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What We Read Today 16 October 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


  • What Happens When You Survive Ebola (The Daily Beast)   Memory loss. Irreversible skin and nerve damage. Hair thinning. Arthritis. The lingering effects of Ebola can last a lifetime.  Pauline Cafferkey, a Scottish nurse who survived Ebola in January after contracting it in Sierra Leone, is now tragically fighting for her life in a London hospital.  In the absence of even one similar story from the 17,000 survivors in West Africa, the case has been deemed an outlier. The label, based in truth, threatens to eclipse the bigger picture—that the end of an Ebola infection does not signal the end of the disease. Ebola, as further proven by studies this week, can remain in a survivor’s system for months—and often does.

  • Open Borders or No Borders? (Foundation for Economic Education)  Author suggests borders should exist for governments but not for people,  For more read another good article referred to here:  The Case for Getting Rid of Borders—Completely (The Atlantic)   


  • In campaign money race, Democrats vastly outpacing Republicans (The Washington Post)  The Democratic presidential contenders dramatically outpaced their Republican counterparts in the race for campaign cash last quarter, spotlighting how the parties are taking divergent paths in their pursuit of 2016 funding.  The emphasis by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bernie Sanders on raising money directly for their campaigns has helped them amass large donor pools critical to generating the estimated $1 billion each party’s candidate will need to raise by Election Day.

  • Congress Is Making Life Harder for Economics (Noah Smith, Bloomberg View)   Data is the lifeblood of economics -- it’s how we know the difference between wrong theories and right ones. Scientists conduct experiments; economists gather data and do statistical analysis on it. Without data, economics isn't very scientific at all.  So it’s very bad news that our legislators are gutting funding for the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The BLS is one of the most important economic data-gathering agencies in the U.S. Employment numbers? Inflation statistics? Those all come from surveys run by the BLS. 

  • House may vote next week to avoid debt limit meltdown (The Washington Post)  With less than two weeks until the federal government is expected to reach its borrowing limit, House Republican leaders are readying a vote on legislation intended to avoid a financial meltdown should that ceiling be reached.


  • U.S. Airdrop in Syria Ends Up Arming the Kurds (Bloomberg View)  Last weekend, the White House announced that the U.S. had dropped 50 tons of ammunition to Syrian Arabs fighting the Islamic State. Some officials now say that the new Arab coalition was a front and that Kurdish groups received most of the weapons -- as the U.S. intended.  Econintersect:  The Russian-Iranian axis argues that building up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is the best way to defeat ISIS.  Turkey uses the pretext of fighting ISIS to attack the Kurds.  The U.S. and its allies maintain that removing Assad and strengthen the Kurds if the best approach to defeat ISIS. You got that?

Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

  • Government Power Was His Mortal Enemy - Real Heroes: Frédéric Bastiat (Lawrence W. Reed, The Freeman)  In the last six of his 49 years of life, brought to an untimely end by tuberculosis, the classical liberal Frenchman Frédéric Bastiat produced an astonishing volume of books and essays in defense of free markets and free people. He towered over the smug intellectuals and politicians of his native France, most of whom were mentally mired in the country’s ancient traditions of statist central planning of the economy.

  • BP On The Economics Of The Oil Market: Fracking Has Entirely Changed The Situation (Tim Worstall, Forbes)  The supply of oil has become a lot more elastic with the introduction of fracking.  While supply of oil from fracking only impacts supply at the margins, it is that relatively small factor that has had a very large effect.

  • New Economics of Oil (BP)  Although US shale oil accounts for less than 5% of the global oil market, the rapid growth in US shale oil was the key factor driving the collapse in oil prices last year: US oil production on its own increased by almost twice the expansion in global oil demand. Moreover, the different production techniques and financing structures found in the US shale industry have the potential to have a lasting impact on global oil market dynamics.

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