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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 16-Dec-2011
16-Dec-11 World View -- Unrest grows in Shanghai, China, as housing prices collapse

Web Log - December, 2011

16-Dec-11 World View -- Unrest grows in Shanghai, China, as housing prices collapse

Turkey reviews military preparedness for war with Syria

This morning's key headlines from

* Unrest grows in Shanghai, China, as housing prices collapse
* Home price bubble in China crashing, causing protests by screwed homeowners
* IMF says that the Europe crisis is 'escalating'
* Turkey reviews military preparedness for war with Syria
* Jacques Chirac found guilty of corruption in 'historic' verdict
* Russia's Putin confirms that he'll appoint Medvedev to be prime minister
* Russia says it will invest to save the euro
* Israel's Netanyahu won't let radical settlers 'start a religious war'
* Iran's people fear leadership will cause a catastrophic war

Unrest grows in Shanghai, China, as housing prices collapse

Homeowners face security guards as they rally in front of developers' sales office (Bloomberg)
Homeowners face security guards as they rally in front of developers' sales office (Bloomberg)

Home prices nationwide in China have risen 155% over the past decade, but in Shanghai they've quadrupled. But now they seem to have peaked in September, and have been falling ever since. Housing developers have slashed prices 20-25% in November alone. People who purchased homes in September or earlier are furious. Many of them used their parents' life saving to purchase a home so that they could get married, and they see those savings disappearing into the dust, impoverishing themselves AND their parents, resulting in growing protests against developers. Bloomberg

Home price bubble in China crashing, causing protests by screwed homeowners

New home prices in Beijing fell 35% in November from the month before. We've been reporting for a couple of years that massive, almost unbelievable real estate bubble in China, with huge empty "ghost cities" across the country. The IMF measures China's bubble as twice as bad as America's real estate bubble prior to 2007, or Japan's real estate bubble in the late 1980s that preceded Japan's stock market crash. Now the bubble appears to be crashing very rapidly. A fire-sale is under way in coastal cities, with Shanghai developers slashing prices 25% in November – much to the fury of earlier buyers, who expect refunds. This is spreading. Property sales have fallen 70% in the inland city of Changsa. Prices have reportedly dropped 70% in the "ghost city" of Ordos in Inner Mongolia. Core industries are being affected by the housing crash -- steel output has buckled. Telegraph

IMF says that the Europe crisis is 'escalating'

As China's housing bubble is crashing, Europe's financial crisis is escalating. Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said on Thursday:

"There is no economy in the world, whether low-income countries, emerging markets, middle-income countries or super- advanced economies that will be immune to the crisis that we see not only unfolding, but escalating at a point where everybody would actually have to focus on what it can do.

[If the international community doesn’t work together,] the risk from an economic point of view is that of retraction, rising protectionism, isolation. This is exactly the description of what happened in the ‘30s and what followed is not something we are looking forward to."

She added that the world economic outlook "is quite gloomy." Bloomberg

Turkey reviews military preparedness for war with Syria

Turkey's Supreme Military Council has announced that it has reviewed Turkish Armed Forces preparedness for war. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said in the past that Turkey does not want war with Syria, but may be forced to invade a create a buffer zone on Syrian soil to provide refugee camps for thousands of people fleeing violence from president Bashar al-Assad's regime. However, Debka is reporting that Turkey's announcement was triggered by the al-Assad's deployment of missiles, some tipped with chemical warheads, on their common border. This comes on the heels of reports that American troops are massing in Jordan on Syria's border. Debka's subscriber-only newsletter adds reports that Russia has been airlifting to Syria supplies of face masks for protection against chemical and biological weapons and quantities of medical supplies. Zaman (Istanbul) and Debka

Jacques Chirac found guilty of corruption in 'historic' verdict

Jacques Chirac
Jacques Chirac

France's former president Jacques Chirac has been given a two-year suspended jail sentence for embezzling public funds and abusing public trust. The historic verdict was announced in the 'Great Hall' in which Marie Antoinette, the wife of King Louis XVI, was sentenced to death during the French Revolution. A court on Thursday found Jacques Chirac, 79, guilty of diverting public funds and abusing public trust after he paid supporters for municipal jobs which didn't exist when he was mayor of Paris. Chirac and his deputy, Dominique de Villepin, are known for opposing the American operation in Iraq, but it later turned out that Chirac and de Villepin opposed the operation because they were making millions of dollars in a corrupt oil-for-food deal that enriched France, but left millions of Iraqi citizens to starve. The oil-for-food corruption was not the subject of Thursday's court finding. Spiegel

Russia's Putin confirms that he'll appoint Medvedev to be prime minister

The joke initiated by Russia's prime minister Vladimir Putin in 2008 came full circle on Thursday. After serving two consecutive terms as president, Putin was no longer constitutionally allowed to run for president again in 2008. So Putin arranged for Dmitry Medvedev to win the election for presidency in 2008, so that Medvedev would appoint him as prime minister. Most Russians assumed that the whole arrangement was a scam, something that Putin piously denied. Then, last month, Putin revealed that it was a scam after all, and that he would run for president again, now that he's able to do so again, and this was his intention all along. On Thursday, he announced that once arranges to win the presidential election next year, he'll appoint Medvedev to be prime minister, thus completing the circle. Reuters

Russia says it will invest to save the euro

Russia's president Dmitry Medvedev is promising to invest $10 billion or more in the eurozone, to save the euro. "Russia has its quota in the IMF, and we will meet all our obligations and are ready to invest the relevant money. We are also ready to consider other measures of support," said Medvedev. Trade with the EU comprises more than half of Russia’s foreign trade and 41 per cent of Russia’s foreign reserves are also in euros. Russia Today

Israel's Netanyahu won't let radical settlers 'start a religious war'

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised legal retribution against far-right settlement activists who are assumed to be the perpetrators of a "price tag" attack on a mosque in Ramallah in the West bank. After they broke into the mosque, the vandals lit a fire in the women’s prayer section on the top floor. The vandals also spray-painted red Hebrew words on an interior wall: “Mitpze Yitzhar” and “war.” Graffiti with the words “price tag” were written on the mosque’s exterior wall. Netanyahu said on Thursday evening,

"We won’t let them [Jewish extremists] attack our soldiers, start a religious war, set fire to mosques [and] attack Jews or non-Jews. We will act with a strong hand and make sure they’re prosecuted. The law is the law. Justice is justice."

The number of price tag attacks has been increasing recently. The phrase "price tag" is frequently used by far-right Israeli settlers to denote revenge attacks against Palestinians or IDF soldiers in response to moves by the Israeli government to evacuate illegal West Bank outposts, or as retribution for attacks by Palestinians. Jerusalem Post

Iran's people fear leadership will cause a catastrophic war

Ordinary Iranians are increasingly worried that the policies of Iran's leadership with regard to nuclear facilities are risking an Israeli strike and a catastrophic war. Many Iranians are stocking up on basic goods, changing their money into foreign currencies, or obtaining visas to move abroad. As I've written many times, Iran's hardline leadership is hoping a war or threat of war will unify the country behind the leader, as happened in the 1979 Great Islamic Revolution. But that was a generational crisis era, and today Iran is in a generational awakening era, meaning that there's a "generation gap," and the younger generations are rebelling against the generations of war survivors. Washington Post

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 16-Dec-11 World View -- Unrest grows in Shanghai, China, as housing prices collapse thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (16-Dec-2011) Permanent Link
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