27 December 2016   Leave a comment

The Congressional Research Service has issued its annual report on the sale and transfer of conventional weapons in the world.  In 2015, the total value of arms agreements in the world was $65.2 billion and the largest recipients of these agreements were developing countries.  The US and France were the largest sellers of weapons in the world:

“In 2015, the United States ranked first in arms transfer agreements with developing nations with $26.7 billion or 41% of these agreements. In second place was France with $15.2 billion or 23.30% of such agreements. In 2015, the United States ranked first in the value of arms deliveries to developing nations at $11.9 billion, or 35.42% of all such deliveries. Russia and France tied for second in these deliveries at $6.2 billion each and each representing 18.45%.”

France displaced Russia in 2015, but Russia will likely regain the second spot in 2016.

The European Central Bank has conducted a survey of incomes in the eurozone since the Great Recession of 2008-09 and has found that income inequality has grown throughout the region but more dramatically in the poorest countries of the eurozone.  According to The Australian:

“While all eurozone households were poorer in 2014 than in 2010, when the Greek crisis erupted, “the differences are larger for the lower percentiles”, the European Central Bank said. Net wealth in the bottom quarter of households fell by 14.7 per cent, compared with 10.2 per cent lost by those in the top quarter.”

Greece, Cyprus, Spain, Italy and Portugal were countries in which the increase in income inequality was the greatest.  The full ECB report can be accessed here.

A new study has indicated that increasing urbanization will seriously diminish agricultural productivity in the future.  One of the more unfortunate aspects of current food production is that the most productive croplands are close to urban areas.  According to The Guardian:

“A major worry surrounding the disappearance of this productive land is the impact it will have on staple crops such as maize, rice, soya beans, and wheat, which are cornerstones of global food security. Many of these crops occur in areas that will be consumed by urban spread in years to come. ‘Due to urbanisation in Nigeria, 17% of rice production and 12% of maize production will be hampered,’ Creutzig says. ‘Egypt will lose more than 40% of its rice, and more than 60% of its maize.’ In Africa, there will a 26% continental loss of wheat. Rice is forecast to suffer the most, with a 9% global decline, occurring predominantly in Asia where the bulk of this crop grows.”

Cities tend to grow where land is productive so the causal relationship between urbanization and agricultural productivity is negative.  New cities are unlikely to be built in areas where food production is constrained.

 

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Posted December 28, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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