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Weekly Graphic

Presence of Salafism in the Middle East and North Africa

April 14, 2017 Salafism originated in the mid-18th century in an area that now encompasses Saudi Arabia. It can best be described as a tendency that envisions an austere form of Islam. This modern trend within Islam began as a corrective movement in 18th century Arabia to bring Muslims back to the religion’s original creed.

For many decades, the kingdom exported Salafism and associated ultraconservative ideas by constructing and purchasing mosques, underwriting seminaries, publishing literature, dispatching clerics, supporting charities and so on. Over time, however, it gradually lost control over the Salafist ideology itself, and three distinct branches formed: quietist, jihadist and electoral.

Countries Affected by Export Crisis

April 7, 2017 The world is currently in the midst of an exporters’ crisis. The stagnation in global consumption levels and decline of commodity prices has led to increased instability and insecurity in countries heavily dependent on exports.

The origins of the exporters’ crisis lie in the economic recessions that the United States and Europe experienced due to the 2008 financial crash. These countries were major consumers of Chinese goods, especially low-cost manufactured products. Lost revenue slowed China’s economy, resulting in lower Chinese demand for commodities and goods. This led to falling commodity prices and a decline in global exports.

The UK’s Shifting Economic Structure

March 31, 2017 Joining the European Union dramatically changed the structure of the United Kingdom’s economy because it had to respond to different market needs. Three sectors define the structure of the British economy. The primary sector includes activities related to natural resources; the secondary one includes all goods produced by the industrial sector; the tertiary sector includes services such as banking and finance.

In the first half of the 20th century, the primary sector was the core of the British economy while manufacturing spurred industrial growth. The role of both of these sectors in the British economy drastically declined after the U.K. gained access to the EU free trade area in the mid-1960s and became a member of the EU in 1973.

Seats Won in 2017 Uttar Pradesh Legislative Election

March 24, 2017 On March 11, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the most seats in Uttar Pradesh’s state legislative elections. This graphic shows the extent of the party’s victory.

Uttar Pradesh is one of the most important states in India. Modi believes he can use this state to increase his support because it is India’s most populous state with over 200 million people and also one of the poorest. For this reason, Modi and BJP’s promises to grow the Indian economy and share the wealth appealed to these voters.

French Languages and Dialects

March 17, 2017 What does it mean to be French? Inherent in this question is a fundamental tension within French nationalism that is unique to France. One aspect of French nationalism is that it views itself as a universal program. This is best embodied by the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. This nationalism views French ideas about “liberté, égalité, fraternité” as equally important to what it means to be French as speaking French and living on French soil. In this sense, anyone who adopts these principles can be French, and anyone who becomes a French citizen is heir to these principles.

French nationalism was based on the idea that the nation was of paramount importance and was defined by class and a set of ideas about how society ought to be structured. All of the various factions in the French Revolution believed they were unifying the nation, but each faction had to exclude certain groups from the nation in order to define the whole. This has morphed far beyond the original exclusion of the aristocracy and has been used to exclude immigrants to France. The question that the National Front is posing is whether Muslims can truly be assimilated as full members of the French state.

Signs of Instability in Russia

March 10, 2017 Approximately one year from now, on March 18, 2018, Russia will hold a presidential election against the backdrop of an economic crisis that will continue to plague the country in the coming year. Internal developments are the key issue facing Russia this year, and the countryside will increasingly show signs of crisis.

Russia faces a number of social and economic problems that have resulted in unrest. After oil prices dropped in late 2014, the country began to experience economic and labor protests. Since then, unrest has continued to spread across Russia. Wage arrears (workers owed back pay), which affect both public and private workers, have become increasingly problematic in oil-dependent and single-industry economies throughout Russia’s interior and in port cities. Cuts in social programs that affect payments to veterans and children have also led to public protests.

Areas of Northwestern Pakistan

March 3, 2017 On March 2, Pakistan’s Cabinet approved the incorporation of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas into the adjacent province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The move will end the autonomous status of the region that straddles the border with Afghanistan and has been a global hub of transnational jihadi activity. During the early 2000s, an anti-Pakistan jihadi insurgency took shape in the tribal areas in which Pakistan had supported anti-Soviet Islamist insurgents, and later on, the Afghan Taliban. The rise of this Taliban movement was aided by al-Qaida, which relocated to Pakistan after the destruction of its Afghanistan facilities in late 2001. Over time, Pakistan lost control of the tribal badlands along its northwestern border with Afghanistan and many districts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Canada’s Crude Oil Exports to the U.S., 2015

Feb. 24, 2017 Of the 10 largest economies in the world, none is as dependent on another country as Canada is on the United States. A quarter of Canada’s GDP comes from exports to the United States.

However, although the U.S. is less dependent on Canada than Canada is on the U.S., Canada is still an extremely important trading partner for the U.S. Canada is the second largest source of U.S. imports, at about 13 percent of the total; China took over the pole position from Canada in 2007. The fact that the U.S. economy is so massive and is not dependent on exports obscures the importance of the U.S.-Canada trading relationship for the U.S. The U.S. economy is balanced across different regions. This means that certain U.S. regions are much more dependent on the trading relationship with Canada than national economic data indicates.

China’s Growth in Mortgage Loans and Commercial Bank Profits

Feb. 17, 2017 There is an increasing probability that a real estate bubble may burst in China. The financial sector heavily depends on real estate, which in turn exposes the entire Chinese economy to systemic risk. This connection means that a downturn in real estate could quickly spread to other areas of the Chinese economy if banks face liquidity shortfalls. Additionally, decreasing housing prices could result in more non-performing loans (NPLs). While NPLs officially account for only 1.75 percent of all Chinese loans, it’s likely that the government is understating the figure. BMI Research, a financial consulting firm, estimated in a 2016 report that NPLs could be close to 20 percent of loans.

US-Mexico Border Crossings

Feb. 10, 2017 Eighty-five percent of goods traded between the U.S. and Mexico are transported by truck or railway, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Two-way trade across the border totals $1.4 billion per day and takes place at 25 major ports of land entry between the U.S. and Mexico. Among these are 39 crossing points (high-volume locations such as Laredo, Brownsville and Nogales have multiple crossing points), of which 22 are open all day, every day. Border crossing delays can cost billions of dollars in trade. In 2011, Bloomberg estimated that delays at the U.S.-Mexico border cost the U.S. economy up to $7.8 billion annually.

Central Asia Pipelines

Feb. 3, 2017 In 2017, economic issues tied to reduced revenue from energy exports and Russia’s weakening economy will further destabilize the entire region. Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are the most vulnerable countries, and the map below makes it easy to see why. The countries are rich in hydrocarbon deposits and built national economies around hydrocarbon exports. As oil prices fell, so did government revenue, which in turn hurt domestic economies.

 

China’s Gross Regional Product

Jan. 27, 2017 The average annual per capita disposal income by household in China in 2014 was about 20,000 yuan or approximately $3,000, which equates to $8.22 a day. On the surface, that seems to be a somewhat promising figure. It wouldn’t make any of these households rich or even lower-middle class by American standards, but it would be quite a leap forward from where they started. In 1981, the year the World Bank began tracking poverty in China, 88.3 percent of China’s population lived on less than $1.90 a day.

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