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Showing posts from October 14, 2013

China drives its way to No. 1 oil importer, overtaking USA

China has topped the US as the biggest importer of oil in the world, according to government data released this week. 

It's more evidence of China's economic growth and America's shale drilling boom and increased efficiency, which has reduced its reliance on foreign oil. 

By David J. Unger, Staff writer / October 12, 2013

A city ring road becomes clogged with heavy traffic in Beijing Thursday. China's growing car culture has helped make it the world's No. 1 importer of oil.

Andy Wong/AP

China has edged out the US as the world's biggest oil importer.

David J. Unger

Staff Writer

David J. Unger is a staff writer for The Christian Science Monitor, covering energy for the Monitor's Energy Voices.

The shift reaffirms China's ballooning growth and middle-class demand for cars and other amenities. Meanwhile, the US has slogged through five years of post-recession economic malaise. Americans are driving and buying less than before.

That's only half the story. The othe…

Nobel Prize Winner Robert Shiller Is Responsible For The 2 Most Important Charts Of The Last Two Decades


OCT. 14, 2013, 8:44 AM 

Wikimedia Commons

Robert Shiller

Yale University professor Robert Shiller was one of three people to win the 2013 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences (also known as the Nobel Prize in Economics).

Shiller is already a god among economists. He famously predicted two of the biggest bubbles of all time: the dot-com bubble and the housing bubble. Both times, he published an edition of his book Irrational Exuberance, which described and predicted each respective bubble.

The theme of this year's award "Trendspotting in asset markets," and the Nobel committee pointed to Shiller's work in forecasting intermediate-term moves in asset prices.

"He found that stock prices fluctuate much more than corporate dividends, and that the ratio of prices to dividends tends to fall when it is high, and to increase when it is low," said the Nobel Committee

"This pattern holds not only for stocks, but also for bonds and other assets."



Simeon Tegel

October 14, 2013 01:05

How Peru could become America's next drug war debacle

Peru (and the US) want the country's coca eradicated. But farmers from the world's coca capital depending on the cocaine source warn there will be blood.

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A mother strides through the coca crop to turn it over and ensure it dries evenly.
PHOTO BY: Simeon Tegel

VRAE, Peru — For decades, locals in this isolated Andean valley have cultivated copious quantities of coca, the small bush at the heart of Washington’s “war on drugs.”

Untroubled by the level of narco-violence that’s roiled Mexico and Colombia, and beyond the reach of the Peruvian government, many poor farmers here have come to depend on coca as their only source of cash.

No wonder that, according to United Nations data, more coca now grows in the Valley of the Apurimac and Ene Rivers (VRAE by its Spanish initials) than any other region on the planet.

But that’s about to change — and many here are predicting strife.

Peru’s president, …

14 Reasons to Be Hopeful About the Future of Food

October 11, 2013

Food Tank

By Danielle Nierenberg and Thais Bassinello

When it comes to the future of the food system, it’s hard not to be discouraged. Nearly one billion people are hungry, and another 1.5 billion are obese or overweight. 

All over the world, people waste 1.3 billion tons of food each year.

 And according to the International Panel on Climate Change, humans are to blame for an increasingly hot, dry and natural disaster-prone planet.

But Food Tank has compiled a list of 14 reasons to be hopeful about the future of the food system. Share these with your networks to spread the message that the food system is changing for the better.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

1. The next generation is learning more about where their food comes from than their parents did.

In the U.S., initiatives like The Kitchen Community, The Edible Schoolyard Project, The Sylvia Center and The FARM Institute are getting kids involved in learning about food from farm to fork. In Costa Rica, young people are…

12 Ways The The $210 Billion Gold Market Directly Impacts The Economy


OCT. 14, 2013, 11:06 AM

REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

We love to track the daily ups and downs of the gold market and debate whether or not the yellow metal actually has any intrinsic value.

But whether you like it or not, gold plays a major role in the global economy.

A new report titled "The Direct Economic Impact of Gold" from PricewaterhouseCoopers (commissioned by the World Gold Council) takes a look at the mechanics of the gold trade.

"The key metrics are GVA – which measures the economic contribution of those entities engaged in the gold value chain and reflects their contribution to the economies in which they operate – and employment,"
according to the report. 

"GVA is used because it measures the value of an activity in a way which lends itself to direct comparison with Gross Domestic Product, which is used worldwide to measure economies’ economic output."

Here are the 12 key takeaways from the report:

The 15 largest gold producing countries, w…