What We Read Today 15 May 2014

May 15th, 2014
in econ_news, syndication

Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.

  • The Numbers Behind India's Epic Election (Henry Austin, NBC News) Hat tip to Sanjeev Kulkarni. An election with 814 million eligible voters, over 1,600 political parties, 935,000 polling stations, more than 101 million new voters registered since 2009, 8 million election workers, possibly more than 500 million votes cast - now that is an election! Results will announced Friday 16 May.

Follow up:

  • U.S. would welcome Modi as India leader despite past visa ban (David Brunnstrom, Reuters) Hat tip to Sankeev Kulkarni. Analysts say likely incoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi is certain to be issued a U.S. visa. He has been banned from travel to the U.S. since 2005 as a reaction to riots in the state of Gujarat where he has been chief minister since 2001. The riots in 2002 were religion based with more than 1,000, mostly Muslims, killed.
  • How Marijuana Legalization in America is Destroying Mexican Drug Cartel Business (Michael Krieger, A Lightening War for Liberty) Hat tips to David Stockman and John O'Donnell) Krieger observes a significant reduction in the wholesale price of pot in Mexico (from $100 down to $25 per kilo) which correlates with the introduction of legal pot, both recreational (Colorado and Washington state) and medicinal (many places).  There is more on marujuana 'behind the wall'.
  • EU’s Google Ruling is Institutionalized Censorship (Steve Tobak, Fox Business) A ruling by the European Union Court of Justice (which is final and cannot be appealed) requires that Google (and presumably any search engine) block any content on the web from being reported in a web search on a person's name if said person so requests. So anything you don't like about yourself appearing on the web can be excluded from a Google search if you live in the EU and so request. Let's do a thought experiment and combine this ruling with Citizen's United that implies rights of a person for corporations. If the EU ruling and the U.S. ruling were combined then virtually every entity would be able to block anything they wish from a Google search. No longer would Googling a name be able to divulge links to crime, fraud, unethical behavior, customer dissatisfaction or complaints or any web posting that the "name" requested be blocked. Sexual predator listings would no longer be searchable. Criminal records could be effectively removed from ready access. From Steve Tobak's article:

But when you stop and think about it, when you let the implications of this unassailable ruling sink in, the idea is so wrong and its implementation will have to be so subjective that it will undoubtedly threaten - not just the integrity of the Internet - the integrity of what used to be a free society.

Consider this: Should we erase an entry from the Library of Congress for any reason? We wouldn't burn any books - Fahrenheit 451 style - but just delete the references so we can make believe they don't exist - that the events they chronicle never really happened - and make everyone search through thousand of shelves to find them.

And which references to which books would we erase? The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. You've got to admit, that was some pretty evil stuff. I'm sure there are white supremacy groups that would love to see that go away. How about Ball Four, the blockbuster that embarrassed Major League Baseball and tarnished Mickey Mantel's pristine reputation? Or The Smartest Guys in the Room, about the Enron scandal? What about novels like Atlas Shrugged? I know an awful lot of people that would kill to see all references to Ayn Rand's controversial and politically charged work simply vanish into thin air.

The EU's highest court says we all have "the right to be forgotten," that events from the past - however lawful and accurate their representations might be - simply stop being relevant or become excessive, in time. We should all have the right to move on with our lives and let the past be forgotten. Let bygones be bygones.

  • MERS Cases Highlight Risk to Healthcare Workers (Robert Lowes, Medscape) A global pandemic might result from the spread of the latest coronavirus known as NERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). Even if the virus remains short of pandemic status, the virus poses a serious risk to healthcare workers because most human-to-human transfers have occurred in healthcare facilities and healthcare workers comprise 20% of all 538 cases reported. One out of four afflicted (138) have died.

Today there are 11 articles discussed 'behind the wall'.

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