For many people, Pittsburgh is defined by the confluence of the Alleghany and Monongahela Rivers, out of which is formed the Ohio River. Three Rivers. But, Pittsburgh was transformed from a disease-infested frontier town into a great city by a different kind of confluence: the combination of coal from West Virginia and iron from Minnesota and the upper peninsula of Michigan.
Oreos have been for years made in Chicago, Illinois (and several other American cities). Mondelez International, Inc. – the company that delivers us the chocolatey, spherical goodness – announced they would make their next wave of Oreo manufacturing investment not in Chicago, but in Mexico. This move will reduce – not end – Chicago’s role in production. Jobs in the Windy City will be halved – from 1,200 to 600. (Other cities will continue their current roles.)
According to the new United Nations World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision, the population of the world is projected to rise from 7.3 billion in 2015 to 11.2 billion in 2100. This represents a 53 percent increase. However, over the period, population growth will moderate substantially. This is indicated by the annual growth rate the first year (2015 to 2016), at 1.1 percent, compared to the last year (2099 to 2100) at 0.1 percent. Annual population growth is projected to decline 90 percent from the beginning of the period to the end (Figure 1).
The wheels of reform move slowly, but on July 15, the first international investors put their toes in the shallow water of Mexico’s oil prize—which could be “as big as the proven reserves of Kuwait.” The Financial Times (FT) calls Mexico’s potential 107.5 billion barrels of oil: “quite a feast.” FT adds: “The country is viewed as one of the dwindling number of opportunities to add substantial reserves to portfolios after several years when the oil majors have struggled to make big discoveries.”
Conservative and liberal media alike were all atwitter with Thursday’s midday news that the House of Representatives was going on its summer recess without passing a border-related bill because Republicans did not have the votes to pass it. The leftwas particularly pleased in the apparent inability of the new House leadership team to pass a relatively inexpensive bill that contained at least one conservative priority on an extremely visible issue.
We recently discussed a bipartisan group of Senators and House members who correctly identified a global trade problem and its negative domestic ramifications. 57 Senators and 152 House members…sign(ed) letters to Barack Obama Administration Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. In which they expressed concern about inexpensive Korean steel being in mass quantities imported here….
Debt is an issue that affects countries all over the world. Almost all countries are in debt as their governments take loans to cover for variations in their tax receipts. Yet while many developed countries such as Greece and Ireland are increasingly facing debt crises of their own, the effect of such debt is not nearly as crippling as it is for developing nations.
Since October of last year 52,000 – 60,000 unaccompanied children have arrived at our border with Mexico with an expectation of being allowed into our country. They came mostly from Honduras, Guatemala or El Salvador, based on information they received promising America had relaxed their immigration laws and if they managed to reach our borders, they would be allowed entry, especially the children.
A debate on immigration policy was held recently in Chicago between a conservative and a libertarian. It was an exercise between light regulation and lighter regulation. Both regimes would enlarge the programs for highly skilled foreigners and temporary workers and tighten the border with Mexico.
There is an increasing recognition – at least outside the academy, planning organization and urban core developer groups – that the spatial expansion of cities or suburbanization represents the evolving urban form of not only the United States and virtually all of the high income world but also across the developing world, whether middle income or third world.
In recent years, Mexico has made substantial economic progress. Per capita income (purchasing power parity) in Mexico exceeds that of all the “BRIC” nations (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) except resource-rich Russia.
President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and 28 Senate Democrats remain fixated on “dangerous manmade climate change.” In the process, they are ignoring real threats to our living standards and very lives.
Just one year ago, the Wall Street Journal has reported, saboteurs attacked a power substation near San Jose, California. They cut fiber optic cables and shot up 17 transformers, causing them to overheat and fail. Apparently, they wanted to trigger a monumental blackout. Thankfully, grid operators were able to reroute power and avoid blackouts.
A Federal Energy Regulatory Commission official called the attack “purposeful, extremely well planned and executed by professionals who had expert training.” Other utility experts said it could have been a “dress rehearsal” for much bigger operation – one that could take down much of the entire US or even North American electricity grid for weeks, months or even a year. That would have a devastating effect on our economy, living standards and lives. Indeed, many people would likely die, as food, fuel and even safe drinking water become unavailable.
By the middle of October, if everything stays on schedule, Mexico’s legislators may well prove that they haven’t learned a thing from policies that have been tried and failed, from Denmark to New York City.
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