Posts Tagged ‘asia’

Two Peas in a Pod

By Thomas L. Friedman

The world’s two biggest democracies, India and the United States, are going through remarkably similar bouts of introspection. Both countries are witnessing grass-roots movements against corruption and excess. The difference is that Indians are protesting what is illegal — a system requiring bribes at every level of governance to get anything done. And Americans are protesting what is legal— a system of Supreme Court-sanctioned bribery in the form of campaign donations that have enabled the financial-services industry to effectively buy the U.S. Congress, and both political parties, and thereby resist curbs on risk-taking.

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A Preview of the November 11-13, 2011 APEC Leaders’ Meeting

by Joshua Meltzer
The United States is this year’s host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit later this week. APEC leaders will meet in Hawaii, accompanied by their foreign and trade ministers and a host of senior officials. The United States will attend APEC with some important trade policy outcomes under its belt already, most significantly the passage of the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement (FTA), Columbia-U.S. FTA and Panama-U.S. FTA. Particularly, the Korea-U.S. FTA and progress in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations will help the United States show its serious commitment to pursuing international agreements that liberalize trade and investment in the Asia Pacific region.
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The new middle classes rise up – Marx’s revolutionary bourgeoisie finds its voice again?

THE past four years have seen a sharp contrast between recession-hit rich countries and buoyant emerging giants. This year the rich countries’ economic woes have spilled over to their politics, too: European governments are bogged down in the euro crisis while America brought upon itself a sovereign-debt downgrade. But the woe is not all on one side. Despite their economic achievements, the likes of China, India, Indonesia and Brazil—to say nothing of the Middle East—are suffering discontent almost as profound as the malaise in the West.

In India the Congress-led government of Manmohan Singh has faced its biggest challenge so far from mass demonstrations by supporters of Anna Hazare, a veteran anti-corruption campaigner who went on hunger strike in Delhi. This week Mr Hazare halted his strike with a cup of honeyed coconut water after the government agreed to pass tougher laws against graft. The protests were the culmination of a sequence of huge corruption scandals, from last year’s Commonwealth games in Delhi to the distribution of 2G mobile-telecoms spectrum licences. “What you are seeing on the street is a middle-class rebellion,” says Mohan Guruswamy, a former official at the finance ministry.

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Manufacturing: What to Do

by Bob Carr

 

In the mid 70s we used to apply a tariff of 57 percent to every vehicle entering the country. When the imports still came, because people preferred better cars from overseas, the government introduced quantitative restrictions. Just banned further imports. The result was an old, rusting and environmentally-inefficient car fleet and a disproportionate share of a family’s income sunk into purchasing the vehicle they needed.

All to prop up a few jobs in decrepit factories at Pagewood (GMH) and Alexandria (Leyland). I’m writing about Sydney. Making cars that Australians preferred not to buy.

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Legal challenge to the Malaysian solution

by Jo Coghlan

The Malaysian Solution is not a solution for anyone: especially children. High Court Justice Kenneth Hayne has granted a temporary injunction against the Gillard governments from processing recently arrive asylum seekers to Malaysia under the agreement referred to as the ‘Malaysian solution’.

The Malaysian Solution is an agreement between the governments of Australia and Malaysia that expels from Australia to Malaysia 800 asylum seekers who have arrived in Australia by boat in return for 4000 refugees from Malaysia over the next four years. The arrangement is part of the Regional Cooperation Framework established at the Bali Process Ministerial Conference in 2011. The Gillard government’s rational is that the arrangement: “demonstrates the resolve of Australia and Malaysia to break the people smugglers’ business model, stop them profiting from human misery, and stop people risking their lives at sea.” The cost, to be paid by Australia, is estimated at $216 million plus $76 million to fly the asylum seekers to Malaysia.

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