Der Spiegel reports on the BIG in Namibia
Mongolia to Share $30 Billion Mining Jackpot
Now in the US, land prices are leveling, but did they fall far enough to become affordable? Even as spending starts rising again, prospects are bleak for many Americans. Elsewhere, the basics are changing. We trim, blend, and append eight articles from: (1) Associated Press, Aug 28, on home prices; (2) USA Today, Sept 8, on borrowing; (3) MarketWatch, Sept 10, on shrunk income by Rex Nutting; (4) Christian Science Monitor, Aug 31, on tent cities by Patrik Jonsson; (5) Associated Press, Sept 14, on crime by Devlin Barrett; (6) BBC, Aug 28, on Japan’s unemployment by Roland Buerk; (7) a blog review of a recent Der Spielgel article on Namibia by Steven Shafarman, and (8) Bloomberg, Sept 11, on Mongolia.
by AP, by USA Today, by Nutting, by Jonsson, by Barrett, by Buerk, by Shafarman, and by Bloomberg
Home price index rises in 18 of 20 metro areas
Home prices in the Case-Shiller Index, up nearly 3% from the first quarter, posted their first quarterly increase in three years in Q2.
Prices are still down almost 15% from the second quarter last year. Home prices are at their level of early 2003.
JJS: Land prices reaching bottom is a first step in any turn around. Meanwhile, the recession lives on.
Americans’ reduced borrowing sets record
Consumer borrowing in July fell by a record $21.6 billion. Auto loans also dropped a record amount even as the “cash for clunkers” trade-in program helped push up personal spending in July.
Recession Year One Pushed 2.6 million into poverty
In 2008, median household income fell 3.6%, to $50,303, driving 2.6 million more people into poverty, to a record 39.8 million, 13.2% of the population.
Median incomes adjusted for inflation were the lowest since 1997 and are down 4.4% since peaking in 1999.
The decline in median incomes in 2008 was less than in the years around the 1974 and 1982 recessions.
For more Americans, a campsite is home
This recession is starting to look like the Great Depression at places like Timberline Campground in Tennessee. Across the country, campgrounds, RV parks, national parks, and city-owned pockets become inundated with permanent campers. As entire tent cities spring up and expand, some vote on village bylaws.
JJS: During hard times, typically crime rises. Since the recession worsened toward the end of 2008, last year's data does not reflect any rise.
US violent crime dropped in 2008
Murder and manslaughter in the United States dropped last year to 14,180 murder victims.
The 3.9% decline in killings reported to police was part of a nationwide drop in violent crime of 1.9% from 2007 to 2008. Rapes declined 1.6%, to the lowest national number in 20 years -- about 89,000.
Since 2000, all violent crime rates have been flat. The striking change this year has been murder.
Crime has come way down since its peak in the early 1990's. These are rates we haven't seen since the 1960's, even though the change from year to year has been rather small.
Property crimes declined 0.8%, driven mostly by a 12.7% drop in car thefts. The other major categories of property crime -- burglaries and larceny-thefts -- both rose.
JJS: Some unemployed do turn to crime. And around the world people are having a hard time finding work. Yet a “high” unemployment rate is relative, high in Japan being normal in the US.
Japan jobless rate hits new high
Japan's jobless rate hit a record 5.7% in July, the highest since World War II. Core consumer prices fell by 2.2% in July from a year earlier, the fastest pace on record.
JJS: Besides jobs -- working for a boss -- let’s consider starting a co-op or business. Further, given the abundance of labor and the scarcity of productive work (due to automation and globalization), our labor cannot supply all our income. For that we need economic justice -- the geonomic solution. Don’t tax labor or capital but instead share the commonwealth -- providing an income supplement from the worth of Mother Earth. Some nations are already on the geonomic path.
Ending poverty in Namibia, with income security for all
The German magazine Der Spiegel has an article on a Basic Income Grant experiment (click here) in one of the poorest countries in the world. Organized by a coalition of church, labor, health, and social justice organizations, the Namibia pilot program is scheduled to run through the end of this year.
There have been dramatic improvements in health outcomes, school attendance, reduced crime and alcoholism, and a significant increase in entrepreneurial activity and employment.
The Gates Foundation, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and rich governments should pay for expanding the Otjivero program to the whole country -- and could do so for less money than they are currently spending on piecemeal programs.
Every country could share the commonwealth. See IncomeSecurityForAll.org.
Mongolia Fund to Manage $30 Billion Mining Jackpot
The Mongolian government will set up a sovereign wealth fund using mining royalties and tax revenue, and distribute part of the income to its 2.7 million citizens to alleviate poverty, said Finance Minister Sangajav Bayartsogt.
The fund, to be run by professional managers from 2013, will disburse part of its annual income to every Mongolian in cash or non-cash securities to let them own stakes in the country’s mining wealth. Initial capital will be drawn from Ivanhoe Mines Ltd.’s $4 billion Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine project, estimated to generate $30 billion in tax revenue over 50 years, he said.
JJS: A ”rent” dividend for citizens, unlike a basic income from any source, being a share of the commonwealth rather than a transfer of income, is inherently legitimate.
Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics.
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