Economic Growth

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What’s Next for the Chinese Economy?

After a period of remarkable growth, China faces substantial challenges. There is evidence that China is hitting the wall of diminishing returns with a growth model that relies heavily on exports and investments in fixed assets and infrastructure. It is harder to grow a country’s economy after the country has attained “middle-income status,” and the author argues that China needs both political and economic reforms to move to the next stages of its development.

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Can Sensors Fuel Productivity Growth?

The Internet Revolution has so far not produced the kind of long-term productivity growth seen during the Industrial Revolution. Digital technology drove U.S. productivity growth above three percent annually only between 1996 and 2004. Since then, productivity has fallen to about 1.6 percent a year. General Electric argues that productivity growth will jump again as the industrial Internet emerges, connecting machines like turbines and jet engines to factories, and using analytics to make better decisions about maintenance and production.

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A Hotter Climate Limits Growth

It seems pretty obvious that droughts and hot weather hurt agricultural output and growth, but MIT professor of economics Benjamin Olken asserts that even localized hot spells can significantly damage long-term economic growth in developing countries. In a recent paper published in the American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, Olken and his colleagues found that every 1 degree Celsius increase in temperature in a poor country reduces economic growth by around 1.3 percentage points, and that higher temperatures also may reduce the rate of growth.

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Leverage Points for Creating a Sustainable World

If political and ideological boundaries really are “invisible fences in the mind,” as MIT Sloan professor John Sterman puts it, then what kind of image of how the world works will best serve us as we think about issues of economic growth? These are some of the questions that MIT Sloan’s Jason Jay raised in a thought-provoking presentation at the Dynamics of Globalization Executive Education program held at MIT on June 13-14.

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A Future of Uncontrolled Decline?

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The planet’s focus today should be on resiliency rather than on sustainability, says Dennis Meadows, one of the original authors of the 1972 book Limits to Growth. That book was one of the first scholarly works to recognize that the world was approaching its sustainable limits.

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Tax Cuts — or Tax Increases — for the Rich?

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U.S. President Barack Obama declared this week that he is in favor of letting tax cuts for the rich expire; those tax cuts were enacted under George W. Bush. Letting all the Bush-era tax cuts (for both the wealthy and others) expire would aid the U.S.

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What the GDP Gets Wrong (Why Managers Should Care)

Image courtesy of Flickr user Fey Ilyas We see the influence of the information age everywhere, except in the GDP statistics.1 More people than ever are using Wikipedia, Facebook, Craigslist, Pandora, Hulu and Google. Thousands of new information goods and services are introduced each year.

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New and noteworthy

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Two news items that capture some of the spirit of the times:   In a New York Times column, Thomas Friedman raises the question of whether this downturn may signal the end of an era of unsustainable growth.

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The Roots of Sustainability

Many companies now offer slick “sustainability reports” along with their annual reports as indicators of their performance. The problem is that none of this espoused benevolence creates true sustainability. The root of this problem is neither business’s misunderstanding of what’s at stake nor corporate cynicism about the sustainability cause (though these may be contributing factors). The problem really stems from management’s failure to see unsustainability as a deep-seated systems failure.

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