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What We Read Today 17 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


  • You’ve Been Warned: Central Bankers Turning Less Market-Friendly (Bloomberg)  Having soothed investors for the past seven years with low interest rates, bond-buying and other interventions aimed at shoring up weak economies, monetary policy makers are slowly stepping out of markets in a variety of ways.  That leaves investors facing renewed bouts of the volatility which marked recent weeks. A record number of investors told Bank of America Merrill Lynch this month that they have taken out protection against falling stocks over the next three months.
  • The moral – and political – force of Pope Francis on climate (The Conversation)  When popes make pronouncements on religious matters, one billion Catholics listen. When popes talk about social issues, there is the potential to bring a larger audience into international debate. When a current pope, like Francis, however, attempts to bring together both religious and social issues into a moral discussion about public policy, there is bound to be controversy.




  • Tsipras to meet Putin over bailout loan as fears of Greek exit from EU mount (The Guardian)  Greek prime minister, who has criticised sanctions against Kremlin, will meet Russian leader amid speculation that Greece may leave both eurozone and EU and go where they find "love".
  • Tsipras Vows to Reject Unfair Deal as EU Braces for Collapse (Bloomberg)  Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he’s ready to assume responsibility for the consequences of rejecting an unfair deal with creditors. In a sign that he’s being taken at his word, officials from the Netherlands, Portugal and Germany said they were bracing for a breakdown in talks that could roil the currency bloc.



  • Putin opens 'military Disneyland' near Moscow (United Press International)  Russian President Vladimir Putin opened "Patriot Park," a military theme park funded by the Russian Defense Ministry.  The 15,000-acre park, a hour away from Moscow in Kubinka, will be completed by 2017 featuring hotels, conference centers and a residence for Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu. A massive assortment of military hardware will be on display on which children can climb and play. 


  • What’s behind the new US-India Defense Pact?  (The Conversation)  There are shared security interests, mainly the concerns about Chinese military ascendancy and the post-9/11 Islamic terrorism security threat. And there is growing business and professional collaboration. The increasingly influential Indian American lobby and India’s economic liberalization have both led to increased interaction between the two countries.      

Regional Economic Growth 1929-2008 (Catherine Mulbrandon, Vizualizing Economics)  In 1929, Canada, United States and Argentina were neck-and-neck in term of their wealth. While East Asia is poor to very poor.  In 1950, Venezuela with its oil wealth has surpassed Argentina along with the US and Canada.  By 1973, Japan has started to grow and by the 1990s South Korea and Thailand has as well. However, Argentina lags behind along with many of the other South American countries so by 2008 it is North America and East Asia which have countries with the highest GDP per person.


Is Uber really cheaper than a taxi? (Business Insider)  Uber is cheaper than taxis but cost more when demand is high (so-called "surge pricing").

Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

  • IT sector's 'image problem': Deloitte Access Economics report warns of skills demand (The Sydney Morning Herald)  A leading economic think tank estimates 40% of jobs are at high risk of being wiped out in the next 15 years by computers and other machines. Health and mining jobs will be among those hardest hit.  Automation is not expected to have as much impact on IT (information technology) jobs but college enrollments in those fields are down this century even as jobs have increased and are projected to continue to do so.
  • Colt, Whose Pistols Won West, Fails New Gun Economics (Bloomberg)    Colt, the 179-year-old company whose pistol “won the West,” has lost a 21st century battle over the American gun industry.  After years of struggles, the iconic company filed for bankruptcy protection Sunday, leaving creditors to sort out $500 million in debt.  The filing underscores the vicissitudes of the gun industry, as well as the company’s production missteps.
  • Ethics vs economics: the cost of outsourcing clinical trials to developing countries (The Conversation)  Our current medicalised (Western) society is underpinned by an obsession with taking drugs for any ailment and the expectation that life can be augmented through numerous surgical procedures.  As the demand grows for newer and better drugs for an expanding range of conditions, so too does the need for clinical testing. Health as a commodity repositions ethics within an economic framework, and human experimentation is no exception. Profits, rather than people, become the prime consideration.
  • Young adults don’t understand health insurance basics – and that makes it hard to shop for a plan (The Conversation)  The basic principle of insurance is that many pay premiums but few collect benefits. That extends to healthcare with considerable distortion.  Health insurance is more like a prepaid service with deductibles.  The problem for young adults is that over the entire demographic the "prepayments" are for more services than will be used by that group.  This is an offset against the higher use of services for older demographics, some of which have insufficient premiums to pay for services used.  Many young persons are best served by high deductible low premium policies.  One of two problems pointed out in this article is the scarcity of high deductible products in Obamacare.  An even bigger problem is that half of young adults attempting to participate in ACA programs can not define the meaning of deductible.

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