Sunday, September 25, 2016

An Overview of the Brazilian Economy

     South America has natural resources and they are experiencing rapid growth in internet connectivity rates. The prices paid for the natural resources are regulated by the International Monetary Fund. The mechanisms to allow for economic growth involve market based prices of natural resources and efficiency in the distribution of agriculture. The region is experiencing a noticeable political shift away from something and toward something else.
     Several countries in South America are prosecuting government officials in criminal courts. There have been high profile allegations against the Brazilian government for corruption in recent weeks. President Dilma Rousseff has been impeached and found guilty of financial crimes. Former President Luiz Lula da Silva has been charged with financial crimes. Former House Speaker Eduardo Cunha is facing criminal charges for financial crimes.
     In Argentina Former President Cristina Kirchner is facing criminal charges for financial crimes. Chile is prosecuting former military officers for criminal behavior that is not financial in nature. The crimes in Chile were committed during the tenure of President Augusto Pinochet during the 1980s.
     The trials in Brazil pertain to two sources of corruption including, (1) Peterobras which is the state-owned petroleum firm, and (2) Bolsa Familia, a 2003 government social welfare program from which funds have been siphoned. Former President Luiz Lula da Silva was the architect of Bolsa Familia and Former President Dilma Rousseff was at the time an aide to the Lula da Silva government. Brazil is a large country with a large economy and they would be greatly affected by slight changes in the commodities markets.
     Additionally the Brazilian economy has seen fluctuating trade balances and decreasing exports. In 2011 Brazilian exports totaled $256b USD and imports totaled $226b USD. Brazilian net trade in 2011 was a $31b USD surplus. In 2012 Brazilian exports decreased to $243b USD while imports remained steady at $223b USD. Therefore from 2011 to 2012 Brazil enjoyed a lessened trade surplus. Brazil reported a trade surplus of $31b USD in 2011, $19b USD in 2012, and $3b USD in 2013. In 2014 Brazil reported a trade deficit of $4b USD and then in 2015 Brazil reported again a surplus of $19b USD. In 2015 Brazilian exports totaled $191b USD and imports totaled $172b USD.

Trade Deficits in Central America

     Central America consists of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and Belize. Each of these countries is struggling with industry and they have reported to the World Bank annual trade deficits. Mexico is a member of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The Panama Canal was built a century ago to allow for commercial transit between New York City and the State of California. The American economy is affected by trade deficits in Latin America.
     The nature of the trade deficits is that each country reports an annual decline in exports. Ideally industry in Central America can be revitalized. If a country cannot sustain the domestic demand for goods and services then of course there will be a need to import. This is what is happening. Industry in Central America is not sustainable and there is domestic demand for goods and services.
     Mexico has a gross domestic product above $1.2t USD. Guatemala reported a GDP of $59b USD, Costa Rica reported a GDP of $50b USD, Panama reported a GDP of $46b USD, El Salvador reported a GDP of $25b USD. Honduras, Nicaragua, and Belize have economies smaller than that of El Salvador.
     Mexico and Guatemala have populations of more than ten million people. The rest of the region reports per country populations of less than ten million people. Costa Rica, Panama, and Belize have populations of less than five million people. Mexico has a city with twenty million people. Guatemala has a city with three million people. The rest of the region reports largest cities under three million people. Costa Rica, Panama, and Mexico have life expectancies over 75 years. Nicaragua has a life expectancy of 75 years.
     Mexico has an army of 325,000 soldiers. The rest of the region reported smaller armed forces personnel totals. Guatemala has an army of 42,000 soldiers, El Salvador has an army of 32,000. The rest of the region reported per country armies smaller than that of El Salvador. Mexico has a land area of 2m square km. Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala have land areas above 100,000 square km.

Trade Deficits in Paraguay and Uruguay

     Last week the South American media reported that Uruguayan politicians are being investigated for criminal activity. Argentina, Brazil, and Chile have experienced similar litigation in the past weeks and months. The nature of the investigations into the Uruguayan government is not yet fully understood. Argentina and Brazil have been investigating officials for financial crimes and Chile has been prosecuting military officers for violent crimes committed during the tenure of President Augusto Pinochet.
     Uruguay and Paraguay have similar economies and demographics. Paraguay was founded by Spain and for many years Asuncion served as the regional capital for the Spanish Empire. Uruguay was for many years part of Brazil. Ethnically the two countries are similar because they are Spanish and Italian.
     Both Paraguay and Uruguay are burdened by trade deficits. There is fluctuation in both countries in terms of imports and exports. Patterns in international trade by way of MERCOSUR as well as trade with North America and the European Union account for some of the fluctuations. Also, both Paraguay and Uruguay have recently upgraded their industry. Uruguay ranches cattle and additionally they export machine works. Paraguay is removed from the Atlantic Ocean but they are located downstream from Buenos Aires, Argentina and therefore enjoy transplanted industrial growth. The Parana River traverses north from Buenos Aires to Paraguay.
     In 2011 Paraguay reported exports of $8b USD and imports of $12b USD. In 2012 exports decreased to $7b USD and then in 2013 and in 2014 exports increased to $10b USD. Exports decreased again in 2015 to $8b USD. Paraguay also reported fluctuating imports. In 2011 Paraguay reported imports of $13b USD and in 2012 that number decreased to $12b USD. In 2015 Paraguay reported imports of $10b USD.
     In 2011 Uruguay reported exports of $8b USD and imports of $11b USD. In 2012, 2013, and 2014 Uruguay reported exports of $9b USD and then in 2015 Uruguay reported exports of $8b USD. Imports increased in 2012 to $12b USD. In 2015 Uruguay reported imports of $9b USD. Holistically Uruguay has reported a lessened trade deficit since 2011. In 2011 their trade deficit was $3b USD and in 2015 Uruguay reported a trade deficit of $2b USD.
     Paraguay has a population of 7m people and Uruguay has a population of 4m people. Uruguay has a GDP of $58b USD and Paraguay has a GDP of $31b USD. Paraguay has a largest city of 3m people and Uruguay has a largest city of 2m people. Uruguay has a life expectancy of 77 years and Paraguay has a life expectancy of 72 years. Montevideo is the capital of Uruguay and Asuncion is the capital of Paraguay.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

An Inventory of South American Demographics

     Venezuela and Brazil are struggling currently with political upheaval. The Venezuelan opposition party has announced a large march this week protesting the government of President Nicolas Maduro and the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, has been impeached by the Brazilian Senate.    
     South of Venezuela and Brazil are four smaller countries that might be affected by this political turmoil. These are Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Each of these four countries currently experiences a trade deficit with the People’s Republic of China. Trade deficits can lead to political turmoil and so it is an appropriate time to inventory social economic indicators in Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay.    
     Peru has the largest population and Uruguay has the smallest population. Peru has a total of 32m people, Bolivia has 11m people, Paraguay has 7m people, and Uruguay has 4m people. Peru has the largest city and Uruguay reported the smallest figure for largest city. Peru has a city of 10m people, Paraguay has a city of 3m people, Bolivia has a city of 2m people, and Uruguay has a city of 2m people.    
     Uruguay has the longest life expectancy and Bolivia has the shortest life expectancy. Uruguay has a life expectancy of 77 years, Peru has a life expectancy of 75 years, Paraguay has a life expectancy of 73 years, and Bolivia has a life expectancy of 68 years.    
     Peru has the largest land area and Uruguay has the smallest land area. Peru has a land area of 1.3m square km, Bolivia has a land area of 1.1m square kilometers, Paraguay has a land area of 400,000 square km, and Uruguay has a land area of 200,000 km. Lima is the capital of Peru, Asuncion is the capital of Paraguay, La Paz is the capital of Bolivia, and Montevideo is the capital of Uruguay.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Nigerian Energy and the Commodities Markets

Nigerian Energy and the Commodities Markets 

     Nigeria, Togo, Benin, and Ghana all are having to defend their natural resources because the commodities markets are out of alignment and not enough money is being paid in exchange for energy or metals. Nigeria and Ghana have valuable energy reserves and Ghana additionally has metals. Togo and Benin are small countries in between them.
     Nigerian petroleum refineries are not operating at peak efficiency and the Nigerian Government is sometimes confronted by a hostile private sector. All four countries have ports on the Atlantic Ocean. West African countries have capital cities that are also ports and some have capital cities that are inland.
      Abuja is the capital of Nigeria and it is inland, Accra is the capital of Ghana and it is a port, Cotonou is the capital of Benin and it is a port, and Lome is the capital of Togo and it is a port. Nigeria has a GDP of $569b USD, Ghana has a GDP of $39b USD, Benin has a GDP of $10b USD, and Togo has a GDP of $5b USD.
     Nigeria has a population of 177m people, Ghana has a population of 27m people, Benin has a population of 11m people, and Togo has a population of 7m people.
     In terms of military personnel neither Benin nor Togo have armies larger than 10,000 soldiers. Ghana has an army of 16,000 soldiers and Nigeria has an army of 162,000 soldiers.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Venezuela Economics and the Referendum.

     Hugo Chavez has been succeeded by Nikolas Maduro. Hugo Chavez had a public mandate and an organic constituency. Nikolas Maduro worked for Hugo Chavez and then Hugo Chavez died suddenly in 2013. I view Maduro with suspicion and the people of Venezuela likely also view Maduro with suspicion. Either Maduro is culpable in the death of Hugo Chavez or he is not.  
     Economically since the death of Hugo Chavez there is less food and more foreign military personnel exporting petroleum when the commodities markets make selling energy unwise. Foreign military personnel in Venezuela exporting energy seem unmoved that there is little food in grocery stores. The foreign military personnel likely come from Spain, the Netherlands, and Russia.    
     England and France are north in the Caribbean Sea and east in French Guinea. Belize still lists the Queen of England as its Head of State but French Guinea does not report much trade data to the World Bank. England once exported dyes to Europe from the Yucatan Peninsula and France has a colonial history in Mexico. The United States fought the Spanish-American War after the explosion on the USS Maine while it was sitting in a Havana harbor.    
     Elections for the Venezuelan Parliament, the referendum, and audits of treasury money are symptoms of food shortages and energy being removed from South America en masse without adequate compensation. The International Monetary Fund lists energy prices on its website and petroleum and natural gas prices remain low.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam has a capital in north called Hanoi and then Ho Chi Minh City which is where the Mekong River meets the China Sea. Ho Chi Minh Trail travels between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Saigon and Ho Chi Minh City are interchangeable and it borders Cambodia. Hanoi borders Laos.


And then the Thailand Military sheltered the Khmer Rouge.

Each of those countries has a military and a government and they run back and forth across the border from Laos into Vietnam and from Cambodia into Vietnam.

9,8. 2016. 

Hue City and Ho Chi Minh City.

There is some symmetry between Hue City and Ho Chi Minh City during the Tet Offensive.

Vietnamese soldiers stormed the American Embassy.
American soldiers stormed the Imperial Palace.

Hue City

Saigon was the American Embassy, Hue City was the Imperial Palace, and Khesanh was a temporary field outpost built by American Marines so as to defend against invasions from the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

Saigon and Hue City were ports; Khesanh was on the border with Laos.

9,8. 2016. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016


Ukraine is south of Belarus and Russia and southeast of Poland. Ukraine is east of Slovakia and Hungary and northeast of Romania and Bulgaria. Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, and Russia border the northern coast of the Black Sea. The Sea of Azov is north of the Black Sea and it meets the Gulf of Taganrog and the Don River.

The Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea are north of Murmansk and the Kola Peninsula. The Norwegian Sea is north of Finland and Norway while the Barents Sea is north of Russia. The White Sea is an inlet south of the Kola Peninsula. The North Cape is west of Murmansk and northeast of Oslo. The Baltic Sea meets the Gulf of Bothnia near Stockholm. Kaliningrad is south of the Baltic Sea and southwest of Saint Petersburg.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Airplane Landing.

  • Pilot error and pilot training
  • Electrical malfunction
  • Fuel dissemination malfunction
  • Landing area malfunction
  • Legitimate oddity in weather conditions

"The slides came out but they were blowing all over the place. People managed to escape - from what I saw - before there was a big explosion, with flames everywhere. We had taxied and stopped right next to where it was happening and people in my plane were just saying 'oh my god' and 'get us off this plane'," she said.
No cause has so far been established for the crash, but images shared on social media suggest a belly landing, which occurs when an aircraft lands without its landing gear fully extended, using its underside to come to a halt.

3,8. 2016. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Belgium in 1904.

     Since, according to the Belgian constitution, King Albert would become Commander in Chief only after the outbreak of war, he and Galet were unable in the meantime to impose their fears or their ideas of strategy upon the General Staff. The Staff clung to the example of 1870, when not a toe of either the Prussian or French armies had stepped over the Belgian border, although if the French had crossed into Belgian territory they would have had room enough to retreat. King Albert and Galet, however, believed that the huge growth of armies since that time made it clearer each year that if the nations marched again they would spill over onto the old pathways and meet again in the old arena. […]
     On the whole, Belgians believed him. They took their guarantee of neutrality seriously. Belgium had neglected her army frontier defenses, fortresses, anything that implied lack of confidence in the protective treaty. Socialism was the raging issue. Public apathy to what was happening abroad and a Parliament obsessed by economy allowed the army to deteriorate to a condition resembling the Turkish. Troops were ill-disciplined, slack, untidy, avoided saluting, slouched in the ranks, and refused to keep step.
     The officers' corps was little better. Because the army was considered superfluous and slightly absurd, it did not attract the best minds of ability or ambition. (pg 115)

The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman.