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What We Read Today 18 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

U.S.

EU

Germany

Turkey

  • The economics of Syrian refugees (The Hurriyet Daily News)  The lower cost of refugee maintenance in Turkey vs. the EU suggests that the EU should offer financial assistance to the likes of Turkey and Jordan.  After all, if the refugees have been able to live in better conditions in these countries so they would be more likely to settle instead of continuing on to Europe.  But, until now, Europe has not done anything like this.  Econontersect:  Also this means Europe would forego the benefits of immigration into their challenged-by-aging demographics.

Syria

  • US agrees to military talks as 'next step' with Russia on Syria (Al Jazeera)  Shift in tone could signal that ISIL has pushed Washington toward compromise with Moscow.
  • Russia sends jets to Syria, resumes US military talks - officials (Reuters)  Russia has sent fighter jets to Syria, U.S. officials said, raising the stakes in a military buildup that has put Washington on edge and led Friday to the first talks between U.S. and Russian defense chiefs in over a year.  U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, eyeing the possibility of rival U.S. and Russian air operations in Syria's limited airspace, agreed in a call with his Russian counterpart to explore ways to avoid accidental military interactions.

Russia

  • Why is Russia sending troops to Syria? (Al Jazeera)  Geopolitical opportunism alone cannot account for Putin’s latest move.  Forming a new interface with the West in opposition to ISIS is one possible motive.

China


Here's Proof That Housing May Be Turning a Corner (Bloomberg)  See also next article.  For the first time in seven years mortgage debt in force is increasing:

mortgage.debt.outstanding


In Some Cities, Even Landlords Think Rents Are Getting Out of Hand (Bloomberg)  Investors think rent increases should start to slow after a period of outsized growth.  Is the rapid growth in rent starting to impact falling homeownership rates?  As in all real estate markets though, what is happening is a matter of location:

rental.markets.rate.changes

Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

  • Uber got two economics PhDs to explain how supply and demand works (Quartz)  A study by two University of Chicago economics professors shows, in intricate detail, that surge pricing allows for Uber to function, as suppliers (drivers) are enticed by the potential for higher fares, and demanders (riders) will decide if they really want to pay higher prices right that minute. When prices drop back down—as supply increases, or demand falls—the surge ends.  Read more:  The Effects of Uber’s Surge Pricing (Jonathan Hall and Cory Kendrick, Uber Newsroom).
  • Understanding behavioural economics (economia)  Thanks to research kick-started by behavioural economists, we now know the neoclassical theories behind many economic predictions were flawed. Human beings were not behaving in an economic environment as these theories predicted, because we are not rational.
  • A happy state (aeon)  Why is the welfare state under attack when happiness economics shows it is the system most conducive to human wellbeing?  Interesting discussion of why happiness and well-being seem to be at odds (but really are not).  Here is a discussion of "wellbeing" and the "welfare state". 

The phrase ‘welfare state’ is pejorative to many Americans, but it would be less so if they had a better understanding of what it implies to the rest of the world. In the abstract, a welfare state means a society that has created a system of protecting people against the insecurities of everyday life by socialising risk and reward. This implies not only the staples of social protection – guaranteed access to healthcare, unemployment insurance, and pensions – but benefits unknown in the United States, such as state-mandated sick days (in Germany, six weeks at full pay, and then up to 78 weeks at 70 per cent) and guaranteed vacation days (four weeks at full pay in Germany). More surprising perhaps are ‘family allowances’, or grants paid to all families with children, regardless of income – every German family receives 184 euros (or around $205) per month, per child. Minimum guaranteed earnings are also much higher in countries approaching the welfare state ideal – Denmark’s effective minimum wage is about $20 per hour. It is this sense of shared risk and shared prosperity that prompted the late Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme to observe that: ‘With all its faults, the welfare state remains the most humane and civilised system ever created.’

corbynomics.ft.yahoo.video


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