Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries (and sometimes longer ones) of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.
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Today’s topics include:
The Great Dollar Shortage
$20 Oil Coming?
Commodity Bust is History Repeated
Another Coal Giant Bankrupt
Supreme Court to Destroy Unions?
Clinton Proposes Raising Taxes on Top 0.03%
Merkel’s Cologne Problem
Germany Sending Migramts Back to Austria
Syrians to Get Work Permits in Turkey
Parental Leave is Smart Economics
Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world
Oil dive deepens to 12-year low; $20 warning on China (Reuters) A brutal new year selloff in oil markets quickened on Monday, with prices plunging 6% to new 12-year lows as further ructions in the Chinese stock market threatened to knock crude as low as $20 a barrel.
A majority of the Supreme Court seemed ready Monday to agree with a group of California teachers who say it violates their First Amendment rights to be forced to pay dues to the state’s teachers union.
A 40-year-old precedent allows states to permit unions to collect a so-called agency fee from non-members to support collective bargaining activities, and California is one of about 20 states that allow it.
Public employee unions say such fees are essential to their well-being, and that challenges to the arrangement are born of conservative efforts to weaken their strength. Liberal justices during an hour and a half of oral arguments said the challengers had not supplied the kind of evidence required for the court to overturn a precedent.
But the court’s conservative majority in 2012 and 2014 expressed grave doubts about the 1977 decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, and there seemed little reason after the oral arguments for unions to think the majority was not ready to now finish it off.
New gloom for Rockies coal with Arch bankruptcy filing (Associated Press) The beginning of bankruptcy proceedings for the nation's second-biggest coal company cast another dark cloud over the economy of Wyoming and other states in the top coal-producing region, following a bankruptcy filing by another major coal operator last year. Arch Coal Inc.'s Chapter 11 reorganization announced Monday won't affect employee pay or benefits, cause mines to close, curtail production, or interrupt deliveries, the St. Louis-based company said in prepared statements. Arch officials didn't rule out mine closures or layoffs based on long-term trends, however, and it remains unknown when and how the industry might somehow halt its downward spiral.
EU migrant crisis: Germany sends migrants back to Austria (BBC News) Germany has been sending an increasing number of migrants back to Austria every day since the beginning of the month, Austrian police say. Many had no valid documents, whilst others did not want to apply for asylum in Germany but in other countries, notably in Scandinavia, police said.
Angels Merkel's Cologne Test(The New Yorker) There have been 32 arrests thus far in the sexual assaults cases in Cologne on New Year's Eve: nine Algerians, eight Moroccans, five Iranians, four Syrians, three Germans, one Iraqi, one Serb, and one American. There may be more to come. Of the 32, approximately 2/3 are in some stage of the asylum process. For Merkel’s critics, New Year’s Eve in Cologne was the inevitable result, proof that her policy was doomed to fail. But Merkel said that the rules would be adjusted to make it easier to deny asylum to criminals. This was, she said, “not only in the interest of citizens but in the interest of the great majority of refugees.” See also next article.
In many parts of the world, Western women are pictured as sex-crazed creatures. Since Arab women are supposed to be modest, seeing a Western woman dressed provocatively can be seen as an invitation based upon their culture. Many were dressed up for the New Year’s Eve party.
Swedish police probe 'cover up of migrant sex assaults' (BBC News) Police in the Swedish capital Stockholm have launched an internal investigation into accusations that the force covered up widespread sexual assaults by mostly migrant youths at a music festival. In a case echoing recent attacks in Cologne, a group of men reportedly groped girls at the We Are Sthlm event. Police ejected 200 people from the site in August but did not mention assaults in their reports to the press. Sweden was the first country to offer permanent residence to Syrian refugees.
Turkey to let Syrians work in bid to stem refugee flow into EU (Al Jazeera) Turkey plans to offer work permits for Syrian refugees, an official said Monday, announcing a step that was praised by advocates for refugees, although the policy is primarily aimed at slowing the flow of refugees into Europe. The shift by Turkey, which has become the world’s biggest host of refugees since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, comes after a deal struck between Ankara and the European Union in November over how to manage the surge of Syrian refugees into Europe.
The Front Lines (The New Yorker) To retake the city of Mosul from ISIS, rival groups need to form an alliance. Can they? The Kurds and the Iraqi government do not have a good record of working together.
Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea
The Great Dollar Shortage of 2016 (5 Min. Forecast) Subscriber content. From Jim Rickards: “For every dollar printed by the Fed [since 2008], about 20 dollars of new debt was created.” This indicates that there is a shortage of dollars. Econintersect: Why is this so? We suggest it is a consequence of the structure of the global monetary system under which most of the money in the world is created as private bank issued credit (debt). See recent articles by Randy Wray, Derryl Hermanutz, Joe Bongiovanni and John Hemington, with more expected in the coming week from Wray, Hermanutz and Eric Tymoigne.
The Commodity Bust: Those Who Don't Know Economics Are Doomed To Repeat History (Forbes) This time is not different. This analyst says the current commodity bust runs parallel to the one 35 years ago and has the same cause: over investment in production leads to over production and then to falling prices. Econintersect: If the analysis is correct then low commodity prices will be with us for years, jus as they were in the 1980s.
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