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Book Bits: 21 May 2022

Fragile Futures: The Uncertain Economics of Disasters, Pandemics, and Climate Change
Vito Tanzi
Summary via publisher (Cambridge U. Press)
This book revisits a distinction introduced in 1921 by economists Frank Knight and John Maynard Keynes: that between statistically predictable future events (‘risks’) and statistically unpredictable, uncertain events (‘uncertainties’). Governments have generally ignored the latter, perceiving phenomena such as pandemics, natural disasters and climate change as uncontrollable Acts of God. As a result, there has been little if any preparation for future catastrophes. Our modern society is more interconnected and more globalized than ever. Dealing with uncertain future events requires a stronger and more globally coordinated government response. This book suggests a larger, more global government role in dealing with these disasters and keeping economic inequalities low.

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Macro Briefing: 20 May 2022

* Biden begins Asia trip in South Korea, focusing on tech and global issues
* Canada announces ban on China’s Huawei and ZTE from its 5G networks
* US housing market ‘vulnerable’ to price correction, says ING economist
* China on path of rate cuts after cutting mortgage rate to revive economy
* Inflation taking a toll on retail sector as more Fed rate hikes approach
* Inflation in Japan, the land of deflation, hits 7-year high in April
* US existing home sales fell for a third straight month in April
* Philly Fed Mfg Index indicates sharp slowdown in growth in May
* US jobless claims rise to highest level since January:

Macro Briefing: 19 May 2022

* Will the US-led effort to cripple Russia’s oil industry work?
* EU says it will burn more coal to reduce use of Russian gas
* Global economic outlook is ‘challenging and uncertain,’ says US Treasury Sec.
* ‘Dangerous situations forming over Taiwan, China warns US
* Scarcity of goods creating new fault line for global economy
* Earnings warnings from retailers weigh on US stocks
* Nearly 60% of CEOs expect a US recession in near future
* Fear of US recession risk is overdone, says ING’s cief international economist
* US home-building cooled in April and permits fell to a five-month low:

Macro Briefing: 18 May 2022

* Finland and Sweden formally apply to join NATO
* Fed Chair Powell says central bank will keep raising rates until inflation cools
* Europe in race against winter to find replacements for Russian energy
* Key climate change indicators set new record highs in 2021, UN reports
* Consumer inflation in Britain rises to 40-year high: 9% annual rate in April
* Central banks are on the hunt to estimate neutral rates to fight inflation
* UK may change trade rules with Northern Ireland, risking trade war with EU
* US industrial output rose in April, beating expectations
* Homebuilder sentiment in US falls to 2-year low in May
* US retail sales rose for a fourth straight month in April:

Macro Briefing: 17 May 2022

* Turkey threatens to block Finland and Sweden from joining NATO
* Former Fed Chair Bernanke sees stagflation risk rising for US
* Food-supply chains in focus after India bans wheat exports
* US gasoline prices may soon reach $5 a gallon, energy analyst predicts
* Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway loads up on energy stocks as inflation soars
* Strong US dollar raises headwinds for emerging markets, analyst advises
* US officials announce plans to ease tough sanctions imposed on Cuba
* NY Fed Mfg Index shows sector activity contracts in May: