FM newswire for May 28, interesting articles about geopolitics

Today’s links to interesting news and analysis. If you find this useful, please pass it to a friend or colleague.

  1. The flaws in the Euro were obvious from the start:  “Fantasy land“, Mark Steyn, The Telegraph, 30 December 2001
  2. A Roadmap to Folly in Afghanistan – The Arrogance of Ignorance“, Franklin C. Spinney, CounterPunch, 17 May 2010
  3. The world’s most valuable stuff – Mostly because of farming, water is increasingly scarce. Managing it better could help“, Economist, 20 May 2010
  4. About the BP we’ve come to know and hate:  “Slick Operator: The BP I’ve Known Too Well“, Greg Palast, truthout, 20 May 2010
  5. A great intro to modern war:  “COIN“, Chet Richards (Colonel, USAF, retired), Fast Transients, 20 May 2010
  6. But their fear-mongering PR is first-rate:  “Meet Your New Commander-in-Geek“, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason, 26 May 2010 — “U.S. Cyber Command has no idea why it exists.”
  7. Bad news:  “Toxicity Aside, Dispersants Could Undermine Natural Oil-Eaters“, Science, 26 May 2010 — See this post for more about dispersants.
  8. Q&A with an expert about the Gulf oil spill:  Greg McCormack (Director of the Petroleum Extension Service, U Texas), Washington Post, 27 May 2010
  9. Why did I believe in the “liberal media”?  Was I wrong, or did they change?  “Looniness in the Cause of Deficit Reduction at the NYT“, Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research, 27 May 2010
  10. The American Century Is So Over – Obama’s Rudderless Foreign Policy Underscores America’s Waning Power“, Dilip Hiro, TomDispatch, 27 May 2010
  11. Nothing binds our leaders:  “French minister says bail-out alters EU treaty“, Financial Times, 27 May 2010 — “It is expressly forbidden in the treaties by the famous no bail-out clause. De facto, we have changed the treaty,”
  12. Wall Street’s War“, Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, 10 June 2010 — “Congress looked serious about finance reform – until America’s biggest banks unleashed an army of 2,000 paid lobbyists”

About Europe

Sometimes economists, like soldiers, buy time for a people to take harsh measures.  It’s won at great cost; let’s not squander it. 

  1. Eurozone must embrace the pain of debt restructuring“, George Magnus, 26 May 2010
  2. Here’s the facts (see the Executive Summary):  “Surveillance of intra-euro-area competitiveness and imbalances“, The European Commission, 3 May 2010

An important new study about energy consumption and agriculture

Energy Use in the U.S. Food System“, Economic Research Service of the US Dept of Agriculture, March 2010 — What does this suggest about China’s future energy demand?  Summary:

Energy is an important input in growing, processing, packaging,distributing, storing, preparing, serving, and disposing of food.  Analysis using the two most recent U.S. benchmark input-output accounts and a national energy data system shows that in the United States, use of energy along the food chain for food purchases by or for U.S.households increased between 1997 and 2002 at more than six times the rate of increase in total domestic energy use. This increase in food-related energy flows is over 80% of energy flow increases nationwide over the period.

The use of more energy-intensive technologies throughout the U.S. food system accounted for half of this increase, with the remainder attributed to population growth and higher real (inflation-adjusted) per capita food expenditures. A projection of food-related energy use based on 2007 total U.S. energy consumption and food expenditure data and the benchmark 2002 input-output accounts suggests that food-related energy use as a share of the national energy budget grew from 14.4% in 2002 to an estimated 15.7% in 2007.

For more information about this see the FM reference page Food – articles about this global crisis.


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