Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The BRICs Build Their Neighborhood

Big doings from BRIC-land. Here's the state of play:

1. Brazil and China signed a raft of multilateral agreements covering everything from financial cooperation to joint infrastructure investments and research consortia.

2. Brazil is launching a full-scale national infrastructure program. About $1 trillion will be channeled into the economy over the next four years -- enough to raise growth rates from the tepid 3% average during the early 2000s to tigerish 5-7% levels. This should also drive regional integration, boosting Brazil's neighbors.

3. Russia is bailing out the Ukraine to the tune of $40 billion in subsidies over 10 years, or about $4 billion/year. That may sound like a lot, but Russia has half a trillion dollars in reserves, far more than it needs, and helping out its neighbor isn't just the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do. Ukraine has huge potential -- low debt levels, an extremely well educated population, lots of university students, etc. -- all it needs is a bit of cash to launch its very own Eurasian developmental state.

4. Inter-BRIC cooperation: a raft of agreements between Venezuela and China, and a new coordinating body to network their respective development banks.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

8-Mile America

Every day, the irrationality and brokenness of this Empire plumbs new depths. Wall Street's sleazoid scam artists are rolling in billions, while our children -- our *future*, the last people who should ever be made to suffer for the mistakes and follies of adults -- are thrown on the scrap-heap.

There's just no money for the kids, cry the partisans of Empire.

There's plenty of money.

It's just spent on trillion-dollar bailouts for failed banksters and trillion-dollar budgets for failed colonial wars.

This shambles of a dying Empire now spends more on war than it did during the Cold War, despite the fact that (1) 80% of humanity lives in electoral democracies, and (2) China has a small military and is undergoing significant democratization. Here are the numbers:

Source: Military Budget of the United States


Podcasts come to Uplink: the first two are online for your listening pleasure.

Apologies for the less-than-stellar sound, I'm running all this on a budget of exactly zero.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Other Shoe Drops...

...and hits with gigaton force. Here's the summit statement:

BRIC Summit Joint Statement, Brasilia, April 15 2010

In a nutshell, the BRICs are (1) purchasing the IMF with cold, hard cash and (2) launching a global Green Deal to power the world economy for the next 50 years. It's really the last act of decolonization -- after achieving political independence, the postcolonial nations are finally, at long last, and after centuries of struggle and inconceivable sacrifice, establishing their economic autonomy.

Here's a foretaste of what our henceforth multipolar world will look like:

World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, April 19-22, 2010

Last but hardly least, the wheels of justice are finally catching up to the Vampire Squid. Let the depositions begin!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Imperial Suicide You Can Believe In

The latest act of imperial self-destruction, as reported by Bloomberg:

Lockheed F-35 Projected Cost May Rise an Additional $51 Billion
"The cost per plane would then be $155 million, 91 percent higher than the $81 million projected when the program began in 2002. The program’s total cost, calculated in current dollars, would increase 64 percent to $379 billion."

Since the US is running vast current account and trade deficits, this madness has to be financed with OPM (Other People's Money). In the 1980s and 1990s, Japan and Germany loaned the US the money. But since 2000, most of the cash has come from the BRIC nations.

Not for much longer. Our creditors are going to meet in four days in Brasilia, and discover that they have better uses for their money than giving it to an utterly irresponsible and corrupt political class bent on pissing it away on criminal colonial wars and Cold War scrap metal -- like investing in high-growth Brazilian, Russian, Indian and Chinese markets, instead.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Twilight of the Ameri-gods

It begins.

The BRICs are discussing currency reforms, a.k.a. ring-fencing Wall Street neoliberalism's debt bubble (370% of US GDP). (Cue epic scenery, overhanging clouds, flash of thunder in distance, and finally a pan to Kratos tearing through the legions of Olympus.)

BRIC 2010 in Brasilia is going to be quite a show.

Coming soon: podcasts. I'm still learning the software, but will have some materials up soon.