Day: April 27, 2011

If They Build It, Who Will Come?

  While much of the world continues to languish in a starting and stopping economic recovery, China’s impressive development and economic growth have proceeded with only the slightest of pauses.  Its 30-year track record and ability to maintain full speed ahead during the recent downturn have only solidified many observers’ opinions that China provides an example of effective government control and is destined to surpass the United States on the world stage in the coming decades—with its economy eclipsing America’s as early as 2016. Despite the unbelievable success of the PRC’s initiatives, several problems still loom large for the East Asian giant.  Currently of great concern to Beijing is the rising inflation rate that has some investors starting to doubt the sure bet of the Chinese market. Inflation has become a serious worry for many in China. In March inflation stood at 5.4 percent compared to the same time last year. This was driven in large part by soaring food and housing prices.  The first two months of 2011 saw food prices climb by 11 percent and housing costs jump by over 6 percent compared to 2010, according to the Chinese government.  This is terrible for a developing country desperately trying to be more consumer-driven because as these basic living expenses go up, people have increasingly less free income to purchase nonessential items. Underlying the skyrocketing cost of homes...

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Teeing Up for Climate Change

  I was asked the other day to name a country that I’d want to be a marketing agent for – spice up their image. I answered with some African state – predictable for an Africanist “do-gooder” who wants to “change!” the world. I was wrong. I should have said the Maldives. Before I continue, let me summarize all that I know about the Maldives. First, it’s less than 8 feet above sea level at its highest point. Secondly, it once held a Parliamentary Cabinet meeting underwater to highlight the threats of climate change. Translation: Climate change is going to sink their country, and they know it. So what could make the Maldives an ideal country for a marketing campaign, and how could that possibly be connected to climate change? The Maldives is thinking out of the box when it comes to addressing climate change. Doing so has not only raised its image on in the climate arena, but also on the broader international stage. While most people still can’t figure out where it is on a map (they’re those tiny little dots down to the left of India), the name “Maldives” appears more frequently in the news today than it did even two years ago. What, then, is the Maldives doing that is so special? When in trouble, buy another country. Maldives president Mahamed Nasheed envisions purchasing territory...

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