Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Stories below the fold

Two "Moscow on the Hudson" stories on the internet.

If you watched the movie, it starts with the Robin Williams character being a hero for finding toilet paper in the stores.

Which brings us to this item from StrategyPate: Iran: the Toilet paper revolution.
The government is trying to cope with the stricter sanctions, but inflation continues to rise. It is currently 25 percent and headed for 30 percent in the next few months. Most luxury goods imports (including toilet paper) are now banned. The only items allowed in legally are those that preserve jobs (raw materials and components for factories) and keep the security forces going (“legal” smuggling of weapons and items needed for the nuclear and other weapons development and production.) But there is already more illegal smuggling of luxury goods. People with money are willing to pay a big markup to get iPhones and softer toilet paper. 
No, I don't approve of sanctions because they hurt ordinary folks, not the elites who are the problem. Yet since Iran is a semi democracy, public pressure might work.

The second item is from TPMBarnett, about the increased move for local soverignty by minority groups (like the Catalonians or Scots) in the European Union.

You might think it's the Eurozone troubles that is responsible, but that's the proximate opportunity - not the ultimate enabler.  Real federalism is coming, so why not get out of your unhappy marriage in the bargain?
Here's the counterintuitive part: it's often the most competent and richest that want out.  The better want to leave behind the worse.
Again, the theme of the movie was that the free wanted opportunities to be free, despite the difficulties.

And here in the Philippines, where ten percent of our population are working overseas, it is often the hardest working and most ambitious who do so. With the rich families controlling things, the middle class (like us) often has trouble making a living, so it's easier to work elsewhere. If they go to the US or Europe, they often stay and become citizens, sometimes marrying a local (we have relatives living in Germany, Italy, the US and the UK).

If PNoy cleans up the corruption, more will come home to work.

If not, well they'll just stay in Chicago, London, or San Diego...

No comments: