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What We Read Today 06 September 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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Tropics today include:

  • Recessions and Depressions - Wall Street and Main Street

  • Economics of Uber Drivers

  • Tech Sector:  A 15 Year Base Breaks Out

  • Growing Share of Energy Pie for Renewables

  • OPEC Doesn't Want Oil Price Much Higher

  • Native Alaskans Face Tough Decisions Because of Climate Change

  • ITT Tech Shutting Down Over Student Loans Defaults

  • U.S. Veterans Screwed by ITT Tech Shutdown

  • Trump Leads Clinton

  • Clinton Leads Trump

  • Whites Block London Airport in 'Black Lives Matter' Protest

  • British Pound Sterling is Rallying

  • Chlorine Bombs in Aleppo

  • Rwanda Conservation Project Saves Watershed and Creates 60,000 Jobs

  • Shadows and Autonomous Cars

  • Japan Hopes for a Fed Raise

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • OPEC Likely to Be Cautious on Output Cuts (The Wall Street Journal)  OPEC members face a dilemma in the run-up to a new round of oil-production talks later this month: They want to boost crude prices to raise their revenue, but they don’t want to send prices so high that North American shale-oil producers will lift their output.  The result, say officials from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, is that the cartel is unlikely to make significant production cuts when it meets in Algiers beginning Sept. 26.  After meeting with OPEC secretary-general Mohammed Barkindo on Tuesday, Iran’s oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said he and others in OPEC are hoping to get the oil price between $50 and $60 a barrel—higher than today’s $47 or so, but low enough to keep “rivals from raising their output," the ministry said.



  • Resilience Via Relocation?  Climate Change Forces Tough Decisions on Native Alaskans   (Revitalization News)  Island and coastal native settlements in Alaska are considering relocating as sea ice cover recedes and erosion takes a larger toll on their land.  One major issue is who will pay the costs.  An estimate for one village of 600 came in at $179 million ($300,000 per person).

  • ITT Tech shutting down all campuses nationwide (USA Today)  In the wake of devastating federal sanctions, officials from the Carmel, Indiana based ITT Educational Services Inc. announced Tuesday that all ITT Technical Institute campuses will be closing.  In late August, the U.S. Department of Education barred ITT from enrolling new students who depend on federal aid and required the company to warn current students that its accreditation is in jeopardy. ITT was also told that it must increase its reserves from $94.4 million to $247.3 million, or 40% of federal student aid the company received in 2015.  The financial blow was too much for ITT to bear, so the decision was made to shutter operations, a move that will impact thousands of students and employees.  The 50-year-old institution has been sanctioned by the government for an exceptionally high student loan default rates.  See next two articles.

  • The 5 Colleges That Leave the Most Students Crippled By Debt (Time)  Almost 650,000 federal student loan borrowers have defaulted on their debt, new data shows. A handful of for-profit schools are a big part of the problem.  In all, 13.7% of the 4.8 million federal student loan borrowers who graduated or dropped out of a higher education program in 2011 have gone at least nine months without making a payment on that debt.  The five schools with the highest default rates are shown in this table:

  • A Message from the Secretary of Education to ITT Students (Official Blog, U.S. Department of Education)  Closing of IIT Tech may allow some current and former students of IIT Tech to receive federal student loan debt foregiveness.  However, veterans attending under the Post-9/11 GI Bill have no recourse.  If they have not graduated and cannot transfer credits, the portion of their education benefits expanded are gone forever.  See Why ITT closing hits veterans hardest (Indy Star).  From the DOE blog:

Most immediately, you have two basic options to choose between:

  1. If you are currently or were recently enrolled at ITT, you may be eligible to have your federal student loans for your program at ITT discharged. Your federal loan debt will be wiped away and you will have the option of restarting your education somewhere new. We will post and update information about how to receive a discharge at our ITT announcements page.

  2. If you wish to continue and complete your program at a different school – especially if you are close to graduating – you may be able to transfer your credits. It is important to note that transferring your credits may limit your ability to have your federal loans discharged. Closed school discharge may be an option if you enroll in a different program that does not accept your ITT credits.

  • Donald Trump Takes Lead Over Hillary Clinton In National Poll (The Daily Caller)  According to Rasmussen’s latest polling,  Donald Trump is at 40%, Hillary Clinton is at 39%, Libertarian Gary Johnson is at 7% and Green Party candidate Jill Stein is at 3%. For the rest, 3% in the poll are supporting someone else while 7% say they are still undecided.  The totals add to 99% due to rounding errors.  This is only one poll and many others show Clinton in the lead.  See also next article.

  • Who will win the presidency?​ (FiveThiryEight)  Donald Trump is closing fast according to Nate Silver's forecasting model.  Hillary Clinton is seeing narrowing leads in many states while Trump is holding on to narrow leads in Arizona and Georgia.  The changes over the past two weeks have moved the forecast from a 10% probability of a Trump victory to almost 32%.  A few polls have a virtual tie and at least one (see preceding article) gives Trump a narrow lead.  The following data is for polls-only analysis - the polls plus (including comparisons to historical economic data) is almost the same with Trump probability at 33%.




  • Black Lives Matter protesters removed from London airport runway, police say (CNN)   A group of Black Lives Matter activists whose protest temporarily shut down a London airport Tuesday have been arrested and removed from the runway, police said.  Flights were suspended at London City Airport after nine protesters locked themselves together on the runway and erected a tripod, London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement.  Black Lives Matter UK, a network of anti-racism activists, said in a statement that the action was taken to protest Britain's "environmental impact on the lives of black people locally and globally".  Econintersect:  Pictures accompanying the article indicate the protesters were all white men.

  • British Pound Sterling Gaining Against Dollar (Twitter)

Click for large image of chart.


  • Syria Activists: Warplanes Dropped Chlorine Bombs in Aleppo (Bloomberg)   Syrian activists and rescue workers in the rebel-held part of the contested city of Aleppo said that government warplanes dropped suspected chlorine bombs Tuesday on a crowded neighborhood, injuring dozens.  The report could not be independently verified and it was not clear how it was determined that chlorine gas was released.  Accusations involving use of chlorine and other poisonous gases are not uncommon in Syria's civil war, and both sides have denied using them while blaming the other for using it as a weapon of war. Last month, there were at least two reports of suspected chlorine attacks in Aleppo also, while the Syrian government also blamed the opposition for using the gas.


  • Watershed Program Has Created 60,000 jobs and Restore 8500 Hectares in Rwanda (Revitalization News)  Nearly four years after its founding, the environment and climate change investment fund (FONERWA) has created projects that now employ almost 60,000 people.  Bright Ntare, the Fund’s program manager, says that, to-date, Green Fundinvestments have restored more than 8,500 hectares of watersheds and water bodies and protected almost 13,000 hectares (32,000 acres) of land against erosion.  The Fund has also supported tree planting and agro forestry on more than 21,000 hectares across the country. In terms of green growth, 6,807 households have improved access to off-grid energy.


  • Russian driver fined for his car's shadow (Independent, MSN News)  Automated traffic monitoring can produce false results.  A driver in Russia has been fined for illegally crossing a solid white traffic lane line.  Below is the photograph from the traffic monitor device which produced the violation.  Econintersect:  While this may seem a whimsical incident, it reflects upon problems to be overcome in autonomous vehicle operations.  Imagine traffic jams or accidents resulting from self-driving cars taking actions to avoid shadows.

Click for larger view.


  • Japan's Central Bank Should Wait for the Fed, Abe Advisor Says (Bloomberg)  The Bank of Japan should wait until after the U.S. Federal Reserve decides on interest rates before acting itself, said Koichi Hamada, an economic adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.  Hamada said the BOJ risks having its efforts overshadowed if it expands monetary stimulus at its policy meeting on Sept. 21 and the Fed then just hours later decides to keep U.S. interest rates unchanged.  A Fed decision to raise borrowing costs would do more to weaken the yen than anything the BOJ would do, according to Hamada, a retired Yale University professor. The BOJ would still have the opportunity to increase stimulus at meetings in November and December.  Hamada said, in an interview in Tokyo on Monday:

 “The BOJ should wait for the Fed.  The present focus of attention is on the U.S. exit policy.”

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

  • Wall Street vs. Main Street: Recessions and Depressions (John Lounsbury, Credit Writedowns)  From March 2010.  This work proposed that business cycles, normally measured for GDP, could also be measured for other economic parameters.  Here the GDP measurement is proposed  to represent the 'Wall Street' business cycle and employment is proposed to represent the 'Main Street' business cycle.  Measurement of business cycles will be developed in future articles yet to be written over the coming months here at GEI.  For futher background see What is an Economic Depression?

  • Satellite owner says SpaceX owes $50 million or free flight (Reuters)  Israel's Space Communication Ltd said on Sunday it could seek $50 million or a free flight from Elon Musk's SpaceX after a Spacecom communications satellite was destroyed last week by an explosion at SpaceX's Florida launch site.  Officials of the Israeli company said in a conference call with reporters Sunday that Spacecom also could collect $205 million from Israel Aerospace Industries, which built the AMOS-6 satellite.  SpaceX said in an email to Reuters that it does not disclose contract or insurance terms. The company is not public, and it has not said what insurance it had for the rocket or to cover launch pad damages beyond what was required by the Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees commercial U.S. launches, for liability and damage to government property.

  • Renewable energy continuing to increase market share (International Energy Agency)  Wind and solar are leading renewable energy growth, both globally (first graphic below) and within OECD countries (second graphic below).  Click either graphic for a larger image.

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