From Volume 6, Issue 47 of EIR Online, Published Nov. 20, 2007

World Economic News

162 Million People Live on Less than 50 Cents a Day

Nov. 14 (EIRNS)—In a report released Nov. 14, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), pointed out that at least 162 million people are living below 50 cents a day (this after the recent slide in value of the dollar!).

Despite the hallelujahs sung to glorify the economic liberalization and globalization over the last two decades, IFPRI says that very little poverty reduction occurred in this category of the poorest people. If you considered these 162 million as belonging to a single nation, it would be the seventh-largest in the world after China, India, the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, and Pakistan.

According to IFPRI, 121 million of the 162 million live in Sub-Saharan Africa and about 29 million in South and East Asia.

Nigeria is the most populous country in the region, and accounts for 21-30% of the poor living in the subcontinent. Between 1990 and 2004, the country saw increases in all poverty categories, with a substantial rise in ultra-poverty, the IFPRI report says.

European Central Bank: Inflation Is a Media Plot

Nov. 16 (EIRNS)—The European Central Bank issued a report yesterday claiming that inflation in Euroland is at 2.6%, and that consumers' perception "might have been magnified at the current juncture by the extensive media coverage of [food] price increases in some countries." In other words, prices are increasing, but there is no inflation.

Figures released Nov. 15 by the Italian Central Statistics Institute, showed that in October alone, bread prices increased 10.3%; pasta, 6.4%; milk, 5%; poultry, 7.3%, fruit, 5.3%. If price increases in August and September are added in, Italian consumer associations calculate an average increase of EU400 ($600) for the average family food bill at the end of the year, on top of the increased gasoline bill, mortgage or rental rates, and utility bills.

Finished System Finds Chinese Exports

Nov. 16 (EIRNS)—The world financial system is finished. Chain-like effects from the now popularly admitted U.S. locality of this finished system will have an especially big effect on China's exports and overall economy, because of both countries' close economic ties, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce warned in a new official research report in the Nov. 15 China Daily. Already, Chinese exports to the U.S. dropped "sharply" immediately after the subprime loan crash hit in July, and if exports continue to fall "noticeably" in 2008, the entire Chinese economy will slow down, the MOC warned.

In the first quarter of 2007, exports to the U.S. had grown by 20.4% over the year before, but the rate of growth fell to 15.6% in the second quarter and 12.4% in the third. Overall, China sends 19.4% of its exports to the U.S., second after the European Union, and for every 1% slowing of the U.S. economy, Chinese exports shrink by 6%, according to the People's Bank of China.

While China's trade partners have been putting on the pressure for China to cut its big trade surplus, which hit a new monthly record of $27 billion in October—Beijing is concerned about the risk of the effects of a "sharp" decline in exports. What will be the physical effects of this decline on the quality of life of people both in the U.S. and in China? What policies of preparation have American leaders and Presidential hopefuls put forth to defend the general welfare against this oncoming net loss of necessary consumable goods? How many millions of Chinese, who in many cases are already on the dying edge of poverty, will perish when the superfluous goods they produce are no longer affordable to the Western world? A proper study of the LaRouche-Riemann method for economics might be a good place to begin confronting these concerns.

China's Banks Pour Funds Into Nuclear

Nov. 16 (EIRNS)—"Banks in China are active in pouring the funds and there is no shortage of funds" for developing nuclear energy in China, Kang Rixin, general manager of China National Nuclear Corporation, told the World Energy Congress in Rome Nov. 15, Xinhua reported. Kang told the Congress that China will double its current nuclear power capacity by 2020, and is investing 400 billion yuan to build 16 planned nuclear units. At present, just 2% of China's total installed energy capacity is nuclear, and that will go to 4%, to 40 million kilowatts, by 2020. China now has 11 nuclear power generation units in operation, with eight new ones already being built, and another eight units being planned.

Deregulation Killed Germany's Energy

Nov. 15 (EIRNS)—Wulf Bernotat, head of Germany's major energy producer, E.On, said, in a Nov. 14 statement, that the European Union bureaucrats headquartered in Brussels are a bigger threat to Europe's energy market than Gazprom, the Russian group.

What could be more dangerous to power generation than the big bad Russian Gazprom? Electricity deregulation, Bernotat said. Given what deregulation has done in the United States, where states like California have seen doubling and tripling of electricity prices since 2001, only a suicidal maniac would believe in it. Bernotat also said the European Commission's proposal to break up Europe's electricity behemoths—separating, and thus deregulating, transport and distribution from power generation, as was done in 17 U.S. states—is misguided, and would weaken Europe's electricity sector.

Indeed, experience in some EU countries also makes Bernotat's point: In the Netherlands, authorities regret they ever broke up the system in the first place; in Britain, a recent survey showed that the deregulation of the power market has led to higher, rather than lower, electricity prices.

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