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What We Read Today 20 April 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".).


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The rest of this paot is available only the GEI Members.  Membership is FREE -  click here.

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world



  • Why Clinton Just Brought a Wall Street Scold on Board (American Banker)  Hillary named Gary Gensler, the former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, as the chief financial officer of her 2016 presidential campaign.  She is obviously trying to separate herself from her pro-Wall Street husband.  Skeptics wonder if he will really be at the "Hillary decision-making table".
  • Returning to the Exurbs: Rural Counties Are Fastest Growing (The Pew Charitable Trusts)  The Great Recession stalled population growth in the exurbs. But new census data show that the far suburbs are enjoying a renaissance. They are now the fastest growing areas in the country.  Econintersect:  The rapidly changing economics of electrical power generation will only reinforce this new trend.  See Solar Energy May Lead a New Suburban and Rural Revival.


  • European officials grapple with ‘epic’ migrant crisis in the Mediterranean (The Washington Post)  European officials conceded they had acted too slow to address what has become a mounting humanitarian emergency on the continent’s southern flank. They announced a 10-point plan aimed at plugging some of the holes in the region’s refugee management system, including an effort to seize and destroy the fleets of ships used by migrant traffickers.



Saudi Arabia


  • Russia has bigger concerns than oil, ruble: Deputy PM (CNBC)  Hat tip to Marvin Clark.  Faced with the triple whammy of plunging oil prices, currency volatility and Western sanctions, there's no dearth of challenges for Russia's ailing economy, but Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said what hurts most is the scarcity of financing for new investments.


  • AIIB not a bid to overthrow system: China (Melbourne Herald Sun)  China's proposed infrastructure bank for Asia is intended to complement, not replace, existing lenders dominated by the US and Japan, a senior Chinese official says.  Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said after a meeting of the Group of 20 leading world economies that China has proposed the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, or AIIB, to help fill an estimated $US8 trillion ($A10.25 trillion) gap in infrastructure funding for the region over the next decade.

Someone Calculated How Many Adjunct Professors Are on Public Assistance, and the Number Is Startling (Jordan Weissmann, Slate) Hat tip to Pavlina Tcherneva. There are a lot of Ph.D.s and Masters Degree holders working as instructors at colleges and universities who are members of the working poor.  For those who think the government should financially support college education, is providing food stamps and Medicaid the most efficient way to do it?


Since Recession, Tax Revenue Lags in 30 States (Pew)  Adjusted for inflation, more than half of the U.S. states have not recovered the level of tax revenues to the pre-recession peak.  That is in spite of over all 50 states 2.5% more tax revenue was collected in the third quarter of 2014 than the previous peak quarter in 3Q 2008.

1.5 Million Missing Black Men (Justin Wolfers, David Leonhardt and Kevin Quealy, The New York Times)  For every 100 black women not in jail, there are only 83 black men. The remaining men – 1.5 million of them – are, in a sense, missing.  Among cities with sizable black populations, the largest single gap is in Ferguson, Mo (37.5% black males 62.5% black women).  The city with the most missing black men is New York City (118,000).

Tax Receipts Flash Economic Warning Sign (Lance Roberts, StreetTalk Live)  Hat tip to TalkMarkets.  Lance Roberts is a weekly contributor to GEI.  Peaks in income tax collections have been a warning signal of economic softness many times in the past.


Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

Sharpen Your Pencils: Why Low Rates Challenge Traditional Security Analysis Methods (Advisor Perspectives)  How do today's very low interest rates impact security valuations?

AdaptiveRight and CopyRight (Roger Erickson, Mike Norman Economics) Roger Erickson contributes to GEI. The trade-off between protecting individual rights and the rights of society are sometimes difficult.  The evolution of a society depends on a growing collective adaption by the entirety.  And yet the protection of individual rights by copyright can interfere with adaptive processes.  Econontersect:  The same dilemma is presented by the use of patents.

Patent "Trolling" (  Another problem with the patent system (besides the question of collective adaptive development of society mention in the preceding discussion) has to do with leeches ("trolls") who run and usually get away with an extortion racket.  From

Patent "trolls" (known more formally as "Patent Assertion Entities" or "Non-practicing entities") assert ownership rights on technologies, methods or techniques used by businesses or individuals –and demand compensation for such use. These are not companies in the traditional sense that employ workers or create, market and distribute products or services; rather, they are legal entities whose sole purpose is to threaten with patent claims and then secure expedient –and lucrative- settlements based on these claims.

In 2011 says these patent abuses extracted nearly $30 billion from U.S. companies with their extrortion racket.  

Not even a 'trickle' of sound economics (TribLive)  An "associate professor of economics and a restauranteur" cherry picks some data and sounds a purely political trumpet.

Coal industry writing the NSW Govt's rules on economics (Climate Spectator)  Another story of regulatory capture.

The economics of daylight saving time (Hurriyet Daily News)  One of the arguments in facvor of Daylight Saving Time is that it would reduce electricity usage.  When Indiana changed to DST for the first time in 2006 electricity usage increased by about 1% over 2005.

Eco-Economics takes on Neoliberalism (Dissident Voice

With neoliberalism, the market pretty much determines everything. When looked at from another angle, the world becomes a gigantic commoditized sphere spinning around the solar system, as markets set prices for everything, except for the biosphere, a very big “except for,” indeed.  Does it make sense to set prices for everything, except for the biosphere?

Bits and Pieces 14: Will Rogers on Trickle-down Theory (J.C. Moore Online)  Hat tip to Roger Erickson.

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