frican Studies focuses on the rich culture, history and society of the continent, however the growing economies of African countries have become an increasingly significant topic in Economic literature. This month, The Centre for the Study of African Economies annual conference is taking place in Oxford. To raise further awareness of the growing importance of the study of African economics, we have created this reading list of books, journals and online resources that explore the varied areas of Africa and its economy.
History matters. Historical events can sometimes have consequences that last long after the events have finished. An important part of Africa’s past is its history of slave exporting. Although Africa is not unique to the trading of slaves, the magnitude of slave exporting rose to levels not previously experienced anywhere else in the world.
Last month HSBC, one of the world’s largest banks, decided not to move its headquarters from London to Hong Kong.The revelation that a company is staying put is usually not earth-shattering news. Nonetheless, HSBC’s decision made headlines in Asia, Europe, and the US for three reasons. First, HSBC is the world’s fifth largest commercial bank: it holds more than $2.5 trillion in assets and is exceeded in size only by four state-owned Chinese banks.
In 2016, women around the world are still fighting for their right to equality, even in the countries we think of as the most developed. Although in many areas, the gap has narrowed in recent years, gender inequality is still common in the labour market and in politics.
A few years ago when the Greek economic and financial crisis was rocketing markets around the globe and seemed to justify the bashing of that “poor country of tax cheaters” to the point of threatening the majestic European Union project and dishonouring an entire continent, French philologist Jacqueline de Romilly reminded the world of some of things owed to Greece: the invention of democracy, philosophy, and tragedy.
Why would agricultural producers engage in practices such as conservation, animal welfare, waste management, or organic farming? The literature hints that economic, social, and personal motivations are drivers of adoption. Sustainable practices are welcomed by farmers if there is a potential increase in profitability through more efficient processes, or as a source of differentiation (i.e. labelling). From a social perspective, sustainability has become a license to operate in food supply chains, where long-term viability depends on the fit between firm and society values.
Neologisms (from Greek néo-, meaning ‘new’ and logos, meaning ‘speech, utterance’) – can do all sorts of jobs. But most straightforwardly new words describe new things. As such they indicate areas of change, perhaps of innovation. They present us with a map, one that can redefine what we know as well as revealing newly explored areas; new words for new worlds.
The words digital economy conjure images of young, tech-savvy entrepreneurs breaking moulds in a world where technology is disruptive. But could the reality be much more mundane and mercantile? When Facebook released “Facebook at work” earlier this year, the social networking goliath laid a huge challenge at the feat of LinkedIn, a powerful incumbent that had until then dominated its corner of the market.
Europe’s economy has barely grown since the financial crisis broke in 2007. And unemployment, especially among the young, has soared in most countries. Eastern and Southern Europe, the least affluent regions, have suffered the most. Today, in the most affected countries, around one in two young adults seeking a job is not able to find one. If there is one recipe for social and political trouble in the years ahead, this is surely it.
It is indisputable that chocolate consumption gives instant pleasure and comfort, especially during episodes of ‘emotional eating’, which involves searching for food (generally in large amounts) even if not physiologically hungry in order to get relief from a negative mood or bad feelings (e.g. stressful life situations, anxiety, depression). The pleasure experienced in eating chocolate can be, first of all, due to neurophysiological components.
Global inequality, particularly as it exists today, is more “process” than natural phenomenon. An era of unprecedented interconnection means that individual practices, just as much as large-scale social, political, and economic actions, shape, sustain, and reinforce power dynamics.
The Chinese New Year begins on 8 February, ushering out the year of the sheep (or goat, or ram) and bringing in the year of the monkey. People in China will enjoy a week-long vacation and will celebrate with dragon dances and fireworks. Given the financial fireworks emanating from China, this is a good time to briefly review some of the major economic news coming out of the Middle Kingdom.
UK tax-credits are benefits first introduced in 1999 to help low-paid families through topping up their wages with the aims of ‘making work pay’ and reducing poverty, although they also cover non-working families with children.
The United States faces a paradox: being on the cutting edge of technology seems to have in recent years only a marginal effect on job creation. The history books and our traditional economic theories seem to have failed us – whereas before, technological revolutions usually led to tremendous growth in both GNP and employment, now, on the eve of some of the most impressive innovations we’ve ever seen, the economy and employment are recovering since the 2008 “Great Recession” at the slowest rate since the Depression.
There are hundreds of investment products in the market that claim to outperform. The idea is that certain information is identified that allow us to pick stocks that will do better than average and those that will do worse than average. When you buy the stocks that will do better and short sell the ones that you think will do worse, you have potentially identified a strategy that will ‘beat the market.’
Economists are better at history than forecasting. This explains why financial journalists sound remarkably intelligent explaining yesterday’s stock market activity and, well, less so when predicting tomorrow’s market movements. And why I concentrate on economic and financial history. Since 2015 is now in the history books, this is a good time to summarize a few main economic trends of the preceding year.