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What We Read Today 14 November 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 (and sometimes longer ones) 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.

  • German Growth Means UK Can Relax - For Now (Ed Conway, Sky News) Germany escaped the hangman's noose with a 0.1% GDP gain from 2Q to 3Q 2014. This means the dreaded "R" word can be put aside for a while after a scare that 3Q might have followed 2Q's negative print and mark a new recession. Italy and France GDP discussions are 'behind the wall'.

  • Chinese industrial output growth slows (Dow Jones Newswire, China Spectator) Industrial output in China rose 7.7% in October from a year earlier, slowing from an 8% on year increase in September, a change which Dow Jones called "surprising weakness". The number is, however, the continuation of a downtrend from a peak above 18% year-over-year growth just four years ago.
  • Rosetta: Battery will limit life of Philae comet lander (Jonathan Amos, BBC News) The Philae lander is scheduled to have 64 hours of battery life initially and then 1.5 hours every 12 hours from solar powered recharging. The problem is that Philae did not come to rest in the sun; instead of 6 hours of sun every 12 hour rotation of the comet, only 1.5 hours will be received. That will be enough for possibly 15 minutes of lander operations every 24 hours instead of the hour that was planned.
  • Is Inequality a Bigger Threat than the Islamic State? (David Rothkopf, Foreign Policy) Rothkopf says that in the age of fear, the sensational always overtakes the important. Yes, the Islamic States and Ebola are serious threats but they pale in comparison to "political and financial institutions at home that have been captured by the self-interested few and that are seeking to squeeze the hope out of Americans as no terrorist could do". Econintersect: What Rothkopf is really questioning is the sustainability of the current direction of the country.
  • Articles about conflicts and disease around the world

Ebola

Momentum to Fund Ebola Vaccine Research Grows in Congress (Foreign Policy)

In Ebola Outbreak in Liberia, a Family’s Strength Can Be Its Fatal Flaw (The New York Times)

10th Ebola Patient Headed to U.S. for Treatment (NBC News)

Ebola outbreak: Liberia president lifts state of emergency (BBC News)

Nigeria

Nigeria army 'recaptures Mubi from Boko Haram' (BBC News)

Is Goodluck Jonathan Trying to Get Re-Elected by Blaming Uncle Sam for Boko Haram? (Foreign Policy)

Syria

Can the U.S. Defeat ISIS Without Removing Assad? (The Atlantic)

ISIS commander 'Omar the Chechen' allegedly killed (RT)

Rout of Moderate Rebels Leaves Obama With Vexing Syria Options (Foreign Policy)

Iraq

US military considers sending combat troops to battle Isis forces in Iraq (The Guardian)

Islamic State advances halted in some areas of Iraq, U.S. defense officials say (The Washington Post)

$300,000 an Hour: The Cost of Fighting ISIS (The Atlantic)

Ukraine

Ukraine, separatists revving for resumption of full-fledged war (Los Angeles Times)

NATO commander: Russian troops, tanks, artillery move into Ukraine (CNN)

Russia

Bold policies from Russia’s central bank may not stem the rouble’s decline (The Economist)

Ukraine and Russia take center stage as leaders gather for G20 (Reuters)

Russia flexes muscles with long-range bomber flights near U.S. shores (CNN)

Russia has never flown bomber patrols over Gulf of Mexico before, US official claims (Fox News)

Russian warships ‘heading to Australia’ (abc.net.au)

Tony Abbott told Vladimir Putin to stop trying to 'recreate lost glories' during APEC 'shirtfront' meeting (abc.net.au)


There are 11 articles discussed today 'behind the wall'.

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  • Italy Back in Recession (The Guardian, Twitter) See Edward Hugh, Twitter. Italy has its second consecutive quarter of q-to-q negative GDP change, but on a y-to-y basis its been more like 3 years.

italy-recession-hugh-tweet

  • U.S. Companies Now Stashing $2 Trillion Overseas (Jeff Cox, NBC News) Hat tip to Rob Carter. For the first time in history U.S. companies have more than $2 trillion cash held overseas. That is more than the $1.9 trillion held within the country. There is no official total for the amount held overseas, but Capital Economics said their own database as well as that of Audit Analytics (and other sources) combined with regulatory filings that included "indefinitely reinvested foreign earnings" were used to determine the estimated total sitting outside U.S. borders.
  • Hopes for eurozone bank lending misguided (Erik Nielsen, Financial Times) With austerity policies "administered in unprecedented doses", banks will be reducing their balance sheets for years and not resuming lending as desired, according to the author, a bank economist (Unicredit).
  • Lazy graduate students? (The Economist) The top percentile PhDs from three top universities are producing some "top quality" research papers (don't ask us to get into a discussion of top quality) within the first six years after receiving the degree. But once you get down to the 50th percentile the output is near zero. Does that imply that the average professional output for average PhDs of top universities is not "top quality"? Or is it merely a reflection of the published research being done by tenure track faculty members and they may well come mostly from the top percentiles. The rest of the PhDs are not in the 'publish or perish' rat race and may be doing good but unpublished work.

economist-phd-productivity

  • Economics no longer make Keystone pipeline viable (Tim Mullaney, CNBC) The politics are now playing toward a Keystone Pipeline approval. But with current oil prices the pipeline is not viable. The Canadian oil has production costs between $85 and $115. U.S. WTC crude is now in the mid $70s. What if they voted for a pipeline but no oil came?
  • U.S. College Borrowing Drops 8% (Annamaria Androitis, The Wall Street Journal) This article says the drop in debt is "partly due to a decline in enrollment at for-profit colleges". That's half a million (28%) decline over four years. If the decline in borrowing was entirely due to the decline in for-profit enrollments, the average for each "absent" for-profit student would be $30,000. Now that is almost certainly not the case but it is easy to envision an average of several thousand dollars so the attribution of "partly" seems quite reasonable.

college-debt-borrowing-decline

africa-economicinfluences-2003vs2012

  • Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

20 Sexiest Female Democrat Politicians (Rant Political)

Swiss Banking Refuge Brings No Solace to Espirito Santo Clients (Bloomberg)

Kocherlakota Says Low Inflation Should Keep Fed on Hold (The Wall Street Journal)

US–China emissions deal will put pressure on Australian growth (China Spectator)


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