America is still pretty sore over the millions of jobs — including an estimated 2.4 million in the last decade — that have been outsourced overseas, especially to China, where labor was cheap and plentiful, and economic growth rapid.
But in recent years Chinese manufacturers have begun doing the same thing — shifting manufacturing from China, where wages are rising rapidly — to cheaper countries, including ones in Asia, and especially sub-Saharan Africa.
Why? This week, Huajian Shoes' President Zhang Huarong — whose 3,500 workers in Ethiopia produced two million pairs of shoes last year — told Bloomberg: "Ethiopia is exactly like China 30 years ago. The poor transportation infrastructure, lots of jobless people."
And while that may create all sorts of logistical and electricity supply problems, it also creates a massive opportunity for cheap labor and fast economic growth. "China's average manufacturing wage is 3,469 yuan ($560) per month," Bloomberg reports. That may not be much by American standards, but pay at Huajian's Ethiopian factory ranges from "$30 a month to about twice that for supervisors."
The bigger picture is that China is now Africa's largest trading partner, passing the United States in 2009. In 2012, China's trade with Africa reached $198.5 billion. And according to Mthuli Ncube and Michael Fairbanks of the Financial Times: "More than 2,000 Chinese private businesses are in Africa." --John Aziz
Editor's note: This article has been revised since it was first published in order to more clearly include proper attribution to source material.
The federal government is spending the great bulk of its technology budget maintaining old — indeed, sometimes wildly outdated — computer systems instead of staying up to date with current advances, finds a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
"Specifically, 5,233 of the government's approximately 7,000 IT investments are spending all of their funds" on running old systems, the GAO said, many of which are considered "moderate to high risk" or outright "obsolete."
Perhaps the most egregious example is the use of eight-inch floppy disks to control nukes. The Pentagon's Strategic Automated Command and Control System (SACC), which "coordinates the operational functions of the United States’ nuclear forces, such as intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear bombers, and tanker support aircrafts," operates on pre-1970s computers that still store data on giant floppy disks whose contents can be wiped with a magnet.
Some politicians are painters. Others, the muses.
Bernie Sanders evidently falls in the latter category, as an entire pop-up installation of Sanders-themed media has temporarily taken over the famous vacant L.A. fixture, Johnie's Coffee Shop Restaurant:
"We view this as an art piece," said Howard Gold, who was busy on Wednesday afternoon painting and fixing at the former diner. It closed in 2000, but it is still available for film shoots.
The idea, said Mr. Gold, whose family owns the property, is to deck the place in Sanders murals, posters and diner-style logos — the Bernie Sanders chicken bucket faces Wilshire — then open on Thursday for a reception that is expected to draw artists, movie stars and Sanders supporters. [The New York Times]
Anticipated attendees include actresses Shailene Woodley and Frances Fisher, as well as film producer and real-life inspiration for The Big Lebowski, Jeff Dowd. Kii Arens, who has done art for The Who and Radiohead, among other bands, is one of the contributing artists as well as Donny Miller.
Donald Trump has reached the required 1,237 delegates to clinch the GOP nomination, according to a count by The Associated Press. Trump was pushed to victory by his win in the Washington state primary on Tuesday, and now has 1,238 delegates; other reports, such as one by CNN on Wednesday, have Trump just short of the required number. Unbound delegates exclusively told the AP they would support Trump, thereby tipping him to victory.
Trump became the presumptive nominee earlier this month after a major win in Indiana when his only remaining competitors chose to suspend their campaigns. Jeva Lange
Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump has a vision for the future of the Republican Party, and he is describing it in language Marxists would recognize.
In an an interview with Bloomberg this week in which he commented that his "views are what everybody else’s views are," Trump answered a question about his plans for the GOP. "Five, 10 years from now — different party," he said. "You’re going to have a workers' party."
"Workers' Party" is a common name worldwide for political groups of a Marxist, socialist, communist, Leninist, Maoist, and/or Trotskyite persuasion. The single governing party of North Korea, for instance, is called the "Workers' Party of Korea." And here in the United States, the Communist Party USA was originally called the "Workers Party of America." Bonnie Kristian
As Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders wrestle over the fate of the Democratic Party and their congratulatory calls to one another after primary victories fade to a thing of the past, it can be difficult to remember a time when the two actually liked each other.
Even as some say Sanders risks cleaving the party by staying in the race — with others murmuring that he is threatening to hand the White House to Donald Trump — it was not so long ago when the two candidates considered each other with admiration:
The pair had something of an intellectual rapport. In a photo signed "Hillary Rodham Clinton, 1993," she wrote to Sanders, "Thanks for your commitment to real healthcare access for all Americans." Television footage showed Sanders standing directly over Clinton's left shoulder as she spoke on the topic at Dartmouth College. Even after their campaigns started going in different directions last year, they remained amiable. They ran into each other in the Amtrak Acela waiting room in New York City's Penn Station in June. "Bernie!" Clinton shouted across the room as he walked over to greet her. Sanders said quietly to an aide as they walked away, "Maybe I shouldn't say this, but I like her." [Time]
Still, if Sanders in fact loses to Clinton at the Philadelphia convention, as it appears he likely will, the terms of his surrender could get ugly. "Let's all remember, there is far more that unites us than divides us," Clinton spokesman Jesse Ferguson told Time — but perhaps these days, that's only wishful thinking. Jeva Lange
Elephants, it turns out, really do seem to have exceptionally good memories. So good, in fact, that one elephant at a zoo outside of Seoul, South Korea, is able to recall five of the words his Korean trainers say to him most often — and then repeat them. The 26-year-old elephant, named Koshik, can quite literally emulate human speech, and there's video footage to prove it:
In case you aren't fluent in Korean, Koshik was having a conversation with his trainer in Korean there:
Koshik: "choah" (good)
Trainer: "choah choah annyong" (good good hello) [YouTube]
Koshik is able to say the Korean words for hello, sit down, lie down, good, and no. He does it by putting his trunk inside of his mouth, which The New York Times explains he then uses to "modulate the tone and pitch of the sounds his voice makes, a bit like a person putting his fingers in his mouth to whistle." Korean native speakers say that Koshik's pronunciation is so good that they can "readily understand and transcribe the imitations." Becca Stanek
Donald Trump's top adviser Paul Manafort says the Trump campaign has good reason for not considering any women or minorities for the position of vice president. "That would be viewed as pandering, I think," Manafort said in an interview with The Huffington Post, ruling out both groups as potential contenders.
Rather than limit its selections to this or that demographic, Manafort said the campaign will focus its attentions on finding "an experienced person to do the part of the job [Trump] doesn't want to do." "He sees himself more as the chairman of the board, than even the CEO, let alone the COO," Manafort said.
So does Team Trump have a certain dream veep in mind? Right now, Manafort said, there is a "long list of who that person could be ... and every one of them has major problems."