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What We Read Today 25 January 2015

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.

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Syriza stretches poll lead as Greek election campaign ends (Helena Smith, The Guardian)  The polls are already open for three hours as this is written but it will be a long day before any sense of how the final vote in the historic Greek election will turn out.  According to The Guardian, last minute opinion polling showed the leftist party Syriza with a 6% lead over the incumbent conservative New Democracy Party, headed by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.  Leading the Syriza party is a young (age 41) Alexis Tsipras, a former Communist youth member.  If Syriza fails to gain at least 101 seats in their victory (the winning party gets an additional 50 at-large seats) they will need to form a coalition to gain a majority in the 300 seat parliament.  Most likely would be the centrist Potami (River) Party which is in a battle for third place in the balloting with the extreme right-wing Golden Dawn.  The only other possible partner would be the once-leading opposition party, the PASOK Socialists, who now seem doomed to run a poor fifth. For more see Radical Left Set To Win Crucial Election In Greece (AP, The World Post)


Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world

Greece

Ebola

Nigeria

Israel

Saudi Arabia

Iraq

Ukraine



On Greece’s eventual exit from the eurozone (Edward Harrison, Credit Writedowns)  Edward Harrison has contributed to GEI.  This article, written more than a year and a half ago, Harrison outlines the reasons why Greece is likely to eventually leave the Eurozone.  He doesn't put the blame on germany, as many have, but on the EU itself.  He wrote:

I believe the institutional structure of the eurozone is such a straitjacket that it’s hard to find a solution to the euro zone’s economic problems within the existing framework without years of pain. Europe would need to make huge constitutional and operating changes and create even more significant dodges to existing law to prevent another decade of malaise.

He pointed out back in the second quarter of 2013 that Greece was suffering extreme economic distress in complying with the strictures imposed by the EU constitution.  He compared Greece with the pain in Argentina when that country was forced to give up a fixed peg to the U.S. dollar.  See graph below.  Greece was much worse and has essentially not improved to this day.  Harrison said back then that Greece would eventually withdraw under the pressure of "populist political wave".  Does that wave crest today?  Elliott Morss in GEI Analysis today thinks the wave is now over the sea wall, so to speak, not just for Greece but for the entire Eurozone:  The Eurozone Is Doomed: Why ECB Bond Purchases and the Greek Election Don’t Matter

greek-economic-distress-cw-2013-may


The mystery of the falling teen birth rate (Sarah Kliff, Vox)  The rate of teen pregnancies today is 1/3 what it was 50 years ago.  This article discusses a lot of the possible reasons for the decline, including birth control, recessions, sex education and TV shows about teen pregnancy.  The author even points out a (spurious?) correlation with the incidence of lead paint and the number of teen-aged pregnancies.  Econintersect sees a correlation with availability of birth control, with "The Pill" becoming available in 1961 and gaining wide-spread use through the next decade.  But Roe v. Wade in 1973 does not seem to have had much effect as the number per thousand stayed between 50 and 60 for the next 20 years.  But then the last 20 years, from 1993 to 2013, saw a reduction by almost half.  And that is the decline, particularly the decline that started in the Great Recession (the steepest in the history of this data) that causes the most puzzlement for this author.

teen-birth-rate-1950-2010


Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

The States Where Foreclosure Rates Rose in 2014 (MSN Money)  Foreclosure filings rose in 11 states plus DC in 2014.  National foreclosure rate is still 50% higher than 2006, but less than 42% of the peak year 2010.

The Politics of MMT (Strange Bedfellows) (New Economic Perspectives)  Hat tip to Roger Erickson.

Science Is Not About Certainty (The New Republic)

The Latest Subprime Scam (Bill Bonner, Acting Man)  Bill Bonner has contributed to GEI.  Hat tip to Rob Carter.

The Rise and Fall of the U.S. Government (Washington Monthly)  Book review:  Political Order and Political Decay by Francis Fukuyama


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