Monday 18 April 2011

Events occurring thick and fast

Material has been coming through thick and fast, so much so that it is hard to keep up.

First you are following a revolution in Egypt, then the whole region explodes - Yemen, Bahrain, Syria.

Then there is an earthquake and a tsunami in northeastern Japan followed quickly by a partial meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

On Japan I found this excellent, well-thought-out article from a Canadian commentator on Japan's dependence on oil, which I can recommend.

On Fukushima this piece by CNN of a ghost town, Futaba within the evacuation zone stands out.

As I take my eyes off events in Northern Africa things get worse there as well as in the Middle East. Oil prices spike.

Meanwhile the prices of food increase, especially in places where people can scarcely afford, and along with oil the price of other commodities like gold and silver (which go up as the dollar goes down).  See this article about the situation in Kenya.

Zoellick from the World Bank said that the poor of the world are only 'one shock' away from crisis as food prices soar, while this article which gives 20 signs that a food crisis is happening is quite alarming.

As the people of Northern Africa and the Middle East demand their rights the people of Wisconsin try to defend theirs.

These few articles that I have picked up in the last few days paint a picture of what is happening in the United States.  As wealth becomes concentrated in the hands of the one percent, the poor are getting poorer and the middle class more impoverished.

The United States total debt according to the US debt clock is 55 trillion (that is 55 with 12 zeroes after it - can you imagine that amount of money? - I can't!).  

Whilst the official unemployment figures may not look so dire, this article which shows the proportion of people in the States in paid employment paints a different picture.

And then there is the story of Flint, Michigan (filmmaker Michael Moore's hometown) - what happens when a city runs out of money.

And the Los Angeles Times published this story about an increase in the number of people taking a punt on finding a petrol station with gas at an acceptable price - and running out.

The situation in Europe, especially Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Greece continue to deteriorate as the bailouts are predicated on an increase in GDP.  The stories coming out of Greece are indicative, like this one from the Telegraph and this from the Christian Science Monitor.  The Observer says the furious Greek public are pressing for default.

Finally this noteworthy article makes a connection between increases in the price of food and increase in revolutions, civil wars and violence.

That's a whole lot of material - but it's only an indication that things are changing very fast.

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