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Capitalism is in crisis. To save it, we need to rethink economic growth.

Capitalism is in crisis. To save it, we need to rethink economic growth.

That mindless growth, Hickel and his fellow degrowth believers contend, is very bad both for the planet and for our spiritual well-being. We need, Hickel writes, to develop “new theories of being” and rethink our place in the “living world.” (Hickel goes on about intelligent plants and their ability to communicate, which is both controversial botany and confusing economics.) It’s tempting to dismiss it all as being more about social engineering of our lifestyles than about actual economic reforms. 

Though Hickel, an anthropologist, offers a few suggestions (“cut advertising” and “end planned obsolescence”), there’s little about the practical steps that would make a no-growth economy work. Sorry, but talking about plant intelligence won’t solve our woes; it won’t feed hungry people or create well-paying jobs. 

Still, the degrowth movement does have a point: faced with climate change and the financial struggles of many workers, capitalism isn’t getting it done. 

Slow growth

Even some economists outside the degrowth camp, while not entirely rejecting the importance of growth, are questioning our blind devotion to it. 

One obvious factor shaking their faith is that growth has been lousy for decades. There have been exceptions to this economic sluggishness—the US during the late 1990s and early 2000s and developing countries like China as they raced to catch up. But some scholars, notably Robert Gordon, whose 2016 book The Rise and Fall of American Growth triggered much economic soul-searching, are realizing that slow growth might be the new normal, not some blip, for much of the world. 

Gordon held that growth “ended on October 16, 1973, or thereabouts,” write MIT economists Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee, who won the 2019 Nobel Prize, in Good Economics for Hard Times. Referencing Gordon, they single out the day when the OPEC oil embargo began; GDP growth in

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China’s Xi Jinping spotlights Shenzhen as future for economic growth, Hong Kong given back seat

China’s Xi Jinping spotlights Shenzhen as future for economic growth, Hong Kong given back seat

China’s President Xi Jinping praised the tech-hub city of Shenzhen in a landmark speech on Wednesday, leaving some puzzling over the future of nearby Hong Kong, as China’s traditional global foothold.

Xi said Shenzhen, often dubbed China’s Silicon Valley and home to tech giants Huawei and Tencent, was making “historic leaps” and “achieving miracles.”

He also announced that the area would be given more leeway to pursue opening-up reforms and become a “model city for a strong socialist country.”

Once a small fishing village adjacent to Hong Kong, Shenzhen is now home to about 13 million and was transformed in 1980 by veteran Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, after he designated it a “Special Economic Zone,” carving out capitalist privileges in the staunchly communist country.

Retracing Deng’s footprints 40 years later during his own southern tour this week, Xi announced Shenzhen would again become a testing ground for foreign investment and talent, and a symbol of China’s place as a global economic power, he said.

His speech follows a five-year plan for the city published on Sunday, to ease regulations including land reforms, encouraging foreign workers and reducing red-tape in sectors such as bio-tech and telecoms. The city will also pilot China’s first digital currency.

Analysts see the focus on Shenzhen, which now has a GDP higher than Hong Kong’s, as a signpost to how China intends to manage its dizzying economic growth — with strict political dominance, while nearby economic powerhouse Hong Kong becomes less relevant.

“The strategy is to submerge the Westernized Hong Kong with more powerful Chinese rule,” said Kent Deng, professor of Chinese economic history at London’s LSE University.

“Xi will not give the West an inch. He sees Hong Kong as a threat to his rule over China. The Shenzhen model is political zero tolerance and

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Disorderly Brexit could damage UK’s economic recovery from Covid, says OECD

Disorderly Brexit could damage UK’s economic recovery from Covid, says OECD

Britain’s economy faces a double risk to recovery from a disorderly Brexit as the coronavirus pandemic drags down growth, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has warned.

a car parked on a sidewalk: The UK car industry and food and textiles producers could be hit hardest by a disorderly Brexit, suffering a fall in exports of more than 30%.

© The Guardian
The UK car industry and food and textiles producers could be hit hardest by a disorderly Brexit, suffering a fall in exports of more than 30%.

On the eve of a critical EU leaders’ summit in Brussels, the influential Paris-based thinktank said the Covid crisis would further complicate a disorderly Brexit as companies were less prepared for the end of the transition period, having diverted attention away from leaving the EU.

It warned that failure to secure a free trade agreement before the UK leaves the Brexit transition period at the end of December would leave the economy 6.5% lower in the next few years than would have been the case if existing arrangements with the EU had been maintained.

In a development with potential to cause severe disruption for cross-border trade, it said a disorderly Brexit would have the most significant impacts for manufacturing, with the UK car industry, food and textiles producers hardest hit, suffering a fall in exports of more than 30%.

Álvaro Pereira, the director of the country studies branch at the OECD, said: “We know Covid has been the largest economic shock and social shock in the last few decades all across the world. Brexit obviously compounds the issue.

“The most important thing in the next few days and months is to focus on a deal, so the closest possible relationship is established between the UK and EU. Both parties lose if there is no deal.”

Publishing its first major economic survey of the UK since 2017, the OECD said a disorderly Brexit had potential to compound the risks to the British economy from

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PRECIOUS-Gold gains on U.S. election uncertainty, economic worries

PRECIOUS-Gold gains on U.S. election uncertainty, economic worries

* Dollar hits near one-week high

* Equities hit by halted vaccine trials, stimulus talks

* Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus:

(Recasts, adds comments, updates prices)

By Brijesh Patel

Oct 14 (Reuters) – Gold firmed on Wednesday after last
session’s sharp drop spurred demand for the safe-haven metal
from investors worried about global economic recovery and
uncertainty surrounding next month’s U.S. presidential election.

Spot gold was up 0.2% to $1,895.41 per ounce by 0947
GMT, after shedding as much as 1.9% on Tuesday in reaction to
the dollar’s jump. U.S. gold futures gained 0.2% to

“We’re seeing some price recovery as lower prices generated
buying interest by investors since the general backdrop of gold
is still positive,” said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.

“Low interest rates, expansion of monetary policy,
ballooning public debt, uncertainty regarding U.S. elections;
all these factors are supportive for gold prices,” he added.

Gold is considered a hedge against inflation and currency
debasement amid the unprecedented levels of global stimulus to
ease the economic blow from the pandemic.

But investors who trim risk assets also tend to shift into
the dollar and fading hopes for a new coronavirus relief package
in the United States and a pause in key COVID-19 vaccine trials
boosted the U.S. currency’s appeal, limiting gold’s advance.

The dollar hit a near one-week high against major
currencies. [USD/]

“In the near term, the dollar could continue to rise both
because of risk aversion because stimulus seems to be stuck and
also because of (company) earnings forward guidance,” said
DailyFx currency strategist Ilya Spivak.

Investors also kept an eye on the U.S. presidential
campaign, with polls showing Democrat rival Joe Biden leading
the race.

On the technical side, “bullion will need to break through
$1,920 to have the chance to

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Germany’s 2020 growth forecasts are downgraded

Germany’s 2020 growth forecasts are downgraded

Advertising figures with a protective face masks in Munich, Germany.

Lennart Preiss | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Germany’s economic prospects for 2020 are looking increasingly bleak, with the country’s leading research institutes downgrading GDP (gross domestic product) forecasts for this year and beyond.

Publishing a joint economic forecast Wednesday, Germany’s prominent economists warned that the coronavirus pandemic is leaving what they called “substantial marks” on the German economy, adding that “its impact is more persistent than assumed in spring.”

They revised their economic outlook downward by roughly one percentage point for both 2020 and 2021. They now expect GDP to fall by 5.4% in 2020 (lower than a previous -4.2% forecast) and to grow by 4.7% (less than a previously forecast 5.8%) in 2021, and 2.7% in 2022.

The “Joint Economic Forecast” is published twice a year on behalf of the German Economy Ministry and is prepared by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) and the Ifo Institute in Munich, as well as several other organizations.

They said the downgrade follows a more pessimistic assessment of the recovery process. “Although a substantial part of the drop in output experienced in spring has already been recovered, the remaining catch-up process is the more difficult part of the return to normality,” Stefan Kooths, head of forecasting at the Kiel Institute, said on the outlook.

The downgrades are not surprising given a second wave of coronavirus cases that is ravaging Europe and no less Germany, a country that has been praised for its initial response to the virus in spring. Germany kept deaths from the virus low and still under 10,000, far lower than the toll seen in the U.K., France, Spain and Italy, which have all seen over 30,000 fatalities. Nonetheless, Germany, like its neighbors, has been seeing

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