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What We Read Today 03 August 2016

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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Topics today include:

  • Is Everything Rigged?

  • Tesla's Big Disappointment

  • Chasing Yield is a 'Cry for Help'

  • Is a Vote for a Third Party a Wasted Vote?

  • Wal-mart's Losing Battle Against Amazon

  • Color Will Rule the World

  • Nigeria's Population Explosion - Is It Sustainable?

  • Global Population Projections are Very Uncertain

  • SCOTUS Blocks Transgender Student from Using Bathroom of New Sex

  • Black Lives Matter is Concerned About More than Police

  • European Banks on Thin Ice

  • Brexit Kicking Up Clothing Prices in UK

  • Putin Culling Cronies

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Why Africa’s Fertility Rate Threatens the Globe (National Vanguard)  The Sub-Saharan African population bomb is the most obvious long-term problem facing global peace and prosperity. We’ve been lectured for decades about climate change, but the staggering fertility rates among black Africans have been largely hushed up over the last quarter of a century. We’re supposed to assume the problem will solve itself without any white people ever being so crass as to mention that it’s even a problem.  While birth rates have dropped in much of the world, they remain staggeringly high in much of Africa south of the Sahara. The simplest measure to work with is the total fertility rate, a projection of babies per woman per lifetime. While many countries have dropped below the replacement rate (for example, Iran is at 1.85), there are 35 countries in black Africa with total fertility rates over 4.0, compared to only four elsewhere on earth.  The highest TFR is seen in desert Niger at 6.89 babies per woman.  (Econintersect:  This artcile uses a lower estimate for African population in 2100 than the latest from the UN, which are reflected in the preceding article.) See also next article.


  • World Population Prospects, 2015 (United Nations)  As you consider the various population scenarios discussed in 'What We Read Today' today, recognize that the numbers are subject to considerable uncertainty.  The average numbers cited are quite unlikely to be eventually realized exactly.  From the graphic below, there is a 20% probability that the estimated 11.2 billion people in 2100 will be either greater than 12.4 billion or less than 10 billion; and a 5% probability that the number will be either greater than 13.2 billion or less than 9.5 billion.


  • Supreme Court blocks transgender student from using bathroom of choice (Reuters)  So the SCOTUS is sending the dude with the testosterone and facial hair to the girls bathroom?  The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday blocked a transgender student who was born a girl from using the boys' bathroom, staying an order from a lower court in Virginia pending a possible appeal at the high court.

  • What Does #BlackLivesMatter Want? A New List of Demands Clouds Its Message (Foundation for Economic Education)  This FEE article expresses the feeling that BLM has lost its focus.  Econintersect:  An alternative reaction might be that BLM realizes the interactions of African Americans with police are less of a 'root problem' and more of a symptom.  The new statement of objectives might be a better description of basic social problems bearing on the African American community, with some  shared with lower income people in all ethnic and racial communities.  This article contains an excerpt from The New York Times:

The list of six platform demands is aimed at furthering their goals as the presidential campaign heads into the homestretch. … As part of the effort, the groups are demanding, among other things, reparations for what they say are past and continuing harms to African-Americans, an end to the death penalty, legislation to acknowledge the effects of slavery, as well as investments in education initiatives, mental health services and jobs programs.

"We have lost our way because we have allowed progressive re-engineering of our values and the re-writing of our history by allowing progressive institutions to brainwash generations through education, popular culture and the media."




  • Next Reveals Brexit's Hit to Your Wardrobe (Bloomberg)  Retailers' battle to preserve profit margins in a post-Brexit world could see them offering consumers some styles they'd rather forget. But Next is best placed to cope with the changes.  The U.K. retailer is the first to quantify the referendum's effect on British wardrobes, warning on Wednesday that prices of clothing in its shops could rise by up to 5% percent next year because of the slump in sterling following Britain's decision to leave the European Union. The pound's down about 10% against the dollar since the vote.


  • Hezbollah sees no immediate end to Syria war, partition in Iraq and Syria a possible outcome (Reuters)  Lebanon’s Hezbollah said the partition of Iraq and Syria was a possible outcome of sectarian fighting across the region and there was no prospect of any end to the war in Syria until after November's U.S. presidential election.  Sheikh Naim Qassem, deputy leader of the Iran-backed group, whose forces are fighting alongside President Bashar al-Assad against rebels supported by Western and regional powers, said Hezbollah, Iran and Russia would stand by Assad until the end.


  • Nigeria (Wikipedia)  In the section 'Global' above, the estimated population of Nigeria in 2100 was shown to be over 3/4 billion people, up from 182 million today.  The population density today is about 500 per square mile; in 2100 it is estimated to be around 2,700 per square mile. Putting that in different units, that is about 4 people per acre.  That puts the population density of Nigeria in 2100 about the same as for Bangladesh today.  Only bout 1/3 of Nigeria's land is arable so the future density is projected to be about 12 per arable acre.  Today in Bangladesh, the population density is about 7.5 per arable acre.  Neighboring India today has a population density about 3 per arable acre.  China has about 5 persons per arable acre.  Econintersect:  The emigration pressures will be very high for Nigeria as this population explosion proceeds.


  • Putin Is Culling His Inner Circle (Bloomberg)  In recent weeks, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is known for his loyalty to long-time associates, has left some of his friends vulnerable to attack. This is a new stage of Putin's rule: He now can only trust his security apparatus -- and not even all of it.  Some former cronies are being arrested and charged with graft and corruption.  In the past they had been shielded from "these kinds of public scandals"

Other Scientific, Health, Political, Economics and Business Items of Note - plus Miscellanea

  • EVERYTHING IS RIGGED: Medicine, science, elections, the media, money, education, search engines, social media... you are living in a fabricated fairy tale (Natural News)  Econintersect:  If this article were completely true you should probably be preparing your own noose and looking for a convenient tree limb.  But the "truth" presented has enough connections to what is probably really true that it is cause for concern.  In fact the world is "fixed" largely by personal relationships at the highest levels of finance, business and government.  And that does produce corruption, the mildest of a quid pro quo nature and the most severe involving taking large sums of money from the "outs" (that would be most of our readers) and giving it to the "ins".  Anyway, read the article - it's what they call a 'barn burner'.

  • Tesla Forecasts Ease Sting as Quarterly Loss Trails Estimate (Bloomberg)  Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) said it’s on track to ship to 50,000 cars in this year’s second half, easing the sting of a second-quarter loss that was wider than analysts estimated.  The loss, excluding some items, was $1.06 a share, the company said in a letter to investors posted on its website Wednesday. The average estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 17 analysts was for a loss of 60 cents a share. The stock initially slipped but then recovered to around the stock’s closing price of $225.79 in aftermarket trading.

  • A message to frustrated investors: Chasing dividend yield a 'cry for help' (CNBC)  Amid a frustrating environment, investors are pursuing dividend yields, and that might not be a good thing, experts told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" on Wednesday.  Barry Bannister, chief equity strategist at Stifel Nicolaus said: 

"Chasing down and consuming yield is not really a strategy, it's more of a cry for help.  Deflation still weighs in the market, and whether you're chasing dividend yield or earnings yield through a higher [price-earnings ratio], the problem is still deflation."

  • How Not To Waste Your Vote: A Mathematical Analysis (Foundation for Economic Education)  If you have a strong connection to a third party candidate or platform, this author argues that you are wasting your vote if don't vote third party if you instead vote for a major party candidate who wins with a sizable majority.  Econintersect:  All very logical IF you can reliably predict the election outcome before you vote.  

  • Jet Won't Save Walmart's Web Business (Bloomberg)  Walmart is an e-commerce also-ran. Buying tiny, struggling startups won't help the retailing giant get any better.  The world's largest retailer is in talks to snap up online retail startup, according to a Wednesday report in The Wall Street Journal. It should tread lightly.  Spending big bucks to buy a company long on hype and short on business plans isn't the answer.  Despite sinking billions of dollars into building its e-commerce operations, Walmart's online sales growth has declined for nine straight quarters (first graph below), while Amazon stock (NASDAQ:AMZN) has been eating Wal-Mart's (NYSE:WMT) alive (second graphic below).

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