The Great Convergence

The much praised book “The Great Convergence” by Richard Baldwin (Link) is an excellent read for students of globalization. His new forthcoming book futhermore highlights the challenge ahead of us for the next decade. In a talk at Bruegel consultants in Brussels on 3rd of September 2018 he had a surprising conclusion in hand. In contrast to the last decades, the real challenge ahead will be how to organize “Employment Protection” for the many white collar workers. Probably their jobs are also at risk of replacement through robots. Livestream still available I believe.

My own research comparing European Labour Market Systems, most noteworthy employment protection, allows to identify best practice. This tricky field of labour relations needs above all careful study of legislation and co-evolution of employment trends. Country-specific solutions with path-dependency have dominated 20 years ago. Today’s systems still seem to remain “local solutions” as outcomes of a balance of power. Preview as pdf-file available.
Preview-Labour Market Efficiency KS-RR-TK-9781134728466_preview
Preview-Labour Market Efficiency KS-RR-TK-9781134728466_preview

Society and battery technology

In summer time even the Financial Times turns to social topics for passing time. In mid August the concern was for example with the heavy dependence of the electric vehicle market on batteries making use of Cobalt. As this comes mainly form the not so democratic republic of Congo, this is a tricky issue. All social and environment friendly investment enters into a moral dilemma here. More electric cars yes, but not supporting child labour in the extradition of cobalt. Valuable investment does not coincide with investment in social and environmental values here. So what?  This paper seems to have the technical answer as much as I understood. The monolithic all-phosphate concept presented therin should allow us to bypass cobalt for the batteries in the near future.

A sufficiently strong societal effort to orient or reorient research efforts towards sustainable material science yields promising results. Without the banning of cobalt in batteries technological advancement can achieve technical, economic and social outcomes in line with our “social preferences”.

Inner city mobility

Major metropolitan cities in Europe step up their efforts to adjust inner city mobility to the people living in the centre of cities. Rather than priviliging commuters by fast entry and exit to inner cities through cars more and more cities privilege a slow down of transit speed (30 km/h) in residential areas or block roads to transit altoghether. Berlin is the first German city to enact a “mobility law” favouring bicycles through more bicycle lanes, more parking facilities for bikes or fast cycling networks. English summary

Brussels will introduce an interesting approach to mobility in inner cities by blocking car access to a central street during 7 a.m and 7 p.m (except for neighours and deliveries) and extend around this shopping and living area a 30 km/h zone. Residents of these areas will enjoy the main benefits of such moves. In July the reforms will take place.

Similar to Berlin and many other cities such changes should be carefully evaluated (before and after the changes ideally) to what extent they increase residents satisfaction, health as well as commercial impacts for these areas. Reducing stress levels of commercial drivers, commuters and more delivery services as well as health and safety in general in these areas has also a monetary value.

Road traffic is a good examle to analyze the overlapping areas of mobility, health and diversity. My course on “society and technology” covers this issue among others.

For the social science reader the work by Saskia Sassen is a good start for an introduction into the literature about the “Global City”. Just as an apetizer follow the link.…/the-global-city-brown.pdf

Data Privacy GDPR

In line with the current rush of companies and many private persons entertaining webpages I have to adjust the information on the management of your personal data in accordance with Art. 13 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on this webpage hosted by Jacobs University Bremen. According to the importance attached to this issue I have inserted the statement as part of the overall headline of the webpage. Please do not hesitate to get in touch directly in case of any further questions.

To be absolutely sure on data security it is probably best to copy the email-address into your mailing program directly rather than using any contact forms on webpages. It is just a little bit more effort on your side, but you certainly remain master of your data this way.

The webpages are the nice flowers and leaves, but there is ample live underneath.

Fitness over the life course

If you ever wondered why your children or grand-children outpace you in physical exercise. Recent research has tested the differential levels of fitness and found a surprising answer. Children show more similarities to endurance athletes than to untrained adults in physical performance. Hence the physiological development over the life course is more likely to be of an U-shape rather than the common belief of a linear growth and only decline at older age.
The link to the study is here.