West Berlin Cold War Era
Ironically, it seems that at least for the time being the West pays the price for the non-performance of major Arab economies. Terrorism, peculiarly, prefers to address foreign countries with their multitude of soft targets rather than the local elites mainly responsible for the unsatisfactory situation. But that might change.
Terror organizations are usually directed by relatively well-off middle aged people who motivate, fund and dispatch younger followers, typically students who master at least one foreign language and have lived abroad.
The students are mostly not paupers but of middle class origin; otherwise they could not have afforded higher education and travel abroad. Given the bad shape of their country's economy they have probably tried to establish themselves abroad, encountered economic and possibly social problems, and became bitter and radical. They typically show a dichotomy between an outward good student appearance and a secret conspiratory activity.
In conclusion, prospects for a gradual disappearance of Mideastern terrorism are dim. The regions main economies can be expected to breed more rather than less fanatics.
*Of Backpacks and Assassins
Western media tend to stress the number of foreign civilians and soldiers killed and kidnapped in Iraq. The numbers of Iraqi casualties are also mentioned but often only as estimates. Islamic media and their audiences see a mirror image: they focus on the enormous Iraqi losses and consider foreign deaths and abductions as collateral damage of a war Iraq did not start. As long as this war continues hardly any major change in perception and attitude of the Muslim world can be expected.
*the Euro still a weak currency
Looking at a basket of currencies it becomes apparent that since the beginning of 2004, the euro has risen much less than other currencies against the dollar. Only the Australian dollar and the Japanese yen performed worse than the euro. In the case of the yen it reflects the policy of the central bank to absorb lots of dollars in order to protect export industries by artificially lowering the exchange rate of the yen against the dollar.
*The Economics of Aging Populations
Out of 56 million Germans (Germany pop. 82 million) between 15 and 65 years of age, only 36 million, or 65 percent, are working. One third of adults is either unemployed (4.5 million), unable or unwilling to work. A total of 46.5 million or 57 percent of all Germans are either children, non-working adults, or retirees.
*Post Industrial Germany
Some 1.3 million Germans, four fifths of them highly educated, left Germany during the past ten years, according to Erwin Teufel, the chief minister of Baden-Wuerttemberg, a highly industrialized state. In the U.S., more immigrants are coming from Germany than from any other European country. Germans are the third largest group of immigrants, after Mexicans and Salvadorians. In 2002 alone, some 120,000 Germans emigrated, with an annual growth rate of ten percent.
Compared to the enormous sacrifices industry, and with it the entire economy would have to make by reducing carbon dioxide emissions to climatically innocuous levels, it would be much less expensive to create a shield in the troposphere which stabilizes world temperatures by blocking out, say, 15 percent of solar radiation at an annual cost of only a few billion dollars. Stumble It!
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
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