13 June 2017   Leave a comment

Income inequality in the US has grown tremendously since the 1980s.  The pattern is a dramatic break from the pattern established after the Great Depression in which incomes were spread more equitably.  It is also a pattern that manifests the dismantling of the financial controls, such as the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act which prevented commercial banks from making speculative investments, that were imposed in order to prevent another Depression.  The political consequences of such a skewed distribution of income are hard to predict, but there is little question that the legitimacy of political institutions in the US is being questioned by many.

Pretax income growth

About 1700 people were arrested in protests against corruption in Russia.  Among those arrested was the leader of opposition to President Putin, Alexei Navalny.  Navalny has stated his intention to stand for election in opposition to President Putin in the Russian elections scheduled for next March.  The protests were held despite intense opposition from the authorities who refused to grant some permits and changed venues after permits had been granted.  Participation in such protests is a dangerous activity in Russia and the willingness of so many to express their views is testimony to a deep commitment to good politics in Russia.  If one were watching the state-owned media, one would hardly be aware that such protests ever occurred.

Panama just announced that it was recognizing the People’s Republic of China as the sole representative of the Chinese people.  Panama was one of the few remaining countries that had recognized Taiwan–there are only 19 countries left that do so (and the Vatican).  The Chinese regard this move as a significant victory.  According to the China Times:

“This is the cost the Tsai administration needs to pay. Tsai has always refused to acknowledge the 1992 Consensus, leading to a great leap backward in cross-Straits ties. She should understand that the 1992 Consensus is an important political foundation to maintain stable cross-Straits relations. If she takes step to weaken this foundation, her administration will be bound to suffer the consequences.

“During Ma Ying-jeou’s eight-year rule, the number of countries that Taiwan had “diplomatic” ties with remained at 23 and Taiwan signed free trade agreements with two countries. Now Tsai has been in office for only a year or so, but three countries have severed ties with Taiwan. Tsai claimed she would win dignity for Taiwan from the international community, but Taiwan has ended up having less space on the world stage. The people of Taiwan have been taught a lesson as well.”

It remains to be seen whether all support for Taiwan begins to ebb because of this significant change.

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Posted June 13, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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