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What We Read Today 14 June 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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Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Migration Realism (Kofi Annan, Project Syndicate)  An appeal focused on the Mediterannean and Southest Asia which should also include North America.



  • The Euro Taboo (Politico)  Hat tip to Ann Pettifor.  The eurozone crisis that has crippled the Continent for the better part of a decade now has all the makings of a Wagnerian opera, in which one tragedy chases the next. The longevity of the crisis and the prevailing denial about its origins among European elites has helped escalate the situation to the magnitude of the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Southern European economies desperately need deep currency devaluation, the single most powerful adjustment instrument to cope with serious economic crisis, but that must to be combined with sound economic policy. So long as those countries remain members of the EMU, devaluation is not an option.


Russia and China have cracked the top-secret cache of files stolen by the fugitive US whistleblower Edward Snowden, forcing MI6 to pull agents out of live operations in hostile countries, according to senior officials in Downing Street, the Home Office and the security services.

Western intelligence agencies say they have been forced into the rescue operations after Moscow gained access to more than 1m classified files held by the former American security contractor, who fled to seek protection from Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, after mounting one of the largest leaks in US history.

Senior government sources confirmed that China had also cracked the encrypted documents, which contain details of secret intelligence techniques and information that could allow British and American spies to be identified.

The whole article does literally nothing other than quote anonymous British officials. It gives voice to banal but inflammatory accusations that are made about every whistleblower from Daniel Ellsberg to Chelsea Manning. It offers zero evidence or confirmation for any of its claims. The “journalists” who wrote it neither questioned any of the official assertions nor even quoted anyone who denies them. It’s pure stenography of the worst kind: some government officials whispered these inflammatory claims in our ears and told us to print them, but not reveal who they are, and we’re obeying. Breaking!


  • Deal vital before Greece spirals out of control (The Telegraph)  A sovereign default on the fringes of Europe has long threatened to spark another Lehman moment, sending financial markets everywhere haywire and upending the global recovery.


  • Egypt to inaugurate Suez canal expansion in August (Hurriyet Daily News)  The new Suez Canal Axis, a 72-kilometre (45 mile) project, will run part of the way alongside the existing canal that connects the Red Sea to the Mediterranean.  The aim is to speed up traffic along the existing waterway and boost revenues.


  • Damn, China Has Too Few People Again (CEPR)  Robots are being introduced at a rapid pace in Chinese factories because the working age population is starting to shrink.  Robots must produce in order toi support retirees.  Article wonders why America doesn't understand this process.


  • Coal closures give South Australia the chance to go 100% renewable (The Conversation)  The South Australian electricity system could be operated entirely on scaled-up, commercially available, renewable energy sources.  The time to start that move toward that eventuality is now with the already announced closure of two major coal powered generation sations.

Crunch time for the US coal industry (Walter Kurtz, Sober Look)  The death of coal?  See also next article.

Arch Coal (NYSE:ACI) (Yahoo! Finance)  Here is a long-term investment you could have held.  Imagine buying ACI as a momentum stock for $70 in 2008.  Today you would be down 99.44%!


Global GDP Growth (Steve Hanke, Twitter)

Ideologies that don't work in practice are no good in theory (Mike Peel, Twitter)

Decline of union membership percentage mirrors income gains of top 10%. (Steven Greenhouse, Twitter)

Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

  • Real World Economics: Rising egg prices provide lesson in markets' elasticity (Twin Cities Pioneer Press)  In the U.S. demnand for shicken eggs is pretty inelastic so as the avian flue epidemic reduces production prices will go up.  So far the elasticity is pretty low:  News reports as of June 9 indicate that weekly egg production has dropped 18% since the flu started to hit laying flocks. And the national wholesale price for eggs has increased about 105%, from $1.13 per dozen to $2.40 last week.

Ten years ago this week, Alan Greenspan made his infamous comment about signs of 'froth' in the housing market. A decade later, CNNMoney's Cristina Alesci sat down with the Former Federal Reserve Chairman and got his perspective on real estate. It's stuck in a rut, or as he puts it, "we haven't come out of the bottom [of the housing collapse], we are in a secular stagnation."

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