industryterm:manufacturing

  • #Bahrain charges 11 with 15-year sentences for “bomb-making”
    http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/bahrain-charges-11-15-year-sentences-bomb-making

    http://english.al-akhbar.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/4cols/leading_images/459465-01-08.jpg

    A Bahraini protester holds a petrol bomb as he runs for cover from tear gas fired by riot police during clashes following the funeral of a Bahraini man Jawad Ahmed Al-Haawi on March 18, 2014, in the village of Sitra, south of Manama. (Photo: AFP - Mohammed al-Shaikh)

    A Bahrain court handed 15-year jail sentences to 11 defendants after convicting them of “manufacturing bombs for terror purposes”, the official BNA news agency reported. The High Criminal Court jailed another defendant for five years on similar charges at Tuesday’s hearing, BNA quoted prosecutor Nawaf al-Awadhi as saying in a statement. Bahrain, home to the US Fifth Fleet, remains deeply divided three years after a quashed uprising, with persistent protests sparking clashes with police, scores (...)

    #Top_News


  • “Bashar Al Assad: An Intimate Profile of a Mass Murderer”

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/115993/bashar-al-assad-profile-syrias-mass-murderer

    One recurring theory about Assad, which the regime has perhaps subtly encouraged, holds that he is not really running his country, but is in thrall to a shadowy set of figures that varies according to whom you’re talking—in some versions, it is his father’s old circle; in others, the Alawite elite. (This theory was especially appealing to the Western governments who once hoped that high-level defections could help weaken Assad, and perhaps even supply his replacement.) Most of the former regime officials I spoke to rejected that idea. “This is a kind of one-man show,” says a former regime official. “The system will not collapse as long as Assad does not collapse. Any other person is replaceable.”

    Under the deus ex machina set in motion by Russia, Assad has until the middle of 2014 to facilitate the removal and destruction of all of Syria’s chemical-weapons stockpiles and manufacturing capabilities. Even though this agreement does nothing to threaten Assad’s hold on power—Moscow can veto any U.N. punishment for the regime’s failure to comply—it has been widely celebrated. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is overseeing the process, won the Nobel Peace Prize. Assad joked in front of reporters from a Lebanese newspaper that he should have received the award himself.

    When I asked one former regime official about what will happen next, he suggested the following scenario: International chemical weapons inspectors are operating out of the fortress-like Four Seasons Hotel in Damascus. Assad knows that a few of these inspectors will be Western intelligence agents. Syrian operatives will figure out who they are and quietly approach them with tips: a known terrorist is in this province; we have pictures; we’re fighting Al Qaeda, just like you. “And I will not be surprised at all if the American and Syrian intelligence agencies work together again,” says one defector. “If not today, tomorrow. If not directly, indirectly. The door will be open.”

    The last time Bashar Al Assad stood for reelection in Syria, where the presidential term lasts for seven years, was in May 2007. He had no credible opponent and won with 97.6 percent of the vote. Instead of his father’s Pyongyang-style extravaganzas, Bashar celebrated with a more postmodern spectacle: an exquisitely orchestrated “uprising” of support, part Roman triumph, part faux Orange Revolution. Crowds of people danced debkeh in the streets with choreographed spontaneity, waving torches and posters of Bashar and singing: “We love you, yes! We love you!”

    Syria’s next presidential election is scheduled for May. In an October interview with the German newspaper Der Spiegel, Assad played coy about whether he will seek a third term. “I cannot decide now whether I am going to run,” he said. “It’s still early, because you have to probe the mood and will of the people.” But he seemed to like his chances. “Who isn’t against me?” Assad said. “You’ve got the United States, the West, the richest countries in the Arab world, and Turkey. All this and I am killing my people, and they still support me! Am I a Superman? No. So how can I still stay in power after two and a half years? Because a big part of the Syrian people support me.” Besides, Assad added, “Where is another leader who would be similarly legitimate?”


  • Is the Safety Net Just Masking Tape?
    By THOMAS B. EDSALL
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/18/opinion/edsall-is-the-safety-net-just-masking-tape.html?hp&rref=opinion&_r=0&pagewa

    It’s easy for liberals to explain away setbacks to programs and policies that they favor — ranging from infrastructure investment to food stamps to increased education budgets — as the result of the intransigence of the Republican Party, with its die-hard commitment to slashing government spending on nearly every front.

    But that explanation is too facile.

    A mix of economic, social and political forces have weakened the clout of those in the bottom half of the income distribution. The list of forces is long, but its signal features are the decline in manufacturing jobs, the strengthening of the bargaining power of corporations, the gutting of middle income employment and competitive pressures to limit wage growth.

    How did the Democrats let these developments gain momentum? It depends on how you see the world. Some progressives argue that the Democratic Party stood by and let it happen passively; others suggest that key segments on the left simply sold out to #Wall_Street.

    The same forces that have pushed the country to the right are attempting to define those on the bottom rungs – the infamous 47 percent — as mired in “dependency,” “an army of moochers and slackers.”

    In the conservative worldview, social insurance programs undermine initiative and self-reliance and encourage those out of work or struggling to make ends meet to turn to the state for support.

    In fact, structural economic obstacles to upward mobility for the bottom half are as important as personal behavioral decisions like dropping out of high school or not getting married when you have children. Such decisions often originate in or are reinforced by a lack of economic opportunity. Behavioral norms and structural economic issues are clearly intertwined, but in my view, structural issues have pride of place.

    The economics of survival have forced millions of men, women and children to rely on “pity-charity liberal capitalism.” The state has become the resource of last resort consigning just the people progressives would like to turn into a powerful force for reform to a condition of subjugation — living out their lives on government subsidies like Medicaid, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and now, Obamacare.

    In many respects, the safety net has worked to hold society together, and it has the backing, explicit or implicit, of Democratic elites. This system also has the support of much of corporate America, especially of major low-wage employers like McDonald’s and Wal-Mart. These companies are themselves subject to brutal market competition and use government programs that benefit their employees as a means of sustaining inadequate wages and fringe benefits.

    The call of Konczal and his colleagues on the progressive left for an empowerment agenda — for structural economic reform — faces roadblocks far higher than many people realize. The loss of a political movement (economic liberalism) and its political vehicle (a stable progressive coalition) has put the left into a position of retreat, struggling to protect besieged programs that are designed explicitly for the poor and which therefore lack strong public backing.

    The shift of the Democratic Party from economic to “#pity-charity#liberalism has put the entire liberal project in danger. It has increased its vulnerability to conservative challenge and left it without a base of politically mobilized supporters. Progressives are now dependent on the fragile possibility that inequality and socioeconomic immobility will push the social order to the breaking point and force the political system to respond.

    http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2013/12/18/opinion/18edsall-chart3.html?ref=opinion

    #politique #politiques


  • webERP
    http://www.weberp.org

    webERP is a complete web based accounting and business management system that requires only a web-browser and pdf reader to use. It has a wide range of features suitable for many businesses particularly distributed businesses in wholesale, distribution and manufacturing. When combined with a 3rd party interactive desktop Point Of Sale system it can also form the hub of a dispersed multi-branch retail management system. A fully integrated webSHOP is also available as a 3rd party add-on. webERP is as an open-source application and is available as a free download to use with all the PHP code written in an accessible way for you to add your own features as needed.
    GNU General Public License version 2.0 (GPLv2)


  • Fast and Flawed Inspections of Factories Abroad
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/02/business/global/superficial-visits-and-trickery-undermine-foreign-factory-inspections.html

    An extensive examination by The New York Times reveals how the inspection system intended to protect workers and ensure manufacturing quality is riddled with flaws. The inspections are often so superficial that they omit the most fundamental workplace safeguards like fire escapes. And even when inspectors are tough, factory managers find ways to trick them and hide serious violations, like child labor or locked exit doors. Dangerous conditions cited in the audits frequently take months to correct, often with little enforcement or follow-through to guarantee compliance.

    #éthique_en_toc


  • Lebanon : Bitter End to Confectioner Dream
    http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/lebanon-bitter-end-confectioner-dream

    After five decades of manufacturing sweets in Lebanon, the Cadbury Adams factory has relocated to Egypt, where their goods will be produced at three times lower the cost. However, the factory is not the first to close in Lebanon, nor will it be the last.

    L’article rappelle que certains produits de cette usine (qui quitte donc le pays pour l’Égypte) sont omniprésents au Liban. Les chewing-gum Chiclets, notamment, sont vendus absolument partout par les gamins qui mendient aux fenêtres des voitures.


  • Collateral Damage: Numero Group on the vinyl bubble

    Vinyl’s violent sales spike has been a lonely bright spot in what has been a 14 year deterioration in sales of recorded music; retailers now celebrate their very own Record Store Day every April. (...)
    This fully emerged market, though, is distinct from what’s been generally termed ‘the music business’. That business is, and has been, fundamentally about manufacturing hits, a volume game with cycles of busts paid for by booms few and far between. The new vinyl game has considerably less in common with the elder hit-chasing model than it does with Upper Deck’s gilding, jersey scraps, pricing schemes and historic scalp clippings. (...)

    The limited edition, once a reasonable countermeasure to over-serving demand, has become the groan-inducing lingua franca of the vinylsphere. Call it, in more pessimistic terms, the ‘manufactured rarity’. (...)

    It’s now perfectly commonplace that a new LP sells on eBay, for some crooked multiplier of its sticker price, before copies of that same product have been sold out by the retailers. As cognitively dissonant as that fact may be, it’s a fixture of the new vinyl marketplace, especially in light of that most tedious inbred cousin of the ticket tout, the vinyl speculator. Speculators claim no attachment to the music they purchase; rather, they simply hunt more rabidly than you’re willing to, preying afterwards on secondary-market superfans’ desperation. Whether or not such speculators might some day bankroll their children’s educations on blood-splattered Norwegian Metal 7"s remains to be seen. But if the massive bubble in the value of vinyl bursts, the stakes outstrip some speculator’s envisioned summer home in Michigan wine country – also at risk is overall consumer confidence in an already fragile economy for both artists and labels. (...)

    Format migration has gone retrograde; vinyl is being institutionalised as the format to possess – but not necessarily to use, of course.

    Creating a sustainable vinyl marketplace is going to require more than picture discs, record store days, speculators and coffee-table LPs. Labels and artists should be making viable, well crafted and thoughtfully packaged releases that earn their bin longevity, are by no means limited, and don’t cost arms, legs or bodily fluids.

    http://thewire.co.uk/in-writing/essays/collateral-damage_numero-group-on-the-vinyl-bubble

    #musique #vinyl #speculation #bulle_speculative


  • Finally, Crane finished adding the unrequested lightning-strike protection to the EtherLink’s manufacturing spec, 3Com manufactured the card, and Metcalfe began to sell it, with one of the first customers being what he identified as “a huge bank in New York City with a tall skyscraper,” which bought a thousand EtherLink cards for their IBM PCs.

    “But they were shrewd,” Metcalf said. “They also bought a thousand of our competitor’s cards.” That bank then installed both cards in their PCs.

    “And I’ll bet you know now what happened next,” Metcalfe said. “Lightning struck the building and fried all of our competitor’s cards, and ours kept working. Whereupon we received an order for another thousand cards.”

    Stubborn engineer proved prescient. Company saved. ®

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/05/28/ron_crane_saves_3com



  • Kim closes Kaesong, a crucial source of income for North Koreans—and of news from outside – Quartz

    http://qz.com/71850/kim-closes-kaesong-a-crucial-source-of-income-for-north-koreans-and-of-news-from

    Signalé par @fil

    North Korea has shuttered the Kaesong Industrial Complex, a symbol of cooperation between North and South Korea that generated some $2 billion in trade each year. The move brings the peninsula even closer to war, and also closes a crucial source of word-of-mouth information for North Koreans.

    The status of Kaesong, where some 51,000 North Korean employees work for 120 South Korean manufacturing companies, had grown increasingly precarious in the last few weeks, as tensions between the Kim Jong-un government and the US and South Korea mounted. Days ago, North Korea banned hundreds of South Korean managers from entering the facility. Still, production continued at a lower rate until Monday, when Kim’s government announced the withdrawal of Kaesong’s North Korean workforce.

    #corée-du-nord #kaesong


  • Rapport de la Banque mondiale : les restrictions imposées par Israël nuisent durablement à l’économie palestinienne.
    http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTWESTBANKGAZA/Resources/AHLCMarchfinal.pdf

    While urgent attention to the short-term financing shortfalls is essential, it is important to recognize that the continued existence of a system of closures and restrictions is creating lasting damage to economic competiveness in the Palestinian Territories. The longer the current, restrictive situation persists, the more costly and time-consuming it will be to restore the productive capacity of the Palestinian economy. Without easing current restrictions, investments risk being put into low productivity activities that cannot be the drivers of sustainable economic growth in the future. The external competitiveness of the manufacturing sector, which is one of the key growth engines for small open economies, is likely to erode even further Palestinian exports are yielding less development impact than they might, as they are focused largely on low value added products and services and the economy is currently ill-positioned to benefit from market diversification. The skills deficit caused by high levels of unemployment and low labor force participation rates would continue to accumulate and make a large part of the Palestinian labor force less competitive in high value added sectors. Bolder efforts need to be made to stem the deterioration and help put the economy on a sustainable growth path that will reduce its dependence on donor transfers


  • An exemplary revolt - pamphlet sur la révolte de Battipaglia 1969
    http://thenewinquiry.com/blogs/s-a-o-b/an-exemplary-revolt

    The occasion for this specific text, from April 11, 1969, was a mass uprising in Battipaglia, a southern Italian town in Campania, occuring just two days prior. In the period leading up to this, the town faced the planned closures of two manufacturing plants, one for tobacco, one for sugar. This would have crippled the town, given that the two were the largest employers in a region already facing population exodus and perennial poverty. Protests began and during a march on April 9th, cops did what cops do perennially - i.e. kill the citizens they allegedly protect, here in a particularly stark fashion, murdering a 19 year old worker and a middle school teacher. What followed the next day is unsurprising: the town took serious revenge, against the cops, the planned devastation of their community, and many objects (such as 200 cars that got torched) alike ...

    http://thenewinquiry.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/15802.jpg

    #Italie #histoire #émeutes


    • Recent high growth rates and increased foreign investment in Africa have given rise to the popular idea that the continent may well be on track to become the next global economic powerhouse. This “Africa Rising” narrative has been most prominently presented in recent cover stories by Time Magazine and The Economist. Yet both publications are wrong in their analysis of Africa’s developmental prospects

      (...)

      What’s striking about the two articles cited above is that they don’t mention manufacturing, or its disturbing absence, in Africa. And that, in turn, confirms once again the extent to which the idea of development as industrialization has been completely abandoned in the last few decades. Free market economics has come to advise poor countries to stick with their current primary agriculture and extractives industries and “integrate” into the global economy as they are. Today, for many champions of free markets, the mere presence of GDP growth and an increase in trade volumes are euphemisms for successful economic development. But increased growth and trade are not development.

      #économie #afrique #développement #cdp


  • DETROPIA
    http://detropiathefilm.com

    Detroit’s story has encapsulated the iconic narrative of America over the last century— the Great Migration of African Americans escaping Jim Crow; the rise of manufacturing and the middle class; the love affair with automobiles; the flowering of the American dream; and now . . . the collapse of the economy and the fading American mythos. With its vivid, painterly palette and haunting score, DETROPIA sculpts a dreamlike collage of a grand city teetering on the brink of dissolution. These soulful pragmatists and stalwart philosophers strive to make ends meet and make sense of it all, refusing to abandon hope or resistance. Their grit and pluck embody the spirit of the Motor City as it struggles to survive postindustrial America and begins to envision a radically different future.

    http://vimeo.com/45929284


    #ghost-city


  • Etats-Unis : qui a travaillé et comment depuis 1960 ?

    Visualisation Cartographie

    GE Data Visualization

    http://visualization.geblogs.com/visualization/jobs

    Working in America

    Jobs are definitely a top of mind subject. Did you know that manufacturing jobs were the largest sector of employment in 1960, yet today the category has fallen to 6th place? In this interactive visualization, browse who has been working in America over the past 50 years by sector, gender or age. Or take a look at GE’s expert opinion on the subject and tweet your own thoughts about key insights uncovered. This is best viewed in Safari, Chrome, Firefox and IE9.


  • A third industrial revolution | The Economist
    http://www.economist.com/node/21552901

    As manufacturing goes digital, a third great change is now gathering pace. It will allow things to be made economically in much smaller numbers, more flexibly and with a much lower input of labour, thanks to new materials, completely new processes such as 3D printing, easy-to-use robots and new collaborative manufacturing services available online. The wheel is almost coming full circle, turning away from mass manufacturing and towards much more individualised production.

    ouais ouais… c’est pas vraiment ce qui se passe avec les iPad hein…

    #fablab #diy #3d-printers


  • Apple’s iPad and the Human Costs for Workers in China (NYTimes.com)
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/26/business/ieconomy-apples-ipad-and-the-human-costs-for-workers-in-china.html?_r=2&pag

    In the last decade, Apple has become one of the mightiest, richest and most successful companies in the world, in part by mastering global manufacturing. Apple and its high-technology peers — as well as dozens of other American industries — have achieved a pace of innovation nearly unmatched in modern history. However, the workers assembling iPhones, iPads and other devices often labor in harsh conditions, according to employees inside those plants, worker advocates and documents published by companies themselves. Problems are as varied as onerous work environments and serious — sometimes deadly — safety problems. (...) Source: NYTimes.com


  • The “education crisis” myth - Salon.com
    http://www.salon.com/2012/01/30/the_education_crisis_myth/singleton

    This is the major unasked — but resoundingly answered — question to emerge from two much-discussed articles about the future of American manufacturing. One is a cover story in the Atlantic Monthly about why jobs are being shipped overseas. It concludes that “to solve all the problems that keep people from acquiring skills would require tackling the toughest issues our country faces” — the first of those being “a broken educational system.” The second and even more talked about article comes from the New York Times. It looked at why Apple Computer has moved its production facilities overseas, concluding in sensationalistic fashion that “it isn’t just that workers are cheaper abroad” but that America “has stopped training enough people in the mid-level skills that factories need.”

    These pieces were clearly written with a very specific objective in mind: to draw media attention to the supposed “education crisis” in America — a favorite topic of these publications’ elite readers, who have a vested interest in blaming the recession on the poor rather than on the economic policies that enrich the already rich. No doubt, both the Times and the Atlantic achieved their goal, with various NPR shows, cable gabfests and elite magazines spending the last week frothing over the articles’ central thesis.


  • NJ Supreme Court: 5 Years in Prison for MS Patient Growing Marijuana | StoptheDrugWar.org
    http://stopthedrugwar.org/trenches/2012/jan/24/nj_supreme_court_5_years_prison

    renton, NJ – January 24, 2012 - Multiple sclerosis (MS) patient John Ray Wilson is preparing to resume his 5-year prison sentence after the state Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal on January 20. Attorney William Buckman called the result “wrongheaded and a vicious travesty.”

    Wilson was arrested on August 18, 2008 and charged with “manufacturing” 17 marijuana plants that he used to treat his MS. Wilson faced 20 years in state prison for this crime.

    The jury was not allowed to hear details about Wilson’s condition, essentially removing his only defense. In December 2009, Wilson was acquitted of the most serious charge but convicted of a second-degree charge of manufacturing marijuana. He was sentenced to five years in prison on March 19, 2010. Members of the community protested outside the courthouse in Somerville.

    On July 26, 2011, an appellate court ruling affirmed the conviction and sentencing. The court agreed with the trial judge there was no “personal use” exemption to the charge. They agreed that five years in prison for this crime was an appropriate sentence.

    Governor Chris Christie ignored appeals from state Senators Nicholas Scutari and Raymond Lesniak seeking a pardon. The official pardon request to the Office of the Governor remains active.



  • Europe plunging into recession
    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/jan2012/euro-j04.shtml

    French manufacturing has also suffered from the slump in demand across the continent. PSA Peugeot Citroën, Europe’s second-biggest carmaker after Volkswagen, recorded a 29 percent fall in its December sales, while the country’s second major car producer, Renault, registered a 28 percent drop. “Orders were down about 55 percent in December, which leads us to expect a car market contraction of 17 percent in the first quarter of 2012,” said Renault sales chief Bernard Cambier.


  • 1 000 strike at Apple supplier in China| News24
    http://www.news24.com/SciTech/News/1-000-strike-at-Apple-supplier-in-China-20111124

    About 1 000 workers at a plant in southern China that makes components for Apple and IBM went on strike this week, a rights group said, the latest in a string of labour disputes in the country.

    Hundreds of police officers, some in riot gear, deployed after staff at the factory in the manufacturing hub of Shenzhen walked out on Tuesday and blocked a highway to protest long working hours, China Labour Watch said.


  • Tu peux arrêter de lire le New York Times : c’est devenu un repaire d’ultra-gauchistes soviéto-anti-capitalistes. Eurk. :-)

    Protesters Against Wall Street - NYTimes.com
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/09/opinion/sunday/protesters-against-wall-street.html

    No wonder then that Occupy Wall Street has become a magnet for discontent. There are plenty of policy goals to address the grievances of the protesters — including lasting foreclosure relief, a financial transactions tax, greater legal protection for workers’ rights, and more progressive taxation. The country needs a shift in the emphasis of public policy from protecting the banks to fostering full employment, including public spending for job creation and development of a strong, long-term strategy to increase domestic manufacturing.


  • Scientists Dispute F.B.I. Closing of Anthrax Case - NYTimes.com
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/10/science/10anthrax.html?_r=1&hp=&adxnnl=1&pagewanted=1&adxnnlx=1318248074-0wF5mVleOF

    Now, three scientists argue that distinctive chemicals found in the dried #anthrax spores — including the unexpected presence of tin — point to a high degree of manufacturing skill, contrary to federal reassurances that the attack germs were unsophisticated. The scientists make their case in a coming issue of the Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense.

    Rebondissement dans l’affaire des enveloppes d’anthrax aux #États-unis

    #armes_biologiques


  • http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/2b9dab2e-c817-11e0-9501-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1VMc1dJuc
    August 17, 2011 8:22 pm
    *The great failure of globalisation

    By Jeffrey Sachs

    A failure of economic strategy and leadership lies behind the near simultaneous collapse of market confidence in the eurozone and US economies. No need to blame the rating agencies: governments in Europe and America have been unable to cope with the realities of global capital markets and competition from Asia – and deserve the lion’s share of the blame.

    I’ve watched dozens of financial crises up close, and know that success means showing the public a way out that is bold, technically sound and built on social values. Transatlantic leadership is falling short on all counts. Neither the US nor Europe has even properly diagnosed the core problem, namely that both regions are being whipsawed by globalisation.

    Jobs for low-skilled workers in manufacturing, and new investments in large swaths of industry, have been lost to international competition. Employment in the US and Europe during the 2000s was held up only by housing construction stoked by low interest rates and reckless deregulation – until the construction bubble collapsed. The path to recovery now lies not in a new housing bubble, but in upgraded skills, increased exports and public investments in infrastructure and low-carbon energy. Instead, the US and Europe have veered between dead-end, consumption-oriented stimulus packages and austerity without a vision for investment.

    Macroeconomic policy has not only failed to create jobs, but also to respond to basic social values too. Let me be clear: good social policy does not mean running big deficits. Public debts are already too large in both Europe and the US. But it does mean a completely different balance between cuts to social services and tax increases on the rich.

    The simple fact is that globalisation has not only hit the unskilled hard but has also proved a bonanza for the global super-rich. They have been able to invest in new and highly profitable projects in emerging economies. Meanwhile, as Warren Buffett argued this week, they have been able to convince their home governments to cut tax rates on profits and high incomes in the name of global tax competition. Tax havens have proliferated even as the politicians have occasionally railed against them. In the end the poor are doubly hit, first by global market forces, then by the ability of the rich to park money at low taxes in hideaways around the world.

    An improved fiscal policy in the transatlantic economies would therefore be based on three realities. First, it would expand investments in human and infrastructure capital. Second, it would cut wasteful spending, for instance in misguided military engagements in places such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen. Third, it would balance budgets in the medium term, in no small part through tax increases on high personal incomes and international corporate profits that are shielded by loopholes and overseas tax havens.
    Infrastructure investment also need not increase deficits if any new projects pay their own way. Even if they require upfront borrowing, projects will not add to net financial liabilities if they are repaid through future revenues. Currently, budget accounting in the US and Europe generally fails to distinguish between these self-financing capital projects – such as bridges, which earn revenue through future tolls – and those financed by general revenues.

    Export-led growth is the other under-explored channel of recovery. Part of this must be earned through better skills and technologies – another reason not to cut education. But another part can be earned through better financial policies. China, realising this, has sold Africa many billions of dollars per year of infrastructure export projects, financed by long-term Chinese loans. Yet the US and Europe have virtually ceded that market to China by the lack of financing to African and other fast-growing economies.

    The last missing piece for any recovery, however, is clarity of purpose from the political class. In Europe, a coherent response led by the European Union has been sidelined to policymaking by national governments – the pact between France and Germany being only the latest example. For months, Europe’s fate has been decided by German state elections and small Finnish parties. The European Central Bank has been so divided that it too has neglected core functions of stabilising panicked markets. There is no way the euro can survive if European-wide institutions continue to be so weak, slow and divided.

    The US has similarly devolved into a mélange of sector, class, and regional interests. President Barack Obama is the incredibly shrinking leader, waiting to see whether Congressional power barons will call. More generally, the US cannot prosper while its politicians go hat in hand to the vested interests that finance their nonstop campaigning.

    The recent swoon in financial markets and the stalled recovery in the US and Europe reflect these fundamental shortcomings. There is no growth strategy, only the hope that scared and debt-burdened consumers will return to buying houses they don’t need and can’t afford. Sadly, these global economic currents will continue to claim jobs and drain capital until there is a revival of bold, concerted leadership. In the meantime, the markets will gyrate in pangs of uncertainty.

    The writer is director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University