The American Bear


China’s Billionaire People’s Congress Makes Capitol Hill Look Like Pauper


The richest 70 members of China’s legislature added more to their wealth last year than the combined net worth of all 535 members of the U.S. Congress, the president and his Cabinet, and the nine Supreme Court justices.

The net worth of the 70 richest delegates in China’s National People’s Congress, which opens its annual session on March 5, rose to 565.8 billion yuan ($89.8 billion) in 2011, a gain of $11.5 billion from 2010, according to figures from the Hurun Report, which tracks the country’s wealthy. That compares to the $7.5 billion net worth of all 660 top officials in the three branches of the U.S. government.

The income gain by NPC members reflects the imbalances in economic growth in China, where per capita annual income in 2010 was $2,425, less than in Belarus and a fraction of the $37,527 in the U.S. The disparity points to the challenges that China’s new generation of leaders, to be named this year, faces in countering a rise in social unrest fueled by illegal land grabs and corruption.

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(via pieceinthepuzzlehumanity-deacti)

Student Loan Debt Could Cause the Next Financial Crisis


Student loans may be a financial bubble that’s about to burst, warned Moody’s Analytics in a report released in July.  As students graduate with greater debt and fewer job prospects, these “speculative” loans, which are based on the expectation that an investment in education will enable the student to repay his or her debt, are increasingly dangerous.  The average 2011 college graduate carries $27,000 in debt, and that number is only likely to increase as tuitions rise and states slash funding for colleges and universities.

“Unless students limit their debt burdens, choose  fields of study that are in demand, and successfully complete their degrees on time, they will find themselves in worse financial positions and unable to earn the projected income that justified taking out their loans in the first place,” Moody’s warned.

» via care2

(via pieceinthepuzzlehumanity-deacti)

How Goldman Sachs Created the Food Crisis - By Frederick Kaufman | Foreign Policy

It took the brilliant minds of Goldman Sachs to realize the simple truth that nothing is more valuable than our daily bread. And where there’s value, there’s money to be made. In 1991, Goldman bankers, led by their prescient president Gary Cohn, came up with a new kind of investment product, a derivative that tracked 24 raw materials, from precious metals and energy to coffee, cocoa, cattle, corn, hogs, soy, and wheat. They weighted the investment value of each element, blended and commingled the parts into sums, then reduced what had been a complicated collection of real things into a mathematical formula that could be expressed as a single manifestation, to be known henceforth as the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI).

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