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What We Read Today 16 July 2017

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:

  • Who Came to America, and When?

  • Economist Josh Ryan-Collins: How Land Disappeared from Economic Theory

  • Trump May End Up Killing DACA After All

  • Immigration activists fear for future of ‘Dreamers’ program

  • Women’s group protest receives frosty welcome at Trump golf course

  • In Landmark Move, GOP Congress Calls Climate Change ‘Direct Threat’ to Security

  • UK sees need for phased Brexit, says Hammond

  • Brexit trade deals with the US and Australia are not ‘in the bag’

  • Investors Won't Avoid Nature Colliding with Markets

  • Win or lose, Austrian far right's views have entered government

  • ECB considers special assessment of Deutsche Bank shareholders: paper

  • India’s first solar-powered DEMU train launched

  • China Just Built a 250-Acre Solar Farm Shaped Like a Giant Panda

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Trump May End Up Killing DACA After All (Foreign Policy)  Hard-line immigration reformers are forcing Trump’s hand on a politically explosive campaign promise to deport people who came to the U.S. as children.  An Obama-era program that grants temporary legal status to nearly 800,000 people brought to the United States illegally as children may be abruptly cut off in a matter of months.  See also next article.

On June 29, 10 attorneys general from Republican states sent a letter to President Donald Trump threatening to sue the administration if the White House does not take steps to phase out Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, by Sept. 5.

On Wednesday, Department of Homeland Secretary John Kelly told a meeting of Hispanic lawmakers that he doesn’t expect DACA to survive a court challenge.

  • Immigration activists fear for future of ‘Dreamers’ program (The Hill)  Pro-immigrant activists are growing increasingly pessimistic that the Trump administration will defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program from court challenges.  The program, based on an executive order signed by former President Obama, gives work permits and protects from deportation around 750,000 people who were illegally brought into the country as children.

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly told Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) lawmakers this week that he didn't believe the program was legally sustainable.

However, attendees at the prestigious golf tournament did not welcome the presence of protesters. 

Guests at the sporting event were reportedly annoyed with the demonstrations, according to reports.

  • In Landmark Move, GOP Congress Calls Climate Change ‘Direct Threat’ to Security (Foreign Policy)  Extreme weather and rising seas threaten bases from Virginia to Guam. For the first time, a Republican House has voted to recognize that.  A study last year found that rising oceans threaten 128 military installations on the coasts, including naval facilities worth around $100 billion.  But Congress has not recognized the threat - until now.

The Republican-controlled House retained an amendment to the 2018 defense funding bill affirming that “climate change is a direct threat to the national security of the United States.” It orders defense officials to draw up a report laying out which facilities would be most affected.




  • Win or lose, Austrian far right's views have entered government (Reuters)  Even if Austria's far-right party fails to enter government after Oct. 15 elections, its views on immigration already have.  The anti-Islam Freedom Party's (FPO) popularity reached new heights during Europe's migration crisis in 2015 when it denounced the centrist government's decision to throw open Austria's borders to hundreds of thousands of refugees and other migrants.

Click for large image.


The ECB may launch so-called ownership control procedures to scrutinize both the Qatari royal family and China's HNA (0521.HK), which each own just under 10 percent of the shares of Germany's flagship lender, Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported in a prereleased version of its Monday edition.

The ECB and Deutsche Bank declined to comment.

The aim of a such an assessment is to establish whether an investor is trustworthy and financially sound, where the money used for the investment came from, and whether the investor engages in any criminal dealings such as money laundering or terrorist financing.

Normally it is only carried out if a shareholder holds more than 10 percent.


  • India’s first solar-powered DEMU train launched (The Hindu)  The Railways on Friday launched the country’s first solar-powered local train here with a battery bank facility that ensures sufficient power even in the absence of sunlight.  The entire electrical need of the coaches, which includes lights, fans and information display system, will be met by the energy produced by solar panels fitted atop the coaches of the DEMU (diesel electric multiple unit) train.  A solar-powered DEMU train with six trailer coaches will save about 21,000 litres of diesel, thereby saving ₹12 lakh ($18,000) every year.


  • China Just Built a 250-Acre Solar Farm Shaped Like a Giant Panda (Science Alert)  Most solar farms align their solar arrays in rows and columns to form a grid.  A new solar power plant in Datong, China, however, decided to have a little fun with its design. China Merchants New Energy Group, one of the country's largest clean energy operators, built a 248-acre solar farm in the shape of a giant panda.   The first phase, which includes one 50-megawatt plant, was completed on June 30, according to PV magazine.  The project just began delivering power to a grid in northwestern China, and a second panda is planned for later this year.

Called the Panda Power Plant, it will be able to produce 3.2 billion kilowatt-hours of solar energy in 25 years, according to the company.

That will eliminate approximately million tons of coal that would have been used to produce electricity, reducing carbon emissions by 2.74 million tons.

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

  • Who Came to America, and When? (Visual Capitalist)  Hat to Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture. The United States has a long-standing history of being a “nation of immigrants”, and today the country is home to roughly 46.6 million residents that were born outside of the country.  Below we have two representations of the U.S. immigration data for the past 200 years.

Click for large image.

  • Economist Josh Ryan-Collins: How Land Disappeared from Economic Theory (Evonomics)  Neglected, obfuscated but never quite completely forgotten, the story of Land’s marginalization from mainstream economic theory is little known. But it has important implications. Putting it back in to economics, we argue in a new book, ‘Rethinking the Economics of Land and Housing’, could help us better understand many of today’s most pressing social and economic problems, including excessive property prices, rising wealth inequality and stagnant productivity. Land was initially a key part of classical economic theory, so why did it get pushed aside? 

The classical political economists – David Ricardo, John Stuart Mill and Adam Smith – that shaped the birth of modern economics, emphasized that land had unique qualities, distinct from capital and labour, that had important influence on the dynamics of production.

The classical economists feared that land-owners would increasingly monopolise the proceeds of growth as nations developed and desirably locational land became relatively more scarce. Eventually, as rents rose, the proportion of profits available for capital investment and wages would become so small as to lead to economic stagnation, inequality and rising unemployment. In other words, economic rent could crowd out productive investment. 

The classical economists were ‘political’ in the sense that they saw a key role for the state and in particular taxation in preventing the institution of private property from constraining economic development via rent. But at the turn of the nineteenth century, a group of economists began to develop a new kind of economics, based upon universal scientific laws of supply and demand and free of normative judgements concerning power and state intervention. Land’s uniqueness as an input to production was lost along the way. 

In the UK, land is not included as a distinct asset class in the National Accounts, despite being one of the largest and most important asset classes in the economy. Instead, the value of the underlying land is included in the value of dwellings and other buildings and structures, which are classed as ‘produced non-financial assets’ (Figure 2)

Figure 2: Growth in the value of non-financial assets in the UK, 1995-2015


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