The Great Debate UK
–Anka Mulder is Vice-President for Education and Operations at Delft University of Technology. She was formerly Global President of the OpenCourseWare consortium.—
Education and research infrastructure, such as laboratory facilities and digital learning networks, play an increasingly important role in diffusing knowledge and technology to enhance prosperity. At a time when the overall EU budget has decreased for the first time ever, education and research programmes such as Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020 continue to receive significant funding increases, but Europe is still falling behind other areas of the world in building digital infrastructure.
Part of the reason is that education largely remains a national-level responsibility and the record of individual countries is uneven. This is due to a lack of prioritisation in some member states, post-crisis budget cutbacks, and many member states not using EU Structural and Investment Funds for funding research infrastructures, despite encouragement from Brussels.
Investing more smartly in education and research is perhaps as important as absolute levels of investment. Of the Erasmus+ budget, 77% is spent on mobility for nearly 500,000 higher education students and teachers/lecturers per year.
from The Great Debate:
Imagine a place where retired-four-star General Stanley McChrystal, warmly shakes your hand and insists you call him Stan. He means it, too, joking when the word general pops out of your mouth while you position him properly in front of the cameras for a brief interview. He wants to talk about getting young people involved in public service through a program where they would dedicate a year of their lives to improving the country. But he's game to talk about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, too. He served in both -- becoming the man in charge in Afghanistan before comments he made to Rolling Stone that were critical of the Obama administration ended up costing him his job.
McChrystal makes a strong impression, and a positive one. And he's not the only one who wants to talk with at least the appearance of frankness. In Aspen, Colorado, for the 10 days of the annual Ideas Festival, we're all equals -- of a sort. In my five days there, I met no one who wanted to be called mister, senator or any other title. It was first names all around, with the good and great wearing khakis, or even shorts. If people were trying to impress, it was mostly through trying hard to not impress at all.
from Anatole Kaletsky:
Matteo Renzi, the prime minister of Italy who took the revolving presidency of the European Union this week, seems to be the sort of man that Napoleon was referring to when he reputedly said that the key qualification he sought in recruiting a general was good luck.
Renzi become prime minister without even needing to win an election because Silvio Berlusconi and all other rivals self-destructed. He took power just after Italy passed the lowest ebb of its economic fortunes. In May, he was rewarded for his good fortune by Italy’s voters, who anointed him with a strong democratic mandate in the same European elections that discredited almost all Europe’s other national leaders. Now he is taking the helm in Europe, as an economic recovery is starting and the European Central Bank is swinging decisively in support of growth.
The private healthcare sector is booming. Cut backs in the NHS mean more people are taking out health insurance and looking to private hospitals to provide their care.
–Guy Walsh is Regional Director at ABN AMRO Commercial Finance PLC. The opinion expressed are his own.–
The automotive industry is the UK’s largest sector in terms of exports, generating around £30 billion of annual revenue, but many smaller players in the sector languish due to a lack of funding.
from Jack Shafer:
At the rate I'm going, the number of people I follow on Twitter will have dropped from 640 to zero on July 13, after the last World Cup match concludes.
I've never been sentimental about Twitter, randomly unfollowing gassy and predictable feeds when flooded by their abundant and stupefying tweets, or pruning my list to make room for new voices. I can only assume that other Twitter devotees similarly budget their accounts, otherwise how could one keep up with the traffic?
In the aftermath of Liverpool and Uruguay footballer Luis Suarez biting an opponent yet again, and with such aggression that he scarred the player’s arm and hurt his own teeth, FIFA has banned him for nine games, and psychologists are trying to justify his behaviour by saying that Suarez must have been humiliated and frustrated in his youth. I, in contrast, am asking whether Mark Carney and co. should learn to be a little more like Suarez?
Let me make this clear, I am not advocating that members of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee give each other a good bite if they disagree on policy (imagine the bite marks at the ECB if that was socially acceptable), but they should metaphorically pull a few Suarez’s from time to time.
–Vashi Dominguez is founder of Vashi.com. The opinions expressed are his own.–
“Fancy”, coloured, diamonds have been in the news recently on the discovery of an enormous 122.5 carat blue diamond at Petra Diamond’s famous Cullinan mine. They account for just one in every 10,000 diamonds produced, and have long been cherished for their beauty and rare form, retaining value and making prized and valuable jewels within the diamond industry. But recently, there has been even greater fascination than usual.
–Irfon Watkins is CEO of Coull. The opinions expressed are his own.–
London Tech Week created some interesting conversations and predictions. The stand out being a claim from Oxford Economics that in the next decade London’s tech scene will increase by over 11,000 businesses, creating 46,000 new jobs and generating £12 billion. There are signs that London is on the verge of becoming Europe’s tech hub and that it may even overtake Silicon Valley. The calls for Europe’s tech talent to migrate have gone out. However, while the figures suggest this will bolster the city’s economy, it could end up doing more harm than good when it comes to Europe’s technology sector overall.
For me, bringing all of the Europe’s talent together in one city and placing them around one roundabout goes entirely against the new working world that technology has created. Isn’t it meant to be about “anywhere working”? Technology has allowed us to do meetings from home and secure billion dollar contracts while lying on a beach. Yet to be a successful start-up we’re now making out that you have to be in London. Worse still, you have to be at Silicon Roundabout. It just doesn’t make sense.
from Anatole Kaletsky:
John Maynard Keynes famously said that his highest ambition was to make economic policy as boring as dentistry. In this respect, as in so many others, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is proving to be a loyal Keynesian.
Yellen’s second news conference as Fed chair conveyed no new information about the timing of future interest rate moves. She gave no hints about an “exit strategy” for the Fed to return the $3 trillion of bonds it has acquired to the private sector. She told us nothing about the Fed’s expectations on inflation, employment and economic growth -- not even about the board’s views on financial volatility, regulation, asset prices or bank credit policies.