World View: Egyptian Protesters Demand End to Ties with Iran, 'Shia Islam'

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Egyptian protesters demand end to ties with Iran and 'Shia Islam'
  • Cuba's Fidel Castro warns North Korea not to start a war
  • Labor participation rate continues to fall

Egyptian protesters demand end to ties with Iran and 'Shia Islam'

Egyptian protesters raise their shoes outside the Iranian ambassador's residence in Cairo (AFP)
Egyptian protesters raise their shoes outside the Iranian ambassador's residence in Cairo (AFP)

Sunni Muslim Egyptian protesters from the Salafist al-Nour party and other Salafist parties are launching campaigns against the steps taken by Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi to reach a rapprochement with Shia Muslim Iran. The most frequent chants from the protesters were "Egypt will not become Shia, oh ambassador of Iran," and "Listen, Muslim Brotherhood, we do not want relations with Iran." The protesters are demanding that bilateral agreements between the two countries be revoked, and that Iranian tourism to Egypt be rejected. The Salafists are also planning to hold seminars to educate citizens about the "danger of Shias."

Sunni versus Shia enmity is increasing throughout the Mideast, especially propelled by the conflict in Syria. The new protests represent a new split between Egypt's two major Islamist groups, the "moderate" Muslim Brotherhood versus the Salafists. Tensions between these two groups have been growing anyway as Egypt's economy has tanked, but the anti-Shia protests are an important development.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the Mideast is headed for a major regional war pitting Sunni Muslims against Shia Muslims and Jews against Arabs.

This story is interesting because it illustrates one of the techniques of Generational Dynamics forecasting. Most media would ignore this story as unimportant. But once you know from Generational Dynamics that the long-term trend is an increase in Sunni-Shia belligerence, eventually leading to all out war, then you know that a story about Sunni protesters against Shia rapprochement has the potential to be highly significant. Al-Bawaba (Jordan) and Egypt Independent

Cuba's Fidel Castro warns North Korea not to start a war

Cuba's former dictator Fidel Castro, now 86, is no longer the young revolutionary he once was, and appears to have mellowed, if we're to judge by his advice to another young dictator, Kim Jong-un of North Korea:

"Do not confuse the existence of intelligent life with the existence of life, from their elementary forms in our solar system emerged millions of years ago. ...

This introduction would be too long if it was not to explain the severity of an event so incredible and absurd as is the situation created in the Korean peninsula, in an area where there are nearly 5 billion of 7 billion people that currently inhabit the planet. ...

I was honored to meet Kim Il Sung, a historical figure, remarkably brave and revolutionary.

If war breaks out there, people on both sides of the Peninsula will be terribly slaughtered, with no benefit to any of them. The Republic of Korea was always friendly with Cuba, and Cuba has always been and will remain with it.

Now that has demonstrated its technical and scientific progress, we remind her duties with the countries that have been his great friends, and it would be unfair to forget that such special way war would affect more than 70% of the planet's population.

If there is a conflict erupted such, the Government of Barack Obama in his second term would be buried by a deluge of images that would present the most sinister character in American history. The duty to avoid this is also his and the American people."

Apparently Castro's remarks have made no impression on North Korea's child dictator, as he continues to threaten war and paint himself into a corner. Granma (Havana) (Trans)

Labor participation rate continues to fall

Labor Participation Rate, 1948-present (St. Louis Fed)
Labor Participation Rate, 1948-present (St. Louis Fed)

Friday's disastrous jobs report showed that only 88,000 jobs were created in March, well below the several hundred thousand that are needed just to keep up with population growth. At the same time, the unemployment rate fell slightly. The explanation for these seemingly conflicting stats is that some 500,000 people left the workforce -- and not just retiring Boomers either. Over 3/4 of those leaving the work force were under age 55, indicating that a lot of people are simply giving up the search for work.

The interesting issue is how to interpret that above graph, which shows the Labor Participation Rate since the end of World War II. Here is my explanation:

  • The labor force participation rate began to take off in the 1960-70s. This was the time when all the new businesses that had been born during the Great Depression years reached their peak of inventiveness and growth, resulting in sharp wage inflation and huge demand for workers at all skill levels. This pulled more and more people into the work force.
  • The rate leveled off starting in the late 1980s. At this time, the increased power of labor unions was making companies less efficient and less willing to hire, while increases in welfare payments and other transfers made it more lucrative for many people to stay at home, rather than work.
  • The rate began to fall in the early 2000s. This was the time when thousands of manufacturing firms were shutting down because goods could be purchased more cheaply from China. Businesses that had been innovative in the 1970s were now bogged down in bureaucracy and labor union contracts, making it even more difficult to hire.
Today there are many new impediments to hiring -- ObamaCare and the sequester, in particular. Reuters and St. Louis Fed


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