March 14 raw notes

March 16, 2009 § Leave a comment

Raw notes


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CNN) — The United Nations is urging countries to invest in green jobs working with “sustainable forest management” to address the growing problem of unemployment worldwide.

A deforested area appears in a rain forest in Brazil’s Para state in October.

At least 10 million such jobs could be created, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization will say in a report to be released this week.

The report does not mention any countries but is aimed at “mainly regions with substantial rural unemployment and degraded land areas,” said C.T.S. Nair, chief economist in the U.N. Forestry Department and one of the authors of the report.

While all countries could benefit from investing in these green jobs, Nair said, Asia and Africa — and to some extent Latin America — could benefit the most. India, China and almost all countries inAfrica stand to benefit, he added.


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Short-term borrowing costs are increasing as banks hoard cash and governments struggle to thaw credit markets … “The market is beginning to think that the solution is either not politically possible, or we can’t afford it, or maybe there isn’t a solution,” said Bob Baur, chief global economist at Des Moines, Iowa-based Principal Global Investors …


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Earlier today, the BLS released the state unemployment rates for January. Four states are now above 10%: Michigan, South Carolina, Rhode Island and Californi


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he fact is that the economy, in it’s current structure, cannot be stimulated sufficiently to correct for the loss of demand. Our economy has been built around consumer consumption for 30 years now and we are not going back there soon. There is also just too much bad debt that is not being addressed.


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It seems to me that most economists are unable to address the simple question of what is the ‘purpose’ of commerce?

I’ve been lead to believe that commerce exists to meet the needs (and wants) of society.

But it has become apparent that the legal community has altered that basic task by stipulating that commerce exists to maximize the profit of the shareowners.

Since no system can adequately serve both masters I’d opine that the legal boys got it wrong. (Even if they were following ‘Uncle Milty’s’ lead.)

No irony should be lost on the fact that the global race to the bottom has resulted in the US no longer creating sufficient ‘real’ wealth to continue its level of consumption.

One of the side effects of this outcome has been a (sudden and severe) inflation in asset prices.


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If demand is the problem, why waste scarce resources on supply?


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The second part of this annual ritual is that many, if not most, of the early layoff notices could end up being withdrawn by June, especially if the state can devote some of its federal stimulus money to education, officials said.

Six years ago, for example, all but 3,000 of the 20,000 teacher pink slips that went out statewide were rescinded.


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Positive Trends in Economic Development

William Easterly:

When Will There Be Good News?, William Easterly: In the midst of the general doom and gloom, fears about how the crisis will affect poor countries, and fierce criticism of markets, states, and aid agencies, perhaps it’s healthy to step back to the big picture, to recognize there has already been some very real good news. The graph below shows some overall statistics for the developing world:

This graph has a mixture of good news that all of the much-criticized triad of markets, states, and aid can take partial credit for. Markets obviously get at least some credit for the reduction in global poverty and increase of global average income. States supply public goods like education, water, and health, and there has been progress on all of these. Aid deserves some credit for successes in health, as already stressed in a previous blog post.

One group that doesn’t deserve much credit is “development experts,” because there is a terrible crisis of confidence in development economics now, where we all freely confess we don’t really know what to advise governments on how to speed up development. …

Yes, there is a terrible crisis now, not to mention that all of these indicators are still deeply unsatisfactory, so we all keep criticizing and holding accountable the market, state, and aid actors who fall so woefully short. But let none of us forget how much development already happened over the last half-century, which may inspire us with hope that more step-by-step improvements in markets, states, and aid could make even more development possible.


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anne says…

Where is America by the way in terms of assisting in development, well, President Obama is offering assistance to Colombia, the price of the assistance being Colombia sending soldiers to fight in Afghanistan. So much for American inspiration.

Worry not, though, President Obama is completely committed to continuing to boycott Cuba. (I wonder what would happen if Cuba offered to send soldiers to fight for us in Afghanistan).


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SACRAMENTO—California is in line to receive at least $31.5 billion in federal stimulus funding, much of which will help plug budget shortfalls to education and other programs, state officials reported Tuesday.

Billions more will be available through competitive grants that Schwarzenegger administration officials say they will pursue aggressively. Landing additional grant money would push California’s total closer to $50 billion, administration officials said.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s chief deputy budget director, Ana Matosantos, told lawmakers the administration “will access all funds available.”

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office released the first official rundown of the money California is expected to receive from the $787 billion stimulus bill.

Most of the money will be used to fill gaps in education and health care programs. California also will get help with housing, welfare and unemployment programs. About 8 percent of the total will fund transportation projects.

Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor urged lawmakers to begin using the federal money to start highway and road projects that have been stalled by the state’s budget crisis and the frozen credit markets that have prevented the state from borrowing money. He also urged them to act quickly to draw as much Medicaid funding as possible.


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Chilean Town Withers in Free Market for Water


In Quillagua, water rights are private property and can be traded with little government oversight.


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