International investors have a private court of appeal even in criminal matters - "A parallel legal universe, open only to corporations and largely invisible to everyone else, helps executives convicted of crimes escape punishment. [ISDS] operates unconstrained by precedent or any significant public oversight, often keeping its proceedings and sometimes even its decisions secret." (via) [more inside]
The globe of economic complexity is a beautifully trippy interactive dot-based map of $15.3 trillion or world trade, each glowing dot encoding $100 millions worth of exports (poster). It is based on the Atlas of economic complexity by Harvard University Data Visualisation Fellow Romain Vuillemot and developed by WikiGalaxy creator Owen Cornec.
The University of Southern California's US-China Institute has a huge number of videos on YouTube regarding China, Taiwan, history, global diplomacy, etc. [more inside]
To a Chinese Scrap-Metal Hunter, America's Trash Is Treasure: Johnson Zeng is a Chinese trader who travels across the U.S. in search of scrap metal. By his estimate, there are at least 100 others like him driving from scrap yard to scrap yard, right now, in search of what Americans won’t or can’t be bothered to recycle. His favorite product: wires, cables, and other kinds of copper. His purchases, millions of pounds of metal worth millions of dollars, will eventually be shipped to China. [more inside]
The Forces Of The Next 30 Years - SF author and Mefi's Own Charles Stross talks to students at Olin College about sci-fi, fiction, speculation, the limits of computation, thermodynamics, Moore's Law, the history of travel, employment, automation, free trade, demographics, the developing world, privacy, and climate change in trying to answer the question What Does The World Of 2043 Look Like? (Youtube 56:43)
From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
"Trade, not aid:" the interesting story of Good African Coffee. [slnyt]
We're All State Capitalists Now 'No, according to some commentators, the contest between the two Asian superpowers is also fundamentally a contest between economic models: market capitalism vs. state capitalism.' [more inside]
Made in America: small businesses buck the offshoring trend - "For US manufacturing to make sense, factories must make extensive use of automation. That's getting easier, given that the cost of robots with comparable capabilities has decreased precipitously in the past two decades." [more inside]
Hu Jintao, premier of China, is in the middle of his first state visit to the US, whose pomp and circumstance reflects China's growing economic stature and role in world affairs. Due to the linguistic and political differences between the US and China, few Americans know very much about Hu. Many of them will have had their first real look at him during an extended and surprisngly candid joint press conference held with President Obama and lasting well over an hour - something which never happens in China. Fears (or possibly hopes) of a trade war between the US and China a year ago have faded, and instead a trade deal involving $45 billion of American exports was announced, to mixed reactions. He was received less kindly by Congress, whose members expressed disquiet about everything from trade deficits to human rights and whose leaders declined to discuss matters over dinner - perhaps because they did not wish to be lost in the high-powered crowd of attendees. [more inside]
Meet the new form of prison currency: Honey buns.
""You can't forget there are people listening when you say you are going to do things, and I try not to overpromise."
This past March, former US President Bill Clinton acknowledged to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that tariff policies his administration championed in the mid-1990's helped destroy Haiti's rice production and contributed to the impoverished nation's inability to feed itself. But while most of the world has stopped paying attention to Haiti's woes, Mr. Clinton has become the de facto leader of the effort to rebuild it after the catastrophic earthquake this past January. Will his influence be enough? Reports from the UN Office of the Special Envoy to Haiti indicate that the reconstruction progress has been slow. [more inside]
Where no economist had gone before. Paul Krugman posts a type-written paper on interstellar trade which he wrote as "an oppressed assistant professor" in the '70s. I do not propose to develop a theory which is universally valid, but it may at least have some galactic relevance. [pdf link]
"What we are now seeing is the break up of Bretton Woods mark 2." The Guardian's economics editor, Larry Elliot, on growing fears of a global depression. [single link op-ed alert]
The International Networks Archive is an effort by a group of sociologists to understand 2,000 years of globalization through mapping the network of transactions that link the world, rather than geography. The project is still ongoing, but you can see some of the results: an interactive map that uses travel time to visualize the world; a graphic of the growth of Starbucks and McDonalds; the distribution of government jobs (apparently the 3,412 postal inspectors can carry firearms); the cashflows of movies and tobacco; and, of course, the world at night. There is also access to a lot of detailed data, as well as more maps and information at the Mapping Globalization wiki.
Choose your own adventure! "The following imaginary scenario attempts to picture what would happen if the IMF did not exist. It tells the story of a businessperson in a fictional developing country that is suffering from a shortage of foreign exchange. In the scenario, there is no IMF to turn to in order to resolve the currency crisis. You will soon come to realize the difficulties of carrying on international trade in that imaginary world without the IMF."
Is Wage Insurance the Answer? Central to the ongoing debate on globalization is whether free trade is a good thing or not because it pits capital against labor. Like a lot of policy issues (and politics :) trade helps some but hurts others, while polarizing and often making enemies of people on either side of the debate. Wage insurance might provide a middle ground where people can come together. (more inside!)
corporate totalitarianism and the ftaa: Activists will gather in Quebec City, Canada on April 11, 2001 to protest the upcoming Summit of the Americas (SOA) meeting. The purpose of the SOA, which will be held April 18-22, is to hammer out the first full text of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), a proposed agreement that would turn the entire Western Hemisphere (except Cuba) into the largest international trading bloc in history.
China, our new buddy It seems like history may be made today. I hope that if China does receive favorable trade status that it will go to improve human life in that nation and improve ties between our countries. I'd like to buy China a Coke...