So it is. After two glorious weeks of “doing the Europe thing,” I disappeared into Albany Park to pound out my International Relations essays.
I feel like I worked too hard on those papers for only my professors and parents to read (or at least hear about). So, here are the summarised summaries of two weeks of my life.
By the way, did you know that you can change Microsoft Word’s spell-checker to UK English? Gee-golly-whiz, what’ll they think of next?
A Window of Opportunity: The Changing Face of Global Energy Demand and its Security Implications
If you’ve been watching the news, you know that China has been acting a little funny lately. It passed a provocative law about Taiwan, has started a row with Japan over some textbooks that downplay Japanese WWII war crimes, and is basically acting like the angry Asian teenager.
It is also the world’s most dynamic economy, growing at about 12% per year. That means it needs energy–lots of it. China and other Asian countries like India and Indonesia, which together make up forty percent of the world’s population, are changing the way that oil and gas flow around the world. Considering that oil and coal began WWII in the Pacific, and that Texas oil was probably the biggest reason the Allies one in the European theatre, it makes a lot of people nervous that China is growing (like pre-WWII Japan), slightly peeved at the international system (like pre-WWII Japan) and short on oil (yep, you guessed it–like pre-WWII Japan). Are we looking at the makings of WWIII?
That question, of course, takes another 5000 words to answer. =)
Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The North American Free Trade Agreement and the Effects of Multinational Corporations in Mexico
In 1992, the US, Canada and Mexico signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), designed to help open up trade among the three countries. NAFTA eliminated tariffs (taxes placed on stuff coming from another country). NAFTA also made it easier for companies to operate in all three countries, particularly for American companies that wanted to open up factories in Mexico where they can pay Mexican workers lower wages than American workers.
NAFTA has been a huge deal, and people argue about it all the time. Some blame it for the awful conditions of Mexican workers, pollution, and all manner of evils. This essay looks at NAFTA and multinataional corporations (businesses that operate in multiple countries), and how closely the two are related. Is the well-documented but largely ignored treatment of Mexican workers NAFTA’s fault?
You can probably guess what I think by the title, but I promise there’s another 5000 words that can be said about it.
So, that’s what I’ve been doing, and why I haven’t had shared many stories or adventures since Easter. Adventures continue, of course, and they’re all being written down for posterity. Never fear. For now, rather than double-scheck spelling or word-choice, I’m going to watch TV with Dave on a rainy Scottish Sunday. Anyone want to proofread?