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Thursday, 28 January


NZ Labour says TPP threatens sovereignty AFTINET

The New Zealand Labour Party has released a statement expressing its concern that the TPP threatens sovereignty for little economic gain.

Opposition leader Andrew Little told the media:

“This analysis confirms the Trans Pacific Partnership will prevent future governments making laws in the interest of New Zealand.

“The public is still in the dark over what this deal means for Pharmac and the future cost of medicines.”

He also emphasised that many Kiwis are opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal.

Read NZ Labour’s full media statement here.

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Wednesday, 27 January


European-wide unemployment insurance schemes will not solve the problem Bill Mitchell – billy blog

On June 10, 2015, the Italian finance minister wrote an Op Ed article for the UK Guardian – Couldn’t Brussels bail out the jobless? – which continued the call from those who sought ‘reform’ of the Economic and Monetary Union in Europe for a European-wide unemployment insurance scheme. This idea continues to resonate within European circles and is held out as a major improvement to the failed Eurozone system. My response is that if this is as far as the political imagination can go in Europe among progressives then there is little hope that the EMU will become a vehicle for sustained prosperity. The creation of a European-wide unemployment insurance scheme is better than the current situation where the responsibility for providing income support to the unemployed outside of the private insurance arrangements is left to their Member States who surrendered their currency sovereignty upon joining the Eurozone. But, it is a weak palliative at best and fails to address the basic problem of mass unemployment, which is inadequate capacity for Member States to run fiscal deficits of a size necessary to bridge the spending gap left by the savings desires of the non-government sector. Until the European debate shifts towards that issue and the policy players and the people who elect them realise that the fiscal design of the Eurozone is flawed at the most elemental level and that the fiscal rules superimposed upon that flawed design only serve to exacerbate the initial failure to construct a sustainable monetary union. Introducing a European-wide unemployment insurance scheme does not take us very far down that road of enlightenment.

The proposal by Italian finance minister, Pier Carlo Padoan was motivated by the his observation that:

… the euro area’s economic per...


Facebook announces newest 100% renewable data centre to be built in Ireland Renew Economy

Facebook has announced that it plans to build a 100% renewable energy powered data center in Ireland, its second in Europe.


China’s first domestic green bond sales come on the heels of the hottest year on record Renew Economy

Concern about climate change is helping to fuel the growth of the market for green bonds.


US could cut power emissions 78% by 2030 using existing technology, says study Renew Economy

The US could construct a nationwide energy infrastructure that cuts carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by up to 80%, says a study in Nature Climate Change.


Vietnam shifts stance on new coal Renew Economy

Vietnamese PM signals reduced role for new coal-fired power against backdrop of slow electricity growth, environmental concerns and cheap renewables.


Labor launches consultation on 2030 emissions target Renew Economy

Opposition launches consultation on its 2030 emissions reduction target, based on CCA-recommended cuts of 45% on 2005 levels.


Australian bushfires may accelerate push to solar + storage for homes Renew Economy

Study finds installing solar PV and battery storage in rural homes could reduce the risk of bushfires caused by powerlines by one tenth of the cost of alternatives - such as burying power lines underground.


Carnegie completes final milestone for CETO 5 Perth wave energy project Renew Economy

Carnegie Wave Energy completes 12 months of operations at CETO 5 Perth Project, clearing way for development of the CETO 6 Garden Island microgrid.


Known unknowns (crosspost from Crooked Timber) John Quiggin

In September 2002, according to Politico magazine, Donald Rumsfeld received a report (mostly declassified in 2011) stating that the intelligence on Saddam Hussein’s putative weapons programs was essentially worthless. For example, the report says:

Our knowledge of the Iraqi (nuclear) weapons program is based largely—perhaps 90%—on analysis of imprecise intelligence

The report was seen by Paul Wolfowitz, then Deputy Defense Secretary and now an adviser to Jeb Bush, but wasn’t shared with President George Bush, or with other members of the Administration, such as Colin Powell. And despite his musings about known and unknown unknowns (unsurprisingly the subject of some sardonic comment in the Politico piece, Rumsfeld showed no doubt in his public pronouncements about the supposed weapons.

This report ought to be (but won’t be) enough to discredit Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz once and for all. Given that they knew that the claimed legal basis for the war relied on spurious intelligence, both are guilty of the crime of a war of aggression. More to the point, in terms of US political debate, a Defense Secretary who sends thousands of US troops to their deaths in pursuit of a goal he knows to be illusory ought to be condemned out of hand.

On the other hand, does the report help to exonerate those who advocated war based on the spurious intelligence being pushed by Rumsfeld? Not to any significant degree. The fact that Rumsfeld was a four-flusher was obvious in December 2002, when Saddam denied having any weapons. As I observed at the time

In the standard warblogger scenario, the declaration was the...


Canada will sign but may not ratify TPP AFTINET

Canada’s new Government is still treating the TPP with caution. They have now agreed to sign on to the TPP at the official ceremony scheduled in New Zealand in the first week of February - but the Canadian Trade Minister is insisting that this doesn’t mean that they will actually ratify the agreement.

According to the Globe and Mail, Trade Minister Freeland said:

“Signing does not equal ratifying. Only a majority vote in our Parliament can allow the agreement to take force. Signing is simply a technical step in the process, allowing the … text to be tabled in Parliament for consideration and debate before any final decision is made.”

Read more here

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Tuesday, 26 January


The urban impact of the failure of austerity Bill Mitchell – billy blog

I use the descriptor ‘failure’ in a selective way, although it is probably the meaning that that vast majority of citizens would ascribe to the term. In this context, I’m thinking that successful policy improves the lives of the most disadvantaged citizens in a region. A small minority of people might think of success in terms of how rich the top end of the distribution becomes (in wealth or income). Yesterday (January 25, 2016), a UK research group, the Centre for Cities released their latest – Cities Outlook 2016 – which is a comprehensive analysis of how the larger cities in Britain are performing across a variety of indicators. In this release, the theme was centred on the claim by the British Chancellor that his policy design was intending to produce a “higher wage, low-welfare economy in Britain”. The report suggests the British government has failed and that “almost half of lower wages, and higher welfare, than the national average” and “welfare spending since 2010 has grown at a much faster rate in high-wage cities”. I’ve also been trying to disentangle the impacts of deindustrialisation on urban spaces, which began in the 1980s, from the more recent impacts of policy austerity, driven by misguided understandings of the capacities of currency-issuing governments. I want to address the claim from the Left, that the shifting patterns of capitalist production across regional spaces, is inevitable and undermines the capacity of cities to prosper. The shifting patterns might be inevitable but the conclusion that is drawn about the options available to cities are largely incorrect.

The Centre for Cities Report is very interesting and worth reading. It studied the 63 largest cities in the UK, which “account for 54 percent of the population, but gene...


China Fears Escalate As World Economy Slows The Diplomat » Pacific Money

2016 looks increasingly like a difficult year for the global economy.

Thursday, 24 December


TPP take action AFTINET

The TPP text of thousands of pages was released on November 5, 2016, and it confirms our fears.See our initial assessment  hereThe TPP text will be reviewed by parliamentary committees from February 2016 before Parliament votes on the implementing legislation. AFTINET will be campaigning to block the implementing legislation in the Senate.  

What you can do:

  • Download and distribute our leaflet ...

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