Notes of Note from John F. Ince

Archive for June, 2011

BruCan We Afford the Military Budget? –

The United States accounted for virtually all of the increase in world military spending in 2010.

And because the United States has the world’s largest economy, its share of world military spending is outsized, accounting for 43 percent of all the military spending on Earth — six times as much as China, which has the world’s second largest military budget and accounts for 7.3 percent of world military spending. Russia accounts for just 3.6 percent.

With polls showing declining support for the war in Afghanistan and increasing talk in Congress, even among Republicans, about cutting the military budget, it appears certain that the Defense Department is going to be downsized and our foreign military commitments scaled back in coming years.

This is going to require serious rethinking of what we perceive to be our strategic threats and whether the United States can continue to afford to be the world’s peacekeeper.

via Bruce Bartlett: Can We Afford the Military Budget? –

Greek Turmoil Raises Fears of Instability Around Europe –

Across Europe, people are complaining that they are unfairly paying the price for the mistakes of their governments while they are growing increasingly resentful of the international banks and the preferential treatment they seem to receive. And they are getting louder.

“They took everything, and we have to pay,” said Katerina Fatourou, 30, an elementary school music teacher in Athens, summing up a common sentiment here after a large and sometimes violent general strike. It is not likely to be the last in Europe this summer.

In a vicious cycle, the rising political turmoil is sowing unrest in global financial markets, raising the interest rates paid by heavily indebted nations in Europe to ever higher levels and threatening their solvency.

European officials are also worried that if Greece’s politicians bow to popular anger and reject the austerity route, other countries might follow, with potentially dire consequences for Europe’s banks and the common currency.

via Greek Turmoil Raises Fears of Instability Around Europe –

Banking on the big society | Social enterprise network | Guardian Professional

With the plans for the development of a “big society bank” endorsed on Monday, government has never put social enterprises so squarely at the heart of its policy-making. This year alone, the big society bank will receive an unprecedented £260m to invest in intermediary organisations, compared to the £360m that was injected into the social investment market by the Labour government over 13 years. Despite this, growing a social enterprise that covers its costs and genuinely helps vulnerable people remains an almighty challenge.The Big Society Bank is clearly good news but obstacles still remain and social enterprises will need to pick fights judiciously if they are to respond to the tough problems facing society. The bank will enable intermediaries to offer cash as capital investment not revenue.

via Banking on the big society | Social enterprise network | Guardian Professional.