In its New Year Letter, Itinera presents its ten wishes for 2016. With contributions of Leo Neels, Ivan Van de Cloot, Marc De Vos, Bilal Benyaich, Johan Albrecht, Jean Hindriks, Alexandre Simons en Simon Ghiotto
Dramatic events in Paris should be a wake-up call for Brussels - Interview ABC News
Belgium's Prime Minister has admitted that authorities have lost control of Brussels suburb of Molenbeek. Senior Fellow at the Itinera Institute, Bilal Benyaich says extremists there are a minority, but a visible one.
Marc De Vos gives an overview of European experience in rendering dismissal more ‘active’ by promoting job-to-job transitions. While this requires a budget, Belgium has budgetary space in the traditionally ‘passive’ component of dismissal compensation.
A hail of statistics and forecasts from the IMF and the European Central Bank (ECB) is confronting us with an undeniable truth – the economy is not recovering fast enough. Growth rates, though positive, are mediocre. And the main indicator of economic recovery, namely anticipatory purchases and investments, i.e. inflation, has been revised downwards, despite the enormous injections of liquidity provided in Europe by the ECB.
The real challenge over the next few years will be to avoid the shipwreck of the eurozone economy in what is often called a Japanese-style deflationary scenario - but with the Chinese slow-down feeding into it. This scenario is looking more and more plausible as prices have been stagnating for two years now and the inflation rate remains desperately low. Technically, of course, this could be described as disinflation rather than deflation - or as tendentially low inflation, so as not to stigmatise a generalised fall in prices.
Marc De Vos sees the distinction between independent and subordinate work behind the debate of wage cost reduction. He looks ahead to the future of the sharing economy where the internet risks eliminating this age-old division of labour.
Marc De Vos nuances the adjusted projections for ageing costs in pensions. Behind the lower figures stands not a pension miracle but a career miracle. To be able to make the miracle happen, a mobilization for job creation is needed.
The creation of the euro was a purely political decision. There is nothing surprising about that - subjecting a population to a currency is a regalian right. In any case, a currency has to be backed by pledges of confidence that only the State can provide
Because of the high fuel costs and with low electricity prices, efficient natural gas plants are driven out of the market by old coal plants. Investing in new gas plants is economically no longer feasible. Itinera calls on to adjust climate policy, otherwise the energy transition could be slowed down.
Happiness is back, both in the sciences and in politics. While the economy is suffering from a systemic crisis, the time is ripe for an explicit happiness agenda that seeks to steer society consciously towards personal wellbeing. This essay – the first discussion paper in the series “Back to Basics” – embraces happiness as a relevant policy concern but refutes fundamentally the terms and the purpose of the current happiness revival. It ends with a call to save happiness from politics, and instead promote it through careful facilitation.