25 July 2018   Leave a comment

The Jiahao Flag Co Ltd in Anhui province, China, is busy cranking out banners and flags for US President Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.  According to Reuters who interviewed the factory manager Yao Yuanyuan:

“At about $1 apiece, even suppliers to the Trump campaign, who, Yao says, are located both in China and abroad, can’t resist the low price. Yao’s factory has been making Trump banners since the time his tag line as a candidate was ‘Make America Great Again’.

“’Sales have been great ever since 2015,’” she said.”

But Trump’s threats of tariffs against Chinese products may increase the price of those banners and deter Chinese manufacturers from supporting his campaign.

“Trump’s effort to wrest better trading conditions from China threatens that price advantage, and his hardline stance could eventually repel suppliers like Yao.

“’If he continues to demand tariff increases as he has been, or if he continues to agree with those who are against China, I definitely would not be able to accept (more orders),’ she said.”

“’Everyone can have a patriotic heart, but this won’t improve his economy, and instead it could make us Chinese just shoot ourselves in the foot.’”

We will have to see how this unfolds.

 

The Economist has a fascinating article on the differences among European nations in attitudes toward immigrants.  The issue is important because of the recent sharp rise in animosity toward refugees in some European countries.  Some believe that the influx of refugees is responsible for this rise in xenophobia, but a more careful analysis suggests a different explanation: the underlying racial and ethnic diversity of the nation.  The article points out that:

“….the general pattern is clear: barely 1% of respondents in eastern Europe and Scandinavia had some non-Western ancestry, compared to 6% in the south and west of the continent. Overall, these measures of ethnic diversity can explain nearly a quarter of the differences between how countries have changed their sentiment to immigrants since 2014.”

The results of the study are very interesting, but they fail to explain the rise of xenophobia in the US, which is a significantly more diverse than most European nations.  But perhaps, the rise in xenophobia in the US is concentrated in populations that are demographically homogeneous.   I lack the data to explore that proposition.

 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is predicting that inflation in Venezuela will reach one million per cent by December of this year.  The inflation rate is among the highest ever recorded and comparable to the hyperinflation in Germany in the 1930s.  It is the result of extended deficit spending by the government of Nicolas Maduro and the declining rate of oil production in the country.  There are widespread shortages of necessary goods such as food and medicine, the people have resorted to barter, and those people with the means have left the country, pouring into Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil.  There is rampant corruption in the country, and the crime rate has soared.  Even the botanical garden in Caracas, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has fallen into disrepair.  The country has collapsed, but it is impossible to see how it will recover.

Posted July 25, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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