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What We Read Today 08 March 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.

This feature is published every day late afternoon New York time. For early morning review of headlines see "The Early Bird" published every day in the early am at GEI News (membership not required for access to "The Early Bird".).


Every day most of this column ("What We Read Today") is available only to GEI members.

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America needs to have just two time zones and the world should follow suit (Ritchie King, Quartz)  Commerce is already operating with many in the Central time zone coordinated with New York and those in the Mountain time zone operating in conjunction with Pacific coast time.  Why not make it official and have just two official time zones for the lower 48?  See map below.  And Hawaii plus all Alaska would be in the next time zone west of California.  The author then says that the entire globe should move from 24 time zones to 12 (two hours apart).  This would allow Russia to reduce the current 9 time zones to 4 (possibly even 3), put much of Europe in one time zone (from Ireland and Portugal to the western shore of the Black Sea) and allow India to abandon their split hour arrangement.*  Mumbai, New York and London would all be changing hours at the same second, not having to figure out what the 30 minute time shift in Mumbau is producing.  Australia could have a single time zone (shared with Japan and most of Indonesia) and China two (the western one shared with India).

*India has two time zones.  To allow the country to have all areas on the same time they shift the clock 30 minutes ahead in the eastern half of the country (earlier time zone) and 30 minutes back in the western half of the country (later time zone).  When the clock changes the hour everywhere else in the world it is changing the half hour in India.

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world







Government renewables subsidies show costs falling (GreenPeace)  Solar energy projects in the UK will not get any government subsidies after April 2015.  What a blow for renewable energy?  Quite the contrary, the subsidies have been designed to make renewable projects whole if they sell electricity into the grid at market prices.  Solar gets no more subsidies because projects completed are now delivering electricty at lower cost than the going rate for non-renewable sources.  Off-shore wnd will still be eligible for subsidies going forward. 

One curious note in this article:  Solar may be cheaper than other production technologies, but solar installation construction and planned construction is down in the UK by 99% for 2015 compared to 2014.  Either that will change or the numbers reported above are bogus.  Econintersect discards the other possibility (that utilities will voluntarily reduce profit margins).

Baltic Dry Index:  Slight Gain, Still in Pain (Constantin Gurdgiev, true economics)  Constantin Gurdgiev contributes to GEI.  Over the past twelve months the BDI has dropped from 1391 to 559.  The BDI is based on the fees that shippers are charging for trans-ocean freight transport and is considered a measure of the health of trade.  Gurdgiev says:

It will take a hell of a lot more 'improvement' to get us back to even remotely normal trading conditions.


Found on LinkedIn, no hyperlink available:


Dow's daily active weightings not what you think (Eric Chemi, CNBC)  AT&T is leaving and Apple is coming in.  The new Dow 30 will be dominated by Goldman Sachs and Apple with their movements together averaging 26% of the daily price change of the index.


Euro Area GDP per capita: the legacy of the crisis (Constantin Gurdgiev, true economics)  The U.S., UK and 15 of the 18 eurozone countries are still in depression (haven't yet recovered to pre-crisis level of GDP per capita) according to this analysis by GEI contributor Constantin Gurdgiev:

Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

There are only three articles here today because we think you should READ ALL THREE!

The time for a new economics is at hand (Al Jazeera)  "One of the biggest weaknesses of U.S. economists and economics these days is the inability to think creatively."

Operation Rent Seeking (Mike Lofgren, Washington Monthly)  Hat tips to Chuck Spinney and Roger Erickson.  "How the war on terrorism became a business model."  This is a book review for Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War by James Risen.

Why People "Fly from Facts" (Scientific American)  People accept facts that support their beliefs; they deny facts that contradict beliefs.  Econintersect:  Many minds reject the idea of uncertainty and beliefs are an avenue to certainty.  Facts, on the other hand, can be changed with new information and therefore always have a shadow of uncertainty lurking.  Ergo, many prefer beliefs to facts when there is a conflict because belief is absolute and absolute is easy.

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