LONDON (Reuters) - Stagnation in the euro zone, recession in Japan and geopolitical crises have increased concerns about the state of the global economy, British finance minister George Osborne said on...
"There are 1.2 billion people between the ages of 15 and 24 in the world today — and that means that many countries have populations younger than ever before. Some believe that this 'youth bulge' helps fuel social unrest — particularly when combined with high levels of youth unemployment. Youth unemployment is a 'global time bomb,' as long as today’s millennials remain 'hampered by weak economies, discrimination, and inequality of opportunity.' The world’s 15 youngest countries are all in Africa. Of the continent’s 200 million young people, about 75 million are unemployed.
On the flip side, an aging population presents a different set of problems: Japan and Germany are tied for the world’s oldest countries, with median ages of 46.1. Germany’s declining birth rate might mean that its population will decrease by 19 percent, shrinking to 66 million by 2060. An aging population has a huge economic impact: in Germany, it has meant a labor shortage, leaving jobs unfilled."
The discrepancy between the orthodox (primarily neoclassical) and the heterodox (Post Keynesian, Chartalism, MMT, etc.) schools of thought rests fundamentally in their different perception in the way the capitalist economy functions. Such discrepancy can be described in the contrast between C – M – C’ and M – C – M’. The orthodox school holds the former view that depicts a barter economy in which the end purpose of production is consumption. Individuals innately engage in production because of the urge to truck and barter. Money merely facilitates the exchange of goods and services and cannot affect production decisions. The heterodox school, however, asserts the latter view that depicts a monetary production economy in which production is always financed through money and would not take place unless more money expects to be realized through sale of goods and services. Hence, the orthodox school asserts money neutrality (at least in the long run) since money is simply the medium of exchange. The heterodox school rejects money neutrality since money not only finances production but also serves as its end goal. The distinction between the barter and the monetary economy, as discussed above, thus necessarily implies a very different understanding of the nature, origin, and role of money between the orthodox and the heterodox school of thought. The purpose of this paper is, through examining the nature and origin of money in a historically grounded context, to demonstrate that the orthodox school of thought has completely mistaken the nature of money and consequently misinterpreted the nature of the capitalist economy. Such theoretical misunderstanding is devastating because it manifests wrong policies that continually fail to address economic and social problems threatening a capitalist society. Based on the heterodox theory of money, the paper also intends to shed light on alternative guiding principles behind monetary and fiscal policies.
L&G Chief Says UK Should Quit EU Without Better Deal Wall Street Journal Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will renegotiate the U.K.'s relationship with the EU in order to reclaim powers over immigration and financial services regulation...
Sao Paulo/Brasilia | Reuters – Russia’s ban on many western food products presents a massive opportunity for meat and grain exports from agricultural powerhouse Brazil and a smaller one for its Latin American neighbours.
Around 90 new meat plants in Brazil were immediately approved to export beef, chicken and pork to Russia and the South American nation is already working to increase its exports of corn and soybeans sales to Russian buyers, Brazil’s secretary of agricultural policy, Seneri Paludo, said on Thursday.
Brazil’s enthusiasm for Russia comes as Moscow’s relations with the rest of the West are at Cold War-era lows. Russia banned all imports of U.S. food products and certain goods from the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway after President Vladimir Putin ordered retaliation for sanctions against Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.
In a further snub to Washington, U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden was granted a three-year residence permit in Russia, his lawyer said Thursday. Brazil’s relations with Washington also cooled after revelations last year that the United States spied on President Dilma Rousseff’s personal emails.
As the world’s top exporter of beef, chicken and soybeans, and one of the only countries in the world with land available to ramp up agricultural production, Brazil is a clear winner from the embargo. But smaller countries like Argentina and Chile could benefit, too.
“Russia has huge potential as a consumer of agricultural commodities,” Paludo told journalists in Brasilia, comparing the “window” opened by the embargo to the “revolution” that Brazil’s exports experienced when China’s commodities market opened a decade ago.
Brazil’s beef association Abiec said 58 of the 90 plants were for beef – 27 for fresh meat, and 31 for processed. Brazilian food companies, like chicken exporter BRF SA and meat packer JBS SA, stand to benefit. The companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
JBS has businesses in the U.S. and Mexico as well as Brazil but it does not sell U.S. beef to Russia.
Beef products topped Brazil’s exports to Russia in the first six months of the year, Brazilian trade data showed. Brazil ships the vast majority of its soybeans to China and sent just 352,849 tonnes of soy to Russia between January and June.
The president of Brazil’s animal protein association ABPA said on Wednesday Brazil could cover U.S. chicken exports to Russia and would increase exports by 150,000 tonnes per year, though increasing pork exports would be harder.
Hong Kong replaced Russia as the top buyer of Brazilian beef in 2013 but beef association Abiec said exports to Russia “were certain to rise” in the second half of the year.
Brazil’s other agricultural exports to Russia include sugar, coffee, orange juice and bananas. In 2013, agricultural exports to Russia were worth US$2.72 billion.
Moscow stocking up
In Moscow on Thursday, the middle and upper classes browsed through aisles neatly stacked with French cheeses, Australian wines and Spanish cured meats, in what may mark a last chance to stock up on all luxury goods except caviar for at least a year while the import ban lasts.
Chile, a possible alternative for European fruit, exported US$643 million of goods to Russia in 2013, mainly in processed foods, salmon and fruit, the government’s trade body said. It declined to say if Chile is one of the countries in talks with Russia’s animal health body.
Sergio Mendes, director for Brazil’s cereal exporters’ association Anec, said Brazil would need “a good bilateral agreement” with Russia before grain exporting companies would ship significant quantities of soy and corn there.
“The main barriers are relating to crop pests and bureaucracy,” he told Reuters. Only a few specialized companies were currently exporting soy to Russia, Mendes said, though he acknowledged that Brazil is perhaps the only country that could substantially increase production if Russia’s demand peaks.
Grain traders in Argentina said Brazil would benefit most from the food bans, though there may be a residual impact for Argentine commodities if Brazilian supplies aren’t enough to satisfy Russia’s need for grains, which they said was unlikely.
“The biggest opportunities will likely be for oils and meals rather than grains, but we think that Russia will turn to Brazil as a supplier first, given that Brazil is part of BRICS,” said one trader, referring to the economic bloc that also includes Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Russia has only bought small amounts of Argentine soymeal and soybeans in recent years, according to data from the agriculture ministry.
– Caroline Stauffer and Silvio Cascione report for Reuters from Sao Paulo and Brasilia respectively. Additional reporting for Reuters by Rosalba O’Brien and Anthony Esposito in Santiago, Maximiliano Rizzi in Buenos Aires and Fabiola Gomes in Sao Paulo.
“ Chinese investors and the Chinese government are starting to aggressively fund U.S.-based cleantech startups.” While the anti-science Republicans, their enablers in the Democratic party and the Obsolete Corporate Oligarchs that control Energy and Telecom destroy our educational systems and our ability to to compete.
Via Robert J. Berger
"HyperCities is a dynamic educational project at the intersection of cartography and information visualization, humanities and technology, geography and digital space. The project has produced grounded cultural narratives in 27 international cities. HyperCities uses Google Maps and Google Earth (among other technologies, like GPS-enabled cameras and cell phones) to allow users to explore historical layers of city spaces. Accessing the cities and exploring them is straightforward. Once a city has been selected, users can select the time period or the area of the city they are looking to explore on the map. Within each frame, users can access everything from scholarly content to community-generated content. Users can also click on historic sites to learn more about them and overlay older maps of the same cities."
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The Economist (blog) Scandal in Brazil The Petrobras affair The Economist (blog) “IF I talk, there won't be an election,” Paulo Roberto Costa, a former executive at Petrobras, was supposed to have warned.
EU prepares compensation for farmers hit by Russia sanctions EUobserver Agriculture commissioner Dacian Ciolos cut short his summer holiday to set up an expert panel last Friday (8 August) tasked with looking at the potential impact of the export...
India is fast emerging as one of the world’s biggest bovine meat exporters. This, however, does not sit at all well with the country’s newly elected Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which promised during its campaign to put a halt to the growing consumption and export of meat.
Domestic fresh meat sales, however, are currently doing exceedingly well, and it is questionable whether the government of an emerging economy with a poverty-stricken population can afford to clamp down on an important source of national prosperity.
BJP does not condone ‘pink revolution’
India’s meat industry is booming. Euromonitor’s data show that it sports the world’s largest herd of cattle, with 221 million animals in 2013, and that it also ranks as the fourth-largest beef producer behind the US, Brazil and China. India is also the world’s 15th-biggest exporter of meat and meat products, generating revenues of almost US$3.5 billion in 2013.
The Indian National Congress party (INC), which governed the country for 53 of the 66 years since India declared independence in 1947, was, on the whole, positively predisposed towards helping India’s meat industry grow.
But, as of May 2014, after a spectacular loss for the INC, India has a new government – the BJP – and this is making the country’s meat industry, which is dominated by Muslim-owned businesses, quake in its boots.
The BJP declared during its campaign that, once in power, one of its objectives would be to curtail India’s ‘pink revolution’. This is a reference to the ‘green revolution’ that took place during the 1950s and 1960s, brought about by modern agricultural inputs, which boosted crop yields significantly.
India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an observant Hindu and a committed vegetarian, seems to be taking particular umbrage at India’s rapidly growing beef exports. "What is the crime of my mother cow… that you are slaughtering her and selling in the international markets just to earn money," was one of Modi’s emotive statements on this matter, voiced during the election campaign.
It must be pointed out, however, that the slaughter and export of cows, which are sacred animals in Hinduism, is already prohibited in India. The country’s beef industry focuses instead on water buffalo meat, both for domestic consumption and export.
On the domestic consumption front, propelled by India’s growing middle-class consumer base, an expanding network of modern grocery retailers and a rampantly dynamic consumer foodservice channel, India’s internal fresh meat market has also been buoyant. Euromonitor International’s data show that beef and veal (water buffalo in this case) drove Indian fresh meat sales in 2013, outperforming poultry, lamb, mutton and goat, as well as pork. Beef and veal achieved volume growth of 9% that year, one percentage point ahead of fresh meat overall.
This dynamism held true throughout the 2008-2013 review period, with beef and veal delivering 47% volume growth, while pork achieved less than 10% and even poultry, which is still the most popular type of meat in India, only managed a 37% gain. Another factor bolstering the country’s domestic meat sales is India’s high inflation rate, which has served to diminish the gap between vegetable and meat prices. The prices of some types of pulses now exceed those of buffalo meat.
Will India really cut off its nose to spite its face?
It is not yet clear how and whether the BJP’s election promises will translate into concrete trade, agricultural and livestock production policies for India, but it is questionable whether, in reality, the party would be prepared to sacrifice the country’s economic growth and prosperity on account of religious sensibilities. India, after all, has far greater economic and social problems than the evils of meat consumption.
If the BJP is set to limit the amount of meat consumed, particularly within its borders, rather than implement obstructive policies that will only create anger and discontent, it would be far more advisable to employ indirect measures that would actually benefit its population on the whole. For example, by taking measures to ensure that protein-rich vegetarian foods, such as pulses and dairy products, are kept affordable, low-income consumers would not be pushed by purely economic needs to resort to meat in order to feed their families, potentially violating their religious principles.
We predict that over 2013-2018, unlike during the review period, fresh poultry in India will outperform beef and veal in terms of growth performance. We expect poultry volumes to increase by 31%, with beef delivering a slightly weaker 26% gain. On the whole, however, the dynamism of India’s meat market is unlikely to collapse.
India remains one of the countries with the lowest per capita meat consumption in the world, standing at just 5.6kg in 2013 – way behind the global average of 33.2kg. With a population of nearly 1.3 billion, even a tiny per capita consumption increase has the potential to translate into a significant rise in fresh meat volumes, not to mention the enormous potential for growth harboured by this latent market as it gradually creeps towards global average consumption levels.
By MICHAEL BLOOMBERG and PENNY PRITZKER: "Africa is no longer a sleeping giant but is awake and open for business." These words from a rising South African leader at last week's Young African Leaders Summit could not be more accurate: Africa might...
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