and offices to be pleasantly cool, and warm and cozy in winter. We run air conditioners to beat the summer sweat, and light roaring fires to warm our homes in winter. What a waste! What if we could save summer's heat, and release it in winter? Swiss scientists began playing with technology to do just that, back in 2017, and now it's being commercialized. The SunBank system uses summer's sun and ...

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THE END OF CITIES BUILT FOR CARS

Published on: 19 January 2017

Small fleets of autonomous vehicles reinvent urban transport - and humanize our cities

Dateline: 14 April 2023

I took my son to the Taxi Museum today - you know, that seedy warehouse in downtown New York with a collection of those old vehicles we used to use to travel around the city, with drivers - usually rude - slouched in front and clutching the steering wheel. It seems such a quaint idea today, as ride-sharing in silent, driverless electric vehicles (EVs) has dramatically reinvented urban transport, bringing to an end the horrific traffic jams of yesteryear - not to mention effectively eliminating road ...

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Filtered by tag: Economics