Economic Analysis

There is an interesting article which compares the total ecological footprint of a Prius to a Hummer. The conclusion that the article draws is that the Hummer is actually easier on the environment. How can this be? The article lists three reasons. First the actual fuel consumption is higher than claimed. Second, the manufacturing of the batteries that powers the motor invovles the toxic processing of nickel and takes a lot of energy to manufacture.

Second is the issue with the actual production of the batteries for the hybrid cars. It is only slowly being revealed that the nickel batteries that hybrids use are not environmentally friendly. The nickel for the Prius is produced in Sudbury, Ontario. According to Demorro, ” This plant has caused so much environmental damage to the surrounding environment that NASA has used the ‘dead zone’ around the plant to test moon rovers. The area around the plant is devoid of any life for miles.” Toyota produces 1,000 tons annually. The production of the batteries does not end in Canada, the nickel is then sent off to a refinery in Europe and then off to China and finally it ends up in finished form in Japan. This in turn uses more energy to create the batteries since it involves many factories all over the world.

Third hybrids do not last as long as conventional vehicles. Interestingly, the article concludes that the most environmentally friendly cars are conventional sub compacts.

Basically if you want to save gas and pollute less you should buy a subcompact with a PZEV rated engine. It will save you more money in the long run and the earth will thank you.


VANCOUVER — Three people are dead after a vehicle crash near Abbotsford, in B.C.’s Fraser Valley, just north of the Canada-U.S. border that shut down a major highway and choked off traffic both east and westbound during Wednesday’s rush hour.

Police say there were up to 16 people, thought to be rural farm workers, crammed into one van.

This is just obscene. It appears if you want to get away with murder all you have to do is open a business and engage in gross negligence. Here is a little stat. In 2000 there were nearly 1000 inustrial fatalities in ontario. Nearly three times the number killed as a result of drinking and driving in Ontario for that year. How many person hours are spent preventing drinking and driving compared to inspection of work sites and equipment? Where are the Mothers Against Industrial Deaths (MAID)? Wheres the equivalent moral panic?

Call him a caudillio, call him a dictator, call him whatever you want but Chavez has shrewdly used his oil revenue to help Latin American countries avoid the dictatorial terms on which the IMF makes its loans. The end result is that Latin and South America are able to access foreign cash without going hat in hand to the IMF. Interestingly one of the other consequences is that Chavez is helping bankrupt the IMF. In related news Poor Paul Wolfiwitz is himself going hat-in-hand looking for 18-25 billion dollars to keep The Bank solvent.

Of course a recession would be just what the doctor ordered for the Fund.  As commodity prices tanked so too would Latin and South American economies and Chavez’s capacity to make cheep condition free loans.

Homeland security was established to protect the US from Terrorists right? Nope it appears that they are simply unable to find any terrorists so they have turned the dogs loose on immigrant workers who ensure every white american has cheap steak to eat. That would be another check in the Left’s predictions about the US’s response to 9/11: a growing authoritarian Xenophobia matched by an overzealous and over-armed domestic security apparatus.

Union: DHS Raids Grabbed Legal Workers
Union officials are outraged over a massive immigration sweep yesterday, which sent 1,000 Homeland Security Department agents — some in riot gear — to meatpacking plants in six states to round up immigrant workers suspected of using fake identification, but may have picked up legal workers in the process.

“Stormtroopers came in with machine guns, rounded [the workers] into the cafeterias, separated identified citizens from non-citizens, and then they took away all green cards and put non-citizens onto buses,” regardless of the immigrants’ legal status, Jill Cashen of the United Food and Commercial Workers union (UCFW) told me this morning.

Cashen said that reports from all six states confirmed that legal immigrants were among those taken away, and have not been returned. “We’re still trying to find out where the buses went,” she said. “Children have been left at church day cares. Nobody knows where these people are.”

Recently unsealed court documents show that DHS had identified 170 identity-fraud suspects it wished to apprehend, but that the agency wanted to round up as many as 5,000 other workers because it “further expect[ed] to apprehend persons who are engaged in large-scale identity theft[.]” Union officials say the total number of detained workers may be higher than 5,000. (Update: We’ve uploaded those court documents to our document collection here.)

By Goodwin Ginger

For those of you with a passing interest in what is going on in economics and economic analysis done by progressive economists we highly recommend PAER. Generally one does not need an advanced or even intermediate training in economics to be able follow the analysis and arguments that are made in the Review. That said, one does need to put in some mental effort into reading the Review. Two articles stand out in this issue. The first is a piece by John Schmitt and Ben Zipperer “Is the U.S. a Good Model for Reducing Social Exclusion in Europe? Although not all that subtle (a bit of a brute force hack) and a little under referenced it nonetheless provides a rough and ready refutation to all those who would argue the superiority of the American model.


Staying with the theme of superiority, the article by Alan Freeman and Andrew Kliman “Beyond Talking the Talk: towards a critical pluralist practice” takes up the issue of what a truly scientific approach to economics as a social science would require. It is good article which essentially argues for some academic honesty through enforced pluralism whereby the waring factions model of organization and publication of research is replaced by pluralism within organizations and scholarly journals.


We have decided to sell off Canadian Observer.  We are willing to take raw cash or a paragraph about why you are the individual or individual’s to take over the blog.   The blog is well established and has good potential for growth.

Interested parties can reach us in the comments section.

Chris Giles at the FT has interesting article in today’s FT on the global concentration of wealth. This article begs the question: Is it time for a global socialist movement? One of the more interesting observation is that if wealth were to be distributed equally everyone would have (US) $20,500 in assets to use. Not bad. That means a family of four would have $82, 000 in assets to make use of. This is a far cry from the regular insistence by economists that all redistribution would achieve is to make us all equal in poverty. Something to ponder when thinking about how to achieve global peace and sustainable development. It appears that the problem (Social Democrats take note) is not wealth creation, but, rather, wealth distribution. As with food as with assets.
Two per cent hold half of world’s assets

By Chris Giles, Economics Editor in London

Published: December 5 2006 13:13 | Last updated: December 5 2006 13:13

Personal wealth is distributed so unevenly across the world that the richest two per cent of adults own more than 50 per cent of the world’s assets while the poorest half hold only 1 per cent of wealth.

A survey released on Tuesday shows that middle-income countries with high growth rates still have a long way to go before they have a hope of catching up with the levels of prosperity of the richest.

Adults with more than $2,200 of assets were in the top half of the global wealth league table, while those with more than $61,000 were in the top 10 per cent, according to the data from the World Institutefpr Development Economics Research of the United Nations University (UNU-Wider).

To belong to the top 1 per cent of the world’s wealthiest adults you would need more than $500,000, something that 37m adults have achieved.

So much of the world’s wealth is concentrated in few hands that if all the world’s wealth was distributed evenly, each person would have $20,500 of assets to use.

Almost 90 per cent of the world’s wealth is held in North America, Europe and high-income Asian and Pacific countries, such as Japan and Australia.

While North America has 6 per cent of the world’s adult population, it accounts for 34 per cent of household wealth.

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