11 August 2015   Leave a comment

One of the most interesting aspects of analysis is the omnipresence of conflicting information.  We often receive interpretations of data that seems to come from different universes.  For example, on 6 August The Economist published an article on the Spanish economy entitled “Back on its feet.”  Today The New York Times published an article entitled “For Many in Spain, a Heralded Economic Recovery Feels Like a Bust“.  A close reading of both articles, however, suggests that both articles are, in some sense, accurate, but only accurate when looking at different parts of the Spanish economy.  Many conclusions are based entirely on the analysis of data that the analyst believes is important, not necessarily the data that is truly representative of the whole story.

Another one of the BRICS countries has registered very slow growth.  Indeed, in the case of Russia the economy actually shrunk by 4.6% in the second quarter.  The decline is due to lower prices for oil, the chief export of the Russian economy.  The sanctions against Russia for its activities in Ukraine also played a significant role in the slowdown.  Last year the ruble depreciated by 43% leading to a sharp spike in prices for ordinary goods.  There are few overt signs of political discontent in Russia, but one can be certain that the Russian people are feeling squeezed.

Last month, China announced its position on the climate change talks which are scheduled for the end of this year and will be held in Paris.  Yuqian Peng, a 2015 graduate of Mount Holyoke College and currently at Yale, co-authored a paper analyzing the Chinese position.  The Chinese have moved somewhat from their position at the last climate meeting in Copenhagen and have made tremendous strides in addressing its role in the process of climate change.  Along with President Obama’s recent moves on carbon emissions, the revised stances of the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases give some reason to hope for a meaningful meeting in Paris.


Posted August 11, 2015 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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