This week I would have liked to have followed-up on at least six stories:
The Bangladesh factory tragedy
Hundreds of workers died in a factory building collapse and subsequent fire. The over-simple treatment in the UK focuses on the poor pay and wage conditions of those in the Bangladeshi ‘sweat shops’. [Primark is said to be offering hardship aid to its supplier]. The globalising drive for cheap sources of supply is also being scrutinized. One dilemma to be addressed is the economic benefits of international trade as a country develops.
Krugman and Keynes
Paul Krugman continues to express the neo-Keynesian view that austerity programmes are inadequate for dealing with the exceptional social hardships of a severe recession. He believes the majority of economic commentators are missing the point. Ironically, Keynes was himself frustrated that conventional wisdom of the time seemed unable to appreciate his arguments. Krugman feels pretty much the same, offering this rebuttal of one counter argument. Economies, he says, are not like families. Income and spending are inter-dependent. If we all cut spending our incomes will fall too. He also rejects the idea that this is a leftist spending-spree mentality, but necessary a short-term measure for exceptional economic times.
Then there was the surprise retirement of Santander chief Alfredo Saenz who is expected to collect a goodbye present of around $100,000,000 rather than cop an investigation into his activities by the Supreme Court .
Back in the UK, local elections this week [Thursday May 4th 2012] are seen as a measure of protest votes away from the traditional political parties. The anti-immigration and (even more anti – European Union) party UKIP is tipped to poll well under the leadership of its somewhat unconventional and ebullient Nigel Farage, who is also standing for Parliament in a by-election.
Larry David and his mother
An article by American humourist Larry David looked at how his mother would have reacted to his being arrested for terrorist offenses. It provoked a storm of protests. When told he had confessed she replied “well he probably didn’t want anyone else to suffer.” The article saves me from going any further with an idea I had for a blog which was going to be entitled “every mother is a potential terrorist”.
Reginald D Hunter
Anti-racist comedian Reginald D Hunter is in trouble for using racist language at a Football Association dinner. Or at least I thought it was humour with a political intent, in the tradition of Lenny Bruce.
Coping with overload
This ‘six for the price of one’ blog post is my attempt to cope with information overload. Hope you liked it. Normal service, as they say, may be resumed shortly…