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Chindia & the plummeting dollarWhile the US is going through a recession, about half of the world's economic growth this year will be accounted for by India, China, Brazil and Russia.
China's total growth is more than the US, Europe and Japan combined. India by itself is contributing more growth to the world economy than the US.
Chinese demand for oil, metals and all the other raw materials of industrialization is pushing commodity prices to ever-higher peaks. Chinese and Indian crude oil imports will almost quadruple in 20 years, creating an ever worsening supply "crunch".
The value of the US $ keeps falling. It was recently about 64% of the euro. When I visited India in early 2007, I got 45 Indian Rupees for my $; at the end of 2007, it was only 36 - a decline of more than 20%. How low can it go?
The price of Oil has jumped beyond $100 a barrel. Actually, oil prices have not increased - the dollar has declined. China is dumping its huge horde of $ - over a trillion - and switching to the euro. Three of the biggest oil exporters, Iran, Venezuela and Russia, are now demanding payment in euros rather than dollars. Clearly the dollar is losing its status as the world currency.
For most Americans, if they don't travel abroad, the only visible effect is higher fuel prices at the pump. The prices of Chinese imports remain the same, because the Chinese yuan is still supposed to be pegged to the dollar. But that too is changing - the dollar has already declined by about 15% against the yuan. This means consumer prices will skyrocket, and we'll have "stagflation".
Capitalism has no loyalty, but follows growth and success. Follow the money: You'll find that a huge share of American capital is pouring into India, China and other overseas funds.
Meanwhile, Sovereign Wealth funds, or SWFs, from countries flush with cash - Dubai, Saudi Arabia, China - control as much as $3 trillion, and this could jump to $12 trillion by 2012. China has so much money that their wealth-funds are "investing" in bailing out ailing US financial giants like Citibank, Bear Stearns, JP Morgan. What do you think their motives are? Check CBS-60-minutes (6 April, 08) - weblink below.
America cannot continue to spend $2 billion a day on an unpopular war, and live on borrowed money, while the living standard of the American middle class continues to decline.
Whoever the next President is, and whatever their political promises, it's difficult to imagine how they can dig America out of this hole that keeps growing deeper and deeper.
The world situation is improvingIn spite of the barrage of bad news from the media, the world situation is improving, compared with past decades. Here are some Futurist views, summarized from an article by Jerome Glenn in the journal of the World Future Society.
People around the world are becoming healthier, wealthier, better educated, more peaceful, and increasingly connected, and they are living longer. At the same time, the world is more corrupt, congested, warmer, and increasingly dangerous. Although the digital divide is beginning to close, income gaps are still expanding and unemployment continues to grow.
The global economy grew at 5.4% in 2006 to $66 trillion. World population grew 1.1%, and the average per capita income increased by 4.3%. At this rate, world poverty will be cut by more than half between 2000 and 2015, except in sub-Saharan Africa.
Although the majority of the world is improving economically, income disparities are still enormous: Two percent of the world's richest people own more than 50% of the world's wealth, while the poorest 50% of people own 1%. The income of the 225 richest people in the world is equal to those of the poorest 2.7 billion, 40% of the world.
How many of those 225 wealthiest recognize the futility and danger of the wealth/poverty imbalance and, like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, are investing to eliminate Poverty?
More than half the world's 6.6 billion people live in big cities. The information technology industry is laying the foundations for urban areas to become augmented by computing for everything, everywhere. Nanosensors and transceivers in nearly everything will make it easier to manage a city - from transportation to security.
Although great human tragedies like Iraq and Darfur dominate the news, the vast majority of the world is living in peace. Conflicts actually decreased over the past decade. Dialogs among differing worldviews are growing. Internal conflicts are increasingly being settled by international interventions, and the number of refugees is falling.
The world's average life expectancy is increasing from 48 years for those born in 1955 to 73 years for those who will be born in 2025. The global population is changing from high mortality and high fertility to low mortality and low fertility.
World population may increase by another 2.8 billion by 2050 before it begins to fall. It is projected to be 5.5 billion by 2100 - which is 1 billion fewer people than are alive today. People will live longer and have more productive lives than most people would believe possible today.
Technological breakthroughs are likely to change these forecasts over the next 50 years.
Green is good for businessIn the past, corporate environmental plans were mostly cost burdens relating to regulatory compliance, with perhaps a touch of the public relations image of being socially responsible. In the past few years, this has changed dramatically - "green" is becoming a business profit opportunity.
Most plants, factories and industrial systems were designed decades ago when the consequences of pollution and waste were not really considered. Now, companies are working to reduce their "environmental footprint," and not just for long-term humanitarian reasons.
Irrespective of whether or not man-made pollution is a contributing factor to natural global warming, "green" is gaining more attention because of the real profit opportunities.
The increasing attention to the causes of global climate change is happening concurrently with rising energy prices. Oil at $100-a-barrel brings new opportunities. Products that use less fuel and decrease emissions generate growth and profits.
The idea of "green" goes beyond the good feeling that we're saving the environment; it brings enormous opportunities for savings and profits.
Take a minute to do a green review of your own office, factory or plant. You'll find savings everywhere.
E-waste - dumping old technology productsThere's another side to the environmental mess that we're creating with technology - the accumulating toxic techno-waste.
These days, technology products are obsolete within a couple of years and there's a constant push to buy new models. But what happens to those old computers and TVs and cellphones when they're abandoned? And what about those millions of Ni-Cad batteries?
Discarded electronics, known as e-waste, most often ends up in landfills, instead of being recycled. Toxic materials like lead, cadmium and mercury that are commonly used in technology products can contaminate the land, water and air. Some of these high-tech products are pure poison if not properly disposed of at the end of their useful life.
Many Americans think they're helping the environment and neighboring poor countries when they recycle their old computers, televisions and cell phones. Estimates are that 50-80% of the 400,000 tons of electronics collected for recycling in the US each year ends up overseas.
But the problems are just being transferred offshore. Workers in poor countries use hammers, gas burners and sometimes their bare hands to extract metals, glass and other recyclables, exposing themselves and the environment to increasing tonnage of toxic chemicals.
In the global village, toxic garbage doesn't go away. Sooner or later, this will surface as a serious problem. But that's yet another legacy that's being transferred to future generations.
Pinto Poem: Iraq War - Bush LiedHere are some of the verses of a poem I wrote for the 5-year anniversary of the Iraq War, 19 March 2008. You can read the poem in its entirety on the JimPinto.com website, or you can hear me recite it on YouTube, with compelling graphic visuals (web links below).
T'was March 19th, 2003
Just six weeks later, the first of May
The fighting continued, excuses were gone
Iraq to 9/11 was never connected
The price tag $3 trillion, the cost of that lie
This poem has already been published by newspapers and websites worldwide. Feel free to copy and/or publish.
eFeedbackAndrew Bond [email@example.com] who publishes the always insightful monthly Industrial Automation Insider, comments on my recent reviews of ABB and Rockwell, and new leaders like Beckhoff:
"Couple of additional thoughts - I wondered whether ABB Chairman von Grunberg's ambitions might be to take ABB into new areas including, perhaps, automotive - already a big market for the robot business - which he has experience of from Continental.
"I also wonder whether even he has the guts for a contested bid for Rockwell, particularly when so many of his automation people don't seem to fancy the idea of trying to integrate again after being so badly burned in the 90s.
"I completely endorse your thoughts about Beckhoff. New leaders like this just keep doing things right and finding that, as a result, people keep buying their products. There are other fresh, new companies too, with dynamic and innovative Founder/Owners who run things very much to your own taste."
"In response to what you had to say about America's democratic process being a joke, there are nevertheless signs of important changes brewing on the grassroots level.
"The most exciting thing is the fact that millions of Americans have self-organized and become the driving force in this presidential campaign. They feel that they matter again in politics and that some real progress might finally be at hand. This year, they're back with an even more vociferous, insistent, message of change.
"Senator Obama represents the bright future that is possible in America when ordinary people begin to take charge. Clinton and McCain certainly have a wealth of Washington experience, but Obama has tapped into our country's enormous democratic potential, and that's not merely exciting, it is invaluable to our nation's future.
"Hey, this country might even get back to its basic principles of helping others instead of starting wars and destroying the poor, and that would be a good thing for the world. It's going to take a landslide of popular opinion, including the youth of this nation, and a genuine desire for real change.
"Don't write us Americans off just yet, and please don't assume that all Americans are as gormless as Bushelbrains. When this war is over it will be a better day."
"Do NOT let senders send you emails with groups of addresses included - you become a target. I refuse to be on 'forward' lists. I refuse to be included in forwarded joke groups.
"Do NOT use Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Depress (Express). Do not use Internet Explorer, it gives your email address to web crawlers and is the mother of all Internet targets. Instead, I use Mozilla Thunderbird and Firefox.
"DO use effective spam filters.
"My computers see an immediate rise in spam & virus attacks when I use MS Internet Explorer or Outlook. Since September, all my work is done with Kubuntu Linux, OpenOffice & other Linux based programs that are not designed to attract ads & virus. So now my spam load is decreasing while yours is increasing. You still have to deal with viruses, I do not.
"My email in on my website, and is also posted in at least 12 groups. Yet my email address is not overloaded with spam. I use Spam Assassin which does some filtering. All my spam is forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org but I doubt that reduces the volume of spam."
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