Whipping Wal-Mart Into Shape
June 07, 2011
When I first started looking into Wal-Mart as a reporter several years ago, what bothered me the most was the cynicism of the company. Gosh, we didn’t know that our outsourced maintenance people were illegal immigrants. Gosh, we didn’t know that store managers were subtly demanding unpaid overtime. Gosh, we didn’t know that we had a really bad supplier in China that abused its workers. Wal-Mart was always shocked, shocked, shocked.
June 01, 2011
Ryan Avent returns from a trip to China and asks, “How Real Is China’s Growth?” Though not fungible, This Big City wonders what the cancellation of the Access to the Region’s Core Hudson River tunnel and the subsequent decision to subsidize a white elephant mega-mall says about priorities in New Jersey. Finally, a bit old, but via the Radials blog comes further evidence that all public infrastructure decisions should have an informative music video as part of the outreach.
The Great Democracy Meltdown
May 19, 2011
As the revolt that started this past winter in Tunisia spread to Egypt, Libya, and beyond, dissidents the world over were looking to the Middle East for inspiration. In China, online activists inspired by the Arab Spring called for a “jasmine revolution.” In Singapore, one of the quietest countries in the world, opposition members called for an “orchid evolution” in the run-up to this month’s national elections. Perhaps as a result, those watching from the West have been positively triumphalist in their predictions.
May 12, 2011
Jon Huntsman, former governor of Utah, ambassador to China, and potential presidential contender, used to play the keyboard in a prog rock cover band called Wizard. In fact, he dropped out of high school, temporarily, in favor of music practices in a warehouse on the outskirts of Salt Lake City.
Fire and Ice
May 11, 2011
The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is a very brave man. Long before April 3, when he was taken into police custody by the Chinese authorities in Beijing as he attempted to board a flight for Hong Kong, he knew that his vigorous support for human rights in China put him on a collision course with the government. He was badly beaten by the police in 2009, his blog was shut down that same year, and in 2010 his new studio in Shanghai was bulldozed by authorities.
The Long Shot
May 10, 2011
The Republican presidential race is fast resembling World War II baseball, when 4-Fs roamed the outfield, the ball lost its bounce because of the rubber shortage, and sportswriters found it hard to imagine that any team could win the World Series.
She drowned in her own swimming pool in the south of France, aged 66. Marie-France Pisier had an immense, composed beauty, with a marble air of absolute assurance. In her brow and her gaze, serenity seemed on the point of becoming a mask. But she was made for drama, and even melodrama. Though she had the look of a Parisian socialite, so much about her was unexpected: She was born in Dalat, in Indo-China, the daughter of a French colonial governor. In fact, she only came to live in France at the age of twelve.
May 05, 2011
In October 2008, a month after the collapse of Lehman Brothers—with the United States’s financial system seemingly about to buckle and Washington in desperate need of cash to prevent a total economic collapse—a State Department official contacted his Chinese counterpart about China buying U.S. securities. To his surprise, the Chinese, who had previously displayed an insatiable appetite for U.S. Treasury bills, suddenly balked at lending a hand. The reason, the Chinese official said, was the recent announcement of an impending sale of U.S.
The Trump Economic Populist Opportunity
May 04, 2011
I've been saying, without any data to back this up, that Donald Trump is filling a huge void by promising to stand up to China on economic issues. Now, courtesy of Pew Research, I have some data to back this up: Trump's position on China is moderately unpopular with the electorate as a whole, but wildly popular among the most loyal elements of the GOP base. No other Republican candidate is giving the people what they want here.
Last week, the International Monetary Fund released its annual World Economic Outlook, this year entitled, “Tensions from the Two-Speed Recovery: Unemployment, Commodities, and Capital Flows.” The two speed recovery emerges from the different post-crisis status in developed countries and emerging markets. While the United States and Europe are facing the prospect of slowly recovering employment and growth, emerging and developing economies are expected to grow by 6.5 percent this year. Developing countries are gathering mass in the world economy faster than expected.