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What We Read Today 20 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".).


Every day most of this column ("What We Read Today") is available only to GEI members.

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The rest of this post is available only the GEI Members.  Membership is FREE -  click here.

Today we have a section discussing the latest move in the gold market.

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


The global recession that followed the financial crisis was the most severe in half a century, an unusually synchronized shock that paralyzed trade and left 23 million more people out of work.

Yet the response by policy makers hasn’t been up to the task, with central banks bearing too much of the burden. And the world may be on the edge of another recession, even though it hasn’t recovered from the last one.

  • How asteroids can help us reach Mars (CNN)   Unlike a mission to the moon, which can be done in three or four days, a journey to Mars -- some 140 million miles away -- could take more than six months each way. For a trip that long, astronauts would need to set up a network of supply depots in deep space to refuel their spacecraft.  But how? As crazy as it sounds, one answer is -- asteroid mining.  Asteroids, those rocky fragments circling the sun, can contain water, oxygen, precious metals and other elements that could be used to produce fuel and life-support systems in space -- all at a much lower cost than ferrying them from Earth. There are hundreds of thousands of asteroids, ranging in size from large boulders to miniature planets hundreds of miles across.  Extracting these resources will be expensive and hugely difficult -- imagine trying to drill into a large rock hurtling through space at high speed -- but several private companies believe they're up to the task.


  • Ryan nears decision on speaker’s race as Congress returns (The Washington Post)  Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is more open than ever to becoming the next House speaker, following a contemplative week at home with his family. But before he makes a final decision, friends say, he will seek assurance from Republican hard-liners that he will have their full support should he win the gavel.

  • Webb exits the Democratic presidential primary (The Washington Post)  Former Virginia senator Jim Webb announced Tuesday afternoon that he would no longer pursue the Democratic presidential nomination, telling reporters that instead he will gauge support in the coming weeks for a possible White House bid as an independent candidate.

  • Bernie Sanders's Plan to Fix College Is Worse than Nothing (Foundation for Economic Education)  There's no denying that the price of higher education is unrealistically high, and a fix is needed. But Sanders’ plan doesn’t even purport to be a solution. It does nothing to address the root problem of rising costs. It merely spreads those costs to society as a whole by socializing them.  If we look at the wider economy, the cost of higher education is clearly an anomaly. Products across the economic spectrum, from smartphones to automobiles, decrease in cost and increase in quality year after year, despite heavy demand. Indeed, consumer demand is what drives continuous innovation in these industries.  Could the problem be something as simple as decreased public funding? Even if that were true, it still wouldn’t explain why universities seem incapable of cutting costs and maximizing performance. Apple, Samsung, and most any other firms seem perfectly able to do so without any regular source of taxpayer.

  • Tesla Slides as Consumer Reports Ends Model S Recommendation (Bloomberg)  A marriage made in heaven has ended in divorce.  Tesla Motors Inc. fell the most in more than two months after Consumer Reports said the Model S luxury electric car fell from its recommended list because of below-average reliability.


  • The Latest: EU offers 291 border guards amid migrant crisis (Associated Press)  The European Union's border agency says that members of the bloc have agreed to provide 291 border guards to be deployed immediately to Greece and Italy to help identify and register migrants.  The Warsaw-based agency said Tuesday that the 291 guards amount to about a fourth of what it had requested to handle the record number of migrants arriving in Europe.


  • Migrant crisis: Arrivals to Greece top 500,000 (BBC News)  The number of migrants who have arrived in Greece this year has topped half a million, the United Nations said.  The rate of people arriving has risen to 8,000 a day, the UN's High Commissioner for Refugees said, with many hoping to beat winter weather.  Most migrants then head north from Greece, but bottlenecks are forming in some Balkan states.  The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says more than 650,000 arrived so far this year, compared with 280,000 last year


  • Slovenia to ask EU for police back-up to cope with influx of migrants (Reuters)  Attempts by Slovenia to stem the flow of migrants since Hungary sealed its border with Croatia on Friday have triggered a knock-on effect through the Balkans, with thousands held up at border crossings.  About 19,500 migrants have entered Slovenia since Friday, the Interior Ministry said, creating bottlenecks as migrants attempted to find new routes through the region.  Slovenia is asking the European Union to send additional police forces to help it deal with crowd control issues. 


  • Pentagon: Russia, US agree to minimize risks in Syrian skies (Al Jazeera)  Russia and the United States signed an agreement Tuesday designed to minimize the risk of collisions and other dangers as both countries carry out airstrikes in Syria.  The agreement lays out safety protocols meant to minimize risk between the two nations, but full text to remain secret.


  • Trudeau win marks new era in Canada green policies, but not on Keystone (Al Jazeera)  Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s resounding victory in Canada’s election may signal the beginning of a new era in the nation’s climate change policy, but anyone hoping for a reversal on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline may be disappointed.  Although incoming Prime Minister Trudeau has often said he is supportive of Canadian resource extraction, his party’s platform contrasts sharply with that of outgoing Conservative premier Stephen Harper. A Liberal government in Canada is likely to result in greater engagement with the international community when it comes to talks aimed at curbing global warming, a sharp departure from the stance of Harper, who dismissed the Kyoto Protocol as a “socialist scheme” and pulled Canada out of the global climate accord.

Gold And Silver Weekly: From An Extreme Low To An Extreme High (Boris Mikanikrezai, Seeking Alpha)  This author is bullish in the "near-term" but "cautious medium-term".  ETF investors have been buying gold "aggressively" but have been "inactive" in silver.  Money managers have become "aggressively bullish on silver",and have been "progressively building net long positions in gold".  "Short-covering continues in gold and silver."

Will Gold Finish 2015 with a Gain? (Frank Holmes, U.S. Global Investors)  FH has contributed to GEI.  After its stellar performance last week, gold might do something it hasn’t done since 2012—that is, end the year in positive territory.  Responding to a weaker U.S. dollar, continued contraction in global growth and wide speculation that interest rates will stay near-zero for the remainder of the year, the yellow metal broke above its 200-day moving average and is close to erasing its 2015 losses.  Holmes is optimistic, on balance, for what remains of 2015.  Econintersect:  This is the third breakout in less than a year above the downtrending 200-day moving average.  The two previous events washed out quickly and the downtrend continued.  Is the third try "the charm"?


Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

Why are famous white American economists so publicly stupid on immigration? I’m using the word stupid not to mean “disagree with me,” but to mean “ignorant,” “poorly read in the literature,” “using obvious logical fallacies,” and “incurious.”

It strikes me that one big reason for the shameful behavior of most brand name economists on the analysis of immigration is the demographics of the economics profession at present, with white American economists at the top of the pyramid lording it over a lot of immigrants. The wealthy old white guys seem to assume that their immigrant underlings don’t want the immigration question studied honestly, so they discourage intelligent discussion.

  • Complexity Economics (INET)  This is a collection of articles discussing the 'black magic' (Econintersect supplied pejorative) of using representative agents to create nacroscopic models.

  • Why Getting A Mammogram May Cause More Trouble Than It's Worth (Prevention, MSN Health & Fitness)  See also next article.  in all cases, mammograms are startlingly less powerful than we give them credit for. Ultimately, the decision to get screened is a personal one, and one every woman has the right to make. But there are some things we must all first try to understand:

  • Mammograms Just Aren't That Effective At Saving Lives.

  • Mammograms Can Lead To Some Pretty Bad Things.

  • You Might Not Need a Mamogram Until You Turn 50.

  • Early Detection Is An Oversold Promise.

  • It Wouldn't Be Crazy To Skip Out On Mammograms Entirely...

  • ...But It's Understandable To Want To Get Them Anyway.

  • The New Updated Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines Bring Us Closer To Finally Agreeing About Mammograms. Kind Of. (Prevention)  For the first time since 2003, the American Cancer Society has updated its breast cancer screening guidelines, after re-reviewing the evidence on mammography. So do we now have consensus about when you should start mammograms, and how often you should get them? Afraid not, since ACS's new advice still doesn't align with the guidelines from the United States Preventive Services Task Force, the experts charged with deciding what's solid, science-backed medicine in the US. The new guidelines do get us one step closer to unanimous, at least. A babystep.

  • Reintroducing Economic Theory (INET)  A collection of articles discussing the criticisms of undergradute economic curricula and various approaches proposed (and even underway) to improve the "dismal" situation.  (Pardon Econintersect''s paly on the word "dismal".)

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