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 dayin the early am at GEI News (membership not required for access to "The Early Bird".).
1. The referendum sparked three years of intense internal reflection in almost every European nation. Both the U.K. and EU stepped back from some of their traditional global roles. And with the U.S. hesitant to take on additional international responsibilities, the vacuum was filled in a haphazard manner by many other countries, further fragmenting the global system and accelerating its march to what Ian Bremmer has labeled the G-Zero world.
2. In the months after the referendum, the U.K suffered a series of political traumas. All attempts to bypass the referendum's verdict failed. The two major parties, the Conservatives and Labour, went through messy leadership contests, but still received a major rebuke from voters in the general election that followed. A new "national coalition" somehow managed to come together and negotiated a new Association Agreement with the EU that maintained most free trade of goods and services.
Greenpeace to Nobel Laureates: It’s Not Our Fault Golden Rice Has ‘Failed as a Solution’ (EcoWatch) Greenpeace was targeted Wednesday by more than 100 Nobel laureates who have signed a letter calling on the environmental group to end its campaign against genetically modified organisms (GMOs). In the letter, Greenpeace is accused of leading “the fact-challenged propaganda campaign against innovations in agricultural biotechnology.” The NGO’s opposition on a particularly controversial GMO crop, golden rice, was central in the letter. The laureates’ letter argues that scientific and regulatory agencies around the world have “repeatedly and consistently” found GMO crops as safe for humans and animals for consumption as well as for the safety of the environment.
The golden rice project started roughly 20 years ago by German researchers. The GMO crop is developed to produce pro-vitamin A (beta-carotene) and is touted by proponents as a solution to vitamin A deficiencies prevalent in developing countries. The deficiency increases risk for infection, diseases and blindness.
Greenpeace, however, has deemed the golden rice project as “environmentally irresponsible, poses risks to human health, and could compromise food, nutrition and financial security.”
Because of this stance, proponents of golden rice have long attacked the organization for being “anti-science” and prolonging the suffering of children with VAD.
In response to the letter, Wilhelmina Pelegrina, a campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia told The Post that the organization was not blocking golden rice, as the initiative “has failed as a solution and isn’t currently available for sale, even after more than 20 years of research.”
“As admitted by the International Rice Research Institute, it has not been proven to actually address vitamin A deficiency. So to be clear, we are talking about something that doesn’t even exist,” she continued. “Corporations are overhyping golden rice to pave the way for global approval of other more profitable genetically engineered crops. Rather than invest in this overpriced public relations exercise, we need to address malnutrition through a more diverse diet, equitable access to food and eco-agriculture.”
She argues that the “only guaranteed solution” to fix malnutrition is a diverse, healthy diet: “Providing people with real food based on ecological agriculture not only addresses malnutrition, but is also a scalable solution to adapt to climate change.”
U.S. sailors detained by Iran spoke too much under interrogation: Navy (Reuters) American sailors who were detained by Iran in January gave away too much information to their captors and were seized in the Gulf following a series of missteps by the crew and their superiors, the U.S. Navy said in a report on Thursday. The report said some of the 10 crew members, detained at gunpoint Jan. 12 by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), had revealed sensitive information, such as phone and laptop passwords, to the Iranians.
Tomorrow, Vermont’s historic GMO labeling law goes into effect. This is the first law enacted in the U.S. that would provide clear labels identifying food made with genetically engineered ingredients. Indeed, stores across the country are already stocking food with clear on-package labels thanks to the Vermont law, because it’s much easier for a company to provide GMO labels on all of the products in its supply chain than just the ones going to one state.
But this victory may be fleeting. The Senate will vote next week on a federal bill that would nullify Vermont’s law and other state labeling efforts percolating, thanks to the heavy hand the ag-biotech industry wields over our congressional representatives.
Americans With More Education Have Taken Almost Every Job Created in the Recovery (Bloomberg) As the U.S. recovery lumbers into its eighth year, Americans with at least some higher education have fared especially well in the labor market. The less-schooled, however, have found a much grimmer reality. Of the 11.6 million jobs added since the rebound took hold in 2010, about 99% — or 11.5 million jobs — were filled by people with either at least some college education, a bachelor's degree or better, according to a study by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce. Only 80,000 spots went to workers with a high school diploma or less, according to the report authored by Anthony Carnevale, Tamara Jayasundera and Artem Gulish.
Ex-London mayor halts bid to be UK prime minister, upends race (Reuters) Former London mayor Boris Johnson abruptly pulled out of the race to become Britain's prime minister that he was once favored to win, upending the contest less than a week after he led a campaign to take the country out of the EU. Econintersect: Now that he sees the mess he helped create, he declines to clean it up.
A Contrarian View on Brexit (John Bollinger, LinkedIn) (Yes, this man developed the ubiquitous Bollinger Bands.) Here is his bottom line on Brexit:
Don't let the media fool you, the Leave vote was not about bigotry or racism, it was a loud cry for economic freedom, for individual freedom for the freedom to govern one's own affairs. I believe that after a relatively short-term market disruption reality will settle in and that ultimately Brixit (sic) will be seen as bullish for all.
The EU Vote last week has the same legal force as an opinion poll. I suspect it is not quite the "advisory" outcome that some have suggested but it is certainly not a legally binding mandate to trigger the exit process. Parliament is not obligated to follow through and although it may now come as a surprise that few bothered to explain any of this beforehand, the failure to communicate it changes nothing.
Article 50 would be the mechanism by which the UK triggered the process of negotiating exit. It may not require an Act of Parliament to activate Article 50 but it has always been doubtful that the Prime Minister is able to use Prerogative Powers to pull the Article 50 trigger unilaterally. Of course an incoming Prime Minister may well feel he or she has a moral duty to deliver the wishes of the electorate and may well have said so in their leadership manifesto irrespective of whether they backed Remain or Leave themselves. However, whether they can then go on to deliver an outcome that satisfies the Leave campaign is far from certain.
France's employers join hostile unions to slam labor law reform (Reuters) Employers have closed ranks with labor unions in opposition to France's proposed labor law reform. France's main employers federation launched a withering attack on draft labor regulations on Thursday, saying changes made to reduce union opposition meant the proposals had become so convoluted they would not help create new jobs. The reform would hand more power to companies in the setting of pay and work conditions. Recent changes to the proposal were rejected by the unions which said the changes were insufficient.
If a nation has a trade deficit, and cannot create its money out of thin air, then the nation will have ever-increasing debt, poverty, austerity, inequality, unemployment, and privatization.
There are no exceptions to this rule. None. Never.
France has a trade deficit, and cannot create its money out of thin air. Therefore, as seen in the chart below, an average of 2.011 billion more euros flow out of France each month than come into France. This means that France must borrow an average of 2.011 billion more euros each month. France goes 2.011 billion euros deeper into debt each month.
... France will eventually become Greece.
Other Scientific, Health, Political, Economics and Business Items of Note - plus Miscellanea
A profound mystery (The Truth about Money) Econintersect: This is a brilliant ditty which demonstrates the idiocy of the way hard money people think about the subject. For more wit see Time for your daily helping. Back to this ditty:
Let’s see if you can figure this out.
We know that the U.S. government is “broke,” since money is physical, and is therefore limited. Right?
I mean, it’s not like the U.S. government can create money out of thin air, simply by changing the numbers in bank accounts.
This is why there is no money for something like universal social security.
Now suppose I won a lottery prize of $200 million. That much money in hundred-dollar bills would weigh 2.2 tons. I presume that the money would be loaded onto a dozen armored cars, and delivered to the bank of my choice. I could then access that money using a debit card.
Here is the profound mystery…
If money is physical, then how does the bank manage to squeeze 2.2 tons of money into one of those little plastic cards?
Has the single-payer era arrived? (Employee Benefit Advisor) As healthcare insurers merge and participants on various insurance exchanges shrink, the U.S. is moving to a single payer system (first excerpt) and a change is needed in approach to healthcare as a result (second excerpt):
Over the past 2-3 years, we have seen a number of commercial carriers pull out of the public exchange space, due to poor experience. The end result is an exchange with a single carrier or “payer,” to take care of our national health care needs.
Do we really have an exchange if we have only one manufacturer? Nope, if it looks like a single-payer system and it works like a single-payer system, it must be a single-payer system.
It has been my opinion, for a number of years, until we lower the claims, not just the cost of care, we will not lower the cost of healthcare. Let’s put that into a formula: Lower Claims = Lower Cost of Healthcare.
... The fact is there will always be certain claims that occur, that we cannot prevent. However, if we decreased obesity, smoking and sugar intake by 10%, all while increasing exercise and health awareness by 20% I am convinced that we would see a drop in claims, ultimately driving down premiums.
Investors are suffering from the ‘terrible twos’ (Rob Isbitts, MarketWatch) RI has contributed to GEI. Isbitts says "the past two years have gradually turned a bull market into one transitioning toward an eventual bear market". So, he says, don't act like a child in the terrible twos and pout - deal with it. He offers some suggestions.
Adam Smith is said to be the founder of modern economics. Yet, contrary to a widespread view, Smith regarded individuals as driven by moral motives as well as self-interest. This is most clear in his Theory of Moral Sentiments, but ideas of justice and morality also pervade his Wealth of Nations.
It took economics a while to get rid of this argument. In two classic works published in 1871, William Stanley Jevons and Carl Menger placed individual self-interest at the foundation of economics. Three years later, Léon Walras built neoclassical general equilibrium analysis upon a similar assumption. For the next 100 years or more, self-interested, utility-maximizing, “economic man” was the centerpiece of mainstream economic theory.
Do Taxes Really Cause the Rich to Move? (The Atlantic) Not very often. A new study finds that the wealthiest Americans are less mobile than lower income workers, but those who do relocate are looking for a tax cut.
Those making $10,000 a year have the highest migration rates—about 4.5 percent per year. As incomes climb, the migration rate falls steadily, until it reaches its lowest point (2 percent) for those making $90,000 a year. Once incomes reach millionaire-level, the migration rate increases, but only slightly. As the study points out, “higher-income earners show greater residential stability … than do low-income earners.” In other words, the well-off tend to be even more settled than other residents.
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