Showing posts from March 11, 2014

Short-Term Unemployment Is In Pretty Good Shape. Long-Term Unemployment Continues To Be a Catastrophe.

Read the original article here.
["...long-term unemployment is now practically our entire unemployment problem." *RON*]
Kevin Drum, Mother Jones, March 10, 2014

Via Zachary Goldfarb, here's a chart from the 2014 Economic Report of the President. It shows unemployment rates of various durations, and I've redrawn it a bit to scale everything to 100 in 2007. That gives you a clearer idea of what's going on. As you can see, short-term unemployment levels are nearly back to their 2007 levels and continuing to drop. Long-term unemployment, by contrast, is still three times its 2007 level.

For all practical purposes, long-term unemployment is now practically our entire unemployment problem.

The hard lives — and high suicide rate — of Native American children on reservations

See the original article here.
[A tough issue to know how to respond to best. I haven't followed the literature for a long time, but in the 1980s and 1990s a lot of energy was put into warning people not to fall into the self-fulfilling trap of the stereotype of "the suicidal Indian." It has been a consistent finding, however, that cultural enrichment, community development and economic development are among the best interventions; these are nowhere mentioned in this article. *RON*]
By Sari Horwitz, The Washington Post, March 9, 2014
View Photo Gallery — Youths’ suicides rattle Indian country: The silence that has shrouded suicide in Indian country is being pierced by growing alarm at the sheer numbers of young Native Americans taking their own lives — more than three times the national average, and up to 10 times the average on some reservations.

SACATON, ARIZ. The tamarisk tree down the dirt road from Tyler Owens’s house is the one where the teenage girl who lived across…

Increasing homogeneity in global food supplies and the implications for food security

See the original abstract and link to the article and data appendices here.

Colin K. Khourya, Anne D. Bjorkmanc, Hannes Dempewolfd, Julian Ramirez-Villegasa, Luigi Guarinof, Andy Jarvisa, Loren H. Riesebergd, and Paul C. Struik, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, March 2014.

[The global food supply is becoming more homogeneous which increases risk if any one crop is affected by disease. It also creates stronger food dependencies for nations that increasingly rely on imported seeds and food. The energy-dense foods that are now most common contribute to obesity; we are getting more calories from fat and protein. This pattern also contributes to less global microbial gut diversity, which is linked to a variety of chronic illnesses. *RON*]

The narrowing of diversity in crop species contributing to the world’s food supplies has been considered a potential threat to food security. However, changes in this diversity have not been quantified globally. We assess trends …

We Need to Save Canada From the Harper Economy

Read the original article here.

[More on the de-industrialization of the Canadian petro-economy. *RON*]

Russ Blinch, Chief Scribbler,, Huffington Post, 03/11/2014

Canada's economy has lost its balance. Trouble looms.

Those are not words you will hear from Prime Minister Stephen Harper but it is the grim reality of the unsustainable economic ethos of his Conservative government.

Instead of the telling us the truth, the government is spending unprecedented gobs of our money to mislead us about the health of the country with the Canada Action Plan advertising campaign saturating the airwaves. In reality, our petro premier has transformed a balanced country into a petro-state that is "hollowing out" the economy.

Last Friday, we found out we lost 7,000 jobs in February. Statistics Canada noted "there has been little overall employment growth in Canada since August 2013." Economists, in their typical veiled language, are warning us about the dark shadows sta…

Canada-South Korea Free-Trade Deal Inked

See the original article here.

[I imagine it's no accident that the automobile sector, one of the few bastions of strong unionization left in Canada, is hit hard by this deal while the lightly unionized, low wage agricultural sector is a big winner (which also helps ensure that we remain a nation of hewers of wood and drawers of water). Also, note Harper's successful end-run around the Provincial governments. *RON*]

The Canadian Press, Huffington Post, 03/11/2014

SEOUL, South Korea - Prime Minister Stephen Harper is touting a free-trade deal with South Korea as a major boost for Canadian exporters looking for a toehold into the lucrative Asian marketplace.

The announcement puts an end to nearly a decade of on-again, off-again talks, and marks Canada's first free-trade foray into the Asia-Pacific region, which the governing Conservatives have targeted as essential for the country's economic well-being.

"This agreement is a great deal for both our countries," Ha…