The Strange Roots Of Globalization (And Its Discontents) - "Today's global economy has its roots in the frivolity of spice."
In N.K. Jemisin's "The Evaluators: To Trade With Aliens, You Must Adapt," an extrasolar investigative team has disappeared, but the United Communities of Earth wants to go forward with a trade agreement. This short story is a part of Wired's first ever issue dedicated to science fiction.
BBC: "Germany's Constitutional Court has rejected a legal challenge to the EU-Canada free trade deal (CETA) from campaigners who call it undemocratic. The campaigners object to the fact that parts of CETA will be implemented before all national parliaments in the EU have voted on it. EU trade ministers are to vote on CETA next week. It requires unanimous support. If they all approve it, the deal can be signed on 27 October. CETA would remove many trade barriers."
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]
In Russia's Arctic north, a new kind of gold rush is under way: With the sale of elephant tusks under close scrutiny, “ethical ivory” from the extinct woolly mammoth is now feeding an insatiable market in China. This rush on mammoth ivory is luring a fresh breed of miner – the tusker – into the Russian wilderness and creating dollar millionaires in some of the poorest villages of Siberia. [more inside]
Instead of inevitable forces, the New Liberal Economics argues that these changes are the result of the changing rules of the economy. The way that markets are structured and enforced, what the Roosevelt Institute calls the “rules” of the economy, are powerful determinants of who the economy works for.
How Marsala Wine Became an Italian Typical Product: "It is not by chance that, when in the 1960s a “Protected Denomination of Origin” system was established, Marsala was the first Italian product to obtain such recognition. The history of this wine and the role that it plays in the international commerce since the end of the 19th c., is however strongly reliant on merchants and entrepreneurs that were not Italian, but English."
Consumerist: The U.S. has a giant cheese surplus and unfortunately, this is a bad thing. Bloomberg graph: Welcome to Cheese Mountain. (n.b. not a real, visitable, place) nymag: "Our great nation apparently had an inventory of 1.2 billion pounds at the end of March, the highest in 30 years." FoodDive: "Startups may see an opportunity to create marketable products out of inexpensive ingredients, and more cheese-based product startups could pop up and generate interest from investors and major manufacturers." Mashable: "Do your part. Eat more cheese."
On April 26th 1956, a converted World War II tanker, the Ideal-X left the Port of Newark, New Jersey. Five days later, it arrived in Port Houston, Texas, with 58 35-feet (8 feet wide by 8 feet high) containers, along with a regular load of 15,000 tons of bulk petroleum. Malcom McLean had started something big, changing the long tradition of shipping goods on ships. Before that, cargo handling was almost as labor-intensive after World War II as it had been in the mid-1800s. After McLean's innovation, shipping was transformed by this, one of the most important innovations in the global markets of production and trade (Google books preview), though that's not without its complications. [more inside]
"More than a dozen universities — including Brown, Columbia, Harvard and the University of Virginia — have publicly recognized their ties to slavery and the slave trade. But the 1838 slave sale organized by the Jesuits, who founded and ran Georgetown, stands out for its sheer size, historians say." (slnyt)
Thomas Frank, perhaps most notable for using his home state of Kansas as a case study for the transformation of the United States by the Republican Party's embrace of the Southern strategy and the Reagan revolution, now draws out the difference between the treatment of Trump's appeal by the mainstream press versus what Trump seems to emphasize in his speeches.
Millions of ordinary Americans support Donald Trump. Here's why (SLGrauniad)
Millions of ordinary Americans support Donald Trump. Here's why (SLGrauniad)
Here's the Deal: The Text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership by Barack Obama - "In other words, the TPP means that America will write the rules of the road in the 21st century." (PDFs; previously) [more inside]
Empire tells of the legacy of the Dutch East India Company, and its cultural legacy, through online experience blending image, text, video, and audio.
Multinational agreement reached on the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty. Representatives of a dozen nations agreed on the TPP, a wide-ranging trade agreement for the Pacific region, excluding China. Years of discussion and months of intensive negotiating led to this consensus. Opposition continues, based on a wide range of issues. [more inside]
Adam Davidson,The V.C.s of B.C.
Through a series of incredibly unlikely events, archaeologists have uncovered the comprehensive written archive of a few hundred traders who left their hometown Assur, in what is now Iraq, to set up importing businesses in Kanesh, which sat roughly at the center of present-day Turkey and functioned as the hub of a massive global trading system that stretched from Central Asia to Europe. Kanesh’s traders sent letters back and forth with their business partners, carefully written on clay tablets and stored at home in special vaults. Tens of thousands of these records remain. One economist recently told me that he would love to have as much candid information about businesses today as we have about the dealings — and in particular, about the trading practices — of this 4,000-year-old community.[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.
"Of all the objects I’ve worked with in my eight years as an interpretation officer at the British Museum, the Sudanese lyre is perhaps the most intriguing. Made in northern Sudan, probably in the late 19th century, it would have been played by a male musician at weddings and harvest festivals as part of a small band. ... Just as fascinating as the actual instrument are the coins, beads, shells and, as yet, unidentified objects that are attached to the lyre. In a sense, the Sudanese lyre is both a single object and an assemblage of many objects each with their own story to tell."
Wikileaks unveils the Trade In Services Agreement, covering 50 countries and with potential to affect up to 80% of the US economy. Under the agreement, governments may not be able to regulate staff to patient ratios in hospitals, or ban fracking, or tighten safety controls on airlines, or refuse accreditation to schools and universities. US regulation of Wall Street could be invalidated much the same way that public health policies against tobacco in Africa and Asia were struck down under currently existing international trade treaties. The text was to remain classified for five years AFTER being signed, and the White House is refusing to comment on "leaked negotiating documents."
Twenty Questions for Women in Construction was a series of blog posts about female construction workers in NYC which ran on Huffington Post in 2013. Kicking off the series was the article A Day in the Life of a Woman in Construction by Ana Taveras. Many of the respondents to the Twenty Questions series are graduates of Nontraditional Employment for Women. [more inside]
The Vanished Grandeur Of Accounting, in which Jacob Soll argues that it was the Dutch, and certainly not the Venetians or Florentines who are responsible for the spread of that moral and mathematical revolution: double-entry accounting. [more inside]
Students take over Taiwan's Legislature amid massive protests against a trade bill with China. Student protesters stormed Taiwan's Legislative Yuan last week, overwhelming police, and have occupied it since as protests grew outside. Last night, another group of students stormed the Executive Yuan, but were removed, sometimes violently, by riot police. The Presidential Office is surrounded by barricades and police checkpoints. The protests began after the ruling party, the Kuomintang, declared a review of a China trade pact to be concluded after months of wrangling between it and the opposition in the Legislature. The students originally wanted the review to continue, but they're now demanding that it be scrapped altogether.
Arguably the most successful UK trade union leader of our time, the tireless Bob Crow, General Secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union has passed away.
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]
"These gargantuan Lego blocks flattened global capitalism and erased human labour from industrial history in the process; they are the perfect tool for an economic system only interested in short-term, pop-up solutions." The shipping container (previously) an innovation that both revolutionised global trade and caused mass job loss, is now being reborn as the pop-up shop.
Extra Virgin Suicides is an interactive graphic from the New York Times about the global business of counterfeit olive oil. The NYT graphic is pretty slick, too.
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]
This country (the Roman Empire) has more than four hundred smaller cities and towns. It extends several thousand li in all directions. The king has his capital (that is, the city of Rome) close to the mouth of a river (the Tiber). The outer walls of the city are made of stone. - A Third Century Chinese Account Composed between 239 and 265 CE, Quoted in zhuan 30 of the Sanguozhi. Published in 429 CE. Draft English translation
Launching my first product :
Brand, Make, Sell Sell, Make, Brand
It seems eco-friendly cargo ships are slowly on the rise. Today i learned there is a full length documentary on Vimeo about one of these sailing vessels, the Tres Hombres; a bittersweet account of a voyage to transport supplies and aid to Haiti after the devastating earthquake: How Captain Longhair saved the World (HD, 42 min.).
Dial a Trade (link to charming You Tube documentary) is an AM version of a flea market on KURM out of Rogers, Arkansas. You might be able to listen to it occasionally on this Tunein station.
NPR: "About a month ago, a farmer in eastern Oregon noticed some wheat plants growing where he didn't expect them, and they didn't die when he sprayed them with Roundup." The wheat was tested and found to be genetically engineered. "Nobody knows how this wheat got to this farm. Monsanto's last field trials in Oregon were in 2001. After all such trials, the genetically engineered crops are supposed to be completely removed. Also, nobody knows how widely this genetically engineered wheat has spread, and whether it's been in fields of wheat that were harvested for food." [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)
Twenty years ago, on February 26, 1993, a truck bomb exploded in the garage of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, killing six people and an unborn child. More than 1,000 were injured. [more inside]
Networks of the Hanseatic League - The Hanseatic League was a late-medieval network of economically largely independent long-distance trade merchants which was based on trust, reputation and reciprocal relations. The informal cooperation among its members kept transactional, informational and organizational costs low, allowing the Hanse merchants to make good profits from the long-distance trade between the Baltic and the North Seas. Thanks to personal and institutional links with confederations of towns, the Hanse merchants were initially able to strengthen their international position of power. Since the late 15th century, however, the transaction costs of long-distance trade increased as a result of growing exclusivity and formalization efforts in the Hanseatic league. Moreover, changes in the European economic structure, triggered by the discovery of America, and internal conflicts ultimately led to the disintegration of the Hanseatic networks.
"Honey laundering is a complex exercise that involves several players in the honey chain from apiary to wholesaler to retailer. In the case against ALW, evidence was presented to show the use of fake country-of-origin documents for shipments, replacement of labels on Chinese containers with fraudulent ones, switching of honey containers in a third country, and even the blending of Chinese honey with glucose syrup or honey from another country."
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]
Spanning one-ninth of the earth's circumference across three continents, the Roman Empire ruled a quarter of humanity through complex networks of political power, military domination and economic exchange. These extensive connections were sustained by premodern transportation and communication technologies that relied on energy generated by human and animal bodies, winds, and currents. Conventional maps that represent this world as it appears from space signally fail to capture the severe environmental constraints that governed the flows of people, goods and information. Cost, rather than distance, is the principal determinant of connectivity. For the first time, ORBIS allows us to express Roman communication costs in terms of both time and expense. By simulating movement along the principal routes of the Roman road network, the main navigable rivers, and hundreds of sea routes in the Mediterranean, Black Sea and coastal Atlantic, this interactive model reconstructs the duration and financial cost of travel in antiquity.
"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]
A unique urban ecology prompts a new look at globalization. Japanese architect Naohiko Hino visited Guangzhou's 'Africatown' after being inspired by an article in Le Monde Diplomatique* and wrote his view on the unique model of globalization he saw in the heart of China's manufacturing powerhouse. [more inside]
'To celebrate the release of the remastered Throbbing Gristle back catalogue Rough Trade are proud to announce a unique intimate Q&A evening with Chris Carter & Cosey Fanni Tutti (37 minute Soundcloud streaming audio) discussing the rich and unique history of TG.' [more inside]
The U.S.-Canada Beyond the Border agreement is wide-ranging in its impact. Indeed, Prime Minister Harper referred to it Wednesday as "the most significant step forward in Canada-U.S. co-operation since (NAFTA)". This deal promises regulatory alignment (including the food and automotive sectors), quicker border crossings for business or travel (with pre-clearance options), and "screened once, accepted twice" cargo. Perhaps the biggest concern for Canadians however are the changes this agreement could have for their privacy. [more inside]