The trend toward a digital world currency: The winner takes all is a basic rule of the digital economy. Whoever is ahead has a large advantage, just from being ahead, and has a good chance to end up as a quasi-monopolist. This has two main reasons, called network effects and economies of scale. Network effects make digital services more attractive, if more people use them. This is true for social media or trading platforms as well as for computer programs like Word or Windows. Economies of scale arise, because once a digital service or a programme has been developed, it often costs next to nothing to provide it to more customers. Thus, the leader, who has the most customers, can offer the most attractive digital services at the lowest cost. This is the reason why Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook have risen to the top of the league of the most valuable American companies within only a few years. Together with their Chinese look-alikes Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent hold the global top-spots. They all have a near-monopoly in their industry and can command very high profit margins.
My book in German with the translated title: "Brave New Money: PayPal, WeChat, Amazon Go - A Totalitarian World Currency in the Making" has just been published by Campus. I have tanslated the "Introduction and Overview" and part of Chapter 1. I will publish this translation in two parts over the next few days. This is part 1.
For international readers, I would like to summarize a piece on false economic research supporting tuition fees, which appeared in German in Handelsblatt on 19 February. As interesting as the fake research itself is the differing reactions of the two main channels, which had been used to publicize it: One was the prestigious Working Paper series of the National Bureau of Economic Research in the US The other was the well-read platform Vox (voxeu.org) of the London-based Centre for Economic Policy Research.
By Milford Bateman. One microcredit institution in Cambodia has in recent years been highlighted not just as a best practice example of the microcredit model in action, but as a leading example of ‘inclusive capitalism’ composed of ‘social enterprises’ that aim to do good in the community. Now AMK had been acquired for a cool $US150 million by the Taiwan-based Shanghai Commercial and Savings Bank, one of Asia’s most aggressive financial institutions.What is making the former owners of AMK wealthy, is very bad news for its already suffering creditors.
Yesterday, the EU-Parliament adopted a report, which calls on the ECB “to ensure that the Ethics Committee is not chaired by a former president of the ECB” and stresses that the president or board members of the ECB should not be members of the G30 or other groups which include executives from banks supervised by the ECB.
Four years ago, I framed it as a question: “George Soros‘ INET: An institute to improve the world or a Trojan horse of the financial oligarchy?” Today I would not use a question mark any more.Frances Coppola came to a similiar conclusion after attending the big INET gathering in Edingburgh in October.
The EU Ombudsman has issued her judgement that it constitutes maladministration on the part of the ECB that they have been letting their president, Mario Draghi, be a member of the private club of bankers G30. It would be an insult to the European people, if former ECB-president Jean-Claude Trichet, long-time chairman of said club G30 and its current honorary-chairman, would continue to serve as the chairman of the ethics committee of the ECB.
The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney has at least two things in common with Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank (ECB): He worked for Goldman Sachs before becoming a central banker, and he is a member of the Group of Thirty. The EU-Ombudsman has just called it maladministration on the part of the ECB to let Mario Draghi be a member of that secretive bankers' club. This should invite the question: What about Mark Carney and the Bank of England? The British press, apparently, couldn’t care less.
Ride-hailing platform operator Uber is often accused of undermining labour market regulations and of overpricing at times of peak demand by “surge pricing”. Uber defends itself against such accusations not only by using high-profile lobbyists, but also with the help of top-notch economists, who cooperate in exchange for exclusive data and lucrative consultancy assignments. Even reputable journals publish such sponsored analysis as if it were scholarly research.
How does Germany’s Monopolies Commission combat market concentration? By making sure that no good data is available
How many companies have merged into corporate groups in Germany? We don’t know. The official figures are completely unconvincing. We have a Monopolies Commission which, together with the German Federal Statistical Office, has the legal mandate to monitor market concentration. Germany’s parliament wanted to ensure that the necessary information about the possible emergence of problematic market power is available, only to discover this no longer fits in with the neoliberal ideology inspired by the Chicago School, which has apparently become the ruling ideology at Germany’s Monopolies Commission.
The ECB has answered questions posed by the European Ombudsman to president Mario Draghi regarding his membership and his participation in closed-door meetings of the Group of Thirty (G30), a Group in which the world’s most central bankers and commercial bankers comingle. The 17-page reply manages to evade several questions, is quite selective in the information given and even contains some false statements.
Mathew D. Rose – Investigative Journalist specialised in Organised Political Crime, Ruediger Rossig – Investigative Journalist, Balkan Expert, Nick Shaxson – Investigative Journalist and Author of “Treasure Islands” and David Shirreff – Former finance and business journalist at The Economist and Author of “Break up the Banks!”, Playwright are the editors of the new progressive weblog Brave New Europe, featuring texts from dozends of well-know authors.