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posted on 12 September 2015

Early Headlines: Melt Antarctica?, No Rate Hike?, Chinese Citizens Worried About Market System,

Written by John Lounsbury

Early Bird Headlines 12 September 2015

Econintersect: Here are some of the headlines we found to help you start your day. For more headlines see our afternoon feature for GEI members, What We Read Today, which has many more headlines and a number of article discussions to keep you abreast of what we have found interesting.



UN votes for new debt rules but UK tries to block (Jubilee Debt Campaign) Hat tip to Roger Erickson. The United Nations General Assembly has voted to accept new rules to guide sovereign debt restructurings. At a vote in New York on Thursday evening, the set of nine principles were adopted with 136 votes in favour, just 6 against and 41 abstentions. However, implementation of the principles is in doubt as the majority of international debt is governed by US or UK law. Both the US and UK were amongst the just six countries which voted against. The other four countries which voted against were Canada, Germany, Israel and Japan.

Antarctica to Melt Without Curbs on Fossil Fuels, Study Finds (Bloomberg) Burning all the Earth's remaining coal, oil and natural gas would trigger enough warming to melt the entire Antarctic ice shelf, eventually obliterating coastal regions around the world, researchers said in a report Friday. See next article.

Combustion of available fossil fuel resources sufficient to eliminate the Antarctic Ice Sheet (Science Advances) If all the fossil fuels on the planet were burned, the temperature of earth would be raised sufficiently by the CO2 emmissions released to completely melt the anarctic ice cap. The time scale involved in such a process is more than 1,000 years. Before those 1,000 years had passed it is estimated that the ice melt from anarctica would raise sea levels by 10s of meters. When completed the sea levels would be 60 meters (195 feet) higher than they are today. In New York City only Washington Heights would remain above the water line


Signs of Weak Growth and Tepid Inflation Ahead of Fed Meeting (The New York Times) Hat tip to Marvin Clark. United States consumer sentiment hit its lowest point in a year in early September and producer prices were flat in August, signaling moderate economic growth and tame inflation that could weigh on the Federal Reserve's decision whether to raise interest rates next week. The rising value of the dollar (up 17.5% in 14 months), as well as the lower price of oil, are the two main drivers of the the disinflation/delfation trend. Raising rates would not have a direct effect on the price of oil but would tend to push the dollar still higher.

Exclusive - U.S. to China: Take back your undocumented immigrants (Reuters) backlog of nearly 39,000 people Chinese nationals awaiting deportation for violating U.S. immigration laws, 900 of them classed as violent offenders, according to immigration officials. For many China has failed to provide the necessary documents for repatriation when the U.S. has requested. On the other hand, China has been pressing the U.S. regarding the return of Chinese citizens it says are fugitives from corruption investigations at home. Econintersect: Do you think Pres. Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping might do some "horse trading" when Xi visits Washington later this month?


All eyes on Fed after BoE leaves rates unchanged (City A.M.) The Bank of England left interest rates unchanged yesterday, saying that the threat to the world economy from China's stock-market slump did not signal a slowdown for Britain. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted 8-1 to keep rates unchanged at a record-low 0.5%, broadly agreeing with governor Mark Carney, who has said that China's slowdown is unlikely to derail the plan to gradually raise British rates.


Empathy and Angst in a German City Transformed by Refugees (The New York Times) Stress is showing as thousands of refugees arrive daily in Germany. There are shortages of cots and blankets, as well as fear of change among some Germans. One German mayor in the city of Erfurt, Thuringen, says he has changed in the last week from calling this "the greatest challenge since reunifiction" to this week "the greatest challenge since World War II".


Yanis Varoufakis: How Europe Crushed Greece (The New York Times) An analysis made also by others but never more succinctly:

The cause of this continuing trouble for Greece lies in the eurozone's existential crisis. The pioneers of the single currency, of whom Mr. Schäuble is the last active member, were undecided whether the euro should be modeled on the international gold standard of the interwar period or on a sovereign currency, like the dollar.

The gold standard relied on strict rules that were unenforceable during a crisis. In a severe downturn, these imposed the greatest burden on the worst-hit economies and thus made exit the only alternative to a humanitarian crisis. This is the reason that President Franklin D. Roosevelt took the United States off the gold standard in 1933, expanded the money supply and helped pull America out of the Depression.

A sovereign currency, or state money, demands a different, more flexible set of responses based on political union, as the French government and others have recently proposed. The great questions that Europe must answer are: What kind of political union do we want? And are we prepared to act quickly enough to prevent the fragmentation of the eurozone?


Q. and A.: Tony Saich on What Chinese Want From Their Leaders (The New York Times) Surveys of public opinion in China over the years have shown fairly consistent results, but recenty some new concerns have arisen:

From our most recent survey [in 2014], attitudes have remained pretty much the same with the one exception, not surprisingly, of government actions to curb corruption. On the whole, citizens are more satisfied with services that a strong state and the planning apparatus are good at delivering, such as building infrastructure and providing social safety. By contrast, they are most concerned about the risks that a move to market forces creates, such as employment issues and the new problems created in the reform era involving environmental health and corruption.

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