Saturday Links for the Week – September 22, 2007

US Dollar Sep-07
The Wisdom of Crowds?: Chart shows value of US Dollar versus a basket of other currencies. With unrepayable government, corporate and personal debt levels, high vulnerability to interest rates, dependence on China’s ever-fragile and reckless economy, and dependence on cheap oil, the market is beginning to realize that the US dollar is essentially worthless. Only psychology and fear are keeping it from crashing, and plunging the world into an horrific recession. What is bizarre is that (like in 1929?) the stock market is at record highs.
Two Signs That We’re Heading For a Wall:

  1. Staking Claims for Future Resource Wars: The invasion of the Middle East over oil is just the most obvious sign that countries are starting to realize that huge scarcities of resources are looming, and hence starting to stake claims for what little is left. Both the US and Russia have put Canada on notice that they do not recognize Canadian sovereignty over Canada’s oil- and water-rich Arctic. And now, the UK has announced it it claiming vast areas around its distant islands as well. 
  2. Anti-Immigrant Movements Going Mainstream: Even US Democrats (and right-wing French government officials) are realizing it is politically wise to tap fierce anti-immigrant sentiment in their countries. When resources (land, minerals, oil, forests, jobs) get scarce, the last ones into the country become convenient scapegoats for the fear of not having enough.

Other News of the Week:

  • Investment and Environmental Groups Petition SEC for Global Warming Disclosures: It is becoming clearer that denial of global warming will no longer pass muster even in corporate boardrooms. Investors fear that irresponsible corporations will ultimately suffer economic consequences for their environmental negligence and shrugging off assessing the risks that global warming poses to profitability. So these investors want those corporations to own up now, so that they can determine whether they are good investments. 
  • Hydro-Quebec Facing More Criticism Over Devastating Dam Plans: The government-owned corporation, which has already destroyed much of the Northern half of the province to generate cheap electricity for export to the US, now plans yet another mega-project.
  • Democratic Party Embarrasses Itself By Voting Against Free Speech: Half of the Democratic Party’s senators voted with the Republicans to censure MoveOn for a very restrained ad criticizing dishonest Bush lackey General Petraeus. The party has lost all credibility, and it’s increasingly clear that the US’s two-party hegemony is completely alienated from the people. Another black day for democracy there.
  • Blackwater Private Militias ‘Banned’ From Iraq: Oh, never mind, it seems that the ‘democratically elected’ government of Iraq has no authority to sanction the occupying nation’s private militias when they kill civilians who get in their way.
  • Irresponsible US Lending Crisis Poised to Worsen: As long as the US remains with no usury or predatory lending laws (another consequence of ‘deregulation’), the temptation that led to the crisis will just be endlessly repeated. With its bailout of the criminal lenders and the irresponsible lowering of interest rates for corporate borrowers, the Fed is actually encouraging this. Now that borrowers are squeezed on mortgage borrowing (as house prices continue to fall), credit card borrowings, at interest rates as high as 32%, have skyrocketed, which will lead to a new surge of consumer bankruptcies and yet another round of collapses of irresponsible lenders, this time credit card issuers and their gullible financial backers.

Thought for the Week:

Celebrating Small Defeats: While the news above (and most of the news) should be enough to convince you that we aren’t going to save the world through reforms to the existing political, economic and other systems, some of us need to continue to valiantly fight the losing battle, to buy us more time to create new models to replace the old dysfunctional systems. I’ve written before about NRDC and the Suzuki Foundation, among others, that do this important work. This week I met some of the brave people at Friends of the Earth, who have sued the Canadian government for flagrantly breaking the law by not living up to its Kyoto commitments. I also heard from Oceana, an organization that is waging a similar fight for protection of the sea, including international waters that no government takes responsibility for. What extraordinary courage it must take to take the fight to governments who believe themselves above their own laws! I salute these remarkable organizations and the vital work they aredoing. Please support them any way you can.

This entry was posted in How the World Really Works. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Saturday Links for the Week – September 22, 2007

  1. george ruby says:

    First, there is NO energy crisis, just small thinking people that are not willing to change. There is enoughnatural gas on this planet to fry the sun, as to global warming, remember the 50 and 60ties we nearly frozeas A_ _ off, just need to put something into the atmosphere light enough to block the sun’s rays from burningup this planet. As to the world poverty problem, again that is easy to fix with honesty and creativity whichwe seem to have lost now that the baby boomers are starting to die off and I am one of them. The Old folkhad religion, truth, honesty, family, morals and integrity behind them, the new generation is make up ofyoung people that feel hopeless in that there teachers NO NOT WHAT THEY ARE DOING OR HOW TO DO IT, IN OTHERWORDS THEY CANNOT THINK OUT OF THE BOX LIKE THE OLDER GENERATION.

  2. Cindy says:

    Immigration – as a person who migrated quite a few times to different countries (due to work, studies or personal reasons), and then emmigrated back to my own country that is now overflow and over-ran, over-damaged, over-destroyed etc. by legal or illegal immigrants, I now become one of those persons who is anti-immigrants. That, this VERY negative behaviour surprised even myself. Some would argue that (countries such as Australia) IF we only take in migrants that fulfill the point system, there should not be any problems for the country. WRONG. Imagine those people that migrated to Australia. These migrants therefore are moving around in the upper enchelon of the society. Yes. These people would not sponge on the welfare of the country, but this group of people in effect is ‘disassociate’ from the rest of the society. Especially with the less well to-do portion of the local. Even when they do not have language problems they would still have cultures differences. Somehow the baby boomers seem to be more flexible, more willing to put in efforts to make things work. But most of the new migrants have their own agenda. They migrated to the new country with a long list of WHY this country is better than their own. I also know many migrants would pick and choose and compare which country is more suitable to their needs. BUT seldom would they mention what they would do to PAY back to the kindness of the new country for allowing them to be one of them. Most migrate because of economic reasons. And since they generally are well educated, well to-do, that perhaps makes them feel superior and do not think they should bend a little to make life easier for others if not for themselves. In short, if an old multi/international-migrants like me have such a lot of problems and misgiving with new migrants, one can imagine there are plenty of others (who might never have experienced the role of a migrant themselves) are just as fed-up and frustrated with the situation (mostlybad) created by migrants. AND what can the politicians do but ARE FORCED to listen to their citizens and do something about it. Migration is not a topic that one can discuss in a few lines. I do not totally object to migrants, but I do think governments should do a better job in managing them. The most recent news I heard on BBC a week or two ago is: English is going to be a required skills for migrants because there were many new migrants do not have the language skills to survive in that country. And this is just one problems.

  3. Mike says:

    Cindy, I just have a few questions for you:How is it that I should have more rights because I was born in Canada, versus someone who immigrated here?On what basis can you decide who gets in to a country and who doesn’t. If someone is rich and a member of an elite society, we shouldn’t let them in? Why not colour and language and culture? How about education? Why not religion? Eye colour? Where do you draw the line?How is it that your reasons for immigrating are better than someone else’s? What makes them more idealist or correct?

Comments are closed.