On Thursday, October 30, at 2 p.m. Washington time, Second Life users will be able to learn the results of the Doing Business 2009 report when it is launched on this island. Doing Business, a report published by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, ranks economies around the world based on how easy it is to do business, considering the level of laws and regulations in a region. The report aims to improve business environments, in part through dialogue and reform.
|In some villages in Laos, a household of six people live on US$320 a year, living with whatever means their environment offers them.|
|Although exports have slowed down, they contributed to China's GDP growth in 2008. But in this gloomy global economy, some factories will close and workers will lose jobs as it slows down further.|
The details of the third quarter report provided some good news. Exports are slowing gradually, but still contributed to the GDP growth in 2008. Retail sales growth hit its highest level in nine years and was at 18% in real terms in September. So far, Chinese consumption is holding up. And the easing of inflation to under 5% means that the government has scope to loosen monetary and fiscal policy. The government is planning to respond to the potential for further growth declines with accelerated spending on reconstruction of the earthquake-affected areas and with infrastructure projects more generally.
|"The glacier at Karo-la pass covered the whole rock face when our Tibetan guide began leading tours in 1996."|
The melting of the glaciers has accelerated dramatically in recent years. This is one of the most profound effects of global warming. The glaciers have shrunk 20% over the past 50 years, with much of that in the past decade. Our Tibetan guide took us to a number of different glaciers and showed us how they had receded since he starting taking tours around in 1996. At Karo-la pass we stood on hard, dry ground that had been covered by the glacier just 12 years ago. Climate scientists project that the glaciers will be 80% gone by 2035.
|Charles Darwin: eminent naturalist, geologist, biologist, author, and avid billiards player.|
|Kiribati is the easternmost country in the world, and was the first country to enter into the year 2000.|
|A rice seller in one of Cambodia's markets. The price of rice, a staple food for Cambodians, has doubled between July 2007 and July 2008.|
The simple reaction is that higher price of food is bad for the poor. CDRI is able to confirm some of this by tracking prices (the price of rice doubled between July 2007 and July 2008) and reminding us that food accounts for two thirds of consumption for a poor family. And there will be little substitution effect to other goods (even within food, most of the caloric intake comes from rice, also very difficult to replace–although CDRI shows that Cambodians in part shifted to lower quality rice to make up for the higher price).