Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘japan

Tidbits and Notes. Part 437

Antibiotic-resistant infections are caused by microbes that have evolved immunity to the drugs that are supposed to destroy them, sometimes leaving doctors with no good treatment options. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate 2.8 million such infections happen in the US every year, killing more than 35,000 people. The World Health Organization calls such infections a “global crisis” that could cause 10 million deaths worldwide by 2050.

If you shred, salt and pack those same cabbages in jars they will last more or less indefinitely, and, in the process, become much tastier.⁠

Carlos Ghosn managed to land in his home country Lebanon: He said he was escaping a “rigged Japanese justice system.” Apparently, the prosecutors in Japan win 96% of the cases: the defense lawyers have no chances for exposing their clients’ cases.

Trump is practically impeached and he knows it. There is NO functional US President. The ones governing the USA is a club of hard liners in the main institutions appointed by Trump and using Trump as their Mascot. A job Trump adopted in all his successive bankruptcy periods for the big companies.

USA will be withdrawing its troops from Iraq before the Iraqi parliament meet to demand its vacation. US wants to liberate its soft flanks in Iraq and Syria so that it strikes Iran with long distance weapons and destroy its infrastructure

“Wisdom comes out of dialogue. You have to develop a capacity to expose your own ignorance so that they may discover their own wisdom.”

Desk toys for sale have hundreds of high-powered magnets, all small enough for toddlers to swallow and could shred the intestines

Huawei said it had a pretty good year, despite being blacklisted. The company expects a revenue of $122 billion in 2019, up 18% from 2018. But its chairman warned of a tough 2020, in which “survival will be our first priority.”

For most of human history, China was the world’s most advanced technological power. ⁠Until western colonial powers invaded world’s countries

An vast scale attack on the MOK military compound in Jordan will send the strongest of messages that the Resistance Front has expanded its reach area: No more safe haven for cool planning and executions of the US/Israeli strategic groups. In my mind this target should be the first and most viable target for avenging the blatant assassination of Kassem Suleiman and al Mouhandess in Baghdad airport.

Trump decision by assassinating Kassem Suleiman is binary: Either the Resistance Front decides to negotiate or he will have to withdraw his military forces from all the Middle-East: Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Jordan and Lebanon. Either way, Trump will be remember with The “Trump Gamble Effects”

Trump wouldn’t mind personally to withdraw his troops from this quagmire in the Middle-East: at least he will be saved from the constant headaches of his “hard liners” in cohort with Israel

 

Death by overwork? Japan’s problem with “karoshi”

Overtime is Not even paid.

A new report shows how badly Japan needs labour reform for overdoing it.

LATE of an evening, Japan’s black-suited salarymen let their hair down in the streets of Shimbashi, a district of Tokyo. Shirts untucked, ties off, liquor flowing, they stagger around before heading home, or directly back to the office via a konbini (convenience store) to buy a clean shirt.

This is the harmless outlet for their stress: karoshi, or death by overwork, is the darker, and until recently, more overlooked one.

This month the first ever government report into the scale of karoshi found that employees put in over 80 hours of overtime a month at almost a quarter of companies surveyed. At 12% of those firms the figure rose to a whopping 100 hours.

These numbers may underestimate the problem; under a fifth of 10,000 companies contacted responded, which is a normal response rate, but firms with still worse overtime figures may have kept out of the study

Employees put in over 80 hours of overtime a month at almost a quarter of companies surveyed.

At 12% of those firms, the figure rose to 100 hours. And those numbers probably underestimate the problem

economist.com

Little wonder that 93 people committed or attempted to commit suicide in the year to the end of March 2015 because of overwork. These are the cases where the government has officially recognised that families are owed compensation.

Activists against karoshi reckon the number is too low. Other workers perish from heart attacks or strokes due to long hours. The latest high-profile case is a 24-year-old female employee for Dentsu, a Japanese advertising giant, who committed suicide in December.

Things have got somewhat better in recent years; more overtime is paid, for example.

But further steps are needed. Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, says that changing the working style in Japan is one of the main aims of labour reforms that he plans to introduce next year.

Yuriko Koike, the new governor of Tokyo, wants to improve the city’s work-life balance and has banned workers in her office from staying past 8pm.

But it remains hard to overhaul business practices when the culture values face time and dedication to the job far ahead of performance. “The company is like a big team. If I leave work early, someone else has to shoulder my work and that makes me feel terribly guilty,” says a 42-year-old IT worker who preferred to remain anonymous.

It does not help that the shrinking and ageing of Japan’s population means labour shortages.

And all this overwork does little for the economy, because (thanks to the inefficient working culture as well as low use of technology) Japan is one of the least productive economies in the OECD, a club of rich nations, generating only $39 dollars of GDP per hour worked compared with America’s $62.

The fact that workers are burning out and sometimes dying is pointless as well as tragic.

From Japan: Photographs of Fireflies

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Each year when summer comes along, we all look forward to different things. Some of us head to the beach, others to the mountains for camping.

Some look forward to the epicurean delights like watermelon and ice cones.

But for a select group of photographers in Japan, Summer signals the arrival of fireflies. And for very short periods – typically May and June, from around 7 to 9pm – these photographers set off to secret locations all around Japan, hoping to capture the magical insects that light up the night.

One thing that makes these photographs so magical is that they capture views that the naked eye is simply incapable of seeing.

The photographs are typically composites, meaning that they combine anywhere from 10 to 200 of the exact same frame. That’s why it can look like swarms of thousands of fireflies have invaded the forest, when in reality it’s much less.

But that’s not to discount these photographs, which require insider knowledge, equipment, skill and patience.

Fireflies live for only about 10 days and they’re extremely sensitive. They react negatively to any form of light and pollution, making finding them half the battle. Here, we present to you some a selection of our favorites from the 2016 summer season.

Todd Porter shared this link

I experienced this a few years ago and it was like walking around inside a magical animated world…

Note: Before the USA dropped the 2 A-Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, waves of B-29 (about 300 in each wave) dropped incendiary bombs on cities that set them on fire.
Nosaka Akiyuki wrote “The Tomb of the Fireflies” describing how orphans were left to fend for themselves in these desolate regions. They mostly died of famine and living in small caves, frightened to death.
Japan was already on its knees before the A-Bombs and lacking of everything. The peasants refused to sell the rice for money, expecting the worse.
The USA decided it had to have a clean cut and quick victory before Stalin occupies all of Korea and demands to negotiate on the status of Japan.

Husband plants thousands of flowers for two years to make his blind wife smile again

Mr and Mrs Kuroki at their flower garden in Shintomi, Miyazaki Prefecture
Mr and Mrs Kuroki at their flower garden in Shintomi, Miyazaki Prefecture  Credit: YouTube

It started out as a loving gesture from a husband to make his blind wife smile again – but became a major tourist attraction.

Japan may be famous for its cherry blossom at this time of year, but in Miyazaki Prefecture people flock to see a different floral spectacle – mainly because of the love story behind it.

After 30 years of marriage and hard work on their dairy farm in Shintomi, Mr and Mrs Kuroki had planned to enjoy their retirement by touring the country.

At the age of 52, however, Mrs Kuroki suddenly lost her sight over the course of a week due to complications from diabetes, according to RocketNews24.

Up to 7,000 people visit the Kurokis' garden on any given day
Up to 7,000 people visit the Kurokis’ garden on any given day Credit: YouTube

Devastated by the loss of vision and the prospect of being unable to make the dream trip, she became depressed and shut herself away in their home.

Believing a visitor or two might bring her out of her seclusion, Mr Kuroki decided to plant some pink shibazakura flowers, or moss phlox, in the garden, hoping people would come to look at them.

He also hoped his wife would take pleasure from their smell, even if she couldn’t see them.

For two years, he planted thousands of the flowers around their home.

Visitors look round the flower garden in Shintomi.
Visitors look round the flower garden in Shintomi. Credit: YouTube

A decade on, up to 7,000 people a day visit the flower garden in spring, flocking from surrounding towns and prefectures to see the incredible sea of pink.

As well as coming to see the carpet of flowers, many are keen to meet Mrs Kuroki, who is often seen walking around the garden with her husband – usually sporting a big smile.

The good news for Mrs Muroki is that spring has sprung earlier this year.

The Japansese pastime of hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, has already begun, with the Japanese Meteorological Agency announcing the beginning of sakura, the cherry blossom season, 15 days earlier than last year.

What level 7 means in nuclear disasters?  

What do you expect the Japanese government to reveal?

The scale of the disaster has reached the highest of level 7:  Beyond level 7, nuclear scientists had not the guts to think of a worst case scenario.

And it is not over; and it is not yet under control; and the region is still witnessing horrible earthquake after shocks of magnitude 7 and over.

What do you expect the Japanese government to reveal?

1. “Brace for the worst!  You are to die soon?”

2. “We have the good news and the bad one.  The good news is that Japan managed to have the highest life expectancy on earth, above 75 years.  The bad news is that Fatality reduced it to 30 years. Much lower than during the long deadly samurai period.”

Japanese officials announced on Tuesday morning that they were planning to raise the event level at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant from 5 to the maximum level of 7, the highest on the international scale for nuclear incidents.

It is the same level assigned to the 1986 disaster at Chernobyl in the Ukraine.

The decision was made after Japan’s nuclear safety body determined that at one point after the March 11 earthquake, the plant was releasing 10,000 terabecquerels of iodine-131 for several hours.  Level 7 accidents are defined as releasing tens of thousands of terabecquerels.

What I know, it is not a good idea to drink tap water.

What I know, it is not a good idea to eat fish:  The ocean is irradiated to 500 km.

What I know, it is not recommended to eating most grown products in Japan…

“The INES [International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale] rating is not an indicator of a daily phenomena, but the assessment after careful consideration and calculation on the event that happened in the past,” Ken Morita of Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) tells TIME.   If you comprehended this statement, explain it to me, quick.

INES scale was designed in 1989 by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The scale ranges from 1 (anomaly) to 7 (major accident). The scale is intended to easily communicate the magnitude of the catastrophe to the public; it is meant to indicate the seriousness of a nuclear event.  No kidding.

For example, what level 5 means to the general public?  Start demonstrating against nuclear plants? Go immediately underground, as deep as you could afford?  Shut down this particular plant?  Shut down ALL nuclear plants?

NISA  (Remember Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency?) noted that the amount of radioactive material being released at Fukushima today is less than 1 terabecquerel. The agency said that to date, Fukushima has released only about 10% of the total radiation released 25 years ago at Chernobyl, or about 1.8 million terabecquerels.

The real question is:  “For how long this amount of release will last? ” A century?

About 30 people, mostly workers, died in the immediate aftermath of Chernobyl, though the UN has estimated that the long-term death toll due to exposure could eventually be as high as 4,000.  Forget the physical and emotional calamities of those who didn’t die yet, the the new born in the coming two decades…

Chernobyl is the only other event to have been given a rating of 7, an accident classified as having a major radioactive release with widespread impact on the environment and public health. According to INES, “Such a release would result in the possibility of acute health effects; delayed health effects over a wide area, possibly involving more than one country; long-term environmental consequences.”

Tuesday’s announcement comes on the back of a minor fire spotted by workers outside Fukushima’s Reactor 4 on Tuesday morning, shortly after three major aftershocks hit the beleaguered northeast in a span of 24 hours. T

hree people in Iwaki died in landslides triggered by the 7.1-magnitude aftershock on Monday night. The government also expanded the exclusion zone around Fukushima on Monday to include several towns within a 30 km  radius.  Residents had been told they could remain at home but were recommended to stay indoors. The towns were added to the mandatory evacuation zone of high levels of radiation.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace said that in a survey conducted in Fukushima last week, its team of experts found radiation levels 75 times higher than the government recommendation in 11 samples of vegetables from gardens and small farms. The environmental group also announced that it found radiation levels equivalent to an annual exposure of 5 millisieverts — the evacuation threshold for Chernobyl — at a playground in Fukushima City, pop. 300,000.   Greenpeace is urging the government to delay the start of the school year.

Though raising Fukushima’s level to 7 may not herald any immediate worsening of events, it is sure to add to many residents’ growing concern — and feeling of helplessness — over what could happen at dozens of other nuclear reactors spread across this seismic archipelago.

On Sunday, more than 17,000 people protested at two demonstrations in Tokyo against nuclear power. It was the first time that Yohei Nakamura, 45, had ever been to a protest. “For a long time, I’ve been suspicious of nuclear power, but now I realize it’s a serious problem,” he said amid the crowds carrying placards and shouting slogans. He said anti-nuclear demonstrations were under covered in the Japanese press because of the influence of the Tokyo Electric Power Co., which owns Fukushima.

TEPCO is one of the most powerful companies in Japan,” Nakamura said. “They use a tremendous amount of money for advertising. If the mass media shows anti-nuclear-power activities like demonstrations, they risk losing TEPCO as an advertiser.”

You may refer to my previous article: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/03/30/world-community-bracing-for-worst-case-scenario-what-is-systemic-degradation-of-work-ethics-in-nuclear-power-palnts/

Note:  I extracted the news from the TIME.

Counter shock upheaval: the earlier the better (Greece)

            A developing State deciding to default on external debts should default on all its debt; then, it can rest appeased and contented for several reasons: first, defaulting does not occur frequently in any single State; second, the bad credit rating is the same whether a State default on all or partial debts; and third, the State will generate immediate cash flow on unpaid interests that covers its budget deficit.   

            Before Greece, Lithuania, Hungary, and Spain suffered the same fate of a prematurely imposed Euro on States of weak economies. There are many articles analyzing the financial crisis in Greece. I thought that I can make sense in a short post for readers eager to know but would refrain reading lengthy erudite articles.

            There are two main factors for Greece financial problems; there are two resolutions available, equally painful, but one is far better in shortening the pain and healing faster. First, the common currency Euro forced weaker economies to relinquish their sovereignty over issuing money (printing money) in time of shrinking economy to re-launch the inner trade.  Second, the US financial multinationals before the crash infused too much credit in a small economy that did not correspond to normal credit rating behaviors; this quick infusion of money inflated the sense of economic boom and generated laxity in financial control and management.  Greece is awakening to new demands for harsher financial control and imposition of higher taxes to straighten the budget balance sheet.

            The first remedy is inviting the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to intervene and infuse $1.7 billions in the Greek coffer to pay the debts due this spring. This would be a bad decision. It is worse because even the EU is encouraging Greece toward that option. For example:

            Lithuania GNP shrank 18% in the first year the IMF intervened with its draconian conditions: jobless rate climbed to 20%, the high level in health, education, and retirement suffered greatly. Actually, retired persons are bleeding and the socialist political parties lost ground.

            In Hungary, the IMF intervention made sure that the people suffer and the socialist government be replaced by like minded anti-socialist government headed by the former minister of economy. If Greece ends up asking the “help” of the IMF, as the EU wishes too, then the socialist George Papandreou will start packing; a decision that will please Merkle PM of Germany.

            Greece with budget deficit reaching 13% of GNP and growing has a reasonable solution out of this mess if it wants to avoid 10 years of suffering and humiliation. Until the EU comes up with a financial recovery plan then Greece should revert to its national currency the drachma. Greece should regain its sovereignty issuing money in this difficult period: Internal and external trades should not be hampered for lack of liquidity.

            Since Greece imports amount to only 20% of its GNP then better competitive drachma should enhance exports and reduce the loan deficit. With the already strict financial control in place, Greece will be able to shorten the period of its pain.  The EU will accept Greece currency to revert to the Euro in due time in order not to let other Euro member States following Greece decision.

            Greece should learn how Argentina recovered.  After four years insisting of keeping the currency linked to the dollar the economy faltered entirely.  Argentina decided to float its currency and it devalued accordingly. Argentina was able to default on $100 billion of foreign loans. The government insured that bank deposits of consumers keep the same purchasing power by regular re-evaluation and re-fixing of the national currency.  People living in their own properties enjoyed the same financial facility at the rate of pre-devaluation.  Within a single semester, Argentina economy was back to normal and going strong.

            Greece has choices: either the MIF intervention accompanied by ten years of suffering or reverting to the drachma until the economy is back to normal within a semester. If Greece default on all its external debts then, suppose the interest rate on debts is 8% and the debt amount to 140% its GNP, defaulting will generate fresh cash of 9% of Greece GNP which is over its annual current budget deficit. What developing State would decline such solution?  Obviously, the US, Japan, China, Germany, France, and England would refuse to default on the ground that they are actually running world economy.

            Defaulting on bad credits that financial multinational encouraged developing States to taking does not hurt badly or disturb the multinational creditors: they were not supposed to pay taxes on interests as long as debtor governments did not restitute the original entire capital; the financial multinationals have then to pay taxes on the previous 20 years of lending the same capital, minus what they submit as expenses of doing businesses.

            The neoliberal financial ideology and “The Economist” are back on the offensive after the shameful financial crash: they are ordering indebted States to reducing public employment by 10%, reducing salaries, reducing retirement benefit, and elongating the age for retirement.  The financial institutions claim that all these hassles are none of its business, even if they caused the miseries.

            Unless people revolt now with a counter shock to what they are being submitted to then any delay to the next financial crash will hurt them more than the rich classes.  People should demand that taxes be raised and increased to all capitalist transactions, financial administrators and bonuses be taxed high, and dividends to shareholders be delayed until the economy is stabilized.  Waiting for another financial crash to get in action is tantamount to increasing social injustices with a maddening upheaval that runs amuck.

Why Japan was nuked? (Feb. 9, 2010)

Germany had surrendered.

Stalin, Truman, and Churchill met in Potsdam (Germany) to iron out the state of power after the war; they sent Japan a declaration to surrender.

Truman divulged to Stalin that the US is in possession of a particularly destructive bomb.  Stalin had knowledge of the atomic bomb.  But the peace treaty between Russia and Japan was valid for another year.  Stalin informed Truman that Russia is going to open its eastern front against Japan and said: “Make sure you use your weapon on Japan

By July 8, 1945, the US dropped its atomic bomb on Hiroshima using its super-fortress B 29 Enola Gay.

On July 9, Russia’s three armies (one million strong) amassed on the Manchurian border started its attack on the Japanese troops that surrendered quickly.  As long as Japan did not officially surrender, then Stalin was legitimate to conquer any land occupied by Japanese troops, including Korea and demanding to share and divide Japan as it did in Germany.

The US hoped that Japan will surrender much quicker after the first atomic bomb and Stalin hoped that the Japanese inertia will extend him more time to occupy all of Korea.

The US selected 3 potential cities to drop on another bomb at any cost.  Nagasaki was the thirst in the selection but weather conditions advanced this unfortunate city to the next target.

After Germany capitulated, Japan had lost the war but it waited for better surrendering conditions. One major condition is that their Emperor will retain its “divine” function.  The US didn’t have to land troops on Japan soil: it could bomb every city and destroy every infrastructure with the B29 as it did in Germany; hunger would have taken care of this haughty island.

The US wanted quick unconditional surrender of Japan before Russia shares the spoil on the pacific front as well: otherwise, the US would have strategically lost the Pacific war. Yes, the US was ready to keep nuking Japan until it surrenders before Russia legitimately demands to divide Japan after the war.

I contend that, if Japan allowed Russia to conquer Korea before surrendering, then the US would have had no choice but to nuke Russia as well to force it to retreat to its former borders. The US was to be the main superpower covering all seas and oceans.  That’s what happened and still is.

The US was awfully lucky three times and so was the world of effective routine use of atomic bombs:

1.  First, the US navy miraculously defeated the crushing superiority of Japan’s naval fleet in Midway battle of the air carriers.

2.  Second, the USS Indianapolis had delivered this “Baby Bomb” to Guam before the ship was sunk on its return trip by a Japanese submarine.

3. Third, apparently, the US didn’t experiment dropping a bomb from air before Hiroshima and the devastation of air explosion was not well accounted for; that it worked without a hitch for the first time is luck.

Africa is targeted to be exclusively the world’s food basket; (Nov. 11, 2009)

If you have lands with no water,

If you have water and no fertile land,

If you have accumulated enough in your Sovereign Fund…

The way to go for States is to invest in foreign fertile lands for agricultural “self-sufficiency”, which means import food at much lower prices. 

Japan, South Korea, China, India, and Saudi Arabia are leading these kinds of joint ventures. For example:

South Korea has acquired a total of 3 millions hectares (three times the superficies of the State of Lebanon); it is growing fields in Russia (500,000 ha), Sudan (700,000 ha), Madagascar (1.3 million ha), Mongolia (300,000 ha), Philippines (100,000 ha), and Indonesia (25, 000 ha).  The Korean agency for international cooperation (State owned) is creating private and public enterprises to invest into agribusinesses by loans or direct governmental investments. Leases of fertile lands are for 60 years and an extension of another 40 years. In return, Korea will extend technologies and development planning.  It appears that South Korea is projecting unification with North Korea and the flooding of North Korean refugees soon.

China has invested for a total of 2 millions hectares.  It has 1.25 millions in South East Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Laos), in Mozambique (800,000 ha), in Russia (80,000 ha), in Australia (45,000), and in Cuba (5,000 ha).

Japan has acquired a total of one million hectares in Philippines (600,000 ha), USA (225,000 ha), and Brazil (100,000 ha).

India has acquired a total of 1.7 millions hectares in Argentina (600,000 ha), Ethiopia (370,000 ha), Malaysia (300,000 ha), Madagascar (250,000 ha), Indonesia (70,000 ha), and in Laos (50,000 ha). 

The Indian government has extended loans to 80 agribusinesses to purchase 350,000 ha in Africa.  Ramakrishna Karuturi (the king of rose production in 4 millions hectares) is leasing the hectare for two dollars a year in Ethiopia!

Saudi Arabia has invested in Indonesia (one million ha), Senegal (500,000 ha), and in Mali (200,000 ha). 

The Arab Gulf Emirates has invested in Pakistan (325,000 ha), and in Sudan (400,000 ha).

Egypt has invested in Uganda (850,000 ha). 

Libya has invested in Ukraine (250,000 ha), and Liberia (5,000 ha). 

Qatar invested in the Philippines (100,000 ha).

Africa is the remaining poorest continent with vast fertile lands and plenty of manpower to exploit for agribusiness enterprises. Africa is targeted to be exclusively the world’s food basket in this century.

We hope that the world community will pressure these investors to grow food slowly and not ruin the remaining land with fertilizers and pesticides.

We hope that the African can enjoy what the lands are producing for their daily staples…

We hope the African people get first cut at the distribution of food produced and receive first priority to ward off recurring famine…

Note: You may read the follow-up post https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/the-worlds-food-basket-africa-is-heaven-for-agro-business-investments-part-2/

The European Union (EU): Modern Europe leading human rights; (Nov. 10, 2009)

 

The previous post “European Union (EU) describes Modern Europe” covered a few statistics and then a short description of the EU administrative and legislative institutions. This follow up post will cover what is working, then analyzing what need to be ironed out, and then how the world community is expecting modern Europe to lead.

The 27 European States forming the EU counts 6 States among the twenty leading economy in the world.  By deceasing rank we have USA, China, Japan, India, Germany, Russia, Britain, France, Brazil, Italy, Mexico, Spain, South Korea, Canada, Indonesia, Turkey, Iran, Australia, Taiwan, and the Netherlands. Actually, those six European economies constitute about 90% of the EU in economy and in populations.

As a block, the economy of the EU may surpass the USA with a twist: the three largest industrial multinationals in every sector are US.  For example, in aeronautics we have United Technology, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin; in medical materials we have Medtronic, United Health, and Alcon; in Medias we have Walt Disney, News Corporation, and Comcast; in pharmaceutical/biotechnology we have Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer; in informatics we have Microsoft, IBM, and Google.  Besides, the US is the first military power in technology, Navy, Bombers, and aircraft carriers.  The EU is totally dependent on oil and gas energies imported from Russia and elsewhere.  France has adopted a policy of being sufficient in electricity via nuclear energy (60% of the total of France production of energy).  Denmark is 25% sufficient in Aeolian technology and Germany about 15%.

The EU is facing problems. First, the “community vision” is eroding: the decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall and disintegration of the Soviet Union sent the wrong message of jumping in the band wagon of US globalization; thus, the well to do citizens wanted to get rich fast by emulating liberal capitalism. Individualism overshadowed the need to resume a common culture of developing institutions that are trained to work toward the common interest and be reformed to keeping the EU spirit intact in human rights and human dignity.

Second, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 took Europe by surprise.  The euphoric undertaking of uniting East Germany quickly exhausted West Germany with the multitude of social, economic and political problems of this unification and captured most of Germany’s resources and time and prevented it to ponder on the EU necessities.  The opportunity to deepen European consciousness for reformed institutions to expanding eastward was missed.

Third, the EU was discussing the two possibilities: either the strengthening the current union for the longer term expansion or hastily absorbing the many eastern European newly independent States.  The political decision was to go ahead and allowing these tiny states to adhere to the union.  I think that this was the appropriate decision because new States had to root their future into a tangible alliance or fall back into past habit, inclinations, and culture; thus, forming close alliances with Russia. The EU was the appropriate framework for ethnic communication and more democratic realization of social aspirations.  The problem is that these tiny States feel that they should aspire to the same standard of living in no times.  The latest financial crash has left al these States in bankrupt conditions and it is up to the rich EU States to salvage this predicament.  Maybe this fact should remind the EU that not all States should enjoy the same rights until they can show the same capability to shouldering responsibilities.

 

The actual challenges are many. First, there is a political space to reconstruct:  The budget of the EU institutions is merely 1% of the gross GNP while States allocate over 30% to re-distribute to collectivities, social protection, and welfare. The richer States are not that inclined to contribute heavily to the social stability of the poorer EU State members. Second, the EU has unified its currency (it overcame the States’ monopolies to issuing paper money) but is lacking a unified economic government.  For example, the EU lacks common public spaces, no political party or organization has been created or formed to focus on specific EU interests, and the EU Parliament has no power to raise taxes to finance common policies.  So far, the government chiefs are wary of relinquishing their interstates legitimacy and power.

As a block, the EU is still unable to challenge the US on crimes against humanity committed by the US and Israel;  it is fully cooperating with the US on taking Israel off the hook in the UN for daily crimes against human dignity, rights, and apartheid policies in the West bank and Gaza. There are a few States in the EU that are showing trends to opposing Israel’s apartheid practices and boycotting its products grown and manufactured in the occupied West Bank; it is the people in these States who have set the stage for human rights and dignity reversal toward the Palestinian endemic plight since 1948.

 

The world community is on its toes: will the EU refresh its initial objective of “community vision” or will it relapse in petty interstates interest of monopolies and idiosyncrasies?  We need the EU to be the caldron of community communication among ethnicities, languages, and cultures. We need the EU to be the social and political testing ground for viable alternatives in vision, institutions, ecological human survival, human rights and dignity. We need the EU to invent new reasons to living together and reducing man inequality.

The European Union is the most striking political and social achievement in the 20th century.  The backbones of most of the UN peace keeping forces around the world are European contingents; the EU is the highest contributor in humanitarian budgets and for reforming obsolete public institutions in the under-developed States. The EU needs a refresher community vision and the world community should raise its voices and aid Europe in its endeavors.

Economy of Sobriety, (August 1, 2009)

There is a growing political economics trend for substituting the traditional steady growth and productivity policies into an economy of sobriety.  The Slow Food and Slow Cities movements, along with many European communities exercising self autonomy in the economic policies of their districts, are practicing on a smaller scale the concept of “living better for less”.

The latest economic downturn and financial crisis are re-confirming that traditional economic policies are hindrance to global resolutions for global problems.  The number of middle class families has increased three folds within less than two decades.  China and India have added over 300 millions to the 200 millions in the USA, Europe and Japan.

This quickly increasing middle class in emerging nations is demanding equal standards of living as in the USA simply because they can afford to purchase the same consumer goods for their comfort and are doing it.  World resources in minerals, oil, and wood are depleting and no longer accessible to sustain the current rate of consumption.

Regular people are not interested in the concept of “faster is better” or “more performing is better”; they would rather fly safely at more affordable fees; they would rather that customs and airport regulations quicken the pace and alleviate faster the hassle.

The regular people would rather have moderately performing equipment that last longer and that are more robust, under less than standard conditions in the developed nations. Regular people cannot afford to re-invest for products considered obsolete within a couple of years.  Regular people would rather not to have to repaint or maintain their plumbing and electrical lines frequently.

Regular people would rather have potable water running on schedule; power utilities providing electricity less irregularly.  Common people are not interested for increased rate for the luxury families of high consumption.

Regular people want public transportation arriving on schedule, accessible, and available in cities and in rural areas.  Regular people are not that interested in caviar and luxury items; they need flour, rice, sugar, and seasonal vegetables and fruits marketed locally and not exported overseas.

Regular people need a wider network of public libraries and public schools.  Regular people want the teachers to be paid right, to be retained, and compete with private expensive private schools. Regular people need preventive health institutions.

The industrial nations have got to support sustainable economies in Africa, Latin America, and in the Middle East and desist from mass exploitation of natural resources and human miseries.  Kuwait, Qatar, and Libya are already investing billions in agricultural businesses in Africa; they are renting lands for 99 years and hiring thousands of Africans in jobs they are proficient in and within their own States.

There is definitely an anthropological crisis; the traditional growth policies are uneconomical, anti-social, and anti-ecological.  Decentralized economies serving restricted regions are more sustainable and are solicited by citizens. Institutions have to be revamped in that direction and up-down laws are no longer cherished. In fact, less restrictive local laws are the best recourse to taming the monster of global totalitarianism in the making.

Catastrophic crisis are not teaching anything in behavioral change: they simply increase the level of fear, anxiety, and apathy. Continuing in the same trend is tantamount of letting this monster of totalitarianism starting sniffing around, for another round of human calamities.

Most probably, totalitarian regimes, established in order to control outbursts and uneasiness in communities, will mushroom in industrialized States because:

1) they can afford these kinds of institutions,

2) they have already the sophisticated and all encompassing control institutions, and

3) they have practiced it several times in many nations within the last decades.

For example, Germany, Japan, and the Soviet Union experienced it efficiently.  France applied it to spread its public secular system of education in order to unify its nation. The USA applied it during the two Administrations of George W. Bush.

Currently, China is the most effective totalitarian regime.  Millions of workers are transferred and displaced by a simple order of the politburo; millions succumb to eugenic practices on simple obscure laws; millions die in mining accidents and famine; gigantic dams are disturbing millions of people without recourse or participation by the citizens.

The third world States will always enshrine dictators, state political parties, and oligarchies but they will never afford totalitarian regimes for lack of sustainable institutions.  The best you might expect of third world states is organized chaos and periodic clamping down on dissidents.  There will be time when the “industrialized citizens” will opt to immigrate to Third World States and live in sobriety just to recapture the taste of freedom and liberty.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

September 2020
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