Global news and analysis

In this issue: the bailout, the Greek uprising, the Louisiana oil spill, the oil lobby, Chinese interests in the Middle East, and the age of peak everything.

Who Will Bail Out the Workers? [Arthur Bough]

Lst year when the global finanncial system of Capitalism was on the brink of collapse, due to the reckless actions of bankers, who took the basic principles of Capitalism to their logical conclusion, Governments around the world bailed them out to the tune of trillions of pounds. [READ THE REST]

Gold Glisters, Paper Binned [Arthur Bough]

I’ve been pointing, out for a while, that the solution, to the Debt problems of the EU and UK, will be resolved in the same way that the debt problems of the Banks were resolved – by monetising the debt. That is, Central Banks will simply print money, and use that Money to cover the Government debts.

Its what Governments have done from the very first use of money, and the very first creation of debts from borrowing it. In the past, they corrupted money made from precious metals, then they started to simply issue coins that contained less metal, but which retained the same names. Marx speaks, for example, of how the pound sterling, which had begun life as a pound weight of silver, had, by the 19th Century, been reduced to only a fraction of that weight. Once paper money is introduced, as a token representing money, there is virtually no limit to the amount Governments can print of these tokens. As Marx points out, real Money – Gold Silver or whatever has arisen as the Money Commodity – circulates because it has Value. Paper Money, however, only has Value because it circulates. The Value of Gold or silver is determined by the labour-time required for its production. But, paper has very little value because it requires little labour-time to produce. Paper money tokens only have value because they act as representatives of this real money. But, for that reason, the more of them that are printed the less value they have, whatever the nominal value they have. Their real value becomes manifest in exchange in the fact that more of them have to be given up in exchange for any other commodity – inflation. [READ THE REST]

Syria in China’s new Silk Road strategy [Volvbilis]

While the international community is fixated on Iran’s nuclear program, China has been steadily expanding its political, economic and strategic ties with Syria. Since Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited China in 2004 on the heels of the 2003 U.S. intervention in Iraq, there have been increased economic cooperation and more recently, a flurry of high-level exchanges on political and strategic issues. On April 5, while at the 7th Syrian International Oil and Gas Exhibition “SYROIL 2010” to attract local, Arab and foreign investors, Syrian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Sufian al-Allaw told the state-run Xinhua News Agency that he expects more contracts and cooperation with Chinese oil companies (Xinhua News Agency, April 5). This is in tandem with growing political and economic cooperation in the electricity, transport and telecommunications sectors dominated by Chinese enterprises such as CNPC, ZTE, Huawei and Haier (China’s largest white goods manufacturer) (Xinhua News Agency, March 31, 2008; The Syrian Report, May 11, 2009). [READ THE REST]

Peak Everything [Ronald Bailey]

Forget peak oil. What about peak lithium, peak neodymium, and peak phosphorus? [READ THE REST]

Deepwater Horizon: the petro-oligarchs strike back [Bill Weinberg]

In the wake of the Louisiana oil spill, Florida’s Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Orlando) called for President Barack Obama to reverse his recent executive order to open up areas of the Gulf of Mexico to offshore oil and gas exploration. Nelson also introduced legislation to stop exploration in the Gulf pending an investigation into the Deepwater Horizon incident. The bill would stop the Interior Department from developing a new five-year plan for Gulf drilling and exploration in the Outer Continental Shelf. “Stop the five-year plan on drilling on the offshore continental United States until we get to the bottom of this,” he told CNN April 30. (Florida Today, May 1)

The petro-oligarchy has of course wasted no time in striking back. [READ THE REST]

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