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What We Read Today 23 July 2014

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.

  • U.S. Officials: No Evidence Of Direct Russian Link To Malaysia Plane Crash (Ken Dilanian, The Huffington Post) Senior U.S. intelligence officials have given a cautious assessment that there is no evidence of direct Russian government involvement in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. However they did say that Russia was responsible for "creating the conditions" that led to the event.

  • America enjoys a time of sunshine in Hell. Use the time wisely. (Fabius Maximus) Fabius Maximus has contributed to GEI. FM unloads on the wasting of financial capital on parasitic activity and the wasting of human resources on idleness. He laments the careless use of our uncontested power. And , most of all, in our opinion, he laments that the American public fear we are headed in the wrong direction but appear to not know what to do about it.
  • Walmart and Chik-Fil-A Want to Build on Endangered Florida Forest Lands (Anna Brones, Care2) Walmart and a Chik-Fil-A, along with some other commercial buildings and an apartment complex are planned for the last remaining section of the South Florida Rocklands, the home to the only true tropical forest on the U.S. mainland. One of the world's rarest forests, it's home to at least 137 species of trees and shrubs. As a result of population growth and land clearing in Miami and the Florida Keys, only two percent of the original habitat remains (about 10,000 acres). The developers are offering to set aside 40 acres of their project for a preserve.
  • What this photograph might tell investigators about what really happened to MH17 (Peter Hollingsworth, The Conversation) Pieces of the fuselage will tell investigators whether the force that brought down MH17 came from within the aircraft or from outside. But if the force cam from outside it is unlikely that who did the deed will be determined unless the guilty party comes forward or is "ratted out" by another.

fusilage-malaysia-MH17


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  • Low Skill, High Wage (Dave Gonigam, 5 Min. Forecast) The geographic shifts in crude oil production over the past two decades has no more dramatic change than for the changes in the U.S. The graph from the 5 Min. Forecast is followed by an illustration from GEI which emphasizes the fact that since 2009, as the U.S. has ramped up crude production, the rest of the world has reduced production.

crude-production-world-us-5-min-2014-jul-22

crude-production-world-us-change-1994-2014

  • Bank of Japan Majority Won’t Be Swayed by Kuroda Ideology (Masahiro Hidaka and Toru Fujioka, Bloomberg) It is reported that a majority on the board of the Bank of Japan disagree with Governor Haruhiko Kuroda that monetary policy alone will be sufficient to achieve stable 2% gains in consumer prices. The opinion is that more fiscal action will be required.
  • China's debt stands at over 250% of GDP, says report (Jiang Xueqing, China Daily) China's debt went to more than 250 percent of the GDP by the end of June, according to a report released by Standard Chartered Plc on Monday. Debt continues to grow faster than GDP. In the second quarter credit growth grew at 19% year-over-year while nominal GPD growth was 9%. Analysts fear that it will be difficult for China to deleverage without economic consequences.
  • Phat Dragon sees Chinese housing shortage (House and Holes, Macro Business) After years of worry that China was over building residential real estate, a reliable China analyst now says the data indicates that China may have a housing shortage.

china-housing-sales-completions-prices-westpac-2014-jul-22

  • A Long-Term Look at Inflation (Doug Short, Advisor Perspectives dshort.com) Doug Short contributes to GEI. This is a tale of two "three score and ten" periods. The first, from 1870 to 1940 saw almost as much time spent in deflation as in inflation, although the "weight" if the inflation periods was greater than for deflation and the net for the 70 years was inflation (the dollar was worth about $0.70 in 1940 compared to $1.00 in 1870). During the first 25 years (1870-1895) deflation was severe with the value of the dollar in 1895 being twice that of 1870. This was the era which brought 36-year old William Jennings Bryan to the national stage in 1896 with the famous "Cross of Gold" speech which won him the Democratic nomination for President. He felt that the persistent deflation of U.S. money was a burden on the working man: "You shall not press down on the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind on a cross of gold."

inflation-1970-2014

  • Don't Send Your Kid to the Ivy League (William Deresiewicz, New Republic) This Ivy faculty member decries a system that produces insecure conformists rather than intellectually curious thinkers and doers.
  • Adaptive Use of Bubble Wrap for Storing Liquid Samples and Performing Analytical Assays (David Bwambok, et al, Analytical Chemistry) This paper demonstrates that the gas-filled compartments in the packing material commonly called "bubble wrap" can be repurposed in resource-limited regions as containers to store liquid samples, and to perform bioanalyses. The bubbles of bubble wrap are easily filled by injecting the samples into them using a syringe with a needle or a pipet tip, and then sealing the hole with nail hardener. The transparency of the plastic allows the liquid filled bubbles to be placed in spectrophotometers for analysis of light absorption, useful in measuring concentrations and following the course of chemical reactions.
  • After Malaysia Airlines Crashes, the Payments Are Piling Up for Air Insurers (Keith Bradsher, The New York Times) The cost of insurance is going up for airlines and so there is another reason for your airline ticket price to keep on increasing. For just one category of aviation insurance - war risk insurance on the planes - estimated claims for incidents in the last five months now total up to $600 million for a sector that collects $65 million a year in premiums.
  • Are students revolting, or is it economics? (Steve Keen, Business Spectator) More discussion about debt and economic instability from Prof. Keen, the new Chairman of the School of Economics, History and Politics at Kingston University, London. In this article he talks about his early years in economics and relates those experiences to the current student movement, International Student Initiative for Pluralism in Economics. Along the away he recounts some of his studies, building on the previous work of Hyman Minsky, which modeled simple instability relationships in economic systems. One of the illustrations is shown below. This work was ignored (as was Minsky's earlier work) until the Great Financial Crisis, but even with that instability theory (which says financial crisis can happen) holds little sway against neo-classical (traditional) economic theory which says that financial crisis cannot happen, except in unforeseeable "shock" circumstances. GEI Analysis will post a longer version of this article at the end of the month.

black-hole-of-debt


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