The G20 summit is just coming to a close, the world leaders are leaving the heat of Brisbane and returning to their (mostly) colder home countries. One central aspect of this summit that partially became a mere side story was that the G20 is actually meant to be all about the economy. How much a two day meeting of the leaders of the most wealthy and powerful countries can actually change with regards to how the global economy will develop is obviously up for discussion. The economic policy outcome of this summit is surely underwhelming and neither very innovative nor undisputed.
On the other hand, the economy did not seem to be the most important issue for this summit anyway. While Mr Abbott did forgo his plan to ‘shirtfront’ Russian President Vladimir Putin and instead played the host, many of the other world leaders took the chance to confront Putin over his actions in the Ukraine. For Angela Merkel, David Cameron and Barack Obama, amongst others, Putin has overstepped too many lines.
Not living up to the Russian responsibility for the MH17 disaster, backing up the anti-Ukrainian separatists and even sending ‘aid’ and soldiers into a foreign country is unacceptable behaviour in a post-Cold War century. While I doubt that the personal pressure from these leaders will make Putin change his course, the fact that he couldn’t wait to leave Brisbane and remove himself from these confrontations does hint that at least his macho-selfesteem is partially an act.
So I was reading an article recently about the exports to China slowing down. Apparently this has had a negative effect on the Australian economy. Who knew we were so intimately linked to the Asian market. So what is the reality of the Australian economy now with its linkages to China?
“China is a big reason for that economic resilience. Australia sailed through its toughest challenge, the global financial crisis, thanks largely to China’s appetite for mined-in-Australia iron ore, coal, and other minerals. China is Australia’s No. 1 trading partner, accounting for more than a third of its exports.”
So Australian exports are contributing to the growth of the Chinese economy and also contributing to the economic bubble that the Australian population has been living in for the past 2 decades. It’s similar to other cases such as Canada where it was not hit as hard as the U.S. due to their exports as well and their oil. Now that China has cut down on its use of Australian coal the Australian companies have been diversifying to keep the economy fresh. They have been reaching out into other industries such as cattle ranching and finding new inventive commodities to export to China as the middle class grows. A very interesting outlook on the dynamism of the market and from North-South trade from a new angle.
Australia seems to pop up in the news so often alongside reports of terrorism and terrorist activity. It’s a tough trend to analyze and understand but an important one nevertheless.
On one hand, it can do good things for our international reputation with our economic partners around the world seeing us pulling our weight and doing our bit to make the world a safer place for all civilized people. Although the story is written a little vaguely we have to hope that we are indeed effectively thwarting these sorts of plots as we’ll certainly be improving our relations with the US in doing so. Our cross-pond counter-terrorists are so formidable in their War of Terror that it’s hard to begin to imagine the damage in relations we’d suffer if we were ever to stop following their lead.
The downside to this sort of news and activity are stories such as this one. The more we fight and defame the people involved in this sort of terrorist activity, the more we’ll incur their wrath and the more likely we are to be targeted in these sorts of vicious, inexcusable attacks.
Ultimately I guess that if we want to follow in America’s footsteps then we must continue being heavy-handed and enforcing a zero tolerance approach. That said, I often wonder if there’s another option. One based on kindness, negotiation, communication, understanding and basically love. It might sound a bit hippified but surely any steps taken in the direction of love and understanding are a better choice then continued violence and slaughter.
A lot of economical talk and rhetoric seems to be a back and forth between the government who tell us that markets need to be less regulated and corporations under less scrutiny while pointing the finger at benefit thieves and welfare-worship as the reason why the country’s coffers are so vacant. I’ve always been suspicious of this line of reasoning having volunteered in charities and seen first hand what the genuine reliance so many people have upon welfare support. It was reassuring therefore to read this report in which Andrew Forrest’s lambasting of welfare sparing and doom-and-gloom prophesying of welfare “becoming a destination and a trap for too many of our fellow Australians” is thoroughly and completely debunked. Past readers of my blog will know my feelings about the true leeches on our society who are very real and pose a very tangible threat, indeed, irrevocable damage has already been done in countless countries because of foreign aid being used as the excuse by which powerful, rich countries open up weaker, poorer nations’ economies in order to rob, pillage and exploit their natural resources. The governments and corporations of the rich world are the true leeches of not only our national reserves, but the reserves of the world at large. Can we really stand idly by while these tyrants burn our future to the floor?
The map shows what a crazy world we really live in and how easy we, in the rich developed world, truly find it to disconnect from the plight and reality of most of our fellow humans. I recently came across a website that’s helping me voice my concerns and raise some awareness for these issues. Ferratum lender has given me access to much needed cash in these unstable and uncertain economic times. It’s allowed me to continue writing, reading, analyzing and educating myself and I highly recommend anybody struggling to make ends meet to give the website a try. That’s all for this week!
When it comes to corporations and politics it’s no secret nowadays that the two are, and have been for a long time, incredibly comfortable bed fellows. It should also come as no surprise then when we see news explaining how selective our government is being when it comes to funding big business. I’m an environmentalist and as such I always like to focus on business and corporate news which affects the world at large. This news story is alarming, but unfortunately not at all surprising. Time and time again we see governments across the developed world continually neglecting their duty to do what’s best for the human species instead choosing to do what’s best for the wallets of a select few individuals.
At least our government makes a token effort to help people be more energy efficient in their day to day lives by offering guidance and advice but can this kind of conscious consuming really work? It seems to me that unless we are all united in one cause then it can’t have much of a notable or useful effect on the way things are progressing. It’s all very well and good putting the onus on consumers to spend and consume with more awareness, but if the government isn’t willing to encourage big business to do the same, what’s the point?
I introduced the TPP in my last post. It’s been receiving a lot of coverage online, but very little via mainstream news sources, nevertheless it’s something we all need to be aware of. I recently came across this post giving 5 reasons to protest the TPP and it makes a lot of alarming but apparently valid points. The bottom line is what most grabbed my attention, ‘Corporate Power over Governments and Citizens.’ I can’t quite wrap my head around the idea that a corporation will be granted more power than a government. So I started looking for examples on how this is likely to play out in the future. There is a worry that enshrouded within the secrecy of the TPP lie powers which will grant corporations the ability to sue governments for impeding their business. This example from a few years ago shows what could follow if the TPP is pushed through. As I mentioned in the last blog, Australia seems to following America’s lead very closely when it comes to the TPP, doesn’t this seem a bit silly when we’ve already had a taste of what corporations are likely to do once they gain these powers?
For anybody seeking further information regarding the TPP, I found this video an intriguing angle to consider.
In this post I want to talk a little about the TPP. It’s a huge issue the resolution of which will affect the relationships between corporation and governments for years to come. Firstly, TPP stands for Trans-Pacific Partnership. It’s a free-trade agreement designed to open up and encourage international trade between groups of countries. The contents of the agreement have been in negotiation since 2010 with additional rounds of negotiations having taken place 4 or 5 times a year since then. I’m alarmed, as all Australians are being encouraged to be, because these negotiations which are happening so regularly are virtually 100% clandestine. Details of what is being discussed within the meetings are few and far between with warnings coming from several prominent analysts (and at least one Nobel prizewinner) that the agreement will benefit only the wealthiest of the world. Even though protests are erupting on-line and on streets all over the globe, it looks like the mystery shrouding this agreement will be tough to tear down. One thing seems certain however, that here in Australia with Abbott at the helm, it’s looking like the TPP is not going to disappear any time soon.