News in brief: Mechanisation & the failing economy / Worsening health & mortality in the UK / Agricultural markets & sovereign power in Syria / Monitoring global shipping activity

Finance gets a breather from G20 truce but world and national economies face fundamental decline. Geopolitical rivalry is flavouring this but capitalist failure is the root of the problem. The past decades of US loss of manufacturing jobs overwhelmingly due to automation and mechanisation. Meanwhile, the US government has slashed its expenditures in research in line with declining productivity and profitability. Read more >

In England “70-year-old women living in the most deprived areas are about two to three times as likely to die within a year than those living in the least deprived areas” & “Infant mortality […] is about 2.5 times higher” according to The Actuary magazine. Read more >

Good discussion of some strategies relevant to socialist politics specifically in the UK and generally relevant to many others. Interview with Leo Panitch by Matt Zarb-Cousin (@mattzarb) and Max Shanly (@maxshanly) (via Novara Media). Listen here or on Soundcloud.

The Syrian war has broken the old mold of political ties. New ones will need to be settled in order for a lasting order to arise, no matter its goals or contours. Here’s an example of this contest in action: over the political economy of domestic agricultural markets.
Power and the sovereign authority of competing political administrations contend over the economic structures that underpin Syria’s human relations. In this case, the parties involved are the central Syrian government and Rojava (aka The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria). They seek to become the preeminent governing body as the point of contact for much of the north/east region’s domestic markets in wheat and barley. These are strategic crops, while their cultivators and merchants exert their own degree of influence.
“Agriculture accounted for 18% of Syria’s pre-2011 GDP, and about 23% of its exports, with 17% of its labor force. By the end of 2017, however, it accounts for 60% of GDP, with 23% of Syrians employed in this sector…”. Read more >

Related to a recent article published on Maleki Dispatch, here are a couple of useful sources for tracking commercial maritime shipping:

FleetMon: for live monitoring and tracking of ships in transit and in port. See this example, listing vessels and ship types moored in Europe’s largest commercial port: Rotterdam >

MarineTraffic: for mapping live displays of ships that currently ply the world’s waterways. See live traffic >

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