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Category: Economy (Page 2 of 7)

Poverty in the UK » Why are 1 in 4 Britons, some 15 million people, living below the proverty line?

Britain has a historically low unemployment rate of 3.6 percent. Yet poverty levels are breaking all records. It’s a paradoxical situation where almost 15 million Britons are considered poor these days, although there’s almost full employment. The reason » record corporate profits driving inflation, and and high energy costs.

The DW Documentary profiles people who have a job but can still afford nothing » from Blackpool in the west, to Ashton-under-Lyne and Cumbria, on the border with Scotland.

Note: Clicking the above image will load and play the video from YouTube.

Galloping inflation and a dramatic spike in energy costs in recent months are forcing millions of Britons into poverty. Wages fluctuate in an “uberized” working world of precarious employment conditions.

Over the past 10 years, beginning with David Cameron, the government has scaled back its support to vulnerable members of society. The result: reduced life expectancy.

Disadvantaged Britons are dying 10 years sooner than their wealthier compatriots – victims of what’s become known as the “shit life syndrome” – a life marked by poor living conditions, disease and addiction.


1 in 4 new cars sold in California last quarter were EVs

LA Times »

More than 25% of all new vehicles sold in the last quarter were EVs, according to the California Energy Commission, with sales for the three-month period totaling 125,939.

California has sold more than 1.6 million electric vehicles to date and accounts for 34% of all EV sales in the country, according to a market report by the nonprofit Veloz, which raises awareness about electric vehicles.

California leads the nation in promoting electric vehicle sales, having invested more than $5 billion to transition the state away from gas-powered vehicles.

Australians fight for the right to work from home permanently

Byron Kaye, Reuters »

“The genie’s out of the bottle: working from home is something that is staying well beyond COVID and the pandemic,” said Melissa Donnelly, the Community and Public Sector Union secretary who negotiated the Australian federal agreement.

The lack of a commute to and from work, the reduced need for heating and cooling separate spaces that are only temporarily occupied over the course of a day, would mean employees would also have a reduced carbon footprint.

The lack of a commute means less time spent in traffic congestions, which also translates to employees who are less stress and more productive.

As Earth sizzles, climate denialists rearrange deck chairs

Eve Ottenberg, Counter Punch »

The problem is known. It has been known for generations, to scientists and to the oil, gas and coal companies who researched and then concealed the lethal effects of their product. Simply put, our social and political economy, structured around burning fossil fuels, heats the earth. The chief culprits in this profligate burning are wealthy countries and their massive organizations like the American military. Small, poor countries have small carbon footprints. This deadly pollution cannot be blamed on them or their so-called excessive birth-rate.

The economy is doing much better than the far-right scaremongers told you it would be

Axios »

Why it matters: Last week’s great reports on weakening U.S. consumer inflation, slowing wholesale price increases, falling import prices and lower-than-expected claims for jobless benefits helped send the surprise index to the highest level in two years.

Flashback: It was almost exactly a year ago that the index was blaring alarms that a sharp slowdown was in the works, as the Fed sharply raised rates while inflation stayed stubbornly high.

Global Warming, Greenhouse Gases and Pollution » Time is running out on the Climate Clock

The Verge »

As anyone who’s experienced the weather lately knows, the situation is already bad. The world had its hottest week on record at the start of the month, according to preliminary data, with heatwaves still smashing local records across the Northern Hemisphere. And that’s just one way climate change is bringing on dangerous new extremes.

Today, the planet is about 1.1 degrees Celsius hotter than it was before the Industrial Revolution, thanks to carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels. It’s what’s driving more intense heatwaves, wildfires, storms, and sea level rise. That’s why world leaders agreed, as part of the landmark Paris agreement, to keep the planet from warming much more than it already has. Every fraction of a degree comes with more severe consequences.

The Economist names Vienna the world’s most liveable city for 2023

Vienna has retained its crown as the world’s most liveable city, according to Economist’s annual index.

The 2023 Global Liveability Index quantifies the challenges presented to an individual’s lifestyle and standard of living in 173 cities worldwide. The 2023 Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual ranking has also included three Canadian cities among the worlds top 10 most liveable. Australia and Switzerland each have 2 entries. Denmark, Japan, and New Zealand each had one city in the top rankings.

1. Vienna 🇦🇹
2. Copenhagen 🇩🇰
3. Melbourne 🇦🇺
4. Sydney 🇦🇺
5. Vancouver 🇨🇦
6. Zurich 🇨🇭
7. Calgary 🇨🇦 (tie)
7. Geneva 🇨🇭 (tie)
9. Toronto 🇨🇦
10. Osaka 🇯🇵 (tie)
10. Auckland 🇳🇿 (tie)

The Global Liveability Index 2023: optimism amid instability

Note: Clicking the above image will load and play the video from YouTube.

The Economist »

Canada, China, and other nations require more immigrants to counter shifting demographics

The Desjardins report confirms that our aging demographics makes the case for increased immigration if we want to grow Canada’s economy.

The Canadian Press via National Observer »

Canada’s population grew by more than one million people last year, a record for the country. Its total population grew by 2.7 per cent, the fastest rate since 1957.

The strong population growth comes as the Liberal government eyes higher annual immigration targets, which would see the country welcome 500,000 immigrants per year by 2025.

Proponents of higher immigration argue that the labour market is able to absorb more workers, and the country needs more working-age Canadians to support the tax base as more people retire.

“We need immigration at a relatively high rate, actually, in order to offset the economic impacts of aging _ to be able to pay for the health care that Canadian seniors are going to need,” Bartlett said.

Meanwhile » China too needs immigrants

China is entering a severe demographic crisis.

For several centuries, the Asian nation has been the most populous country in the world. But it is now shrinking. In 2022, the country registered more deaths than births, and it will soon be surpassed by India in total population size – indeed, many demographers believe this has already occurred.

Increasing monopoly power poses a threat to Canada’s post-pandemic economic recovery

The Conversation »

The grocery industry is dominated by five major players — Loblaws, Metro, Empire (the owner of Sobeys), Walmart and Costco. These five companies account for over three-quarters of all food sales in Canada.

The Bureau recommended four policies to encourage competition in the sector. These include establishing a grocery innovation strategy, encouraging new independent and international players, introducing legislation for consistent unit pricing and limiting property controls.

Only 1 in 10 Americans give high ratings to the way democracy is working in the U.S.

AP »

Majorities of adults say U.S. laws and policies do a poor job of representing what most Americans want on issues ranging from the economy and government spending to gun policy, immigration and abortion. The poll shows 53% say Congress is doing a bad job of upholding democratic values, compared with just 16% who say it’s doing a good job.

The findings illustrate widespread political alienation as a polarized country limps out of the pandemic and into a recovery haunted by inflation and fears of a recession. In interviews, respondents worried less about the machinery of democracy — voting laws and the tabulation of ballots — and more about the outputs.

The anti-ownership ebook cconomy

Engelberg Center on Innovation Law & Policy »

Have you ever noticed that you can’t really “buy” an ebook? Sure, when you click that “Buy Now” button on your ereader, tablet, or phone, it feels like a complete, seamless transaction. But the minute you try to treat your ebook like a physical book – say by sharing it with a friend, selling it to someone else, donating it to a school library, or sometimes even reading it offline, reality sets in. You can’t do any of those things.

With most ebooks, even if you think you “own” them, the publisher or platform you bought them from will say otherwise. Publishers and platforms insist that you only buy a license to access the books, not the rights to do anything else with them.

Half of humanity lives in countries that are forced to spend more on servicing their debt than on health and education

UN »

Last year global public debt reached a record $92 trillion, of which developing countries shoulder 30 per cent – a “disproportionate amount”, the UN chief stressed.

He warned that 3.3 billion people suffer from their governments’ need to prioritize debt interest payments over “essential investments” in the Sustainable Development Goals or the energy transition.

“And yet, because these unsustainable debts are concentrated in poor countries, they are not judged to pose a systemic risk to the global financial system,” the UN Secretary-General added.

US shoppers buying fewer items is threaten corporate growth

Inflation (mostly driven by corporations looking to increase profits off the backs of their customers) is starting to have a significant impact on spending.

Leslie Patton, Bloomberg »

Despite surging inflation, shoppers kept spending thanks to income gains and government stimulus. But those benefits are waning, and now Americans are skimping, even on everyday items such as toilet paper and toothpaste. More insights on the economic environment come on Wednesday with the release June’s consumer price index. That measure is anticipated to show annual inflation slowed to 3.1%, its lowest level since March 2021.

“The strains that the consumer is under have been exacerbated over the last couple of months,” said Morningstar analyst Erin Lash. The reduction of food assistance programs, lower tax returns and using up extra savings and stimulus funds have an impact, she said.

Electric-Vehicle charging stands outnumber gasoline pumps at a Circle K service station outside Kongsberg, Norway

Bloomberg »

It’s a scene that is steadily being replicated all over the Nordic country, offering a glimpse of what may be in store for drivers the world over in the years ahead.

When it comes to electric vehicles, Norway is very much a trailblazer. It has moved much more rapidly away from the internal combustion engine than its neighbors thanks to generous tax breaks and incentives, which made Tesla Inc.’s battery-powered Model Y cost competitive with a gasoline-burning Toyota Motor Corp. RAV4.

Most countries can’t afford to move quite as fast as wealthy Norway — the nation’s government estimates that various supports measures cost it some $1.8 billion annually in lost revenue. But the International Energy Agency says the rest of the world is going in the same direction, bringing peak oil demand before the end of the decade.

Big Brother » France set to allow police to spy through phones

» Security and privacy. You cannot have a functioning democracy without both.

Le Monde »

French police should be able to spy on suspects by remotely activating the camera, microphone and GPS of their phones and other devices, lawmakers agreed late on Wednesday, July 5. Part of a wider justice reform bill, the spying provision has been attacked by both the left and rights defenders as an authoritarian snoopers’ charter, though Justice Minister Éric Dupond-Moretti insists it would affect only “dozens of cases a year.”

Covering laptops, cars and other connected objects as well as phones, the measure would allow the geolocation of suspects in crimes punishable by at least five years’ jail. Devices could also be remotely activated to record sound and images of people suspected of terror offenses, as well as delinquency and organized crime.

The provisions “raise serious concerns over infringements of fundamental liberties,” digital rights group La Quadrature du Net wrote in a May statement. It cited the “right to security, right to a private life and to private correspondence” and “the right to come and go freely”, calling the proposal part of a “slide into heavy-handed security”.


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