Ecuador, with just 16 million people, has little presence on the global stage. But China’s rapidly expanding footprint here speaks volumes about the changing world order, as Beijing surges forward and Washington gradually loses ground.
What You Need to Know About China’s Gold (Tiffany B.)
China now mines more gold than any other country. It has mined more than 2,000 tons of gold since 2009. Much — if not all — of that gold ends up in the People’s Bank of China.
And depending on the month, the country is also the No. 1 or No. 2 gold importer. It has imported well over 3,300 tons of gold through Hong Kong. China has also imported nearly 700 tons from Switzerland since January 2012.
So it is worth recounting how we got here. In the first phase, central banks engineered a massive wave of household borrowing and consumption/housing spending in the DM economies which, in turn, ignited an export manufacturing boom in China and among its caravan of EM suppliers. This China/EM export boom eventually over-taxed the world’s existing capacity to supply the raw materials required by a booming industrial economy—hydrocarbons, iron ore, met coal, aluminum, copper, nickel etc.
Led by some large labor unions, the movement to make $15 the floor for hourly wages has revealed how deeply divided Americans are on the issue. It has also raised the prospect of much wider variations in how people are compensated for the same basic work in different parts of the country. And it has infuriated companies large and small, which say it compels hard choices between raising prices and firing workers.
You could argue that if Americans had not migrated en masse from the temperate north to the blistering sunbelt, we would need less energy for climate control. You could argue that, but you’d be wrong. Americans still expend much more energy heating their homes than cooling them. That’s actually not that surprising. The difference between the average temperature outside and the temperature that is comfortable inside is generally only 10 to 20 degrees in most of America, for most of the summer. On the other hand, in January, the residents of Rochester, New York — the cold, snowy, rapidly depopulating area that my mother hails from — you need to get the temperature up from an average low of 18 degrees (-8 Celsius) to at least 60 or 65. That takes a lot of energy.
When to retire is one of the most important decisions a worker can make, but as more and more public workers approach that milestone, the certainties that would have once guided their thinking are fading. For decades, public pensions have been portrayed as guaranteed by state laws and constitutions, but lately, that certainty has been turned on its head. As states and cities have taken steps to rein in the cost of their pension plans, they have unleashed a tide of worker litigation, with vexing and sometimes contradictory results.
Even so, there are some signs of ongoing weakness in the job market. The unemployment rate fell in June mostly because many of the unemployed stopped looking for work, rather than found jobs. The proportion of Americans working or looking for work fell to a 38-year low.
And average hourly pay was unchanged last month from May. Pay has risen at roughly a 2 percent annual pace since the recession ended in 2009, below the 3.5 percent typical in a healthy economy.
The science of ice melt rates is advancing so fast, scientists have generally been reluctant to put a number to what is essentially an unpredictable, nonlinear response of ice sheets to a steadily warming ocean. With Hansen’s new study, that changes in a dramatic way. One of the study’s co-authors is Eric Rignot, whose own study last year found that glacial melt from West Antarctica now appears to be “unstoppable.” Chris Mooney, writing for Mother Jones, called that study a “holy shit” moment for the climate.
Gold & Silver
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