During the pandemic citizens became accustomed to ‘free shipping’ from online and storefront retailers. Amazon, for example, touted free shipping in two days. Behind the scenes, however, Amazon had forced sellers to absorb the cost of shipping into their consumer price. This has led to antitrust investigations of Amazon Prime. In short, pervasive free shipping soon may come to an end.
It will be difficult for all three sides of this market — the customers, the drivers and the sellers themselves — to get what they want.
– – – –
China has eased birth limits to cope with aging population. Couples in China can now have three children, instead of being limited to two, after the ruling Communist Party eased birth limits Monday. It turns out China, like Japan, the United States and most wealthy and industrialized nations, has an aging population that is increasing while younger citizens are a smaller percentage of the population. The economics are familiar to the US – retired old people cost the economy a lot of money but don’t generate GDP; on the other hand as economies begin to grow in this new era, there aren’t enough workers to do the work. State media reports that leaders also agreed China needs to raise its retirement age to keep more people in the workforce.
– – – –
A report by Greenpeace Africa and the Netherlands-based organization Changing Markets urges governments to phase out processing of fish which is fit for human consumption but being used for fishmeal and oil. It says the fish extracted by industrial vessels off West Africa are processed and exported, mainly to Europe and Asia, as feed for fish farms, pet food or use in cosmetics.
The report said the industry is devastating coastal communities and undermining food security in Mauritania, Senegal, the Gambia, Mali and Burkina Faso.
– – – –
The Philippines has filed two more diplomatic protests after maritime authorities spotted a total of 165 Chinese vessels within Manila’s exclusive economic zone. The South China Sea is a troubling situation for all the countries adjacent to it. Other nations include Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei. Taiwan, of course, has a tight relationship with the United States which may lead to a military war between China and the US, and perhaps enjoin other Pacific allies like Japan, Australia and South Korea. China has made it clear they want Taiwan back.
As troublesome as these news items are, it is a bit of relief not to discuss American issues for a change.