Economy

Worse than Oil? The Geopolitics of the Banana

Attracting encroachments to national sovereignty by rapacious Washington-connected multinational corporations and the meddling attentions of their powerful home country; stunting reform and economic development at every turn; breeding economic dependency; firmly controlled by foreign companies and giving little beneficiation to the country of production; upending and undermining political institutions; and… Bhaso Ndzendze ModernDiplomacy These are ringing accusations which bring to mind one natural resource –oil. Certainly not the banana. This is somewhat understandable; oil more readily lends itself to the… ... Read More »

Trump tariffs: EU wants clarity on exemption

The EU’s trade commissioner says there is “no immediate clarity” from the US on how the bloc can gain exemption from new tariffs on imported steel and aluminium imposed by President Trump. BBC Cecilia Malmstrom met with the US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Japan’s Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko in Brussels. She said discussions would continue next week. Mr Seko called for calm-headed behaviour in the dispute. The EU says that its exports should be excluded from the… Trump tariffs: ... Read More »

Asia-Pacific trade deal signed by 11 nations

Eleven Asia-Pacific countries have just signed the trade pact formerly known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Tim McDonald BBC Although the US pulled out last year, the deal was salvaged by the remaining members, who signed it at a ceremony in the Chilean city of Santiago. Chilean foreign minister Heraldo Munoz said the agreement was a strong signal “against protectionist pressures, in favour of a world open to trade”. The deal covers a market of nearly 500 million people, despite the ... Read More »

Mobile phone pioneer encourages Scotland to embrace circular economy

An influential designer who has worked on some of the world’s most popular mobile phones is to visit Edinburgh to speak on the benefits of adopting a more “circular” manufacturing sector. CHRIS MCCALL The Scotsman Tapani Jokinen, who helped develop the multi-million selling Nokia 3310 and 1100 cellphones, will devliver the latest in a series of lectures organised by Zero Waste Scotland on the need for a circular economy – in which materials are kept in high value use for ... Read More »

US Tariffs: ‘Aluminum Companies Will Benefit, Everyone Else Will Lose’ – Analyst

Trump’s decision to introduce higher tariffs on steel and aluminum imports would be detrimental to both the US and the EU. Sputnik This is what French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has stated, noting that the US measures would have a major impact on the European economy. Sputnik discussed this with Simon Lester, Trade Policy Analyst at Cato Institute. Sputnik: What is your take on President Trump’s statement that the US has been suffering from unfair trade, is that really the case? ... Read More »

How to Construct a New Invisible Hand: A Conversation with Peter Barnes

A middle path between laissez faire and centralized planning. By David Sloan Wilson and Peter Barnes Evonomics In a previous essay, I announced a new concept of the invisible hand to replace the old and erroneous idea that the pursuit of self-interest robustly benefits the common good. The new version is based on examples of the invisible hand that exist in nature, such as cells that benefit multi-cellular organisms and social insects that benefit their colonies. These lower-level units don’t have the… How ... Read More »

Reserve Bank leaves rates on hold at record low 1.5 per cent

The Reserve Bank of Australia has left the cash rate at a record-low 1.5 per cent, as sluggish wage growth and inflation put the board in a holding pattern for the 17th meeting in a row. Eryk Bagshaw The Sydney Morning Herald Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe used the word “gradual” to describe Australia’s economic recovery three times in his short statement on monetary policy on Tuesday, indicating the bank is in no rush to raise interest rates from their ... Read More »

Justin Trudeau’s India debacle shows the pitfalls of ‘nation branding’

Justin Trudeau’s multiple missteps on his recent visit to India — wearing inappropriately formal dress and posing for corny photo-ops, at least once with a controversial figure — have prompted critical onlookers to suggest that self-awareness is sorely lacking from the Canadian prime minister’s “brand.” Rebecca Ogden The Conversation The ease with which we use the term “brand,” especially when speaking of political diplomacy, underscores how the discourse and practice of corporate branding has spread into previously unbranded contexts. Branding ... Read More »

In a trade war, China would act to protect its interests: official

Beijing: China doesn’t want a trade war with the United States but will act to protect its interests, a senior Chinese official said on Sunday, as other major US trading partners smarted at looming steel tariffs. Kirsty Needham The Canberra Times China’s response to Mr Trump’s announcement of 25 per cent tariff on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium has been muted compared to the reaction of the EU and Canada because China doesn’t rank in the top 10 steel ... Read More »

‘Too much, too soon,’ expert warns on PH-China sea study

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY — A maritime expert has questioned  Malacañang’s pronouncement that it is considering a “joint exploration” with China for potential energy deposits in an undisputed Philippine territory some 50 kilometers off Busuanga town in Palawan province, identified as Service Contract (SC) 57. Redempto Anda Philippine Daily Inquirer Lawyer Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, said in a social media post that the government’s plan to include ... Read More »

Housing risks ‘catastrophic’: Grattan Institute

Australia’s eight-year house price boom has savaged the living standards of poorer Australians while so far leaving the wealthy untouched, a new Grattan Institute analysis finds. Peter Martin The Age But the report, to be released on Monday, warns of a “catastrophic” impact on all income groups should mortgage rates rise by more than a few percentage points. The institute’s chief executive, John Daley, said Australians who already owned their houses had been little affected by soaring prices to date because ... Read More »

The Congo Is Set to Butt Heads With Mining Firms Over Cobalt

For parents in much of the world, the beginning of December is a harbinger for the scramble to secure the year’s hottest game or electronic gadget ahead of the holidays. Stratfor And as battery technology continues to improve and costs decline, it has touched off another scramble of its own, as the manufacturers of batteries for everything from smartphones to electric vehicles chase after raw materials like cobalt, an invaluable component in such objects. Right at the center of this ... Read More »

Why the daunting economics of elder care are about to get much worse

My sister Carol loves movies, but she hasn’t been out to see one in years. When she tries to watch one at home, she’s frequently interrupted. Patricia Smith The Conversation She shrugs this off, saying “Who needs to see movies when you’re living one?” You see, my sister is living the plot from the movie “Groundhog Day.” She takes care of our mother, who suffers from dementia. Our mom asks the same questions over and over and only wants to ... Read More »

The Formal Economy as Patriarchy: Vandana Shiva’s Radical Vision

To achieve economic equality, activist and author Vandana Shiva says we need to recognize the value of women’s work and start counting production, not just profits. Jumana Farouky NewsDeeply LONDON – In the middle of a conference ringing with the latest development lingo, Vandana Shiva cuts a lonely figure. Anti-“empowerment,” anti-“jobs,” and anti-“formal economy,” she rejects many of the narratives that are usually used to promote the cause of women’s advancement. Yet she’s come to the Bond conference on international development in London to ... Read More »

South Australia is fine after the car industry closed: Downer

London: Former foreign minister Alexander Downer has downplayed the effect on Australia of losing its car industry, saying unemployment in South Australia is “pretty low” and young car manufacturing workers had found it relatively easy to get new jobs. Nick Miller Brisbane Times Downer, the outgoing high commissioner in London, was spruiking the benefits of trade liberalisation to a UK parliamentary committee. Australia’s free trade deals with the US and China had “exceeded expectations”, he said. Opening Australia’s markets to the… ... Read More »

How Europe’s Band-Aid Ensures Greece’s Bondage

All the happy talk about impending “debt relief” and a “clean exit” from Greece’s third “bailout” obscures an uglier truth: the country’s debt bondage is being extended to 2060. Yanis Varoufakis Project Syndicate Worse, by ossifying Greece’s insolvency, while pretending to have overcome it, Europe’s establishment is demonstrating its refusal to fix the eurozone’s flaws. ATHENS – Greece’s never-ending public-debt saga has come to signify the European Union’s inept handling of its inevitable eurozone crisis. Eight years after its bankruptcy, ... Read More »