Oct 30, 2008

Green Jobs: Obama or McCain?

With the weather extremely hot for what is meant to be winter and the election only a few days away I decided to incorporate both subjects into this week’s post while relating them to the overall focus of my blog. I researched the blogosphere looking for blogs regarding Obama and McCain’s policies on the environment and employment. As the economy remains in a fragile state both McCain and Obama have been greatly campaigning on how they would form jobs and aid America through these hard times. Obama has been proposing to invest more in renewable energy sources “that will eliminate oil” and create “5 million jobs”. He plans to eliminate having to obtain oil from the Middle East in “10 years”. McCain on the other hand has been focusing on nuclear power. He hopes to build 50 new nuclear plants in the next few years saying that not only will jobs be created through the maintenance and daily operations of the plants but also by creating an industry of constructing nuclear power plant parts. He plans to move nuclear power to the U.S. instead of having it based in other countries as it currently is. Therefore he plans to create jobs by creating plant-construction material and tools businesses. While researching blogosphere I found it harder to find blogs on McCain regarding his take on environmental policy and jobs. Although there were several on Obama many came from an overly bias point of view. However, I did find two blogs which focused on this topic in a more informative way. The first blog “Obama, McCain Promise Jobs by Advancing Clean Technologies” is an extremely useful resource it is more descriptive and analytical written by an employee at A.E. Feldman’s. The second blog “Can green jobs save us?” from Politico is a shorter more succinct blog regarding the presidential candidates’ proposals. I left comments on both blogs and have added them at the bottom for your convenience as the first blog has made comments closed to viewers.

"Obama, McCain Promise Jobs by Advancing Clean Technologies"
Thank you very much for your thorough blog regarding the presidential candidates and their policies on green technologies and jobs. You introduce the differing policies clearly while also giving a deeper explanation and analysis. I can see how investments would be smart in the research and development of renewable energy sources. Being renewable resources will mean that more sustainable long
-term jobs will be created. Your blog also shows great insight into how other industries and professions will benefit from a greater governmental emphasis on the environment. As mentioned, A.E. Feldman has seen a growing number of law firms increase their environmental law sector and energy practices. It can be seen that Obama’s focus is to invest not only in renewable fuels but renewable energy resources such as wind and solar power. Both of which have extensive potential in becoming major global energy sources. However, I would have liked to have read more on whether Obama’s policies will really create the 5 million jobs he says it will. Regarding the production tax credit, I agree with Obama’s extension of this and can see how Congress will need to also extend the quantity of this more frequently in order for the renewable energy projects to be most beneficial. McCain’s take on the tax although more appealing to the people of today only ensures the ‘even-handed system of tax credits’. Although environmental taxes will not be immediately raised, this means that the necessary solution of increasing research into the technology in order to form conventional energy sources will not be put into effect. McCain’s proposals of using nuclear energy plants have several underlying problems, namely radioactive waste. Furthermore, McCain’s comparison of using nuclear power to countries such as China, India and Russia are not good examples as these countries are seen as developing countries. Developing countries depend on industrial revolutions in order to increase their GDP to reach the level of a developed country. Given the fact that the U.S. is not a developing country we should be focusing on using a sustainable less harmful way of generating energy. Your use of Reuters as a source is professional adding to your scholarly post. Overall I extremely enjoyed reading your post and found it educational.

"Can green jobs save us?"
Thank you for your concise yet informative post on McCain and Obama’s economic and environmental policies. I appreciate how you write about both candidates comparing their two views and plans. It is clear that both candidates want a two-fold approach of working towards a greener future while creating new jobs. Both plan for a “new energy income” as stated by Obama which as McCain earlier mentioned will “create millions of jobs”. I enjoy how succinct you are in your blog as you clearly mention the exact differences between Obama and McCain. Obama’s initiatives are directed towards pumping “$15 billion each year into research and development of cleaner fuels”. While McCain on the other hand has a program “mostly in the form of nuclear plant construction”, where “ultimately 55 more” plants will be built nationwide. I especially enjoyed your use of how John McCain supporters handed out tire pressure gauges of “Obama’s Energy Plan”. This comment makes for a witty approach towards a serious political subject therefore making the blog more enjoyable to read. Your choice of direct wording allows the reader to clearly understand Obama and McCain’s environmental plans for the future. While researching the blogosphere I found that many blogs smoothed over their direct plans making it difficult for the reader to decipher which candidate planned for what. Although I agree with you in that Obama’s choices are the better of the two, I would have liked to have seen you elaborate on how his plans are “optimistic” and problems beyond picking the “wrong technology”. With McCain, you go into the deeper problems of nuclear plants such as regulation, radioactive waste, and safety yet only discussing these problems on a surface level. I especially liked how you mention that Congress has also “made some headway in the past two years” towards a more environmentally conscious future. It is extremely important for Congress to support these policies in order for any president to have effective environmental policies. Overall I really enjoyed reading your blog and can see how Obama would be the better pick given his goals of investing in finding and developing more sustainable forms of cleaner fuels.

Oct 27, 2008

China’s Slowing Economic Growth: A Remedy In Itself

China, "the biggest contributor to economic growth" is now slowing down from a 10.1% growth in the second quarter of 2007 to 9% in the third quarter of 2008. Although many see this as a shake in confidence, I feel that China's reduced growth is not harmful to either the global or the American economy. As China's economy has extensively developed over the past three decades, there has been great concern as to when it would collapse. Having grown up in Hong Kong, once a British colony, I am well aware of England's constant concern with China's intensive growth. As seen by past economies such as Japan, many economists felt that it was only a matter of time before China would burst and face a recession. Therefore, the fact that China is now undergoing slower expansion will, in the long run, stabilize the economy and maintain its powerful position. Over the past few days, it has been made clear that Chinese officials are aware of the situation. Many have taken the necessary actions which will prevent China from becoming a permanently troubled economy. Furthermore, the Hong Kong economy has granted China a strong foundation for economic stability.

China has become one of the most labor intensive economies producing the largest amount of exports, it was inev
itable that its economy would be affected the American recession. As seen through a Bloomberg article, the massive plummet in U.S. Bloomberg World Indexes it is clear that China has been affected by the financial crisis. Recent figures show some of the highest percentage decreases which have occurred during the past few months. This does take into account the fact that China's economy is made p from several different, smaller economies. Looking at the split indexes of Hong Kong and China both are suffering from consistent decreases. Having grown up in Hong Kong, I have an ingrained understanding of the importance and enormity of Hong Kong's 'tiger' economy towards China. Although Hong Kong did suffer greatly from the financial crisis having reached its "its worst closing level since October 1982" on October 27th this year many have seen how quickly it has recovered. The China Daily, a resourceful website, recently reported Hong Kong stocks to have soared "more than 1,110 points". A good indications of a strengthening economy. Furthermore other websites have expressed that the 'tiger' city will remain a powerful economy as it suffered the least compared to other financial cities and has a high rate of production given its GDP per capita. Being part of China, this will greatly assist the Asian nation in ensuring stability during these economically unstable times. Furthermore, having returned to Hong Kong this summer, I could clearly be see that although there was a slight set back in consumer spending, this set back was only minimal. Hong Kong, being the freest economy, and thus having the least amount of government, has always been able to recover from such drawbacks as seen by its recovery from the 1997 Southeast Asian economic crisis.

China recently allied itself to European countries while saying it would back Europe's effort to "overhaul international regulatory systems". By doing this China is fundamentally securing its relationship with Europeans countries. This not only allows China to be able to remain well informed on European markets but also grasps opportunities to produce goods for Europeans at a low cost. According to the New York Times the "European Commission proposed a sweeping-stimulus spending package totally 200 billion euros... while officials in China cut interest rates there by more than a percentage point." These measures along with previous precautions demonstrates China's proactive commitment and determination to stabilize the world economy. Having been vague at first on the policies and changes they would make, their most recent reduction in interest rates illustrates their true dedication to solving and handling the economic problems caused by the financial crisis.

Additionally, it is important to put China's current economic growth rate of 9% into perspective. Although China's economy is slowly down, it is still growing. Compared to a rate of 6.1% expected by Europe and Central Asia in 2008, 9% represents a relatively fast expanding nation. Another indication of a secure economy, is that the Chinese currency, the Yuan has maintained its value throughout the crisis. Moreover, Chinese officials have shown an awareness of the current global situation and are taking no risks . By proactively meeting with EU leaders they are securing China's economy.

The slow down in economic growth is extremely important towards China's economy. Given their constantly increasing figures in the years before, many worried that over investment and overcapacity would lead to a collapse. Therefore, it can be seen that this decrease to 9% is a stabilizing factor itself. Additionally China has the strength of Hong Kong markets and are working with EU leaders to reduce the affects of financial crisis on the global economy. With all these factors in play, a slowing economic growth should not create instability for the China's economy. Furthermore, having studied China's history it is clear to me that memories of a collapsed economy as created through the cultural revolution are still prominent in China today, thus the Chinese will do all they can to prevent another recession.

Oct 13, 2008

An Economic Outlook: Tying Together the Online Economic and Employment Spectrum

This week I continued to research the Web and blogosphere for unique, interesting and educational resources about the economy and employment. Using the Webby and IMSA criteria for evaluating websites and blogs I have found twenty beneficial sites that will contribute to my blog and provide my readers with additional links and information. Aside from my own evaluations on each post, these sites have been added to my linkroll.

The first four websites chosen are related to all my posts. The New York Times economic section, CNN Money, Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, although more mainstream are hugely popular sites as they offer straight-forward concise information and an accurate analysis on current situations. Given the websites news format, they provide a general idea of the state of the economy along with the most recent news. With regards to the current more complicated financial crisis CNN money's website at times overly simplifies certain important aspects. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg gives a more in depth view than CNN money. Lastly, as these are news based websites they are more focused on producing a broad set of articles granting the reader with a broad range of knowledge. Standards and Poors website on the other hand is more focused on the economy. Their website offers a list of sources and indices compiled from analysts and information directly given from companies thus making them a well known and relatively reliable source. Many of the above websites mentioned above refer to standards and poors as a source and resource given their well known reputation. Business News USA and World News America offer a more political approach. Their websites are more comprehensive resources in regards to American politics and American economics. Business News USA unlike many other sites, offers sections on farming and agriculture creating a more American industry based website. World News America also provides more political news as they refer to Obama's campaign and Hillary Clinton's view on the current economic crisis. However the use of somewhat amateur graphical icons creates a less professional look. The World Economic Forum provides us with an insightful analysis of how both developing and developed economies of other countries and continents are doing. They are one of few sites that offer reliable and succinct information on different economies.

The next three websites are more focused towards employment, the second focus of my blog. Job Web is catered for graduating students who are seeking a job. Although this site may lack in networking compared to those offered by some universities, the fact that these sites exist is extremely important in providing more ways to help students find a career. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also aids in employment while offering a clear and reliable indication of the current employment and unemployment situation. Californian Employment Development Department further provides more support and help in finding a job to those in the state of California. However, unlike the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics it does not show the current economic situation.

Generally, many economic websites tend use strictly professional language creating what some may call dry reading. Economic blogs offer an outlet where economics can be discussed in a less professional and rigid manner. Group blogs such as the New York Times and Economist offer a variety of scholarly yet relatively less formal articles regarding the economy. The New York Times' group blog focuses more on Wall Street, the stock market and the American market while also providing interesting articles that articles which may be constantly discussed but rarely written on such as "in downturn, college strains family budget. The Economist group blog posts more a wide variety of articles regarding the economies of different countries. These articles give a good summary on each topic allow you to gain greater worldly knowledge. The next five blogs Economy Society, Dani Rodrik, Marginal Revolution, Calculated Risk, and Greg Mankiw were blogs I found on the economy that provided a more personal view on the economy. The first three blogs center around to the current crisis and American economy. Economy society is extremely useful in giving you a good understanding on certain topics as the posts do not over simplify events and issues while also refraining from going into too much detail. Dani Rodrik and Marginal Revolution give brief overviews on current U.S. economic topics. These two sites are therefore useful as brief resources to gain a general knowledge on the current constant changing economic situation. Calculated risk blogs more on the financial side of the economics. Posts refer more directly to banking firms on a global level but remains relatively U.S. based given the extremely extensive U.S. economy. Gregory Mankiw's blog reflects his role as a professor as he explains concepts well while constantly referring to the issue at hand and giving his well explained point of view. As a student myself I am find Mankiw's blog educational, interesting and easy to relate to.

Blogs regarding employment were harder to come across. The ultimate resumes blog provides students with an optimistic outlook giving advice and even posting job listings on the site, an unusual yet nevertheless useful blog for students to follow. The second blog I used, recruiting jobs was one of the more common job seeking websites in the blog. The blog had several job listings but I found it more useful than others given its user friendly layout. I found the site easy to navigate and was quickly able to narrow down my search to what I wanted. Overall, both blogs fundamentally act as an extra tool for students and new graduates to seek employment.

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