Neve Gordon presents 5 different ways of representing yesterday’s election results in Israel. . .
Posts Tagged ‘elections’
Tags: elections, Israel, Left, Palesine, Right
Tags: cars, development, Economist, elections, labor, Mexico, privatization, students
Is Mexico “going up in the world”?
It is according to the Economist, which gives scant attention to electoral fraud and to the student movement #YoSoy132 but showers praise on the improving environment for foreign investment.
As Adam David Morton explains,
reading like some sort of advertisement, Mexico is regarded by the Economist to be on “the rise”, especially as it’s labour costs have shifted closer to China. In 2000 it cost just $0.32 an hour to employ a Chinese manufacturing worker, compared to $1.51 in Mexico. By 2011, the cost of Chinese labour had quintupled to $1.63, compared to $2.10 in Mexico. This means that the minimum wage in Shanghai and Qingdao is now higher than in Mexico City and Monterrey with cheaper transportation costs, favourable tariffs, opening financial credit, and a looming oil boom adding to Mexico’s attraction for foreign capital. With plants in Cuernavaca and Aguascalientes, the Japanese car giant Nissan will soon be producing a car nearly every 30 seconds in Mexico. Meanwhile, in nearby Guanajuato, Mazda and Honda are building factories and in Puebla Audi is constructing a $1.3 billion plant. Mexico is the world’s fourth-biggest auto exporter soon to be producing some 4 million vehicles.
Lurking behind this glitzy façade, though, is the approval of radical labour law reforms that enables firms to hire and fire workers more easily, that aims to shorten labour disputes, and converts the minimum wage from an hourly to a daily rate. Productivity and competitiveness might increase but even though a full attack on unions was offset, labour will be exploited to the full in order to fulfil such “modernisation”. As detailed in The New York Times, there is ‘a strong push to “modernise” trade deals, speed up or add new crossings at the border for commerce, court foreign investment to take advantage of vast, newly discovered shale gas fields near the United States border and generate more quality jobs’.
Yet the bigger picture here is linked to the earlier moves by Calderón to privatise the electrical system and energy sectors in Mexico as an extension of neoliberalisation, which gained increased opposition from the Mexican Electricians’ Union (SME) and factions within the General Union of Mexican Electrical Workers (SUTERM). Such labour activism was at the centre of forming the Front Against Privatisation of the petroleum and electric power industries in order to articulate a more significant demonstration of wider democratic struggle in Mexico. This focus became highly significant following Calderón’s decree to coercively liquidate the state-owned Compañía Luz y Fuerza del Centro (LyFC), in October 2009, seize its facilities with federal police, and sacking 44,000 workers of the militant SME in an attempt to weaken the power of organised labour and establish a new round of investor growth in the energy sector, while leading to general strike mobilisations by the SME facing a struggle for its survival. Further energy reform is now on the agenda in Mexico with Pemex, the state-run oil and gas company, targeted for privatisation in order to unleash exploration of the 30 billion barrels of oil under the Gulf of Mexico and compete with Brazil’s Petrobras.
The sanguine view of the Economist – once dismissed quite nicely by Nikolai Bukharin as ‘the organ of the English financiers’ – is that Mexico is “going up” as its economy grows faster than Brazil’s in both 2011 and 2012.
Meanwhile, the price will be paid by ever more super-exploited Mexican labour backed up by the armour of coercion in terms of vote rigging, authoritarianism, and corruption. Whether the #YoSoy132 democratising movement and wider labour struggles can challenge this and reclaim spaces for anti-capitalist struggle and “unite the contingent” remains to be seen.
And one last note: while Bukharin was certainly correct in his time, the Economist (as Martha Starr has shown) has today become the organ of the U.S. global business elite.
Tags: elections, Nate Silver, prediction, right-wing, uncertainty, United States
Readers of this blog know that I have sung the praises of Nate Silver’s statistical work for quite some time, long before the right-wing attacks on his electoral predictions started.
My appreciation stems not from Silver’s predictions per se but, rather, from his appreciation of uncertainty, as this review by Samuel Popkin makes clear.
One of the biggest problems we have in separating signal from noise is that when we look too hard for certainty that isn’t there, we often end up attracted to noise, either because it is more prominent or because it confirms what we would like to believe. This is a worse problem in politics than in baseball or poker. If most polls are reporting a tight race, an outlier showing a bigger gap will be the poll that makes news, thus getting more of our attention. Partisan TV pundits try to assuage the worries of the faithful on their side instead of making accurate predictions. When Silver analyzed 1,000 predictions on The McClaughlin Group, he found them no more accurate than flipping a coin. . .
In his analysis of fascinating examples ranging across all the areas in which we try to predict future outcomes, Silver stresses the gap between what we claim to know and what we actually know. In 1997, the National Weather Service predicted that heavy winter snows would cause North Dakota’s Red River to flood over its banks in two months, cresting at 49 feet. The residents of Grand Forks were relieved, since their levees were designed to withstand a 51-foot crest. If the Weather Service had mentioned that the margin of error for its forecast was five feet, the three feet of water that poured over the levels in an eventual 54-foot crest might not have destroyed 75 percent of the town. Happily, the Weather Service now provides that information—an example of an easy reform to forecasting.
Tags: chart, elections, money, United States
the 2004 election marked a watershed moment in the use of independent expenditures to try to sway voters, with most of that new spending coming from the national party committees. The 2010 election marks the rise of a new political committee, dubbed “super PACs,” and officially known as “independent-expenditure only committees,” which can raise unlimited sums from corporations, unions and other groups, as well as wealthy individuals. Super PACs may overtly advocate for the defeat or election of federal candidates. In addition to super PACs and regular political action committees (which raise money via contributions capped at $5,000 per year), special interest groups also have other vehicles at their disposal to influence elections and policy. These include 527 organizations registered with the Internal Revenue Service and 501(c) nonprofits, which aren’t primarily supposed to be involved in politics, but are allowed limited political activity. 501(c) groups must also register with the IRS, but do not have to publicly disclose their donors.
Tags: elections, history, money, music, Obama, Romney, United States
Obama and Romney are on pace to each raise more than $1 billion with their parties by Election Day.
From the beginning of 2011 through Oct. 17, Mr. Obama and the Democrats raised about $1.06 billion, and Mr. Romney and the Republicans collected $954 million, including some money for the party’s Congressional efforts, setting up 2012 to be the most expensive presidential campaign in history. . .
The overall totals do not include hundreds of millions of dollars being raised and spent by “super PACs” and other outside groups, mostly to benefit Mr. Romney and other Republicans. Groups aligned with Mr. Romney have spent $302 million on campaign advertising that they are required to disclose to the F.E.C., compared with about $120 million for groups aligned with Mr. Obama. Tens of millions of dollars more has been spent on issue advertisements whose precise costs are difficult to measure.
Tags: cartoon, democracy, elections, healthcare, Paul Ryan, poor, profits
Tags: cartoon, debt, democracy, elections, Medicare, Paul Ryan, politics, Romney, students
Tags: banks, cartoon, crisis, debt, democracy, Egypt, elections, Euro, Greece, JPMorganChase, military, United States
Tags: austerity, cartoon, elections, Europe, France, Germany, jobs, Obama, United States