Why Germany’s ‘Red State’ Still Backs Angela Merkel

Bavaria could deliver more votes for Merkel than any other

Economic success: export oriented family businesses

Germany has profited from globalization and EU membership

2% unemployment rate: No one is worried about jobs

AfD has tried to hype fear and violence

Bavaria was the birthplace of Hitler’s Nazi party

Unemployment’s Steady Fall Could Signal Trouble—or a Broader Structural Shift

Jobless rate has been below the ‘natural’ level for four months now, with no obvious sign of inflation

Structural changes in the economy could alter this theoretical natural rate, meaning the jobless rate might have room to go lower without throwing the economy off balance. One reason is the aging workforce. Jobless rates tend to be lower for older workers, who are better trained than younger workers and tend to be more settled in their jobs. With a large portion of the workforce in older age groups, it might be the case that the economy can handle a lower jobless rate.

 .. Globalization might help drive unemployment down at home without affecting broader inflation trends. U.S. workers now compete with workers from around the world. An abundance of low-wage workers in China and other developing economies could hold down wages and prices in the U.S. in ways that didn’t happen a decade or two ago. Likewise, technology could be reshaping the interplay of unemployment and inflation: Amazon.com Inc., the internet retailing giant that uses advanced robotics to manage sophisticated warehouse planning, plans major price cuts at Whole Foods Markets Inc., which it recently purchased.

Why a Universal Basic Income Would Be a Calamity

How long before the elites decide the unemployed underclass shouldn’t have the right to vote?

 Finland has been testing a basic income for 2,000 of its unemployed citizens since January, and UBI proponents say the Nordic country is providing an example for the U.S. It will be interesting to see the Finnish results, but Americans shouldn’t read too much into the outcome of a small-scale, early-stage trial. Look instead to Saudi Arabia, which for decades has attempted the wholesale replacement of work with government subsidies. Perhaps more than half of all Saudis are unemployed and not seeking work. They live off payments funded by the country’s oil wealth.
.. Regular citizens lack dignity while the royal family lives a life of luxury. The technocratic elite has embraced relatively liberal values at odds with much of the society’s conservatism. These divisions have made the country a fertile recruiting ground for extremists.
.. At the heart of a functioning democratic society is a social contract built on the independence and equality of individuals. Casually accepting the mass unemployment of a large part of the country and viewing those people as burdens would undermine this social contract ..
.. It would also create a structural division of society that would destroy any pretense of equality.

.. UBI supporters would counter that their system would free people to pursue self-improvement and to take risks. America’s experience over the past couple of decades suggests that the opposite is more likely. Labor Department data show that at the end of June the U.S. had 6.2 million vacant jobs. Millions of skilled manufacturing and cybersecurity jobs will go unfilled in the coming years.This problem stems from a lack of skilled workers. While better retraining programs are necessary, too many of the unemployed, or underemployed, lack the motivation to learn new skills. Increasingly, young unemployed men are perfectly content to stay at home playing videogames.

.. Perhaps it could work as only a supplement to earned income.

..In the same Harvard commencement speech in which Mr. Zuckerberg called for a basic income, he also spent significant time talking about the need for purpose. But purpose can’t be manufactured, nor can it be given out alongside a government subsidy. It comes from having deep-seated responsibility—to yourself, your family and society as a whole.

Episode 261: Saving Your Kids From Technology w/Andy Crouch

Is technology making it harder for kids to grow into healthy adults? Is there anything we can do about it? Author, thinker Andy Crouch stops by to talk about his new book, The Tech-Wise Family, detailing the impact technology is having on American families and what we as parents can do about it. PLUS – Social media messes up Eugene Peterson’s week, and, it’s finally happened! Video games are more satisfying than real life! This week on the podcast!

 

Videogames entice you with a shallow difficulty to reward curve.

Most valuable things start out very difficult and take a long time to master.

Videogames aren’t passive, but they are just active enough to entice you

The work they would be staffed with isn’t challenging or rewarding.