Over Easy: Around the World
(Picture courtesy of Herry Lawford at flickr.com.)
Welcome to Thursday’s Over Easy, a continuation of Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner and its tradition of giving an overview of news our everyday media doesn’t cover, issues that we ought to consider outside the U.S. scene. Yes, still from Over There in London, and I’m still showing the palace over easy eggs.
Today is the scheduled day for an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, for the U.S. Congress to give it a month’s consideration, not the most optimistic outlook for any international program.
Behind closed doors, Iran and the U.S. are engaged in one of the most difficult negotiations since the revolution, however this time it’s far more formal.
Kerry reiterated Sunday that the United States remains willing to walk away if Iran doesn’t budge on key points and a senior Iranian official also said that they do not see any definite deadline for their work in Vienna.
“Even with our understanding of the U.S. position, even if we pass July 9 is not the end of the world,” a senior Iranian official told reporters in Vienna on condition of anonymity.
Now it seems everything is up to the other members of the P5+1 which can act as a mediator in the run up to the deadline.
While the world watches Greece struggle out of the deathgrip of the EU austerity demand, promising reforms that stop short of meeting EU demands, China has seen its stock market lose a third of its worth. “A move to ban big investors from selling stocks may have helped to support the market, analysts said.”
As in 1920s America, China’s stock market boom has ridden in tandem with an equally speculative real estate bubble.
The macro-economic backdrop is also surprisingly similar. Then, as now in China, rural workers had emigrated to the cities in vast numbers in the hope of finding a more prosperous life in fast-growing industrial sectors. In 1920s America, virtually all these sectors – from steel to automobiles and the new technologies of radio and consumer durables – grew like Topsy, inspiring households to invest in them and chase the apparently bountiful profits they were generating. A similar explosion in industrial activity has taken place in China, only more so. China has packed more development into a few short decades than any country in recorded history before, creating a worldwide glut in industrial capacity that even global demand, let alone domestic Chinese demand, is struggling to accommodate.
Already, there are warning signs of a slowdown, similar to those that front-ran the 1929 crash – depressed commodity prices and a virtual hiatus in global trade growth. The Chinese economy is like one of those cartoon characters who manages to keep running long after leaving the edge of the cliff, only belatedly to look down and plunge into the abyss.
The survivors of the 2012 massacre of miners of Marikana, South Africa – on strike to win the conditions their contract called for – continue to hold out for the upgrading of life in their community, and responsibility has been adjudged on the Lonmin mining company for failure to comply.
…despite what some regard as a rather neutered final product, hindered by obstructive police participation and even attempts to falsify and destroy evidence, Meyersfeld believes the world’s third-largest producer of platinum was lambasted.
“The best, and most surprising, part of the report is the fact that Lonmin’s role in not complying with their Social and Labour Plans is clear,” she says, referring to the deal made when Nelson Mandela’s ANC won the country’s first non-racial, democratic elections in 1994 and stipulated that mines commit to improving the lot of their workers and the surrounding communities in exchange for maintaining the mining rights they’d enjoyed under the apartheid regime.
“Perhaps the silence of the mining company responsible for the conditions that led to the massacre will finally come to an end,” says Meyersfeld of the mining giant that, until recent retrenchments, employed 28,000 workers.