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What We Read Today 11 August 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:

  • Scant Oversight, Corporate Secrecy Preceded US Weed Killer Crisis

  • Most of what you think about inequality is wrong 

  • Income Inequality Is Big, Wealth Inequality is 100 Times Bigger

  • Why do Wealth and Income Inequalities Differ?

  • Millennials and Gen Xers outvoted Boomers and older generations in 2016 election

  • White House under renovation

  • Trump's base cheers attacks on McConnell

  • Immigration Is Well Below Post-War Peaks

  • Undervalued Euro

  • Euro Headed to $1.25

  • Euro Strength Won't Last

  • Explosion hits rebels on Syria-Jordan border: monitor, activist

  • The inside story of why BJP's biggest policy champion may have jumped Modi's ship

  • Vijaypat Singhania, one of India's richest men, is now penniless, all thanks to his tycoon son Gautam

  • 'Locked and loaded': Trump makes new threat

  • Trump says he hopes North Korea understands gravity of situation

  • Venezuela’s U.S. Refineries Turn to Canada for Oil

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Millennials and Gen Xers outvoted Boomers and older generations in 2016 election (Pew Research Center)  Baby Boomers and other older Americans are no longer the majority of voters in U.S. presidential elections.  Millennials and Generation Xers cast 69.6 million votes in the 2016 general election, a slight majority of the 137.5 million total votes cast, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data. Meanwhile, Boomers and older voters represented fewer than half of all votes for the first time in decades. The shift has occurred as Millennials accounted for a growing share of the electorate and as those in the Silent and Greatest generations aged and died.

  • White House under renovation (Reuters)  Nice 20-picture slide show.

  • Trump's base cheers attacks on McConnell (The Hill)  Grassroots conservatives are cheering on President Trump’s attacks on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), even as Republicans inside the Beltway express anger and confusion.  Trump has assailed McConnell repeatedly this week for the failure to pass legislation that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.  

  • Immigration Is Well Below Post-War Peaks (Medium)  Why do many think immigration to the U.S. is high?  Because natives just aren't having many children.  [Econintersect:  To support healthy demographics in coming decades we should be increasing immigration, not cutting it as the administration proposes.)  What [ep[le see is the demographic shifts over the last century (first graph below).  But what they are not seeing is the second graph below.



Click for large image.

Click for large image.


  • Explosion hits rebels on Syria-Jordan border: monitor, activist (Reuters)  An explosion hit a rebel gathering near the Syria-Jordan border on Friday, killing at least 23 fighters and wounding dozens more, a war monitor and an activist said.  The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a violent explosion hit an army camp of the Syrian rebel group Jaish al-Islam near the border crossing town of Nassib.  The Britain-based war monitor said the explosion was caused by a suicide bomber and the death toll was expected to rise.


  • The inside story of why BJP's biggest policy champion may have jumped Modi's ship (The Economic Times)  Hat top to Sanjeev Kulkarni.  The departure of one of the few high-profile economists advising India’s government is a reminder of how greatly expectations have changed since the first heady days after Narendra Modi took office in May 2014. Then, the government’s unprecedented legislative majority and Modi’s own rhetoric raised expectations that he would focus on opening up India’s economy to the world. Today, the government feels more like it’s turning inward, seeking growth in the traditional manner through state action and spending, and allowing social and political considerations to dominate the policy conversation. 

Columbia economist Arvind Panagariya’s decision to leave government encapsulates those worries. In January 2015, when hopes for big-bang reforms were still high, the government eliminated one of the most prominent remnants of India’s socialist past: the Planning Commission, set up by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru during the high noon of central planning in the 1950s. The body became instead the National Institution for Transforming India, or NITI “Aayog” -- Hindi for “policy commission.” (Modi has a well-known weakness for acronyms and bilingual puns.) Panagariya was named its first administrative chief. 

The move seemed to confirm hopes that the government intended wholesale changes to India’s sclerotic economy.

  • Vijaypat Singhania, one of India's richest men, is now penniless, all thanks to his tycoon son Gautam (The Economic Times)  One of the country's richest men, who spent more than two decades dressing up the Indian male, is now broke, and by his own admission is living a "hand-to-mouth" existence. And he blames only one person for this - his son.  Dr Vijaypat Singhania, who built Raymond Ltd into one of the largest apparel brands in the country before handing over the business to his son Gautam, is today a bitter man residing in a rented row house in south Mumbai's upscale Grand Paradi society.

North Korea

  • 'Locked and loaded': Trump makes new threat (Reuters)  President Trump issued a new threat to North Korea, saying American weapons were "locked and loaded" as Pyongyang accused him of driving the Korean Peninsula to the brink of nuclear war.

  • Trump says he hopes North Korea understands gravity of situation (Reuters)  President Donald Trump said on Friday he hoped North Korea "fully" understood the gravity of his words warning Pyongyang against taking any military action against the United States or its allies.  Trump told reporters at his golf resort in New Jersey:

"I hope that they are going to fully understand the gravity of what I said, and what I said is what I mean.  Those words are very easy to understand."


  • Venezuela’s U.S. Refineries Turn to Canada for Oil (Bloomberg)  The country with the world's largest oil reserves can't supply its own refineries.  Venezuela’s oil-supply woes are so dire that its U.S. refineries are turning to Canada for help.  Citgo Petroleum Corp., the largest U.S. importer of Venezuelan oil and a unit of state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA, has started to make quiet inquiries to buy Canadian crude for its refineries in Texas and Louisiana, according to people familiar with the situation. The imports would be used to replace dwindling shipments from Venezuela, where output dropped to a 14-year low in July.

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

  • Scant Oversight, Corporate Secrecy Preceded US Weed Killer Crisis (Huffington Post)  [Econintersect:  What happens in a farmer's field does not stay in that farmer's field.]  As the U.S. growing season entered its peak this summer, farmers began posting startling pictures on social media: fields of beans, peach orchards and vegetable gardens withering away.

The photographs served as early warnings of a crisis that has damaged millions of acres of farmland. New versions of the herbicide dicamba developed by Monsanto and BASF, according to farmers, have drifted across fields to crops unable to withstand it, a charge authorities are investigating.

As the crisis intensifies, new details provided to Reuters by independent researchers and regulators, and previously unreported testimony by a company employee, demonstrate the unusual way Monsanto introduced its product. The approach, in which Monsanto prevented key independent testing of its product, went unchallenged by the Environmental Protection Agency and nearly every state regulator.

  • Most of what you think about inequality is wrong (MarketWatch)  Hat tip to Sig Silber.  Bruce Meyer of the University of Chicago and James Sullivan of the University of Notre Dame argue that consumption, rather than income, should be examined. Using income to measure inequality is a problem for a few reasons. For one, it’s measured before tax, it’s not person weighted (a family with one person is measured the same as one with six people) and it may underrepresent the impact of government transfers. Income measures also don’t capture consumption out of financial wealth as well as durables such as housing and cars.  See also next two articles.

Consumption, they say, may be a better way to measure well being, since it better reflects disparities in access to credit or accumulation of assets. Consumption also is more closely associated with other measures of poverty than income is.

Click for larger image.

  • Income Inequality Is Big, Wealth Inequality is 100 Times Bigger (Metrocosm)  [See the preceding article and also the following one.  The article above makes a very valid point:  Consumption inequality is less than income inequality because those with higher incomes do not use all their income for consumption.  Higher income folks can be said to "hoard money" to the extent that some income is not kept circulating in the economy.  The result is the inequality discussed in this Metrocosm article.  Summary:  Wealth inequality > income inequality > consumption inequalty.  Integrating over time Wealth = Income - Consumption.  That is all the preceding article is implying but not stating.]  This article provides two self-explanitory graphics:

Click for large image.

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