The American Bear

Sunshine/Lollipops

Stateless and Fancy-Free | Russ Wellen

“As most people continue to batten down the financial hatches, an elite group of the world’s ‘stateless super-rich’ is blossoming, and transcending geographical boundaries to purchase properties in major cities across the globe,” reported Tanya Powley and Lucy Warwick-Ching in April at the Financial Times. They lead “nomadic, season-driven lives [with] no strong ties to specific countries.” [Emphasis added.]

At AlterNet, Sam Pizzigatti, who linked to the FT article, explains that this practice creates

… havoc in the hotspots where the stateless super rich most often gather. Their gathering, a veritable gentrification on steroids, tends to supersize prices for all sorts of local products and services — and price out local residents. The massive mansions and apartments of the stateless super rich also exacerbate local housing shortages — and constitute as assault on any healthy sense of urban community. 

Equally troubling is their effect on their states of origin, such as the United States. Pizzigatti points out:

The number of Americans who’ve formally renounced their U.S. citizenship has jumped by over seven-fold, from 235 in 2008 to 1,780 last year. The spark for this surge in statelessness? Since 2008, U.S. tax officials have been endeavoring to clamp down more firmly on overseas tax evasion.

Between globe-trotting and globalization, U.S. super-rich and corporations see themselves as less and less grounded in the United States. Rank and file conservatives and Tea Partiers don’t get this. They believe that making a killing is not only our right as Americans — it’s in the Constitution somewhere, isn’t it? — but essential to what it means to be an American replete with the Protestant Ethic.

They don’t understand, nor did our founders anticipate, that the more flush individuals and corporations become, the less reliant they are on the United States for their continued wealth. Parking their funds offshore, their idea of patriotic duty is to leave no stone unturned in their quest to keep their money as tax-free as possible.

Much of whatever money the super-rich and corporations still spend in America is on lobbying toward that end. The well-being of a public with whom they have little interaction and the state of America’s infrastructure, services, and programs is of little concern to them. In the end, the super-rich and corporations are all too often the least patriotic of Americans. [++]

newsflick:

Western oil firms remain as US exits Iraq

While the US military has formally ended its occupation of Iraq, some of the largest western oil companies, ExxonMobil, BP and Shell, remain.
On November 27, 38 months after Royal Dutch Shell announced its pursuit of a massive gas deal in southern Iraq, the oil giant had its contract signed for a $17bn flared gas deal.
Three days later, the US-based energy firm Emerson submitted a bid for a contract to operate at Iraq’s giant Zubair oil field, which reportedly holds some eight million barrels of oil.
Earlier this year, Emerson was awarded a contract to provide crude oil metering systems and other technology for a new oil terminal in Basra, currently under construction in the Persian Gulf, and the company is installing control systems in the power stations in Hilla and Kerbala.
Iraq’s supergiant Rumaila oil field is already being developed by BP, and the other supergiant reserve, Majnoon oil field, is being developed by Royal Dutch Shell. Both fields are in southern Iraq.
According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), Iraq’s oil reserves of 112 billion barrels ranks second in the world, only behind Saudi Arabia. The EIA also estimates that up to 90 per cent of the country remains unexplored, due to decades of US-led wars and economic sanctions. (Read More)

newsflick:

Western oil firms remain as US exits Iraq

While the US military has formally ended its occupation of Iraq, some of the largest western oil companies, ExxonMobil, BP and Shell, remain.

On November 27, 38 months after Royal Dutch Shell announced its pursuit of a massive gas deal in southern Iraq, the oil giant had its contract signed for a $17bn flared gas deal.

Three days later, the US-based energy firm Emerson submitted a bid for a contract to operate at Iraq’s giant Zubair oil field, which reportedly holds some eight million barrels of oil.

Earlier this year, Emerson was awarded a contract to provide crude oil metering systems and other technology for a new oil terminal in Basra, currently under construction in the Persian Gulf, and the company is installing control systems in the power stations in Hilla and Kerbala.

Iraq’s supergiant Rumaila oil field is already being developed by BP, and the other supergiant reserve, Majnoon oil field, is being developed by Royal Dutch Shell. Both fields are in southern Iraq.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), Iraq’s oil reserves of 112 billion barrels ranks second in the world, only behind Saudi Arabia. The EIA also estimates that up to 90 per cent of the country remains unexplored, due to decades of US-led wars and economic sanctions. (Read More)

(Source: newsflick)

Business Is Booming

The hiring that is going on, moreover, isn’t located in the higher-wage manufacturing sector, which has been declining steadily as a percentage of the workforce as a result of both offshoring and productivity increases. We are, in effect, trading good jobs for lower-paying jobs. According to a survey this summer from the National Employment Law Project, only a third of the jobs lost in 2008-2009 were in industries paying less than $15 an hour, but fully three-quarters of the job growth in 2010 came in these same low-wage industries. Among the industries that grew in 2010, the top three occupations were retail sales clerks, cashiers, and food preparers with a median hourly wage of less than $10.

The recovery, in other words, is every bit as alarming as the recession. The America emerging from the financial crisis of 2008 is distinctly downwardly mobile.

In earlier times, downwardly mobile American consumers would have posed a huge problem for American corporations. Today, as those corporations look abroad for their sales and labor, that problem is much diminished.