Wednesday Night #1692 with Peter Berezin

Written by  //  August 6, 2014  //  Wednesday Nights  //  1 Comment

Peter Berezin will be with us to discuss the two most recent BCA Reports – the July edition which features The Neutral Real Rate: Lower for Longer and the hot-off-the-press August edition: Beware The Third Derivative: Why The End Of The Deleveraging Cycle Could Weigh On Growth

tower-of-london-poppies-2August 4th is the 100th anniversary of Britain’s (and thus Canada’s) entry into World War I – the war to end all wars. But it didn’t. And as we look at today’s news, we can only wonder whether the human species will ever overcome its baser instincts.  We can look forward to ‘four more years’ of commemoration including the forthcoming year during which there will be overlap with the Harper government-orchestrated celebration of the glorious war of 1812-1815. (Be sure to check out Doc Zone’s The War of 1812: Been There, Won That for an irreverent and entertaining view).
That said, the media coverage of the World War I anniversary has been respectful and frequently touching, e..g. the Globe & Mail’s First World War: How do we remember it meaningfully, a century later?
One image that will remain with us is the sea of red (ceramic) poppies surrounding the Tower of London in commemoration of British and Commonwealth soldiers killed in World War I.
Alan Hustak writes that his “newest tome, this one [Faith Under Fire] about WWI Chaplain Fred Scott, who dug his dead son out of the mud after the battle of the Somme should be out in September” – like all of Alan’s books, this will surely be one to read and keep.

Africa is often the forgotten continent in terms of North American media, except in connection with disasters such as the current Ebola crisis, which is of course, deeply worrying. One glimmer of hope is the apparent recovery of American Dr. Kent Brantly, who “went from ‘near death’ to drastically improved after being given an experimental drugs serum called ZMapp.” Let us hope that the serum may be the beginning of a cure for this dreaded virus.
However, the U.S. Africa Summit is reason to pay attention to other, positive developments on that continent. If you have not been paying attention, you may want to see the WSJ A Brief Guide to This Week’s U.S.-Africa Summitand the PBS Newshour report Turning a narrative of struggle into success story in Africa In the run-up, Al Jazeera trumpeted ‘Billions’ on table at Africa summit , while noting that Officials brush off questions over whether major meeting is in response to China’s growing influence. Tuesday’s CBC headlines include: Why Africa is cause for ‘considerable optimism’ And Princess Haya Al Hussein of Jordan adds: It’s Time to Change the Way We Think About Africa

The Financial Times tells us that US-Africa oil trade falls as shale grows — American imports from the continent have plunged to a 40-year low after the fracking revolution weakening the pair’s most important economic link. Could that free up oil for Europe?
Coincidentally, we received an email from Mason Inman, who who covers climate and energy issues for publications like The Scientific American and National Geographic. He is developing a project, The Frack Lab, which is designed “to get past the hype around fracking from both industry and government, and try to get a better answer to a key question: How long can the shale boom last?”

Will Climate Change Lead to Conflict or Cooperation?, published on Monday, adds to a theme that Cleo Paskal developed so eloquently in Global Warring.  Pointing out that “A deeper understanding of the connection between climate change and conflict requires a careful examination of the drivers of violence and the role of the environment in individuals’ livelihoods” the author expands on the idea that “the relationship between climate and conflict is mediated by levels of economic development.”
This would appear obvious, but we suspect is often overlooked or deliberately ignored.

You may have thought that Thomas Piketty had had his 15 minutes of fame, however, he continues to be the subject of commentary – the latest to come to our attention is Passer la cuillère en argent : Piketty et la mobilité intergénérationnelle du premier centile from the Broadbent Institute which, among other things refers to the work of Pierre Chaigneau of the Montreal Economic Institute:
“Dans un article du journal Le Devoir daté du 18 juillet celui-ci soutient que « la croissance des inégalités dénoncée par Piketty pourrait simplement refléter le fait que les revenus sont plus variables d’une année à l’autre, surtout pour les revenus élevés, et non l’augmentation des écarts de revenus entre individus » car, pense-t-il, la composition des personnes qui constituent le 1% le plus rémunéré varie davantage qu’autrefois.” Cet argument a récemment été repris par Pierre Chaigneau, chercheur associé à l’Institut économique de Montréal et professeur de finance à HEC. Dans un article du journal Le Devoir daté du 18 juillet celui-ci soutient que « la croissance des inégalités dénoncée par Piketty pourrait simplement refléter le fait que les revenus sont plus variables d’une année à l’autre, surtout pour les revenus élevés, et non l’augmentation des écarts de revenus entre individus » car, pense-t-il, la composition des personnes qui constituent le 1% le plus rémunéré varie davantage qu’autrefois.

Just to be a bit provocative (and also because we believe what Sallie Krawcheck is preaching: Women’s fund seeks share of prosperity for female-focused firms
(PBS) One of the major causes of the financial crash of 2008 was the insularity of the “good old boys” network on Wall Street, says Sallie Krawcheck. The former Citigroup CFO has started a socially responsibly stock mutual fund that promotes the world’s 400 most female-focused firms. They were people who had grown up together, gone to the same schools, looked at the same data over years and years, and came to wrong conclusions.

Wednesday Night’s two Davids are at it again, their topic this week? The Putin problem
David Jones believes that Russia holds all the cards, the West has to learn to live with it while
David Kilgour is slightly more optimistic in Sanctions can’t stop Russia, the West needs a forceful NATO strategy (which, of course, presumes that NATO would be less dysfunctional than its member governments)

The ever-prolific Brett House  has recently turned his attention to the Argentinian default  and was interviewed on BBC Mundo last Friday Así afectará el default argentino al resto del mundo Those who do not read Spanish – and even those who do – may also wish to check out his earlier interview with Talk Radio News . Elsewhere,  Kenneth Rogoff reminds us that  Argentina is not solely to blame for its latest debt default — The country’s debt trauma shows that the global system for sovereign-debt workouts remains badly in need of repair

On Israel/Palestine, many emails and social media messages are flying through the ether, trumpeting entrenched positions that become more entrenched every hour, and ever more fiercely berating those who do not share the same views..
Dr. Charles Cogan‘s recent blog on HuffPost  no doubt, will enrage friends on all sides — but that is the nature of any debate involving Israel, isn’t it?

Although Hamas persists in showering ineffective rockets on Israel, thus illustrating once again the Arab propensity to regard the illusion of triumph as important as, if not more so, than triumph itself (which is unattainable as far as Israel is concerned.)
But Hamas’ rocketeering, plus the infiltration of terrorists through tunnels into Israel, has made this crisis different from the last two Gaza crises in that, mainly because of the rocket attacks, Israel has an excuse to continue warfare in this narrow piece of land bordering Egypt, the sea, and Israeli itself… except that the balance sheet of losses is terribly out of kilter — some 1,400 Palestinians as against 70 Israelis, of whom only three were civilians and therefore the only victims of Hamas’ rocket attacks.
If one looks back on the sad chain of events since the vacuum created by the breakup of the talks between Israel and Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority in April, occasioned in precipitate terms by Israel’s refusal to go forward with a third tranche of scheduled prisoner releases, it is less a question of the failure of John Kerry’s lengthy effort at cajoling than it is Benjamin Netanyahu’s unwillingness to move toward a credible two-state solution. It is all the more tragic in that it is in Israel’s best interest to end the Palestinian occupation and agree to a two-state solution, rather than simply continue ad hoc and without a strategy or plan for peace for the last nearly 50 years since the end of the Six Day War.

One Comment on "Wednesday Night #1692 with Peter Berezin"

  1. Diana Thebaud Nicholson August 6, 2014 at 1:55 pm · Reply

    Re Alan Hustak’s forthcoming book, Ron Robertson writes:
    You probably already know this:
    Frederick George Scott (7 April 1861 – 19 January 1944) was a Canadian poet and author, known as the Poet of the Laurentians. He is sometimes associated with Canada’s Confederation Poets, a group that included Charles G.D. Roberts, Bliss Carman, Archibald Lampman, and Duncan Campbell Scott. Scott published 13 books of Christian and patriotic poetry. Scott was a British imperialist who wrote many hymns to the British Empire—eulogizing his country’s roles in the Boer Wars and World War I. Many of his poems use the natural world symbolically to convey deeper spiritual meaning. Frederick George Scott was the father of poet F. R. Scott.- and of Justice Willem Scott and Elton Scott – the Dean of Divinity at Bishop’s U. when I was there in ’47.

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