Notes April 22, 2008

April 22, 2008 § Leave a comment

Back from Costa Rica. Trips to other places always worth while, but maybe not the energy used to get there. The future of air travel is difficult. Cost will lead the way, as in so many things, making the world more comfortable to the rich and less accessible to the rest of us.

A big world crisis, with Rwanda like consequences, would leave the environment in terrible shape. Desperate people will eat and burn in every direction. Those who think ‘at least it would be a solution” are not thinking seriously.

I was thinking…

The solutions to the problems we face with the economy, international relations, energy, environment, food and income distribution: basically a redesign of the US and the world economy and governance lie outside the boundaries of any conversation going on among the leaderships of either party.

This led to the suggestion that it would be potentially very useful to do a draft of the inaugural speech for January 2009.

It would begin with a story about the transformations of American Society: slavery, Indians, industrialization, a response to world markets, and the large wars of the 20th century.

Next would come an analysis of the problems facing us now.

Next comes an analysis of why our current institutions are not sufficient to meet the challenge.

A look back at the new deal, banking regulation, the WPA etc..

And last would come a series of proposals that would include but not limited to:

A new relationship between the president and working committees of Congress.

A new series of national advisory boards.

A proposal for flexibility centers in every town in America where local problems can be matched with people needing to change jobs.

An amnesty for all past taxes

A new proposal for home ownership without debt.



In Lean Times, Biotech Grains Are Less Taboo


Soaring food prices and grain shortages are bringing new pressures to use genetically engineered crops.

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The issue is, crises will lead to embracing otherwise bad solutions. In this case, shifting ownership of agriculture to big corporations. Timing will be important.


Kudos to James Glanz and Alissa Rubin of the NYT for getting the story! They point out that the US and Iran are on the same side in southern Iraq, both fearful of the nativist Sadr movement. This correct narrative is completely the opposite of what Americans have been spoon fed on television and by Bush / Pentagon spokesmen. I had pointed out this Bush- Iran convergence last week and also pointed out that US intelligence analysis admits it. The article is the first one I have seen to say that Iran supports al-Hakim’s ISCI in its bid to create a Shiite superprovince in Iraq’s south. I’ve never been able to discover what the Iranians feel about this and had wondered if they weren’t at least a little bit worried about a soft partition of Iraq because of its implications for Iranian Kurdistan, which might become restive and seek to join Iraqi Kurdistan. But it is plausible that Tehran might risk this scenario in order to gain a permanent regional ally in the form of the Shiite Regional Government in southern Iraq.

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  • Succession of leading sectors:
    • 1992-1996: recovery from the S&L/Gulf War Oil Shock/credit crunch recession.
    • 1996-2000: Alan Greenspan–over the objections of pretty much everybody else on his committee–decides to see if the high-tech boom is for real.
    • 2000-2001: Crash of the dot-com boom/bubble.
    • 2002-2005: Alan Greenspan decides to see if we can replace high-tech with housing as a booming sector to keep the economy near full employment.
    • 2006: Uh-oh…
    • 2007-2008: Can we replace housing with exports (and import-competing manufactures) as a leading sector?

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Note that exports would mean viability for business but much lower wages for those doing the production.

One of the key drivers of world prices is China spending US dollars for material, energy, and food. This is the necessary fallout of the US relying on China stockpiling dollars the US paid for cheap imports.


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You are currently reading Notes April 22, 2008 at Reflections on GardenWorld Politics Douglass Carmichael.


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