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Archive for 12. Mai 2018

Climate change will affect developing countries more than rich ones

Posted by hkarner - 12. Mai 2018

Date: 10-05-2018
Source: The Economist

Temperatures in tropical climates will become far more variable

GLOBAL warming is often used as a synonym for climate change, and most discussions of the topic focus on the expected increase in average global temperatures. However, the frequency and severity of individual, catastrophic weather events depend heavily on the variability of temperatures as well as their mean. The larger the swings, the more often extremely hot or cold conditions can wreak havoc.

Unfortunately, according to a new study by Sebastian Bathiany of Wageningen University and three other scientists, poor countries are not only predicted to bear the brunt of the increase in average temperatures, but also to suffer from higher variation. Their paper finds that, as the planet warms, soil in areas near the equator will dry up, reducing its ability to dampen temperature swings. This problem is expected to be especially acute in the Amazon rainforest. Consequently, the authors expect the standard deviation of monthly temperatures to increase by nearly 20% in Brazil.

In contrast, countries in the northern latitudes, which are mostly rich, will not be affected nearly as much by changes in soil moisture. Far from the equator, countries will actually see smaller temperature fluctuations, because of changing atmospheric patterns. In terms of both means and variances, the countries that bear the most historical responsibility for climate change are likely to be the ones least harmed by its consequences.

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China Has Already Won the Drone Wars

Posted by hkarner - 12. Mai 2018

Date: 11-05-2018
Source: http://foreignpolicy.com/

Chinese companies are proving that America is not first in the UAV export market. Can Trump roll that back?

Jordan’s Chinese drone

AMMAN, Jordan — At a military airfield on the outskirts of the Jordanian capital, three American businessmen stood admiring the star exhibit, which looked eerily familiar: a large drone, armed with weapons under its wings, with a domed front.

“They brought the Predator here,” said one, in reference to the ubiquitous U.S. drone used in wars from Bosnia to Iraq.

“That is not a Predator,” another countered.

The drone on display was, in fact, a Chinese unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) called the Rainbow CH-4, which has quickly spread around the world. Jordan bought the drone in 2015 but displayed it publicly for the first time this year at the Special Operations Forces Exhibition and Conference, known as SOFEX, a biennial event where companies market their latest wares.

Once upon a time, the sight would have been unthinkable: The MQ-1 Predator and its successor, the more lethal MQ-9 Reaper, were for more than a decade synonymous with armed drones. But that now is changing, not because Beijing has built a better drone but because it has been willing to sell them to countries where the United States wouldn’t.

For years, advocates of U.S. arms sales bemoaned tight export restrictions on armed drones, which has allowed China to move in on a lucrative market while depriving American companies of valuable business. Jordan had originally requested to buy the Reaper, made by San Diego-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, but was turned down. When Beijing subsequently secured the deal, Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter lamented in late 2015 that “China is seizing the opportunity.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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John Weeks – Politics of Monetary Policy and Why Progressives Prefer to Tax & Spend

Posted by hkarner - 12. Mai 2018

Thanks to M.R.

One of the most important victories of neo-liberalism was banning serious fiscal policy by democratically elected governments to deal with economic crises, relegating this power to monetary policy of purportedly independent, yet unelected, central banks. The result has been increasing inequality. As john Weeks points out, change means reinstating fiscal policy as a tool of government and democracy.

John Weeks is Professor Emeritus at SOAS, University of London, and associate of Prime Economics

 The recent article Richard Murphy raised fundamental issues that should guide all progressive policy making.  Perhaps the most fundamental of these is the role of fiscal and monetary policies.  He makes the fundamental point that democratically accountable governments implement fiscal policy, while almost without exception the agents of monetary policy, central banks, are either unaccountable in law or in practice.

Neoliberalism is the route by which we reached this inversion of policy making, the ascendency of the unaccountable over representative and democratic.  Since the late 1970s the ideologues of economic policy have relentlessly propagandised against fiscal policy and in favour of monetary policy, with astounding success.  Even some putatively progressive organisations endorse the neoliberal ideology that central banks, not elected governments, should serve as the initiators of economic policy.  The so-called QE for the People is an example of the allegedly progressive version of central bank supremacy, a petition for which I endorsed in a moment of insufficient analysis. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Macron’s Internationalism and the New Politics

Posted by hkarner - 12. Mai 2018

Kemal Derviş, former Minister of Economic Affairs of Turkey and former Administrator for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), is Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

French President Emmanuel Macron initially described his new political movement as being “neither on the right nor on the left,” and now says that it is “on both the right and the left.” But he won’t be able to fudge it indefinitely: sooner or later, he will have to pick a side with which to ally.

WASHINGTON, DC – French President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to the United States last month was a study in contrasts. Despite the friendly dynamic, Macron’s agenda and rhetoric were almost diametrically opposed to US President Donald Trump’s. But Macron’s leadership is subject to an even more fundamental challenge; how he manages it could point the way forward for liberal-democratic politics.

Addressing the US Congress in English, Macron articulated a staunchly internationalist worldview, calling for stronger international institutions, a recommitment to the rules-based system of international trade, and a general embrace of globalization. With regard to Iran, he reiterated the need to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal, from which Trump has just withdrawn, though he did call for complementary agreements on topics that the existing agreement does not address.

Macron has also signaled that he will pursue a pan-European campaign for the 2019 European Parliament election. As a democrat, he believes that the deepening of the European Union must go hand in hand with the development of a truly European political space. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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