Friday, July 3, 2009

"Everyday, Life passes by"

Philosophical (in pop art form, music):

everyday, life passes by, ....

"2009, the year of our discontent"

A pop art type comment on the dynamics in 2009!

thoughts on EU dynamics and future

IMO anti-EU activists should be supporting the Lisbon EU Treaty! Why? Because it will provide the framework for countries to leave the EU

IMO it will not be the end of the EU if 1 or 2 countries with dominant anti-EU opinions decide to leave the 27+ member EU. On the contrary, it may allow the EU to move "deeper".

The New European Commission

Should a new European Commission be formed before or after the future of the Lisbon EU Treaty is settled?

That makes IMO a lot of difference. Eg, will the Commissioners be 27 or will the Lisbon style of Commission synthesis be applied for the upcoming year term?

At the moment, it seems that a July 15 European Parliament vote of a European Commission President is unlikely.

Eurozone inflation, interest rate, consumption and unemployment

1) Eurozone inflation was -0.1% in June (0% in May), first time since the establishment of the Euro currency.

Analyses differ at to whether this an isolated occurence or it will continue in the coming months.

2) The European Central Bank kept its key interest rate unchanged at 1% at its monthly meeting (July 2)

3) The unemployment rate rose to 9.5% in May from 9.3% in April

Hence, 15 million people in the Eurozone were out of work in May 2009!

In the EU27, the rate in May was 8.9% (21.5 million jobless in the EU in May)

Spain tops the list of 27 with 18.7% and NL has the lowest, only 3.2%.

4) Retail sales fell 0.4% on a month-on-month basis, as opposed to an April 0.1% rise. On a yearly basis the decline in retail sales in May was 3.3%.

Reminder: The Euro-zone consists of 16 of the 27 member economies of the European Union.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The EU, "Lisbon" and "United States of Europe"

What does Germany's highest court ruling on the Lisbon Treaty really mean for the EU? IMO, too early to tell.

Is a "United States of Europe" feasible in the EU?

IMO, no!


The present and future absence of a common working language sur le terrain (ie the workplaces and markets and streets around the EU). In the US, people may speak any language at home but at the shop or store etc, English is the language. That type of situation is not likely to happen, IMO, in the EU, within the next 100 years at least!

PS. IMO/IME, each of the 50 states in the USA has much more "power" than most Europeans and other non-American think, including those who are afraid of a "United States of Europe".

But that is IMO "irrelevant" or a moot issue. The EU will not become a USE for the reason (language) that I proposed above.

Or will it?
Or a Federal Republic (German style)?

updated: June 10, 2011

The competitiveness of the US and EU economies, 2009 and beyond

36.2m jobless in EU+USA (21.5m in EU in May, 14.7 m in USA in June): Will the US and EU economies ever be able to re-create even nearly so many jobs, taking into account the current and future global systemics and dynamics?

US unemployment (June)

67,000 jobs were lost in the US in June, raising the unemployment rate to 9.5% from 9.4% in May.

on "Trade Wars"

Lots of trade rules dispute cases are being brought to the World Trade Organisation: The US vs. China, China vs the US, the EU and the EU vs. China, on different issues/products of course. Are these not "trade wars"?

In the meantime, these and other parties want the world trade talks to resume.

Does all this make sense? And to whom?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

India's exports hit by global recession

Exports are a significant factor for the economy of India, 15% of GDP.

Thus the news that India's exports fell in May for the 8th consecutive month is crucial.

Exports in May were down 29.2% from May 2008 and imports 39.2% (valued in India's national currency) and the trade deficit was about 50% that of May 2008.

Which begs the economic, social and philosophical question: Is reduction of countries' trade deficit due to the global recession a "good" or a "bad" thing? Food for thought.

Irish unemployment in June

11.9%, the highest in more than 13 years!

can we re-define "economics"

Can we begin to understand the causes of the current distortions to "orthodox" capitalism?
Eg can we address the issue of economic greed and greed for consumer goods? Its drivers? Can philosophers provide the prototypes for inspiring people to redirect their sources of satisfaction towards less materialist, less greedy, less environment destructive "targets"/applications?

Can we help people replace material status symbols with intellectual ones?

Can we find the alternative to shareholder and profit maximization systemic goals?

Can we re-define economics in a definition that is more relevant to the actual roots of the term?

on climate change

The core of the problem is cultural and IMO philosophical

Can we redirect most of our needs and wants away from tangible to intangible - intellectual "products"?

Can we put the tech advances of the last 200 yrs into better, more environment friendly, use?

"Independence" and "sovereignty" in 2009 terms

The national independence days for the US and France are approaching (July 4 and July 14). IMO that is a good opportunity to think about factors what constitute "independence" and (another popular term again these days) "sovereignty" in 2009 rather than 1509 or 1809 terms.

The global oil and staple foods "shocks" of last year did, IMO, offer some warnings as to the over-reliance of countries and economies on global trade. IMO they did provide some food for thought re the ability of a country or economy/society to operate in cases, even rare, when "global free trade" fails,, for any of many potential reasons.

See eg the ability of the UK economy to operate when the drivers of barges carrying oil to the UK went on strike even for a few days last year (self reliance on energy sources) or the dependence of the EU on natural gas from a single third country.

Much of the British public and media seem to be concerned over the issue of loss of sovereignty to "Brussels" (ie the EU) and that was reflected, inter alia, in the results of the recent European Parliament elections. Yet relatively little concern seem to exist in the UK over the influence of foreign "sovereign wealth funds" on the UK's sovereignty or independence. On the other hand, countries such as Russia and Germany have in recent months either established (Russia) or plan to establish (Germany) certain limits or conditions or approval processes re foreigh investment, especially investment, direct or via the stockmarket, made by funds that are controlled by foreign governments (SWFs).

Thus are laws drafted and passed by reps of the 27 member states of the EU undermining the independence or sovereignty of the UK or other member states more or less than:

a) SWF investments
b) over-reliance on exports (see what is happening to the economies of export relying countries such as Germany, China, Taiwan, Thailand, etc) these days?
c) over-reliance on imports or foreign trade (export and import)?
d) having reserves that are denoted in a foreign sovereign currency?
e) other

On the other hand, can trade really take place even within the existing WTO rules that makes it possible for small companies to actually trade internationally when such a company has to comply with the national legislation of many different countries (or even regions thereof, eg see Canada or states (see USA or Germany)?

IMO, we, policy analysts and makers, media, the citizens' society, philosophers and other thinkers, activists of many kinds, etc, need to engage in a major thinking exercise and public discussion on what constitutes real independence and real sovereignty in 2009 terms and what does not. IMO the current definitions used or implied by many are inconsistent or not that relevant to the real sources and real threats of these concepts and values in our era.

The exercise should include, IMO, the issue of "national champions" and "backbones to national economies" (eg financial services in the UK, auto manufacturing in Germany and the US, etc etc).

That is of course a rather difficult and emotionally loaded topic but when the going gets as tough as it is today (and the fuzz as well), there is IMO a need for these "things" to be discussed and somewhat clarified. Because IMO what the modern citizen of most at least OECD (if not WTO) countries needs these days of uber-uncertainties is more clarity, not less (aka more political or activist "double talk", eg how can a "buy US" clause in the US stimulus package be consistent with the US's WTO (and NAFTA) "rules"?).

In days and times of high uncertainty, due to many causes, IMO, people need policy, rules and systemics that reduce rather than increase "fuzz".

Just my philosophical opinion