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.
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Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world
Ireland, Mexico, Canada Defect from the War on Drugs (Foundation for Economic Education) A majority of Ohioans are in favor of legalization of marijuana yet the state this week rejected a ballot initiative to do just that. A key factor in that outcome was specific implementation proposed via an amendment to the state constitution which would have created a monopoly with a "state-sanctioned drug cartel of ten licensed dealers". In spite of the Ohio outcome, though, the tide is moving toward legalization on a global scale. One example of the benefits of abandoning the prohibition era for drugs is offered by Portugal. That country adopted 'decriminalization' of personal possession of all drugs in 2001. This is a step short of "legalization" because it's still a crime to make, sell, or "profit from" drugs; But nonetheless the results "have been extremely extraordinary: deaths, addiction, and HIV infections from drugs have all dropped precipitously". Recently three noteworthy advances toward ending the "War on Drugs" came from Canada (elected a Prime Minister who has pledged to legalize pot), Ireland (decriminalization of marijuana, heroine and cocaine) and Mexico (Supreme Court ruled the ban on marijuana was unconstitutional).
Automobile Fuel Economy Standards in a Lower-Oil-Price World (Council on Foreign Relations) This report reviews the rationalization of CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards in a low-cost oil environment. The finding is the cost benefit is driven far more by the cost of carbon than by the mileage costs of fuel - driving fuel economy ever higher is still economically productive, even with very low petroleum prices.
Obama rejects Keystone pipeline, says US must lead on climate change (Al Jazeera) President says pipeline would not make meaningful contribution to economy, would not lower gas prices for consumers and therefore would not “serve the national interest of the United States". Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government was “disappointed” by the decision, but said the relationship with the U.S. was “much bigger than any one project”. The announcement was denounced by Republicans who supported the project, with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan calling the decision “sickening.”
No High School Diploma? The Job Market’s Looking Up (The Wall Street Journal) Things are looking up for the group of Americans who fared worst during the economic crisis, suggesting a shortage of skilled workers might be sending employers deeper into the labor pool. The unemployment rate for those at least 25 years old without a high school diploma fell to 7.4% in October—a sharp drop from 7.9% in September and a year earlier, and down from almost 16% in 2010.
What Turkey’s Election Surprise Says About the Troubled Country (Council on Foreign Relations) Just five months after failing to secure a parliamentary majority for the first time since 2002, Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) came roaring back on Sunday with 49.4% of the popular vote and a renewed mandate to govern without any coalition partners. What is hidden beneath this majority party facade is a country seething with dissidence which is enhanced by the government determination that "Kurdish nationalism and the consonant political gains that Syrian, Iraqi, and Turkish Kurds have made was a greater threat to their sovereignty than the Islamic State’s nihilism".
As part of this analysis we looked at whether achieving sustainability will require a shift in our values, such as rejecting consumerism. We also looked at the contributions of choices made by individuals (such as consuming less water or energy) and of choices made collectively by society (such as policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions).
We found that collective policy choices are crucial, and that Australia could make great progress to sustainability without any changes in social values.
High quality child care is out of reach for working families ( Elise Gould and Tanyell Cooke, Economic Policy Institute) Child care is a major part of family budgets, costing more than state university tuition in 24 states (for four-year olds) or 33 states (for infants). In many areas the annual income necessary to "secure a modest yet adequate standard of living for a two-parent, two-child is above family" is greater than the median household income. In otherwords, the median middle income family canniot afford to have children.
Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea
Academia’s Rejection of Ideological Diversity Has Consequences (Foundation for Economic Education) The author maintains that in U.S. law schools "the perspectives of legal academics are relatively monolithic and reflect little understanding of (let alone sympathy for) common right-of-center viewpoints". He argues that uniformity of thought is deadly to student development.
Bill Would Change High School Economics Graduation Requirement (WILX) A bill headed to Governor Snyder's desk would change a high school graduation requirement to make students better prepared to handle real life finances. Right now, students have to pass a half credit economics requirement to graduate. The bill would let the requirement be satisfied by taking a class that includes a financial literacy component. Supporters say it would help students better understand how things like debt, inflation and taxation apply to their own lives. Econintersect: Will they teach loanable funds theory of banking? Crowding out concepts? Desirability of U.S. federal budget balancing? Economic equilibrium concepts? If any of these then the students would be better off ignorant.
A Wal-Mart Heir Is $27 Billion Poorer Than Everyone Thought (Bloomberg) A week ago she was considered to be America's richest woman with a net worth calculated at $32 billion. Records unsealed by a Wyoming court have revealed that the widow of John T. Walton, Christy, received a $5 billion inheritance as he left more than half of his estate to charity and about $10 billion to their son Luke.
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