Global Economy, Competitiveness, Economic Environment, Labor, Money & Finance
The manufacturing sector has barely scratched the surface of unfolding digital upheavals (often dubbed ‘industry 4.0’), but others are already far along in their journeys to grow into the future. This future was very much the focus of a brief conference held by Aspen Institute Italy in early November devoted to “digital disruption and the post-4.0 economy”.
The 2016 Panama Canal expansion added a third set of locks while doubling its shipping capacity. With the physical enlargement came a new transit booking system and a slot auction. Both addressed bottlenecks by shortening wait times at peak seasons. In its first fiscal year of operation, the number of ships rose 3.3% while total tonnage increased 22%. This singlehandedly stemmed from the new maximum size of Panama vessels that can transit. As expected, the expansion resulted in some diversion of traffic, higher demand for passage, and new investment in ports – primarily on the East Coast – to accommodate larger ships. The greatest potential impact for manufacturing companies will be on trucking capacity.
Growth & Innovation, Research & Development, Research, Innovation, Operations, Information Technology
Germany and the U.S. continue to drive innovation around the Industrial Internet. The two countries are economic powerhouses and they are keenly aware of the importance of internet connectivity for business applications. Yet their approaches to harnessing it differ, as I documented in a 2015 report. What’s changed since then?
Global Economy, Competitiveness, Foreign Trade, Government Policy
For a few years now, I’ve been contributing to Judy Dempsey’s “Judy Asks” feature over at Carnegie Europe, where she poses questions on international topics to various experts. Here are links to some of the questions I’ve answered this year—click through to read my responses and those of other experts, including from Johns Hopkins, the Council on Foreign Relations, The Economist, and the Financial Times.
Global Economy, Economic Environment, Regional Economic Integration, Money & Finance, Currency, Government Finance
The European Central Bank is making another attempt at stability through dramatic measures. Europe's falling prices, currency, punitive rates on bank profits, and convoluted politics all complicate the effects of policymaking. Recent data on industrial production and GDP have been promising, however.
Shared services have gained in popularity within the past few decades for a reason: economies of scale dictate that in a global marketplace, back-office synergies can be gained in-house and across borders and continents.
... Well, they talked, and talked, and talked. I was your correspondent at the annual conference of the American Economic Association in San Francisco a few weeks ago. Just for you, here are selective points of debate summarized conveniently in two paragraphs.