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Tag Archives: Economy

Advertising and academia are controlling our thoughts. Didn’t you know?

To what extent do we decide? We tell ourselves we choose our own life course, but is this ever true? If you or I had lived 500 years ago, our worldview, and the decisions we made as a result, would have been utterly different. Our minds are shaped by our social environment, in particular the belief systems projected by those in power: monarchs, aristocrats and theologians then; corporations, billionaires and the media today.

Humans, the supremely social mammals, are ethical and intellectual sponges. We unconsciously absorb, for good or ill, the influences that surround us. Indeed, the very notion that we might form our own minds is a received idea that would have been quite alien to most people five centuries ago. This is not to suggest we have no capacity for independent thought. But to exercise it, we must – consciously and with great effort – swim against the social current that sweeps us along, mostly without our knowledge.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/dec/31/advertising-academia-controlling-thoughts-universities

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Posted by on January 4, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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On the road in the Karakoram

The snowed-over Khunjerab Pass, at 4,934 meters, stands eerily silent on a freezing late autumn morning.

On the Pakistani side, a wooden house serves as a small customs office fronted by “the highest ATM in the world” – though you try a foreign credit card at your peril. The Chinese side boasts an intimidating, metal-plated James Bond-esque structure with no humans in sight.The dailyReport Must-reads from across Asia – directly to your inbox

This is ground zero of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the point where the revamped, upgraded Karakoram Highway – “the eighth wonder of the world” – snakes away from China’s Xinjiang all the way to Pakistan’s Northern Areas and further south to Islamabad and Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea.

From here it’s 420 kilometers to Kashgar and a hefty 1,890 km to Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang. But going south is where the fun really begins.

http://www.atimes.com/article/on-the-road-in-the-karakoram/

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2018 in Asia, Economy

 

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The new Great Game on the Roof of the World

On top of the graceful Baltit Fort, overlooking the Hunza Valley’s Shangri-La-style splendor, it’s impossible not to feel dizzy at the view: an overwhelming collision of millennia of geology and centuries of history.

We are at the heart of Gilgit-Baltistan, in Pakistan’s Northern Areas, or – as legend rules, the Roof of the World. This is an area about 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles) crammed with spectacular mountain ranges and amidst them, secluded pristine valleys and the largest glaciers outside of the Polar region.

http://www.atimes.com/article/the-new-great-game-in-the-roof-of-the-world/

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2018 in Asia, Economy

 

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The myth of meritocracy: who really gets what they deserve?

Michael Young was an inconvenient child. His father, an Australian, was a musician and music critic, and his mother, who grew up in Ireland, was a painter of a bohemian bent. They were hard-up, distractible and frequently on the outs with each other. Michael, born in 1915 in Manchester, soon found that neither had much time for him. Once when his parents had seemingly forgotten his birthday, he imagined that he was in for a big end-of-day surprise. But no, they really had forgotten his birthday, which was no surprise at all. He overheard his parents talk about putting him up for adoption and, by his own account, never fully shed his fear of abandonment.

Everything changed for him when, at the age of 14, he was sent to an experimental boarding school at Dartington Hall in Devon. It was the creation of the great progressive philanthropists Leonard and Dorothy Elmhirst, and it sought to change society by changing souls. There it was as if he had been put up for adoption, because the Elmhirsts treated him as a son, encouraging and supporting him for the rest of their lives. Suddenly he was a member of the transnational elite: dining with President Roosevelt, listening in on a conversation between Leonard and Henry Ford.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/oct/19/the-myth-of-meritocracy-who-really-gets-what-they-deserve

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2018 in Economy, Reportages

 

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Beyond GDP

INCHEON – Just under ten years ago, the International Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress issued its report, Mismeasuring Our Lives: Why GDP Doesn’t Add Up.The title summed it up: GDP is not a good measure of wellbeing. What we measure affects what we do, and if we measure the wrong thing, we will do the wrong thing. If we focus only on material wellbeing – on, say, the production of goods, rather than on health, education, and the environment – we become distorted in the same way that these measures are distorted; we become more materialistic.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/new-metrics-of-wellbeing-not-just-gdp-by-joseph-e-stiglitz-2018-12

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2018 in Economy

 

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The Guardian view on the EU: come together

European leaders will gather in Brussels this week and face questions about how responsive the continent’s political systems can be to the voters’ concerns. No one is likely to be pleased with the response. Instead of accelerating plans to meet the challenge of EU-wide persistent inequalities and sluggish growth, Europe’s leaders will claim a non-existent breakthrough over the size of the bloc’s budget. It remains about 1% of the EU’s economic output. There will be a claim there is progress over eurozone reforms. Any move is likely to be sideways rather than forward, because there’s no EU agreement over fiscal transfers and collective debt. The nettle of change remains ungrasped.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/dec/09/the-guardian-view-on-the-eu-come-together

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2018 in European Union

 

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How the New Silk Roads are merging into Greater Eurasia

The concept of Greater Eurasia has been discussed at the highest levels of Russian academia and policy-making for some time. This week the policy was presented at the Council of Ministers and looks set to be enshrined, without fanfare, as the main guideline of Russian foreign policy for the foreseeable future.

President Putin is unconditionally engaged to make it a success. Already at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in 2016, Putin referred to an emerging “Eurasian partnership”.

I was privileged over the past week to engage in excellent discussions in Moscow with some of the top Russian analysts and policymakers involved in advancing Greater Eurasia.

https://thedailycoin.org/2018/12/16/pepe-escobar-how-the-new-silk-roads-are-merging-into-greater-eurasia/

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2018 in Asia, Economy, Europe

 

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Another economic downturn is just a matter of time

JUST SOUTH of Indiana’s border with Michigan lies the city of Elkhart, with a population of just over 50,000. Apart from a small, shop-lined high street near where one river, the Elkhart, flows into another, the St Joseph, the city is mostly shapeless, tree-lined and suburban. Scattered around the outskirts are the factories of several of America’s largest producers of recreational vehicles (RVs). Rows of the finished products rest outside the giant sheds in which they are made.

Modern RVs are impressive, leather-upholstered land yachts fitted with flat-screen televisions and gas fireplaces, the perfect vessels in which to navigate the American continent. The RV business is one of the economy’s most strongly cyclical. Sales of big-ticket items like homes and cars inevitably rise and fall with the business cycle, but RVs are especially susceptible to such swings. It is only once cars and homes have been upgraded that consumers consider splashing out on rolling living quarters. And when financial fear stalks the land, RV-makers have a particularly hard time.

https://www.economist.com/special-report/2018/10/13/another-economic-downturn-is-just-a-matter-of-time

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2018 in Economy

 

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How U.S. and Chinese firms are outmaneuvering Trump in trade war

President Donald Trump’s tariffs on Chinese imports are having the desired effect of driving production out of China — but not to America.

Less than a month after the Trump administration hit $200 billion worth of Chinese imports with a 10 percent tariff, Hong Kong-based furniture maker Manwah Holdings broke ground on an expansion of a facility outside Ho Chi Minh City.

The company, which specializes in reclining chairs and sofas that have become a fixture in middle-class American living rooms, purchased in June what was already one of Vietnam’s largest furniture factories. By next year, it will be the biggest.

Some 9,000 miles away from the deepwater ports of China and new factory towns in Vietnam, American retailers are grappling with how much of the tariffs they can absorb.

Gao Jian, of the Vnocean Business Consulting Service in Vietnam, said he has guided about 40 Chinese enterprises per month to the more than 50 industrial parks he helps recruit for so far.

“Some companies can absorb a 10 percent tariff, but a 25 percent

would eat up their entire profit,” Gao said. “They would have to relocate and shut down their factories in China.”

https://defence.pk/pdf/threads/how-u-s-and-chinese-firms-are-outmaneuvering-trump-in-trade-war.589624/

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2018 in Asia, Economy, North America

 

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Asia’s Strongmen and Their Weak Economies

NEW DELHI – US President Donald Trump grabs the most headlines, but the cult of the strongman leader is most developed in Asia. The continent abounds with rulers – including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and the strongest of them all, Chinese President Xi Jinping – who make a virtue of centralizing power.

Obviously, leadership styles vary. But all of Asia’s strongmen share a key characteristic: they secure public support by preying on economic ignorance. In particular, they trade on the popular belief that leaders who concentrate political power are freer to guide economic growth. For the most part, people accept this claim, expecting that financial gain and “development” will be their reward.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/asia-autocratic-rulers-economic-mismanagement-by-jayati-ghosh-2018-10

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2018 in Asia

 

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