It's remarkable how often economists ignore physical reality. Whether they're suggesting that economies can act as perpetual motion machines or suggesting that resource availability is meaningless to economic growth, I'm always prompted to think they should make science classes a mandatory part of the economics curriculum. more »
nytimes.com — Throngs of buyers from around the world swarmed through the world’s largest trade show at its opening Thursday, underscoring how China’s combination of a cheap currency and low wages is producing a resurgence of exports this autumn.
As wholesalers and distributors from dozens of countries began snatching brochures and exchanging business cards at booths in exhibition halls with five times the floor area of the Empire State Building, Chinese exporters said they were convinced that sales were finally rebounding.
In one of the most telling signs of the recovery, container shipping prices from China to the West have jumped 50 percent in the past two months as exporters have scrambled for space on suddenly crowded decks. Chinese factories are hiring temporary workers to cope with a last-minute surge in orders, many of them from emerging markets but some from Europe and even from the economically weakened United States.
Unions are popularly known as "the folks who brought you the weekend." In contrast, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has the distinction of trying to take away the weekend--along with overtime pay, the minimum wage, Buy America rules, workers' freedom to form unions, child labor standards....The list is long and ugly. more »
solveclimate.com — Coal-addicted South Africa may be on the verge of going solar. More than that, the nation could become the springboard for a solar rise in the whole sun-rich region.
On Oct. 9, the government of South Africa and the Clinton Climate Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding to develop the nation's first "solar park." The project could add up to 5,000 MW of grid-connected solar to South Africa's energy mix, which currently stands at close to zero.
Of course, pledging to make a business plan is not the same as pledging to break ground — but it's a start. And it comes amid other signs that South Africa is getting serious about its solar future.
The first step is a feasibility study to size up the commercial potential of the project — the solar radiation, land availability, transmission access and cost, water, job creation, among other things.
nytimes.com — With the global recession making consumers and businesses more price-conscious, China is grabbing market share from its export competitors, solidifying a dominance in world trade that many economists say could last long after any economic recovery.
China’s exports this year have already vaulted it past Germany to become the world’s biggest exporter. Now, those market share gains are threatening to increase trade frictions with the United States and Europe. The European Commission proposed on Tuesday to extend antidumping duties on Chinese, as well as Vietnamese, shoe imports.
China is winning a larger piece of a shrinking pie. Although world trade declined this year because of the recession, consumers are demanding lower-priced goods and Beijing, determined to keep its export machine humming, is finding a way to deliver.
businessweek.com — Yes, the headline number on this morning’s trade report improved. But that was misleading. In fact, the non-oil trade deficit widened for the second straight month (19.8 billion in June, 23.6 billion in July, 24.3 billion in August).
That’s not a good thing. It means that the fundamental imbalances in the global economy are reasserting themselves.