Tag Archives: economy - Page 2

Bigger Than 9/11

With the 10th anniversary of 9/11 coming up very shortly, the newsmedia is of course inundating the Internet with 9/11 stuff. Most of it is about how much of an effect the attacks had on the world, but Foreign Policy has an interesting article about ten events from the past decade that were more important than 9/11. Their list, ending with the most important:

  • The American response to 9/11
  • The ‘Arab Spring‘ revolutions
  • The strengthening of the relationship between the US and India
  • The stagnation of developed economies
  • The skyrocketing use of social media
  • Mobile computing, via smartphones and tablets
  • Wall Street’s crash of 2008
  • The current Eurozone economic crisis, especially concerning the PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain)
  • The failure to address global warming
  • The rise of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China)

Photo by Ahmad Hammoud

 

About half the items on that list are bogus: the response to 9/11 can’t be separated from 9/11 itself and called a more important event. And the stagnation of developed economies as well as the current Eurozone crisis can safely be lumped in with the crash of 2008 as “the global recession”. The failure to address global warming may be an issue in 50 years, but it’s definitely not significant for the past decade: global warming hasn’t affected anything from 2001 to now. It’s like saying that the failure to remove Kim Jong-Il from power is an important event in the last decade: it may be that he’ll nuke South Korea in 10 years, but only then could it be argued that failing to remove him was important, because he could also die tomorrow. Ditto for the US-India relationship: nothing important has come out of it up to now.

Finally, the rise of social media is tied to the rise of mobile computing: social media is a parasite that could not have survived without iPhones, because Facebook and Twitter use is as prevalent as it is exactly because people can change their status while waiting at the doctor’s office, upload pictures from the beach they’re on or the revolution they’re at, and check-in at their favorite bar. Conversely, mobile computing would probably not have taken off as quickly as it did were it not for people demanding to do those things.

So the list should actually go something like this:

  • The Arab Spring
  • The rise of social media and mobile computing
  • The global recession starting in 2008
  • The rise of the BRIC countries — mostly China though

One could argue that the Arab Spring wouldn’t have happened without the combination of 9/11, the rise of social media/mobile computing and the global recession, but that would be reaching about as far as Foreign Policy reached to stretch four items to ten.

From Foreign Policy, via NPR

Obama’s Own ‘Mission Accomplished’

In light of the recent, unprecedented American credit rating downgrade, one article from just over a year ago has been making headlines. It was written by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in The New York Times, and it was called “Welcome to the Recovery“. Bush gave his “Mission Accomplished” speech in mid-2003, and 2007 was the deadliest year for American soldiers in Iraq. Eight years later, we’re still there. Hopefully this recession won’t last until 2018.

From The New York Times

Bad Economy Is Due To Indian Curse

The Onion is reporting on a new bi-partisan Congressional report which says that the nation’s economy is in dire straits because the nation is built on top of ancient Indian burial grounds. From the video, “Republicans want the curse to hold in order to paint Obama as being soft on poltergeists”.

 

Report: Economy Failing Because U.S. Built On Ancient Indian Burial Grounds
 

From The Onion

2016: The Beginning of the End of the American Age

Yahoo! Finance has an article saying that by one measure of economic size — purchasing power parity (PPP) — China will surpass the US in 2016. That’s what’s predicted by the IMF, and it’s a lot sooner than the mid-2020s that most people thought. However, America will still be ahead of China by a different measure: that of exchange rates. The problem is that using exchange rates is flawed because China is still the Soviet Union’s rich cousin, and currency is not traded on the free market like the US dollar: it’s controlled by the Chinese state, and severely undervalued.

Purchasing power parity on the other hand, is what’s used by the CIA’s own World Factbook to rank countries in terms of the size of their economies. By that measure, the American economy was three times as big as China’s a decade ago; last year, it was about one and a half times bigger. The US has been the largest economy in the world for well over a century, and therefore the enormity of this milestone cannot be underscored enough. Before taking the reigns as the biggest economy, the only country America ever beat down was Mexico; after, Japan and Germany — at the same time. So what all of this means is that whoever gets (re-)elected in 2012 will be the last President to run the US as the undisputed leader of the world.

We could say that the British — from whom America took the economic lead at the end of the 19th century — did well for themselves… but then again, the US is as close an ally as the UK has. The relationship between China and the US however, is a much different animal — like if early 1900s Imperial Japan took over from Britain — and it will be interesting to see what the world will look like under Chinese economic hegemony. But, hopefully the Illuminati have some craziness up their sleeve to keep the West in power.

From Yahoo! Financial