Some say the 1960s ended with Woodstock in August 1969. Others date the decade's demise to the break-up of the Beatles eight months later. Both are wrong. The 60s died just more than 30 years ago when, on Oct. 6, 1973, Egypt and Syria chose Yom Kippur, the holiest date in the Jewish calendar, to launch a surprise attack on Israel. \nThe twin offensive was quickly halted. So, in response, the Arab-dominated oil-producers' cartel, OPEC, announced price increases, production cutbacks and an embargo on Israel. If the intention was to inflict pain on the West, it worked. By early 1974, oil prices had risen fourfold and a golden age of prosperity came to a halt. \nThe Yom Kippur war thus provided a hinge between the two halves of the post-1945 period. Up until 1973 came the era of social democracy; years of expansion in which governments, armed with Keynesian economic ideas, pursued full employment. After 1973, the pendulum swung to the right in favor of governments wielding free-market policies aimed at tackling inflation. \nAs the recent Israeli strike on a Palestinian base in Syria illustrated, the underlying conflict shows no sign of being resolved. \nThe oil wealth for the Gulf states proved a double-edged sword: The windfall has allowed them to spend in the arms bazaars, but has acted as a disincentive for autocratic regimes to embark on reforms. \nInstead of putting their petro-dollars to good use at home, oil states put them on deposit in the world's money markets. From there, they were recycled as loans to poor countries eager for capital to finance development. The result was not economic take-off but -- thanks to reckless lending, corruption and a stagnant global economy -- a debt crisis that is still burdening poor countries. \nShockwaves from the Yom Kippur war were equally strong in the West. The first-wave effect of higher inflation was followed by a second wave of higher unemployment, as companies faced spiralling costs. The third-wave effect was the triumph of a right that was committed to shifting the balance of power in favor of capital. \nEgalitarianism, tax-and-spend and nationalization were out; trickle-down, balanced budgets and privatization were in. \nMore than 20 years of full employment had allowed pay bargainers by the early 1970s to negotiate deals in excess of productivity gains, with profits squeezed as a result. By the late 1970s, high unemployment had undermined the power of labor, bearing down on wages and pushing up profitability. \nIn the UK the fate of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) illustrates the point. In the months following the Yom Kippur war, the NUM humbled the Conservative government of then prime minister Edward Heath. Little more than a decade later the pit strike ended with victory for then Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher. \nThe seeming impotence of Keynesianism to come up with solutions for a cocktail of rising unemployment and higher inflation validated the monetarist ideas that had been nurtured by free-market think tanks from the 1950s onwards. To this day, central banks and finance ministries remain obsessed with price stability. \nLikewise, the political thrust of the right's post-1973 counter-revolution -- curb union power, cut taxes, set markets free -- has not been seriously challenged. Center-left politicians claimed their "third way" would steer a path between those who, in former US president Bill Clinton's words, "said government was the enemy and those who said government was the solution." Yet in some key areas of policy -- welfare reform, for example -- Clinton went even further than former US president Ronald Reagan. \nThe assumption is that the post-1973 consensus will last indefinitely. That is precisely what social democrats assumed in the early 1970s. Indeed, even when the collapse of the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates in 1971 was acting as the harbinger of the crisis to come, then US president Richard Nixon was insisting "we are all Keynesians now." \nSimilarly, just as the postwar golden age was undermined by rising inflation and the combined cost to the US of the Vietnam war and president Lyndon Johnson's great society programs, so there have been signs of strain for the new world order promised by then president George Bush after the Berlin Wall came down. For the collapse of Bretton Woods, read the succession of financial crises since 1992. \nFor the hubris of organized labour, read corporate corruption and greed. For the diminishing returns from public-sector pump priming, read the diminishing returns from a build-up in private sector debt. For a world struggling to cope with inflation, read a world struggling to cope with deflation. \nThere are three ways of looking at all this. The first is that any comparisons between 1973 and this year are pointless because history doesn't repeat itself. The second is that we are suffering from the birth pangs of what the economist Joseph Schumpeter called creative destruction -- the transition to a technological paradigm that will restore capitalism to good health. The third is that Argentina's collapse, the Enron fraud and the self-delusion of the dotcom bubble are warning signals of a political and economic paradigm running out of juice.
Since COVID-19 broke out in Taiwan, there has been a fair amount of news regarding discrimination and “witch hunts” against medical personnel, people under self-quarantine and other targets, such as the students of a school where an infection was discovered. Quarantine breakers are almost certainly on the loose and it is only natural for people to be vigilant. One in Chiayi was found by accident at a traffic stop because his helmet was not fastened. However, those who follow the rules by quarantining themselves should be encouraged to keep up the good work in a difficult situation, instead of being
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator-at-large Wu Sz-huai (吳斯懷) has said that there is a huge difference between Chinese military aircraft circling Taiwan along the edges of its airspace and invading Taiwan’s airspace. He also said that whether it is US or Chinese aircraft flying along or encircling Taiwan’s airspace, there is no legal basis to say that such actions imply a clear provocation of Taiwan, and asked the Ministry of National Defense not to mislead the public. People who hear this might think that it is not a very Taiwanese thing to say. US military activity in the vicinity of Taiwan
As the nation welcomes home Taiwanese who had been stranded in China’s Hubei Province — arguably one of the most dangerous places on Earth since the novel coronavirus outbreak began in its capital, Wuhan, late last year — problems surrounding the “quasi-charter flights” that brought them back have been largely overlooked. The media used the term to describe the two flights dispatched by Taiwan’s state-run China Airlines because they do not count as charter flights. Taiwanese wanting to board those flights had to travel — most likely by train — more than 1,000km from Hubei to Shanghai Pudong International Airport
Burger King Taiwan on Wednesday last week posted an update on Facebook advertising a new “Wuhan pneumonia” (武漢肺炎) home delivery meal, catering to customers hankering for a Whopper, but who wished to avoid visiting one of its outlets. “Wuhan pneumonia” is the term commonly used in Taiwan to describe COVID-19. Beijing has been waging an extensive propaganda campaign against the use of the words “Wuhan” or “China” in reference to the novel coronavirus, calling it racist and discriminatory. Meanwhile, Chinese officials have claimed that the coronavirus might have originated in the US. The intention is obvious: to distract attention from the Chinese Communist