1 IMF warning on UK housing bubble risk (BBC) he International Monetary Fund has warned the government that accelerating house prices and low productivity pose the greatest threat to the UK’s economic recovery. It said rising property values could leave households more vulnerable to income and interest rate shocks. It also called on the Bank of England to enact policy measures “early and gradually” to avoid a housing bubble.
In April, the IMF said the UK economy would grow by 2.9% in 2014. The Fund’s annual health check of the UK economy found it has “rebounded strongly and growth is becoming more balanced” adding economic growth would “remain strong this year.”
It is a significant turnaround from last year when the IMF’s chief economist Oliver Blanchard appeared to have a public falling out with the chancellor after he criticised the government’s austerity policies. This year IMF managing director Christine Lagarde admitted the Fund “got it wrong” in its assessment adding that while the UK’s economic recovery began with consumer spending, it was now rebalancing towards an “investment-led recovery”.
The IMF report said: “House price inflation is particularly high in London, and is becoming more widespread. So far, there are few of the typical signs of a credit-led bubble. “Nonetheless, a steady increase in the size of new mortgages compared with borrower incomes suggests that households are gradually becoming more vulnerable to income and interest rate shocks.” It added: “Macroprudential policies should be the first line of defence against financial risks from the housing market.”
2 Mind the generation gap (Omaira Gill in Khaleej Times) I suppose you finally feel like you have matured as opposed to aged when you begin to notice the generation coming up behind you, and in time honoured fashion, think they are complete idiots. Generation Y is the first generation for whom the internet has just always been there. They are constantly connected, communicating 24/7 in a relentless barrage of tweets, emails and status updates.
They have to contend with your usual garden variety bullying as well as cyber bullying. Personally I can’t imagine a more nightmarish combination than Facebook and the high school years. They are hyper aware of their appearance and unlike Generation X who smile like fools at any camera, Generation Y have perfected smiling with their eyes, meaningful looks and pouts. They have taken so many selfies that they know exactly which their best angles are.
Generation Y is the homeworking, startup launching, tweeting and twerking voice of tomorrow. In the UK, a recent survey showed that around 30 per cent of the population is prejudiced in some way. The highest level of prejudice against foreigners was recorded amongst manual labourers such as builders, the working class in the UK’s class-obsessed terms. The lowest prejudice against foreigners was reported amongst Generation Y.
So I suppose you could say that in the UK at least the makeup of society is being decided by the working class against the twerking class. Generation Y is a force to be reckoned with. The problem is that they don’t know it, and peeling them away from their social media feeds long enough to get them to engage responsibly in political processes like voting is harder than getting a Kardashian on the news for doing something meaningful for society.
3 Oh, not another networking event! (James Adonis in Sydney Morning Herald) Look, maybe it’s because I’m an introvert, but I would rather eat chalk than attend any kind of networking event. There are many other people too, I’m sure, who are equally tired of the nauseating ‘what do you do’ question, the obligatory business-card swapping, and the awkwardness of trying to infiltrate a clique whose body language clearly shouts “not welcome”.
Yes, we’re aware of the benefits. It’s just that, for some of us, there has to be a better way. A way that doesn’t involve the toleration of tacky ‘elevator pitches’, the frenzied urgency to recruit more members, and the persistent request to place your card in a goldfish bowl for the ultimate purpose of spam.
In her bestselling book, Networking for People who Hate Networking, Devora Zack provides the following advice for introverts: Rather than attend too many events, choose instead just a few but do them well. Volunteer to join a committee or a board so that you can build connections in a more meaningful manner. On arrival, join a queue – such as the one for food – because that makes it easier to start a conversation with the person in front or behind you. Take the pressure off by talking less about yourself and more about the person with whom you’re conversing.
One review oft studies, conducted by the Queensland University of Technology, found unsurprisingly that introverts (unlike extroverts) prefer to do their networking online. That’s because it provides them with protection and solitude and, initially at least, some anonymity. As a paper published in the Cyber Psychology & Behaviour journal attests: “On the internet, no one knows I’m an introvert.”