Posts tagged economy.

Why might China need up to 500 personnel in its embassy in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, a country of 320,000 people? ›

climateadaptation:

The U.S. Embassy in Iceland might be 70 people. Europe’s largest presence is France, with only a 20 person embassy. Why would China need one with 500 people?

The answer? Natural resources. Aluminum, rare earth metals, oil, gas, copper, gold, and possibly diamonds are irresistible wealth opportunities in the Arctic region. Melting ice will give way to new mega-mining operations like never seen before.

Then Mr. Degeorges answered his own question about China’s need — or desire — for such a large embassy in Reykjavik: “It gives you the long-term perspective that you can expect in Iceland.”

Indeed.

Everyone is jostling for space in the melting Arctic these days, it seems, as my colleague Elisabeth Rosenthal recently reported. That includes China, which has no Arctic territory.

Yet as the Arctic ice cap melts, it is revealing riches — principally minerals, including important rare earths, but also water, oil and gas. Greenland potentially has up to 10 percent of the world’s freshwater reserves, Mr. Degeorges said.

NYTimes

climateadaptation:

guardian:

Half the size of a football pitch, Migingo Island on Lake Victoria is claimed by both Kenya and Uganda. The population of 131 is made up of mostly fishermen and traders.

Jesco Denzel

More incredible pics here.

  September 15, 2012 at 12:17am
via

anarcho-queer:

U.S. Poverty Heads Toward Highest Level In 50 Years

The ranks of America’s poor are on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century, erasing gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s amid a weak economy and fraying government safety net.

Census figures for 2011 will be released this fall in the critical weeks ahead of the November elections.

The Associated Press surveyed more than a dozen economists, think tanks and academics, both nonpartisan and those with known liberal or conservative leanings, and found a broad consensus: The official poverty rate will rise from 15.1 percent in 2010, climbing as high as 15.7 percent. Several predicted a more modest gain, but even a 0.1 percentage point increase would put poverty at the highest level since 1965.

Poverty is spreading at record levels across many groups, from underemployed workers and suburban families to the poorest poor. More discouraged workers are giving up on the job market, leaving them vulnerable as unemployment aid begins to run out. Suburbs are seeing increases in poverty, including in such political battlegrounds as Colorado, Florida and Nevada, where voters are coping with a new norm of living hand to mouth.

US plans significant military presence in Kuwait - Boston.com ›

mohandasgandhi:

socialismartnature:

Read the quote below from this Congressional report. The logic of imperialism couldn’t possibly be articulated more clearly than this …

===

The United States is planning a significant military presence of 13,500 troops in Kuwait to give it the flexibility to respond to sudden conflicts in the region as Iraq adjusts to the withdrawal of American combat forces and the world nervously eyes Iran, according to a congressional report.

“Home to more than half of the world’s oil reserves and over a third of its natural gas, the stability of the Persian Gulf is critical to the global economy,” the report said. “However, the region faces a myriad of political and security challenges, from the Iranian nuclear program to the threat of terrorism to the political crisis in Bahrain.”

As it recalibrates its national security strategy, the United States is drawing down forces in Europe while focusing on other regions, such as the Middle East and Asia. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said he envisions about 40,000 troops stationed in the Middle East region after the withdrawal from Iraq. By comparison, a cut of two Army combat brigades and the withdrawal of two other smaller units will leave about 68,000 troops in Europe.

We did the Gulf War thing already and it didn’t go very well. Some guys in Saudi Arabia weren’t happy with the NATO presence in their country, they organized, and flew a couple of planes into two New York buildings, the Pentagon, and the ground about a decade later.

climateadaptation:

This is a Starbucks. It’s made of used shipping containers and is located in Tukwilla, Washington. Starbucks’ goal is to make every store in the U.S. LEED certified.

This small project came at a perfect time here at Starbucks as we challenge ourselves to deliver LEED-certified stores across the US. Pending LEED certification, this project is just one step toward our goal of universally building all new company-owned stores to be LEED-certified Starbucks Stores. I wanted it to be green, thought provoking and sustainable  the sort of project that stirs chatter. I think we got it.

More from Starbucks Blog. Follow climate adaptation.

occupyallstreets:

Unemployment Rate For Teenagers Is Rising And Setting Records

In March, one quarter of young Americans age 16 to 19 was out of work. That’s the highest rate in more than a year and, except for a run of more than a dozen months immediately after the Great Recession, the highest on record going back to 1948. Government and private groups are working on solutions. But with summer less than two months away, the numbers cast a dark shadow over the summer job prospects of US teenagers.

Young people got beat up really bad in the last decade,” said Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston. “People say, ‘Well, things are recovering,’ but young people have not gotten one new job in the last two years. Fewer kids are working today then were two years ago.

The persistence of the problem extends nationwide, although there is a large disparity among states and cities, with low-income urban areas and minorities the hardest hit. In March, the unemployment rate for Hispanics in the 16 to 19 age range was 30.5 percent, and for blacks it was 40.5 percent!

The Great Recession can explain some of the decline in job opportunities for young people. During the mid-2000s, the overall teenage unemployment rate ranged between 14 and 18 percent. Then, the downturn hit and teen unemployment began to rise, peaking at 27 percent in October 2009 (overall unemployment peaked three months later at 10.6 percent). Since then, the recovery has created more than 1 million new jobs for adults and brought the unemployment rate down to 8.2 percent. But there’s been no recovery for teens. For the past 41 months, the national average unemployment rate for teens has remained above 20 percent – a postwar record.

(via anarcho-queer)

House Dems propose $10 per hour minimum wage ›

sinidentidades:

A group of Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives proposed this week a bill that would raise the nation’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $10 per hour, which they say will help consumer purchasing power catch up to the rate of inflation since the late 1960s.

It’s primary sponsor, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL), is even calling the bill “The Catching Up to 1968 Act.” Jackson explained in prepared text that it “may sound like a hefty wage increase but it doesn’t fully equal the purchasing power of the minimum wage in 1968 – which today would be closer to $11 per hour.  The bill is really only allowing American workers a degree of ‘catch-up.’”

He’s not wrong about that, either: Had lawmakers kept the minimum wage pinned to the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index, 1968′s minimum wage of $1.60 per hour would in fact be worth $10.58 per hour in 2012.

Congress last raised the minimum wage in 2007, moving it from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour over the course of the following two years. Jackson claimed that move provided “an additional $1.6 billion annually in increased wages,” and called upon President Barack Obama to support another increase.

How Student Debt Impacts Students of Color ›

of-praxis:

anticapitalist:

On July 1 the interest rate on federally subsidized Stafford Loans will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent if Congress doesn’t act. Though this rate hike will have devastating consequences on more than 7 million students nationwide who currently hold a Stafford Loan, change will hit students of color especially hard.

The facts below show how students of color depend on financial aid to finance their college education and how they are uniquely impacted by student debt.

1. Students are having trouble paying back their college loans. Studies show that only 37 percent of students are able to repay their loans on time. Students of color are more likely to depend on financial aid to attend college and have higher trends of student debt.

2. For the first time, student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt in the United States. Student college loan debt is now higher than all credit card debtin the country put together. Nationwide, student debt is at $867 billion compared to credit card debt at $704 billion.

3. People of color, particularly African Americans, are graduating with more student debt. African American students in particular are graduating withmuch more debt than white students. A 2010 study by the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center found that student loan debt levels of $30,500 or higher were more common among 27 percent of black bachelor’s degree recipients compared to 16 percent of their white counterparts.

4. Youth unemployment (ages 16 to 24) is higher for people of color, making student debt a significant financial burden. Youth unemployment is highest among youth of color, with rates for African American youth at 30 percent and Latino youth at 20 percent, compared to the white youth unemployment rate of 16 percent.

5. Students of color rely on other forms of financial aid, such as Pell Grants, which are also facing significant cuts. Students who will lose eligibility or be cut from the Pell Grant program—a means of access to higher education and social opportunity for low-income families—will likely turn to loans to make up the difference.At a majority of historically black colleges and universities in particular, two-thirds or more of all enrolled students receive Pell Grants, with more than 90 percent of students receiving these grants at eight such institutions of higher learning.

6. While educational attainment increases among Latinos, the achievement gap continues. From 2001 to 2011 the number of Latinos with a bachelor’s degree or higher education increased 80 percent from 2.1 million to 3.8 million. But there’s still an achievement gap: By 2012 only 14 percent of all U.S. Latinos over the age of 25 had bachelor’s degrees, compared to 34 percent of whites. A 2009 Pew Hispanic Center survey found the most common reason for the gap was pressure to support their families financially, forcing them to choose between college and their families. This means that low-interest-rate loans are that much more important to Latino youth in completing their college careers. 

7. More students of color are taking out private loans, exposing them to more financial risk. There was an approximate 16 percent increase and 12 percentincrease among black and Hispanic students, respectively, that took out private loans, from the 2003­–04 to 2007­–08 school years. While federal loans have lower interest rates than private loans, doubling the rate will bring the two closer together, making students of color more vulnerable to defaulting on their loans.

8. Students of color are more likely to enroll in for-profit schools, which currently account for nearly half of student loan defaultsFor-profit colleges and universities tend to have higher tuition, increased dropout rates, and insurmountable debt for students. This puts economic and academic barriers on students of color, making it more difficult for them to graduate.

9. Students of color with higher student debt are left with fewer options.Deferments and forbearances often provide short-term debt relief, but the interest on the loans may accrue and capitalize during the forbearance or deferment period, making the loans more expensive in the long term.

10. Student debt hinders students of color from homeownership. Past-due payments hinder borrowers due to lower credit scores and having their wages used for loan repayment.According to the Federal Reserve, fewer young people are getting mortgages—just 9 percent of 29-to-34-year-olds got a first-time mortgage from 2009 to 2011, compared to 17 percent in 2001.

Allowing Stafford Loan interest rates to double would make the cost of college skyrocket—the cost of college for those relying on Stafford Loans would increase by 20 percent. Given that students of color are more likely to rely on financial aid to finance their college education and graduate with higher student debt, increasing these interest rates would disproportionately impact them. We need to focus on making college more affordable, particularly at a time when students need a good education to be competitive in the international economy.

White House announces 334000 AAPIS to be impacted if interest rates are raised.

(via gracefree)

occupyallstreets:

European Unemployment Has Risen Two-Thirds Since 2010: Report

Unemployment has risen in two-thirds of European countries since 2010 as austerity hit growth and jobs, the International Labour Organisation has said.

In its annual world of work report, the Geneva-based ILO warned that the weaknesses in the labour market were becoming ingrained, with high levels of long-term and youth unemployment.

The study found there were still 50 million fewer jobs in the global economy than before the recession began in 2008 and it was unlikely that growth would be strong enough in the next two years to find jobs for an extra 80 million people looking for work.

The ILO said the global employment rate in 2011 stood at 60.3% – 0.9 percentage points lower than before the synchronised global downturn began four years ago. It added that youth unemployment had risen in 80% of advanced economies and in two-thirds of emerging market economies. Long-term unemployment was also on the rise, with one third of the jobless in the west out of work for more than a year.

Even in countries where employment growth was on the rise, the ILO said jobs tended to be on a short-term basis, with increases in involuntary part-time employment and part-time temporary employment.

Torres said: “The trends are especially worrying in Europe, where the unemployment rate has increased in nearly two-thirds of these countries since 2010; but labour market recovery has also stalled in other advanced economies, such as Japan and the United States. Elsewhere, employment gains have weakened in terms of the needs of a growing, better educated working-age population, as in China. And jobs deficits remain acute in much of the Arab region and Africa.

He added that many countries in southern Europe were caught in an “austerity trap” in which budget cuts led to higher unemployment and lower growth, resulting in an even worse fiscal position.

Source

(via anarcho-queer)

How Student Debt Impacts Students of Color ›

of-praxis:

anticapitalist:

On July 1 the interest rate on federally subsidized Stafford Loans will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent if Congress doesn’t act. Though this rate hike will have devastating consequences on more than 7 million students nationwide who currently hold a Stafford Loan, change will hit students of color especially hard.

The facts below show how students of color depend on financial aid to finance their college education and how they are uniquely impacted by student debt.

1. Students are having trouble paying back their college loans. Studies show that only 37 percent of students are able to repay their loans on time. Students of color are more likely to depend on financial aid to attend college and have higher trends of student debt.

2. For the first time, student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt in the United States. Student college loan debt is now higher than all credit card debtin the country put together. Nationwide, student debt is at $867 billion compared to credit card debt at $704 billion.

3. People of color, particularly African Americans, are graduating with more student debt. African American students in particular are graduating withmuch more debt than white students. A 2010 study by the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center found that student loan debt levels of $30,500 or higher were more common among 27 percent of black bachelor’s degree recipients compared to 16 percent of their white counterparts.

4. Youth unemployment (ages 16 to 24) is higher for people of color, making student debt a significant financial burden. Youth unemployment is highest among youth of color, with rates for African American youth at 30 percent and Latino youth at 20 percent, compared to the white youth unemployment rate of 16 percent.

5. Students of color rely on other forms of financial aid, such as Pell Grants, which are also facing significant cuts. Students who will lose eligibility or be cut from the Pell Grant program—a means of access to higher education and social opportunity for low-income families—will likely turn to loans to make up the difference.At a majority of historically black colleges and universities in particular, two-thirds or more of all enrolled students receive Pell Grants, with more than 90 percent of students receiving these grants at eight such institutions of higher learning.

6. While educational attainment increases among Latinos, the achievement gap continues. From 2001 to 2011 the number of Latinos with a bachelor’s degree or higher education increased 80 percent from 2.1 million to 3.8 million. But there’s still an achievement gap: By 2012 only 14 percent of all U.S. Latinos over the age of 25 had bachelor’s degrees, compared to 34 percent of whites. A 2009 Pew Hispanic Center survey found the most common reason for the gap was pressure to support their families financially, forcing them to choose between college and their families. This means that low-interest-rate loans are that much more important to Latino youth in completing their college careers. 

7. More students of color are taking out private loans, exposing them to more financial risk. There was an approximate 16 percent increase and 12 percentincrease among black and Hispanic students, respectively, that took out private loans, from the 2003­–04 to 2007­–08 school years. While federal loans have lower interest rates than private loans, doubling the rate will bring the two closer together, making students of color more vulnerable to defaulting on their loans.

8. Students of color are more likely to enroll in for-profit schools, which currently account for nearly half of student loan defaultsFor-profit colleges and universities tend to have higher tuition, increased dropout rates, and insurmountable debt for students. This puts economic and academic barriers on students of color, making it more difficult for them to graduate.

9. Students of color with higher student debt are left with fewer options.Deferments and forbearances often provide short-term debt relief, but the interest on the loans may accrue and capitalize during the forbearance or deferment period, making the loans more expensive in the long term.

10. Student debt hinders students of color from homeownership. Past-due payments hinder borrowers due to lower credit scores and having their wages used for loan repayment.According to the Federal Reserve, fewer young people are getting mortgages—just 9 percent of 29-to-34-year-olds got a first-time mortgage from 2009 to 2011, compared to 17 percent in 2001.

Allowing Stafford Loan interest rates to double would make the cost of college skyrocket—the cost of college for those relying on Stafford Loans would increase by 20 percent. Given that students of color are more likely to rely on financial aid to finance their college education and graduate with higher student debt, increasing these interest rates would disproportionately impact them. We need to focus on making college more affordable, particularly at a time when students need a good education to be competitive in the international economy.

White House announces 334000 AAPIS to be impacted if interest rates are raised.

(via brosephstalin-deactivated201212)

occupyallstreets:

Earth Faces A Century of Disasters, Report Warns

World population needs to be stabilised quickly and high consumption in rich countries rapidly reduced to avoid “a downward spiral of economic and environmental ills”, warns a major report from the Royal Society.

Contraception must be offered to all women who want it and consumption cut to reduce inequality, says the study published on Thursday, which was chaired by Nobel prize-winning biologist Sir John Sulston.

The assessment of humanity’s prospects in the next 100 years, which has taken 21 months to complete, argues strongly that to achieve long and healthy lives for all 9 billion people expected to be living in 2050, the twin issues of population and consumption must pushed to the top of political and economic agendas. Both issues have been largely ignored by politicians and played down by environment and development groups for 20 years, the report says.

The number of people living on the planet has never been higher, their levels of consumption are unprecedented and vast changes are taking place in the environment. We can choose to rebalance the use of resources to a more egalitarian pattern of consumption … or we can choose to do nothing and to drift into a downward spiral of economic and environmental ills leading to a more unequal and inhospitable future”, it says.

Read More

(via anarcho-queer)

occupyallstreets:

Young Men In Mexico Say The U.S. No Longer Offers Them A Better Future

In a typical year, the young men in this agricultural region of western Mexico would have made the journey north to America. But not this year or for this generation: a better future across the border is a promise they no longer trust.

For years, we dreamed of America, but now that dream is no good,” says 18-year-old Pedro Morales, sitting in the elegant Spanish colonial square of Comala under the shadow of the spectacular Volcan de Fuego. “There are no jobs and too many problems. We don’t want to go.

In an historic shift, the tide of immigration from Mexico to the US has stalled. Villages that were empty of young men are now full. A report published by the Pew Hispanic Center this week confirmed what was already anecdotally clear: the largest wave of immigration in US history has stalled and is now close to slipping into reverse.

Between 2005 and 2010, 1.4 million Mexicans immigrated to the United States, less than half the number that migrated between 1995 and 2000. At the same time, the number of Mexicans who moved to Mexico over the same period rose to 1.4 million, double the number over the previous five years.

Source

(via anarcho-queer)

theatlantic:

America’s Secret Growth Weapon: Why Immigration Really, Really Matters

Immigration is a big part of what distinguishes the U.S. from, say, the EU. Immigration makes us younger. That’s what you see from the graph above. Immigration makes us smarter. Half of all Silicon Valley start ups have a co-founder no more than one generation separated from an immigrant. Immigration makes us work. The U.S. fertility rate is below 2.1, so it’s immigration that pushes us above replacement level growth.

But don’t gloat. There are cracks our armor.

One in three U.S. immigrants today was born in Mexico, making it the “biggest wave of immigration in history from a single country to the United States,” according to the Pew Hispanic Center. But that wave hit a wall. Thanks to a weak U.S. economy, a growing Mexican economy, and a handful of other policies, net flow of Mexican immigrants to the U.S. has possibly reversed for the first time in several decades.

At the same time, “highly educated children of immigrants to the United States are uprooting themselves and moving to their ancestral countries,” the New York Times reported just two weeks ago. The factors aren’t all the same, but they rhyme. India is getting stronger relative to the United States, and, once again, public policy is getting in the way of immigration. We don’t block foreign-born students at the Texas border. We kick them out if they can’t marry, find a job, or snag one of a limited number of visas. In the race for human capital, this is a deliberate losing strategy.

There are reasonable arguments for using government laws and resources to limit immigration and protect jobs for American-born workers. But the broader picture is that the U.S. is failing to recognize a free and automatic virtue of being America: People want to move here and work in exchange for money.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

(via socialistscum-deactivated201209)

thedailyfeed:

Wow, we hope you’re not looking for an apartment. Rent is going through the roof as the apartment vacancy rate hits a 10-year low.

The national apartment vacancy rate fell to 4.9 percent in the first quarter, the lowest level since 2001, according to a preliminary report released by Reis Inc. this week. This is only the third time in more than three decades that the national vacancy rate has dropped below 5 percent, said the report.

With availability so scarce that landlords have little incentive to offer concessions, the national average asking rent, which had been steadily increasing since 2010, jumped an additional 0.5 percent from the prior quarter to $1,070 per month.

(via thedailyfeed)

#News  #Economy  #Housing  #Rent  

kateoplis:

“Copenhagen, a city of 1.2 million people [the bicycle-friendliest place on the planet], saves $357 million a year on health costs because something like 80 percent of its population commutes by bicycle, even in winter. That’s $300 per person per year.

Clearly, the reason the new Danish minister of the interior said she’d ‘rather invest in cycle tracks than freeways,’ is that only one of those has a positive return.” [photo: Ben]

From Copenhagen’s biannual Bicycle Account | Grist 

(via climateadaptation)