26 March 2016   Leave a comment

The most recent edition of The Economist focuses on an issue that has received little attention in the current debate about income inequality in the US: the lack of competition among firms in the US.  According to the article:

“But one problem with American capitalism has been overlooked: a corrosive lack of competition. The naughty secret of American firms is that life at home is much easier: their returns on equity are 40% higher in the United States than they are abroad. Aggregate domestic profits are at near-record levels relative to GDP. America is meant to be a temple of free enterprise. It isn’t.”

The facts do not correlate with the rhetoric about the “free” market in the US.  Power in being increasingly concentrated in a smaller number of corporations.  Again, from the article:

” Our analysis of census data suggests that two-thirds of the economy’s 900-odd industries have become more concentrated since 1997. A tenth of the economy is at the mercy of a handful of firms—from dog food and batteries to airlines, telecoms and credit cards.”

Perhaps it is time to dust-off the anti-trust laws.

Turkish journalists who published an article accusing the Turkish government of secretly funneling arms to the Syrian government are being prosecuted for violating national security.  The trial is being conducted behind closed doors, and many are outraged at the violations of human rights in Turkey.  President Erdogan chastised the foreign envoys sitting outside the courtroom, telling them that “…this is not your country, this is Turkey”.

China has detained over 20 people who signed a letter asking that Chinese President Xi Jinping resign from his leadership position.  The letter was posted on the blogsite Wujie News.  The letter has been taken down but a cached version can be accessed here (the original is in Chinese but Google can translate it for non-Chinese speaking people).  The letter is a fairly broad-based critique of Xi’s leadership, but it seems as if the biggest concern is the way Xi has concentrated power in his own hands.

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Posted March 27, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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