Tuesday, November 22, 2011

American Multi-nationals Moved 1.5 Million US Jobs to India and China

American corporations created 453,000 jobs in India, a whopping 642% increase in a decade that saw the same corporations cut 846,000 jobs at home.

Overall, US multinational corporations added 1.5 million workers to their payrolls in Asia and the Pacific region from 1999 to 2009, and 477,500 workers in Latin America, according to US Commerce Dept data as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

From 1999 to 2009, the multinational companies also reduced capital-investment spending in the U.S. at an annual rate of 0.2% and increased it at a 4.0% annual rate abroad. This occurred in spite of huge Bush era tax cuts for the rich.



Bulk of the increase in overseas investment and hiring by U.S. multinationals has been in the service sector where most of the American middle class jobs have been lost. Among U.S. multinational firms in manufacturing, about 60% of employment is still in the U.S. But the manufacturers cut their U.S. payrolls by 2.1 million in the 2000s and added 230,000 workers overseas.



While the U.S. multinational manufacturers employ 6.9 million workers in the U.S. and 4.6 million abroad as of 2009, the trend clearly indicates the balance shifting in favor of overseas jobs at the expense of jobs in America.

The irony of it is that the vast majority of average citizens of nations like India where jobs have been created by American corporations have not benefited either. After the decade of job creation by US multi-nationals, India still remains home to the world's largest population of poor, hungry and illiterates. Bulk of the benefits of globalization have gone to a few dozen powerful Indian oligarchs in "the world's largest democracy".

Looking at this jobs data, it's clear to me that the foolish and short-sighted actions of the American MNCs are undermining the very system that has nurtured and enriched them by creating middle class American consumers and voters whose jobs they are killing.

It's the middle class America that has supported the system of American democracy and free markets; destroying middle class America by taking their jobs overseas will only lead to rising instability that will threaten the very foundations of this system....the growing "Occupy" movement across major American cities and university campuses is only the tip of the iceberg of rising discontent.

It's time to save democracy and capitalism from the American capitalists!

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Will American Capitalism Survive?

Imran Khan Inspired by Iqbal

Occupy Wall Street Anti-Semitic?

India-World's Biggest Oligarchy

Comparing Oligarchies in India and Pakistan

Pakistan Tops South Asia Job Growth in 2000-2010

India is Home to World's Largest Population of Poor, Hungry & Illiterates

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sharing Blaochistan's Vast Mineral Wealth

The US state of Alaska has a small population of only 680,000 people and vast territory measuring 1.5 million square kilometers. The state is endowed with tremendous mineral wealth--particularly oil and gas. Alaska Permanent Fund was set up in 1976 to ensure that ordinary Alaskans get a share of this natural wealth. Currently the fund has assets of over $38 billion and each Alaskan will receive $1,174.00 in cash from it for 2011.

Pakistan's Balochistan province shares some similarities with the US state of Alaska. It is the largest of Pakistan's four provinces in terms of area (347,190 square kilometers) but the smallest in terms of population (6.6 million). With large reserves of copper, gold and natural gas, it is probably the richest of Pakistan's provinces in terms of its natural resources.



Most of the grievances of the people of Balochistan stem from a sense that they have not benefited from the resources under their land. Powerful tribal chieftains in the province have exploited this sense of deprivation to demand and receive significant funds for themselves while ordinary Balochis have remained among the poorest and most backward in Pakistan.

As Pakistan moves forward with vast new mineral discoveries such as Reko Diq in Balochistan, it's essential that there be a mechanism to equitably share with ordinary Balochis the billions of dollars in revenue expected to flow from these resources.

Balochistan Fund can be modeled on Alaska Permanent Fund. It is a constitutionally established and professionally managed fund which is run by a semi-independent corporation. Shortly after the oil from Alaska's North Slope began flowing to market through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, the Permanent Fund was created by an amendment to the constitution of the U.S. state of Alaska to be an investment for at least 25% of proceeds from some minerals [such as oil and gas] sale or royalties.



Similar funds should be established for other provinces as well. For example, energy-rich Sindh has large coal deposits and huge shale gas reserves which are worth at least hundreds of billions of dollars. Revenues from these resources should be shared equitably to benefit ordinary citizen of Sindh province.

Sharing of the wealth with the people in each province will give them a tangible stake in national development. It will help bring and maintain peace and stability necessary to attract badly needed investments for developing Pakistan's vast mineral resources.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Vast Shale Gas Reserves

Reko Diq Copper & Gold

Pakistan's Mineral Wealth

Thar Coal Deposits

USGS Minerals Overview For Pakistan

US Dept of Energy Report on Shale Gas

Pakistan's Twin Energy Crises

Pakistan's Electricity Crisis

Pakistan's Gas Pipeline and Distribution Network

Lure of Pakistan's Riches Calls

Israel in Alaska?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

US Role as Nuclear Proliferator to India

The story of how India acquired nuclear weapons gets almost no attention in the Western media as they continue to focus on nuclear proliferation by Pakistan's AQ Khan.

The nuclear proliferation narrative in the mainstream American and European media begins with A.Q. Khan's network rather than the actors in North America and Europe as the original proliferators of nuclear weapons equipment, materials and technology to India in 1960s and 1970s. These nuclear exports from US to India continued for several years even after the Indian nuclear test in 1974.



The real story, as recounted by Paul Leventhal of The Nuclear Control Institute, begins with the US and Canada supplying nuclear reactors and fuel to India in 1960s. As the story unfolds, we learn that the spent fuel from Canadian Cirus reactor was reprocessed into bomb-grade plutonium using a reprocessing plant provided by an American-European consortium, and later used to explode India's first atom bomb at Pokhran in 1974. This is the key event in South Asia that led to Pakistan's pursuit of nuclear weapons culminating in nuclear tests by both India and Pakistan in 1998.

Here are some key excerpts from Paul Leventhal's presentation to Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Washington DC on December 19, 2005:

CIRUS (Canadian reactor supplied to India) holds a very special place in nonproliferation history and the development of US nonproliferation policy. This needs to be understood if we are to do the right thing in working out a new nuclear relationship with India.

My own personal involvement in this history and policy began with a telephone call I received 31 years ago on a May morning in 1974 when I was a young staffer on the U.S. Senate Government Operations Committee. It was from a Congressional liaison officer of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission who said he was calling to inform me that India had just conducted a nuclear test and to assure me that "the United States had absolutely nothing to do with it."

At that time, I was working on legislation to reorganize the AEC into separate regulatory and promotional agencies. I had begun investigating the weapons potential of nuclear materials being used in the U.S. Atoms for Peace program, both at home and abroad. The official wanted me to know there was no need to consider remedial legislation on nuclear exports because the plutonium used in India's test came not from the safeguarded nuclear power plant at Tarapur, supplied by the United States, but from the unsafeguarded Cirus research reactor near Bombay, supplied by Canada. "This is a Canadian problem, not ours," he said.

It took me two years to discover that the information provided me that day was false. The United States, in fact, had supplied the essential heavy-water component that made the Cirus reactor operable, but decided to cover up the American supplier role and let Canada "take the fall" for the Indian test. Canada promptly cut off nuclear exports to India, but the United States did not.

In 1976, when the Senate committee uncovered the U.S. heavy-water export to India and confronted the State Department on it, the government's response was another falsehood: the heavy water supplied by the U.S., it said, had leaked from the reactor at a rate of 10% a year, and had totally depleted over 10 years by the time India produced the plutonium for its test.

But the committee learned from Canada that the actual heavy-water loss rate at Cirus was less than 1% a year, and we learned from junior-high-school arithmetic that even a 10%- a-year loss rate doesn't equal 100% after 10 years. Actually, more than 90% of the original U.S. heavy water was still in the Cirus reactor after 10 years, even if it took India a decade to produce the test plutonium---itself a highly fanciful notion.

We also learned that the reprocessing plant where India had extracted the plutonium from Cirus spent fuel, described as "indigenous" in official U.S. and Indian documents, in fact had been supplied by an elaborate and secret consortium of U.S. and European companies.

Faced with this blatant example of the Executive Branch taking Congress for the fool, the Senate committee drafted and Congress eventually enacted the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 1978. And the rest, as they say, is history.


Paul Leventhal's story about India's diversion of civilian nuclear programs to build weapons is corroborated by other sources such as the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and the Wisconsin Project.

Unfortunately, not much has changed in Washington since 1974 as the duplicitous US policy of "non-proliferation" continues to this day. Washington never talks about the Israeli nuclear weapons and the US administration continues to raise objections to the Chinese sale of nuclear power plants to Pakistan which is suffering from crippling energy deficits. Meanwhile, the 2009 US-India nuclear deal legitimizes India as a nuclear weapons state and encourages continuing Indian buildup of its nuclear arsenal even as the US targets Iran for its alleged efforts to build nuclear weapons.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

India's "Indigenous" Copies of Foreign Nukes and Missiles

India's Nuclear Bomb by George Perkovich

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

Cyberwars Across India, Pakistan and China

Pakistan's Defense Industry Going High-Tech

Pakistan's Space Capabilities

India-Pakistan Military Balance

Scientist Reveals Indian Nuke Test Fizzled

The Wisconsin Project

The Non-Proliferation Review Fall 1997

India, Pakistan Comparison 2010

Can India "Do a Lebanon" in Pakistan?

Global Firepower Comparison

Only the Paranoid Survive

India Races Ahead in Space

21st Century High-Tech Warfare

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pakistan's Largest City Karachi Ranks High on Human Development

While Pakistan's HDI of 0.504 (2011) ranks it among UNDP's low human development countries, its largest city Karachi's HDI of 0.7885 (2005) is closer to the group of nations given high human development rankings.



In a regional human development analysis for Pakistan done by Haroon Jamal and Amir Jahan Khan of the Social Policy and Development Centre (SPDC), Karachi ranks at the top with HDI of 0.7885, followed by Jhelum district's 0.7698 and Haripur's 0.7339. Lahore has HDI score of 0.6882 and Rawalpindi 0.638.



Majority of the nations ranked as high human development are less populated than Karachi with its 15 million+ inhabitants, and none is experiencing the massive waves of poor rural migrants from some of the least developed areas of Pakistan which Karachi continues to absorb after each disaster in other parts of the country, natural or otherwise.



Karachi often makes news for its recurring episodes of violence which claim many innocent lives. Yet, the city continues to be a big draw for large numbers of rural migrants looking for better economic opportunities. In spite of the many problems they face, it's a fact that even the slums in Karachi offer them better access to education and health care--basic ingredients for human development.

When visitors see a squatter city in India or Pakistan or Bangladesh, they observe overwhelming desperation: rickety shelters, little kids working or begging, absence of sanitation, filthy water and air. However, there are many benefits of rural to urban migration for migrants' lives, including reduction in abject poverty, empowerment of women, increased access to healthcare and education and other services. Historically, cities have been driving forces in economic and social development. As centers of industry and commerce, cities have long been centers of wealth and power. They also account for a disproportionate share of national income. The World Bank estimates that in the developing world, as much as 80 percent of future economic growth will occur in towns and cities. Nor are the benefits of urbanization solely economic. Urbanization is associated with higher incomes, improved health, higher literacy, and improved quality of life. Other benefits of urban life are less tangible but no less real: access to information, diversity, creativity, and innovation.

In a 2009 interview published by Wired Magazine, Stewart Brand, "the pioneering environmentalist, technology thinker", and founder of the Whole Earth Catalog summed up the positive aspects of urban slums, and made a counterintuitive case that the booming slums and squatter cities in and around Mumbai, Nairobi, and Rio de Janeiro are net positives for poor people and the environment. Wired asked him to elaborate. Here are a few excerpts:

Wired: What makes squatter cities so important?

Stewart Brand: That's where vast numbers of humans—slum dwellers—are doing urban stuff in new and amazing ways. And hell's bells, there are a billion of them! People are trying desperately to get out of poverty, so there's a lot of creativity; they collaborate in ways that we've completely forgotten how to do in regular cities. And there's a transition: People come in from the countryside, enter the rickshaw economy, and work for almost nothing. But after a while, they move uptown, into the formal economy. The United Nations did extensive field research and flipped from seeing squatter cities as the world's great problem to realizing these slums are actually the world's great solution to poverty.

Wired: Why are they good for the environment?

Brand: Cities draw people away from subsistence farming, which is ecologically devastating, and they defuse the population bomb. In the villages, women spend their time doing agricultural stuff, for no pay, or having lots and lots of kids. When women move to town, it's better to have fewer kids, bear down, and get them some education, some economic opportunity. Women become important, powerful creatures in the slums. They're often the ones running the community-based organizations, and they're considered the most reliable recipients of microfinance loans.

Wired: How can governments help nurture these positives?

Brand: The suffering is great, and crime is rampant. We made the mistake of romanticizing villages, and we don't need to make that mistake again. But the main thing is not to bulldoze the slums. Treat the people as pioneers. Get them some grid electricity, water, sanitation, crime prevention. All that makes a huge difference.


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Karachi Tops Mumbai in Stock Performace

Eleven Days in Karachi

Citymayors website

Karachi Demographic Trends Worry MQM

Pakistan Most Urbanized in South Asia

Karachi: The Urban Frontier

Do Asia's Urban Slums Offer Hope?

Orangi is Not Dharavi

Climate Change Could Flood Karachi Coastline

Karachi Fourth Cheapest For Expats

Karachi City Government

Karachi Dreams Big

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pakistani Fulbright Scholar Joins Fight Against Terror

Simulation software developed by Fulbright scholar Zeeshan Usmani is helping investigators analyze bombings and pursue perpetrators of terror in Pakistan. Usmani is the product of currently the world's biggest Fulbright program being offered in Pakistan, with approximately 200 scholarships for advanced degrees in 2011 alone.

Usmani collaborated with Daniel Kirk at Florida Institute of Technology to develop Usmani-Kirk model for analyzing suicide bomb blasts. The model uses various inputs like before-and-after video footage, bombing debris, chemical residues, victims' injuries, casualty patterns, autopsy data and other available clues about suspects and forensic data to piece together the details of each incident and to help identify the cause and the perpetrators.



Upon returning to Pakistan with a doctoral degree, Usmani was introduced by a business executive Adnan Asdar to Karachi's senior police officials who were investigating the Ashura bombing of 28 December, 2009. The police immediately asked him to help.

Before Usmani showed up at the scene, Pakistan's Interior Minister Rahman Malik had already told the media that it was a suicide bombing orchestrated by the TTP (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan), and the TTP had accepted responsibility for the "suicide bombing". Usmani took one look at the scene near the banyan tree at the Lighthouse Center and concluded that the casualty pattern did not support Malik's conclusion. Usmani's assertion gained support when Faisal Edhi, son of Abdus Sattar Edhi of Edhi Foundation, and later FIA investigators noticed a large quantity of heavy steel nuts strewn at the scene, according to Steve Inskeep who has described the incident in his recent book about Karachi titled "The Instant City". The steel nuts were too heavy to have been carried by suicide bombers who typically use ball bearings as shrapnel in their explosive vests to inflict maximum casualties. Other metal fragments found at the scene were understood to have come from a metal box that could be seen next to an Edhi ambulance before the blast but not in the post-blast video footage. This metal box apparently contained the explosives and the steel nuts. A body believed by the police to be of the suicide bomber was later confirmed as the body of a boy scout killed in the blast.



Usmani's analysis and detailed presentation persuaded the investigators that it was a remote controlled bomb rather than a suicide bomber that did the damage, and it was most likely perpetrated by a local sectarian outfit, not the TTP who target the security forces rather than ordinary citizens.

Faced with the ruthless and resourceful enemies of the state, Pakistani law-enforcement is in serious need of good intelligence work and competent professional investigators equipped with modern tools and capabilities to bring a semblance of peace and security in Pakistan. What Usmani is doing needs to be developed and replicated across the country. I hope Pakistani state will identify and make full use of all available talent in this area of expertise.

Here's a video of Usmani's presentation at TEDx Lahore:



Related Links:

Haq's Musings

CSI Pakistan

Pakistan Needs Police Reform

Pakistanis Studying Abroad

Sialkot Lynching

Intelligence Failures Amidst Daily Carnage

Quality of Higher Education in India and Pakistan

Developing Pakistan's Intellectual Capital

Intellectual Wealth of Nations

Pakistan's Story After 64 Years of Independence

Pakistan Ahead of India on Key Human Development Indices

Scholarships at Foreign Universities

Institute of International Education--Open Doors

UK's Higher Education Statistics Agency Report

Austrade on Education in Pakistan