4 December 2015   Leave a comment

The Indian city of Chennai has been hit by devastating floods with rainfalls of as much as 14 inches in 24 hours.  Almost 270 have been killed, thousands have been displaced, and the city has been paralyzed. Some meteorologists believe that this year’s extraordinary el Niño is responsible for the excessive rainfall, but Chennai, the 4th largest city in India, has also made questionable planning decisions concerning runoff.  But if climate change is involved, then the flooding may only be a harbinger of things to come.

Recent polls indicate that the opposition parties are set to win majorities in the elections scheduled for Venezuela this weekend.  The economy is experiencing dramatic shortages of essential products and very high rates of inflation as the declining price of oil has forced the government to print money that is not backed by any tangible assets.  The current President,  Nicolás Maduro, took over after the death of Hugo Chavez and has promised to sustain the “Bolivarian Revolution” initiated by Chavez.  Ominously, Maduro has stated that he would  “not hand over the revolution” if the ruling party loses the election.

Paul Krugman has written a review of Robert Reich’s new book, Saving Capitalism  for the New York Review of Books.  The review is an elegant summary of the competing theories behind the dramatic increase in income inequality in the US since the 1970s.  Reich’s argument is that

“….widening inequality largely reflects political decisions that could have gone in very different directions. The rise in market power reflects a turn away from antitrust laws that looks less and less justified by outcomes, and in some cases the rise in market power is the result of the raw exercise of political clout to prevent policies that would limit monopolies.”

In other words, concentrated economic power has been translated into political power to favor capital at the expense of labor.  The essay is definitely worth a close read.

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Posted December 5, 2015 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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