Showing posts from May 12, 2014

Does austerity work? There’s no proof that it does

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The Journal of Turkish Weekly, 12 May 2014

Marcus Eberhardt talks to Viv Davies about his recent research with Andrea Presbitero that analyses the links between debt and growth by using data on total public debt for 105 economies between 1972 and 2009 and two centuries of data for the UK, US, Sweden and Japan. The authors conclude that there is no convincing proof that austerity works and that it is dangerous for policy makers to pretend otherwise. The interview was recorded in April 2014 at the annual conference of the Royal Economic Society.

To listen the interview:

Walmart US CEO Gets A $1.5 Million Bonus For Missing Expectations While A Worker Gets $0

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[The poor baby, how will he make ends meet? He may need to sell a yacht just to keep his trophy-wife in minks. *RON*]

By Brendan V. Duke, ThinkProgress, May 12, 2014
The New York Times reports that Walmart US CEO William Simon’s contract gave him the opportunity to earn a $1.5 million bonus last year on top of $10 million in salary and stock awards if the company’s American net sales grew by 2 percent. But net sales grew only 1.8 percent last year and Simon still received his bonus. That’s because Walmart calculated an “adjusted” sales growth over 2 percent that “corrected” for a series of factors that it said were beyond Simon’s control. Similarly, the company’s proxy statement reveals that executives would still receive a cash incentive even if the company’s total operating income declined by 1.5 percent.

Simon’s “performance pay” can be compared to the pay structure for Walmart associates revealed in an internal document last year. It lays out …

The Real Reasons for the Great Lime Crisis

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[Limes are the canary in the globalization and climate change coal-mine. *RON*]

By Andrew Nikiforuk, 7 May 2014,
If you ever need a reminder how fragile and unpredictable globalization has made the world's food supply, just consider the humble lime.

In recent months, a constellation of unpredictable events have conspired to increase the price of the tasty fruit from 23 cents to more than $1 in North America.

A 40-pound box that once sold for $16 now goes for $120. And most of the contents are juiceless and tasteless nubs.

Because of "The Great Lime Crisis of 2014," restaurants from New York to Los Angeles have stopped selling margaritas and making guacamole. Many bars now charge for a slice of lime.

David Karp, a citrus expert, recently asked a good questionin the New York Times: Is the lime an endangered species?

Everyone agrees lime price volatility is here to stay, much like Rob Ford.

Most news stories blame it on a M…

60 Minutes grills BC salmon farmers, government

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[It's worse than pathetic how far the Harper government will bend over for unscrupulous business that are harming the environment as long as, in the end, a corporation turns a profit - while they are being underwritten with taxpayer welfare. *RON*]
By Damien Gillis, Commonsense Canadian, 12 May 2014

Top-rated American TV newsmagazine program 60 Minutes sunk its teeth into BC’s longstanding salmon farming controversy last night.

While the program – hosted by renowned health commentator Dr. Sanjay Gupta – stopped short of passing judgement on the aquaculture industry, it left viewers with some real food for thought on everything from the risk of viral outbreaks to the waste with which farms coat the seafloor.
Industry sticks to its guns

Marine Harvest spokesperson Ian Roberts stuck with the industry’s favourite argument – that it somehow takes pressure off of wild stocks by growing fish for human consumption. “By raising fish in the ocean, we’re ac…

Has America’s Use of Finance as a Foreign Policy Tool Backfired?

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[The US government has worked hand-in-glove with Wall Street to turn the world into one large looting zone for mega-banks, using finance as a foreign policy tool that has harmed the economies of the developing world and hurt America's reputation as a fair and reputable dealer. *RON*]
By Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, May 12, 2014

From the 1980s onward, one of the major aims of American foreign policy has been to make the world safer for US investment bankers. That might seem like an exaggeration until you look at the priorities of American economic policy as well as the actions of US-dominated international institutions like the World Bank and the IMF. The World Bank, though its International Finance Corporations, pushed emerging economies to set up capital markets. The posture was that more open markets were always better.

Now that we’ve had repeated tsunamis of hot money flows in and out of small economies wreak havoc with them, conventional w…

There's A Strange Article In The Wall Street Journal About Inflation

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[More putative "news" from the inflationista hysterics at the Wall Street Journal. *RON*]
Calculated Risk , Business Intelligence, May 12, 2014

A somewhat strange story on inflation in the WSJ: Markets Watch, Warily, for a Small Bump in Inflation

Normally, a move of a couple of tenths of a percentage point in the inflation measures wouldn't matter much to anyone. But the stakes are high now as Federal Reserve officials justify their plan to keep short-term interest rates near zero in part because inflation is running so far below their 2% objective.

Fed officials expect inflation to move from near 1% to 1.5% by year-end. If it moves up sooner or more than they expect, officials could consider raising rates sooner than planned.

Uh, the Fed expects inflation to move up towards 2%, and if it doesn't, the Fed might slow or stop the tapering of QE3 asset purchases. In her testimony last week, Fed Chair Yellen said: "Looking ahead,…

Kinder Morgan oil spill volume from 2013 was quadruple the reported amount

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[Kinder Morgan (KM) originally claimed the spill was caused by a manufacturer's flaw, then admitted it was pipeline fatigue and provided a low-ball estimate of the spill size. When a critic suggested the spill was substantially larger than reported KM attacked his credentials. The final report, obtained with difficulty from the National Energy Board, showed the spill to be four times larger than KM had reported. *RON*]

Jenny Uechi, Vancouver Observer, May 12th, 2014
After persistently prodding the National Energy Board, pipeline critic David Ellis finally got a report on Kinder Morgan's two oil spills along the Trans Mountain pipeline route. The spills happened last June, and had temporarily shut the pipeline down for investigation.

What he saw on page two of Kinder Morgan's Engineering Assessment floored him. It stated that instead of just 20-25 barrels spilled near the Coquihalla Canyon, the pipeline leaked well over quadruple that …

Kinder Morgan Pipeline Spill Prevention Questioned By B.C.

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[Province submits 70 questions to Kinder Morgan; MLA Andrew Weaver had drafted 500 of them. Kinder Morgan and Northern Gateway are two of 16 projects (8 of which are in BC) mentioned by the UN as creating "an atmosphere of contentiousness and mistrust" between the government and the Aboriginal community. *RON*]

By Dene Moore, CP / Huffington Post, 05/12/2014

VANCOUVER - The British Columbia government has questions for Kinder Morgan about the proposed expansion of its Trans Mountain pipeline through the province.

After reviewing the company's application to the National Energy Board, the province submitted 70 requests Monday for more information on oil spill prevention and response plans on land and at sea.

"Our staff have reviewed the overall application from Kinder Morgan," Environment Minister Mary Polak said at the legislature.

"What they have done is identified any gaps in information, places where they don't beli…