30 December 2015   Leave a comment

The Economist has issued its global wealth forecast for 2016.  It predicts modest global growth of around 2.7%, a rate that is below that necessary to create enough jobs for new workers entering the job market.  But the most interesting part of the forecast is the reversal of fortunes between the developed economies and the emerging economies.  The emerging economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) have been the growth centers since 2011, but their slowdown in 2015 has been dramatic and shows little sign of reversing course.  The US and Europe are slated to do a little better in 2016, but growth rates are hardly robust.  Slow growth is always politically dangerous.

Richard Yeselson has written a fascinating essay on the rise of Donald Trump and how the forces that seem to be ignited by his rhetoric mimic the sordid ethno-nationalism that afflicted the US in the 1920s.  The rigid ideologies of that period, the romantic illusion of a “white” America, and the irrational fear of immigrants all seem to be replaying in the current political scene in the US. Those passions actually seem to be taking hold all over the world.  Economic hard times often lead to such conditions.

In a live-fire exercise, Iran shot off unguided rockets about 1,500 yards away from the US aircraft carrierUSS Harry Truman which was operating in the Strait of Hormuz.  Iran had announced its intention to fire the rockets so it was not an attack on the US vessel.  But the Strait of Hormuz is only about 20 navigable miles across and the area is bristling with naval vessels from a large number of countries.  Such activities simply raise the level of tension in an already dangerous situation.

USS Harry Truman

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Posted December 30, 2015 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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