FTAs and Big Ag’s equivalent of the “financial innovations”

. The China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) went into effect this year amid much anxiety by ASEAN. Years of stalling due to fears of a massive influx of already cheap and now subsidised Chinese goods that ASEAN countries cannot compete against finally fell amid the sudden loss of Western markets for Southeast Asian exporters in the crash of 2008. The fears haven't gone away. Barely hitting the news -and finally at that- are concerns faced by India in its free trade agreements (FTA) with Australia and New Zealand, as well as with the European Union and Japan. At issue are intellectual property (IP) regimes that use these instruments to harmonise protections (of seed varieties patented by agricultural multinationals as in the piece … [Read more...]

when Asia’s per-capita income catches up to the West’s.. by Hans Rosling

Check this video out. The Asian Century has never been more real, yet it's still surreal for those of us used to a western-centric world. Presented so compellingly by Hans Rosling, the public health infographic brains behind the Gapminder, this modeling sends home a message that isn't new but is quite amazing even for the rapidly changing times we live in. … [Read more...]