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What We Read Today 13 September 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



  • Wall Street Banks to Settle CDS Lawsuit for $1.87 Billion (Bloomberg)  Some of Wall Street’s biggest financial institutions -- including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and HSBC Holdings Plc -- have agreed to a $1.87 billion settlement to resolve allegations they conspired to limit competition in the lucrative credit-default swaps market.  The banks reached an agreement in principle with a group of investors that includes the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association, Daniel Brockett, a lawyer for the group, told a judge in Manhattan federal court on Friday. The sides need seven to 10 more days to iron out some details, Brockett said.  Econintersect:  Who said crome doesn't pay?  They didn;t l;ive in the 21st century,
  • Kentucky clerk case divides religious liberty advocates (Associated Press)  Kentucky clerk Kim Davis has become a hero to many conservative Christians who see her refusal to issue marriage licenses after the Supreme Court effectively legalized same-sex marriage as a litmus test for religious liberty in an increasingly secular culture.  But lost in the uproar are the voices of Christians, some equally conservative, who disagree with Davis' stance and worry that holding her out as a martyr will ultimately hurt the cause of religious liberty.  And some conservative Christian leaders think she is simply wrong:  "wrong on the merits" and "wrong on the theology".
  • Airbus Sharpens Challenge to Boeing With Factory on U.S. Soil (Bloomberg)  Airbus Group NV, challenging Boeing Co. for supremacy in the $80 billion market for large commercial airliners, is opening its first jet production site on the U.S. competitor’s home turf.  The French-based planemaker on Monday is slated to officially unveil a $600 million plant in Mobile, Alabama, although the first of the A320 jetliners to be built there have been taking shape since July. The plant is expected to spur job growth and attract aerospace suppliers to the Southeastern U.S., where Boeing and Brazil’s Embraer SA also have footholds.


  • EU deal on financial transactions tax 'within reach': Moscovici (Channel News Asia)  Political agreement is close on a tax on financial transactions after talks on Saturday (Sep 12) between finance ministers of the 11 European Union countries willing to introduce the levy, says EU Economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici.
  • Refugee crisis may force EU to rethink, update open-borders policy (Al Jazeera)  As governments squabble over quotas, European citizens show solidarity, volunteering to help refugees.  On Monday, ministers from squabbling EU nations will hold crunch talks to discuss a proposed quota system and try to smooth over disagreements as to how to provide shelter to the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war for European sanctuary. But going into the summit some are questioning if the refugee challenge, and the split national interests it has exposed, could threaten the continued existence of the bloc’s open-border policy — and with it, the very idea of Europe.


  • Germany reinstates border controls in wake of record refugee influx (Al Jazeera)  Germany announced Sunday that it was introducing temporary border checks on the Austrian frontier. Bavarian Premier Horst Seehofer said the decision was an "important signal" to the rest of the world as well as to Germans concerned about the "worrying" influx of refugees.  Germany and Austria agreed over a week ago to let in refugees who had gathered in Hungary, saying it was a one-time measure to ease an emergency. The influx has continued and, while Germans have remained welcoming, officials said over the weekend that the speed of the arrivals was straining the country's ability to provide accommodation.


  • China economy: New signs of economic slowdown (BBC News)  Growth in China's investment and factory output in August has come in below forecasts, in a further indication that the world's second-largest economy is losing steam.  Factory output grew by 6.1% from the year before - below forecasts of 6.4%.  Growth in fixed-asset investment - largely property - slowed to 10.9% for the year-to-date, a 15-year low.
  • From paddy fields to skyscrapers (BBC News)  China has undergone a huge transformation over the last 70 years, from a large rural country to one of the biggest economies in the world.  The change has been rapid; from the Great Leap Forward in 1958 which saw widespread famine to more capitalist tendencies in recent years, the landscape, both physically and financially in China has changed beyond recognition. 

The Decline in Labor’s Share of Corporate Income Since 2000 Means $535 Billion Less for Workers (Josh Bivens, Economic Policy Institute)  Between 2000 and the second quarter of 2015, the share of income generated by corporations that went to workers’ wages (instead of going to capital incomes like profits) declined from 82.3 percent to 75.5 percent, as the figure shows. This 6.8 percentage-point decline in labor’s share of corporate income might not seem like a lot, but if labor’s share had not fallen this much, employees in the corporate sector would have $535 billion more in their paychecks today. If this amount was spread over the entire labor force (not just corporate sector employees) this would translate into a $3,770 raise for each worker.  Se also (we have discussed previously):  Understanding the Historic Divergence Between Productivity and a Typical Worker’s Pay.


Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

  • The Economics of Asteroid Mining (The Market Mogul)  It still sounds like science fiction but the mining of asteroids for materials that are scarce and expensive on eqarth is coming closer to reality.
  • What came before the big bang? (New Scientist)  Has the universe existed forever? Or was there something before it? To find out, we need a working theory of quantum gravity and a new conception of time.  According to the big bang theory – our best explanation for why space is expanding – everything exploded from nothing about 13.8 billion years ago. Cosmologists have been able to wind things back to within a tiny fraction of a second of this moment. But now they’re stuck.  The trouble is, our understanding of space-time, and gravity in particular, is built from Einstein’s equations of general relativity, whereas the extreme conditions of the very early universe can only be described by quantum mechanics. No one knows how to reconcile the two.  (Paid subscription required for full article.)
  • Yahoo loses marketing chief Kathy Savitt to movie studio STX (Los Angeles Times)  Yahoo Inc. is losing its marketing chief, Kathy Savitt, to a Hollywood movie studio, the latest setback for the Sunnyvale, Calif., tech giant.  Savitt will join the new Burbank film and television company STX Entertainment to lead its digital content business next month, the studio said Friday.  The move comes at the end of a difficult week for Yahoo. The firm told investors Tuesday that the Internal Revenue Service declined to approve Yahoo’s proposed tax-free spin-off of its $23-billion stake in the Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group. Yahoo also lost its top European executive Dawn Airey. Yahoo’s stock has declined nearly 40% this year, but rose 28 cents, or 1%, on Friday to $31.43.


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