24 November 2018   Leave a comment

Elliott Prasse-Freeman is a professor at the National University of Singapore and he was interviewed at the Carnegie Council for Ethic in International Affairs about the plight of the Royingha in Myanmar.   The interview sheds a lot of light on the history of the population in the Rakhine province of Myanmar and gives a very detailed history of how the Royingha came to be viewed as the “other” in Myanmar.  The interview fleshes out the dynamics of nationalism in Myanmar and what it means to be part of the “nation”.


The world will be watching the OPEC meeting in early December to see if the cartel members agree to cut production in order to raise the price of oil which is now hovering close to $50 a barrel.  That price is far lower than what most of the members need for their economic development, but a higher price may be beyond their control.  The US is poised to become the world’s largest prodcuer of petroleum, largely because of the success of fracking in Texas.  According to Bloomberg:

“By the end of 2019, total U.S. oil production — including so-called natural gas liquids used in the petrochemical industry — is expected to rise to 17.4 million barrels a day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. At that level, American net imports of petroleum will fall in December 2019 to 320,000 barrels a day, the lowest since 1949, when Harry Truman was in the White House. In the oil-trading community, the expectation is that, perhaps for just a single week, the U.S. will become a net oil exporter, something that hasn’t happened for nearly 75 years.”

The idea that the US needs Saudi Arabian oil is nonsense.  US imports of oil have been going down steadily for many years.


As economic growth begins to slow in Europe and China, we are beginning to worry about the accumulation of both private and public debt.  Slowing economic growth, particularly if accompanied by rising interest rates, will make it more difficult for debtors to repay their debts.  The size of the debt is usually measured as a ratio to Dross Domestic Product (GDP), but that figure is often misleading.  The real issue is whether the economy is growing at a faster rate than debt obligations.  By this measure, there are several countries which are worrisome debtors:  Greece, Italy, Turkey, and many of the poorer countries in the world.  The most recent debt crises in the world–1998 and 2008– created serious difficulties for many countries, and some of the patterns of those crises seem to be replicating.

Posted November 24, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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