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Friday lay day

The Friday lay day comes around again. I am at present working on a paper on European unemployment clustering (a spatial econometric analysis commissioned by a leading academic journal). When we have finished I will post results in a layperson’s type of blog. I also am working on the Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) book (a collection) for Edward Elgar which will come out early in 2015 (as well as my other Eurozone Groupthink book). So I need more time and hence the easier Friday. But I was watching a program on the plane yesterday about the number of people being displaced from Syria and the crisis that nations such as Turkey are now facing trying to house and feed them. Guess what? They lack basic resources because the governments claim they haven’t enough money. Austerity strikes again and as winter approaches in that region, many people including children are going to die through lack of basic care that could be at the fingertips of any number of government officials if they cared escape the neo-liberal world they are locked up within.

The UNHCR (the UN’s Refugee Agency) has a very informative WWW site, which documents the human movements currently associated with the mess in Syria – Syria Regional Refugee Response.

We learn that as of yesterday (October 2, 2014) there were 3,199,949 “Persons of Concern” and 3,015,177 “Registered Syrian Refugees”. An additional 184,772 people were awaiting registration.

More than 100,000 new requests for registration and protection are being received per month in 2014.

Currently the UN has registered around 8 per cent of the Syrian population as refugees, although there are estimates that the number of homeless as a result of the Syrian conflict is now in excess of 9 million (that is, about 40 per cent of the total population (Source).

The refugees are moving across borders – north into Turkey, South West into Lebanon, South in Jordan and East into Iraq.

The UNHCR releases a weekly – UNHCR funding – Syria Situation response 2014 – 30 September.

They also provide a rich array of – Data and Statistics

Just as in the Ebola crisis, the UNHCR reports that its efforts to provide safe refuge, food and sanitory conditions for the growing number of refugees is being severely hampered by a lack of funds.

The following graphic shows the shortage of funding in 2014 alone.


I created this Table which shows the total contribution to the effort in 2014 by contributing nation, the relevant population counts (at various times this year), each contribution as a percentage of the total and the Per Capita contributions.

I left out small contributions from the Holy See, The UN Program on HIV/Aids and the UN World Food Program.

Norway is the most generous nation (not immediately proximate). Australia is one of the least generous nations yet one of the most wealthy. Of course, the members of the European Union gave also provided funds through the central accounts (see European Union). But as a whole, Europe is not very generous.

Irrespective of the wealth of the nation, any fiat currency-issuing nation could ‘afford’ to donate much more to alleviate this crisis. There is a need for real resources such as temporary accommodation, sanitation, food, none of which is in short supply in most advanced nations.

Countries like Australia, which is already suffering slow growth and rising unemployment could not only help their own workers but would also help the Syrian effort, if the national government started placing orders for commodities and labour that might be of use to the UNHCR.

The fiscal deficits would rise – but so would welfare throughout the world and not just in Syria.


The best fusion

A few weeks ago I posted a video of Ernest Ranglin, the great Jamaican jazz guitar player. He was playing with Monty Alexander, another Jamaican musician (piano). These guys have been important in bridging reggae and jazz into a concoction that is just about the best there is is music (from where my ears sit).

Here is the Monty Alexander Trio – showing how the fusion works. I was listening to them today while I have been working.

Saturday Quiz

The Saturday Quiz will be back again tomorrow. It will be of an appropriate order of difficulty (-:

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2014 Bill Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

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    This Post Has 3 Comments
    1. Nice tune. (-:

      Sad about these refugee situations (and poverty in general, however it manifests.) They say it’s about money or its lack, but mostly it’s just about moving stuff around from where it is to where it’s needed. Print up (keystroke ;-) a few bucks, and there you have it. Too simple, yet so hard for our elites to comprehend.

    2. The true objective of these new world order wars is now clear.
      To drive more and more people into the western scarcity maw.
      Turn them into ever more monetized & materilaized cattle without a connection to home and hearth – then spit then out the other end.
      Repeat process.

      Its Irish history played out again and again and again.

    3. Off topic:

      From the Guardian, The Shifts and the Shocks by Martin Wolf review – what we’ve learned from the crash:

      [Martin Wolf] is also keen on the so-called “Chicago Plan” for 100% reserve banking, whereby central banks are solely responsible for the creation of money in all its forms, and banks must have complete backing for everything that they lend. “A system that is based, as today, on the ability of profit-seeking institutions to create money as a byproduct of often grotesquely irresponsible lending is irretrievably unstable”, …

      I’m confused. I can’t get my mind around this idea of 100% reserves. I can’t see where in a 100% reserve system the banks get the incentive to accept deposits. And what about the money creation here? Isn’t that already the sole province of central banks (as intermediaries for their national governments, of course)? Does Wolf simply not get what MMT clearly lays out about this?

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