Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Japanese Economics 101; Women in Afghanistan; SNS; Solar Power; American Dilemmas; German Multiculturalism

After a busy few weeks…

Japanese Economics 101 – A little long, but an interesting look at the state of Japan's economy, though I guess you have to be an economist to say it is "exciting." Included in the article are sobering thoughts from economist Noriko Hama on the risks to Japan of stocking up on US dollars and on not demanding its fair share of the Japan-US relationship. Finally, there will be no good news for Americans if the dollar loses its global status as she predicts. Though, I must admit I do not understand her "…leave the ¥5 change" proposal – consumer-driven charity for for-profit businesses?

Irrespective of your views on the conflict in Afghanistan, the following story regarding Afghan women who attempt to commit suicide by self-immolation is shocking. We may have a ruthless business world but there are surely some fundamental human rights that we should all uphold when it comes to the most basic of human qualities. Now, how we help to ensure that these rights are maintained is up to us to decide. I wonder if those who advocate withdrawing from the conflict in Afghanistan also hope that stories like these will also be forgotten.

On SNS…here is an article that asks when we as a society will cease to be shocked by private photos that end up in the public domain. I have to agree. Unless an inappropriate action is carried out at a public or work-related event then anything that is private should remain private (in the modern, SNS definition). But then again, perhaps now we get a taste of our own medicine…paparazzi is not just for celebrities anymore. So we shall reap as we sow.

The tile of this article says it all: "Solar energy boom in the American desert" – that's right, the American desert. Follow the article and you can see that India, China, South Africa and Germany are incorporating solar energy into their national grids; Germany perhaps a little too enthusiastically. Australia does not figure in this article, yet you would think that a technologically-advanced country with an environmentally-aware population and boundless swathes of sunny desert would be a global leader in solar energy, mentioned in every article, report and discussion. You would think that…but sadly that is not the reality.

Americans turning into the British? – Concise look at the dilemmas facing the US at the moment and how they may relate to the decline of Great Britain as a global economic, military and political power. The conclusion is that the US is following Britain's lack of coordinated, consensus-built policy to tackle the economic challenges now, akin to Britain's response to the Great Depression of 1929. Seeing how Britain may not be a global superpower but still maintains its place near the top, the US doesn't have that much to lose, or does it?

Finally, a few weeks after the fact, but the now widely reported comments of German Chancellor Angela Merkel that multiculturalism has failed in Germany get disproven somewhat by this article. If the facts are correct then decades of non-citizenship for German-born, German-speaking children of migrant workers was clearly not the best step to multiculturalism. I wonder if Merkel mentions this fact in her speeches. Sphere: Related Content

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