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Today’s Readings 1/11/2013

1. The latest redefinition of “teacher” and “student.” Now, students are “entrepreneurs.” It is true that we don’t teach enough risk taking to college students. The present bunch, in particular, is quite risk averse. (Bloomberg)

2. Indonesian nurse passes Japan’s nursing certification despite incredible barriers. Japan needs to accept that there is no future in isolation. (Japan Times)

3. Princeton seeks to divest itself from gun companies. Probably easy said than done. There aren’t many publicly traded gun companies, and private equity investment in firearm manufacturers is shady and difficult to assess. Plus, once one goes down this road, defense is next, then pharma, then agra, then a hot of others. I’m about ethical investments, but where does one stop? (Bloomberg)

4. Yep, colonialism was bad for Africa. (Vox)

5. Africa is suffering from an food crisis in that it imports more and more of its food. This needs to change but will require a herculean change is how Africa manages trade. Africa is capable of feeding itself. An end to farm subsidies in the US and gas refining capability on the Continent wouldn’t hurt either. (Vox)

6. Japanese boy hangs himself after being hit repeatedly by his basketball coach. I once saw an autistic boy savagely beaten by a teacher at a Japanese school and heard countless tales of physical abuse by teachers. It’s disgusting that it’s allowed to continue, but it does. (Japan Times) and (Japan Times)

7. Normal people think that economists are either bozos, space aliens, or both. (Noahpinion Blog).

8. Too few women compromise China’s future, or rather, unchanging attitudes that favor men will be the downfall of Asia as a whole. (Bloomberg)

9. Regarding nationalist Shinzo Abe’s stimulus plan, “It will be a bitter irony if a pretty bad guy, with all the wrong motives, ends up doing the right thing economically, while all the good guys fail because they’re too determined to be, well, good guys.” (Japan Times)

Today’s Readings 1/10/2013

1. Economists often use shoddy data. This isn’t really news to people who work with data. Everyone uses shoddy data, since that’s all we have. Pony up some serious cash, we can get some good data. (Slate)

2. Washington is fixing the debt crisis in small increments, because that’s the way things are done in the United States. (Financial Times)

3. AIG, having been bailed out by US taxpayers, threatens to sue, claiming losses, (Washington Post), but it’s not as crazy as you think (CNBC), but it doesn’t matter, because they’re not going to sue after all. (Reuters) I admit, I was fooled.

4. Profit making and health care don’t mix well. (NYT)

5. Complex systems theorists forecast global riots for 2013 because of rising food prices. (Vice)

6. Even Krugman is into this stupid coin idea. Yeah, the one that will be minted with platinum the government already owns anyway (which makes the debt ceiling debate even more preposterous). (NYT)

7. British institution cancels affiliation with Ugandan University over anti-homosexuality stance. (Africa Report)

8. Trying to write a new Zimbabwean constitution while Mugabe is still alive is a futile effort, but they’re trying to anyway. (Africa Report)

9. I can’t figure out who the biggest loser is in the ongoing dispute between China and Japan. Likely, we all lose. (Bloomberg)

10. I didn’t know that American players go to China to play basketball. Looks like one tested positive for weed, even. (Bloomberg)

Today’s Readings 1/8/2013

1. A Military Man Denounces Guns.It’s worth the read for the neanderthalic comments. The presence of the poorly worded 2nd Amendment to the Consitution doesn’t not preclude criticism, nor does the color of the subject’s passport (he’s a Brit) compromise his views on guns. Comments are always to be avoided, but this particular set is a ridiculous and unnecessarily hostile expression of jingoistic stupidity. (HuffPo)

2. Part of Obamacare came unceremoniously into effect on January 1st, namely the part where insurance companies have to actually tell you what you’re buying within four pages, using the language of an 8th grader. (HuffPo)

3. Chinese bloggers have to provide their names.. or else. (Bloomberg) Liberal newspapers are fed up and taking to the streets to demand an end to meddling censors (NYT)

4. The US Government is not only NOT a household, its also NOT a small business. It is frightening how ignorant Americans (particularly elected officials) are of the differences between business and government. “In the news release announcing his bill to derail the platinum coin effort, Republican Representative Greg Walden says something really stupid: “My wife and I have owned and operated a small business since 1986. When it came time to pay the bills, we couldn’t just mint a coin to create more money out of thin air.”” I’m glad the US government isn’t a small business. They tend to fail, and provide poor returns on labor and investment. (Bloomberg)

5. An interesting take on the austerity debate. Latvia was more austere than Greece and is now experiencing growth. Given the differences in other factors, such as tax evasion, corruption and past growth, I’m skeptical. (Bloomberg)

6. Japan is dumping some of its reserves to buy European bonds in order to devalue its currency. Let’s hope it works. (Bloomberg)

7. Should we tax people for being annoying? The arguments for taxing negative externalities, like traffic jams and public noise. (NYT)

8. Rape is horrible, but not because women shame their families. That women are still praised for killing themselves following rape in India is reprehensible. (NYT)

Today’s Readings 1/7/2013

1. A fair assessment of the worst of the IMF for the layman. Some of the details on Malawi, particularly on its food subsidy programs, are a little too general, but a good read. This article was also written back in June. A lot has happened since then.(The Independent)

2. Atheism isn’t all negativity. We do think positively about most things, just without fictional beings. (Times Sunday Review)

3. The NRA’s vision of America is central America. ““A society that is relying on guys with guns to stop violence is a sign of a society where institutions have broken down,” said Rebecca Peters, former director of the International Action Network on Small Arms. “It’s shocking to hear anyone in the United States considering a solution that would make it seem more like Colombia.”” (NYT)

4. Sanctions have led Iranians to brew their own gasoline, and reach deadly levels of air pollution (NYT)

5. Why can’t China and Japan just get along? (NYT)

6. Despite slow global growth, the Americans are coming back strong. you wouldn’t know it listening to our politicians, though (nor from our underemployed underclass). Pacific Investment Management Co.’s new normal, the prediction that global economic growth and investment returns would tumble, is proving half right. Bloomberg

7. Want to fight crime? Address inequality. Militarization won’t solve anything. (Bloomberg)

8. How the world’s third largest economy, Japan, and one of the safest places on earth deals with guns. (Japan Times)

Today’s Readings 1/6/2013

1. Data vigilante sets out to weed out the data fraudsters. It’s an unfortunate consequence of the absurd push to only publish statistically significant results. (Atlantic)

2. Though guns are credited with reducing crime, the causal factors of which are incredibly dubious, data suggests that the reduction in lead levels might be a better predictor. Wouldn’t that be a hoot. The EPA (rather than the NRA) might be keeping people from killing one another. (Mother Jones)

3. China is set for change, assuming it doesn’t start trading shots with Japan (NYT)

4. Post-racial America hates black people more in 2012 than in 2008 and incarcerates more black people than were enslaved in 1850. (NYT)

5. Goldfinger’s plan to irradiate gold stocks and drive up prices for his own gain was anachronistic. In the 21st century, he would be on Wall Street. “Goldfinger would envy latest taxpayer shakedown” (Bloomberg)

6. Japan’s future depends on gender equality. In practical terms, marginalizing half a country’s potential workforce makes little economic sense, particularly when the number of potential workers dwindles by the day. (Japan Times)

7. Present day pop music in Japan is as backward looking as its present government (Japan Times)

8. The myth of Africa’s rise: Rising commodity prices have inflated GDP, but a lack of a manufacturing sector will forever hamper true African development. (Foreign Policy)

Today’s Readings 1/5/2013

1. Gerrymandering in Michigan: Can this state get more ridiculous? (Mark Maynard)

2. We’re way overdue for an increase in the minimum wage. I know a lot of small businesses that pay well above it, but the Wal-Marts of the world need a kick in the pants (NYT)

3. Krugman at an economics convention and the problem of consensus among economists (NYT)

4. Winning legislation for same sex marriage is largely a matter of how the issue is framed to voters. It’s a loser as a rights issue, but a winner as an issue of personal happiness and fulfillment. (NYT)

5. The IMF admits that austerity measures in the wake of a financial crash not only don’t work, but also make matters needlessly worse. Duh. (Bloomberg) and here’s the paper, which says, explicitly “We find that, in advanced economies, stronger planned fiscal
consolidation has been associated with lower growth than expected, with the relation being
particularly strong, both statistically and economically, early in the crisis.”

6. Shinzo Abe’s plan to get Japan on track again. He shoots for 2% inflation, but Japan’s inflation rate was -0.3% in 2011 and 0% in 2012. (Bloomberg)

7. Shinzo Abe gives up on watering down Japan’s official statements of apology to China and Korea for WWII, vowing to “consult historians,” whatever that means. I’m confident that the LDP will cherry pick “historians” friendly to their right wing cause. (Japan Times)

8. Fuel shortages in Malawi were the last President’s undoing. He has sice died, the new President has barely had time to get her feet wet, and the shortages begin again. (Baobob)

9. 12 things which will be more expensive in 2013. Amazingly, they are the 12 things that got more expensive in 2012. (Fiscal Times)

10. The National Debt: The End of the World is not Near. (Fiscal Times)

Today’s Reads 1/3/2013

1. Why Republicans won’t admit that supply side economics have failed (Fiscal Times)
2. Africa’s poorest country on the brink (Economist)
3. With 12 months to go until health care reform full kicks in, there is much to do… and to worry about (Economist)
4. 10 fastest growing economies, Mongolia tops the list at a whopping 18% (Economist)
5. No evidence for how much debt is too much for wealthy countries, but much evidence indicating that investors don’t seem worried about getting repaid. Policy makers need to listen to investors, rather than over-reactionary, under-informed Americans (Economist)
6. HIV in China: It is amazing to me how backward Asian countries are in matters of HIV, but in China, things are looking up. (NYT) Also: How you can buy meth and guns over the internet in China but can’t access the New York Times (NYT)
7. Right wing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, determined to wreck Asian stability, seeks to water down a 1995 apology for Japan’s awful wartime past. Do these old men never learn? (NYT)
8. The history of the assault weapons ban (NYT)
9. The story on the high marginal tax rates of the 1950’s (Bloomberg)
10. Good riddance to the worst Congress in American history, and what an awful Congress is was (Bloomberg)

Today’s Readings 1.2.2013

1. Jeff Sachs weighs in on violence for 2013 (HuffPo)
2. Challenges (and echoes of the past) as the US prepares to leave Afghanistan (NYT)
3. Beate Gordon, one of the principal authors of Japan’s pacifistic Constitution and an unlikely giant, dies at 89 (NYT) (Japan Times)
4. Guns and the emergency room (NYT)
5. Hard-line policy cutoffs encourage some businesses to restrain hiring, but the problem looks vastly overblown (Economix)
6. Focusing on health care costs causes more spending. Even more reason to switch to a Japanese style fixed pricing system. (Bloomberg)
7. Debunking gun control debate myths (Bloomberg) I also liked this idea of billionaires supportive of gun control buying out the Freedom group and dissolving it. (Bloomberg)
8. Is tobacco growing good for African economies? (Africa News)
9. Open data is democratizing, and necessary for development and public engagement (World Bank Blogs)
10. Wages increase in Tanzania, but costs are going up more quickly. I encountered this problem in Kenya. Failure to keep up could not only compromise development, but could also present incredible challenges to producing quality research. (World Bank Blogs)

Today’s Readings 1.1.2013

1. 2012 in Charts, Congressional polarization, health care spending quickens, median incomes decline (NYT)
2. De-worming medication may kill biting bed bugs (NYT)
3. A writer claims that US Universities’ research output is useless by producing an example from Shakespeare (Bloomberg)
4. Stock returns grow in 2012, bond returns are unchanged, but isn’t that what bonds are supposed to do? (Bloomberg)
5. Why we drink champagne on new years (Bloomberg)
6. Gaijin language teachers sustain an 11 month strike and (amazingly) win (Japan Times)
7. Why capitalism is moving away from the market stifling, paternalistic conservatism(NYT)

Today’s Reads 12/31/2012

1. A Constitutional expert recommends we start ignoring most of it (NYT)
2. Our system of tracking guns and enforcing standards on dealers is flawed (NYT)
3. US Population grows a mere .7 percent in 2012. Immigrants don’t even want us. (Bloomberg)
4. Scathing review of Jared Diamond’s new book, “The World Before Yesterday” (Bloomberg)
5. “Ten Truly Terrible Domestic Policy Ideas of 2012” – and they are all pretty bad! (Bloomberg)
6. The vaccine conspiracy fringe compromises vaccine delivery to developing countries, endangering kids (Bloomberg)
7. If you’re a minimum wage worker, Washington State is the place to be (at $9.19 an hour) (CNN)
8. Upper House elections in July might help keep Japan’s right wingers acting like adults for the moment (aside: why do Japanese elections happen so frequently?) (Japan Times)
9. Female directors dominate the best of Japan cinema 2012 (let’s hope they come in and save the economy, too!) (Japan Times)
10. Why the Bush tax cuts were created (I never knew) (Washington Post)

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