Iraq's Trade Unions and other Free Reads from the latest Economist

unbankedUS.gifAt university one professor cautioned me not to quote so much from The Economist and another professor advised me to keep on reading The Economist. I chose to take the advice of the latter. It’s quite remarkable the number of posts in the bloggersphere that comments about either The Economist or links to its articles. Here’s a sample; Economist Advertising Tactic, Why The Economist is so successful, Cross-Country Relationship Between Wage and Price Inflation, How to Save The Economist and The Journal from Irrelevance, The Design Evolution of The Economist, Facts from the Economist, Lunch with Finance Editor, Burgernomics- a favourite of bloggers, academics and radio stations. Former staff turned bloggers- Chris Anderson and Keith Hart.

Keith Hart, an anthropologist credited three years at The Economist for for teaching him to not only talk about economics as if he knew what he was talking about, but also to do so with unwavering confidence and assurance. Be sure to check The Economist’s style guide.

Iraq's trade unions;According to the Iraqi Workers' Federation (IWF), more than 2,000 of its members have been killed as a direct result of the economic scorched-earth policy waged by the insurgency.

Galbraith Obituary; A decade ago, Mr Galbraith lamented that old age brought an annoying affliction he called the “Still Syndrome”. People would constantly note that he was “still” doing things: still “interested in politics” when he showed up at a meeting, “still imbibing” when he had a drink and “still that way” when his eyes lit up on seeing a beautiful woman. The Still Syndrome lasted an immodestly long time. Its passing has left America poorer

Health in America and Britain; Americans spend far more on health care than the inhabitants of other rich countries, but their life expectancy is below the wealthy world's average. Annual medical costs, measured by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development using purchasing-power parities, which take account of price differences, amount to $5,635 per person in America compared with $2,231 in Britain. Yet an American's life expectancy at birth is 77.2 years compared with 78.5 for a Brit

Iran and the Bomb; He has been greatly helped by the rise in oil prices—propelled, in part, by the worries about Iran. The country's oil revenues for the Iranian year that ended in March were in the region of $50 billion, nearly twice the figure of two years earlier.

Petrol Prices; Many Americans are furious at high petrol prices, but low taxes mean that they get a better deal at the pump than motorists do in most other countries. High taxes make Turkey the most expensive place to fill up, followed by Norway and Britain. The IMF says that higher gasoline taxes in America, which consumes a quarter of the world's oil, would help to curb excessive consumption

Metal prices continue to soar. Copper, nickel, zinc and platinum have all hit record levels. Copper has risen by 60% so far this year; nickel by 45%. Gold is at a 25-year high; silver, a 23-year high

Alternative energy; The notion of American farmers defying the tide of capitalism to grow their own fuel is a glorious delusion. But Mr Schweitzer is right that Congress has some big decisions to make about biofuels. To what extent, if any, should government subsidise this nascent industry? Already it has received plenty of help. Ethanol producers get a tax credit worth 51 cents a gallon, much to the delight of industry powerhouses such as Archer Daniels Midland. There is also a 54 cents-a-gallon tariff on imports of ethanol from Brazil

Japanese toys; Toys that help people to relax have also boosted sales. Primo Puel, a cuddly doll version of a five-year old boy, is fitted with sensors and five levels of happiness, can talk a bit and needs care. It has been a big hit with women over 40, whose own children have left home. “Little Jammer”, a toy jazz band, is also a hit—this time with men. Hidamari no tami (sunshine people), plastic dolls with simple smiley faces, are hot, not just in Japan but in America too. Other local successes include Sega's Homestar Planetarium, which brings the wonders of the night sky into the living room

Flight 93; The film has stirred an angry debate. Isn't Hollywood hijacking the hijacking for its own money-grubbing purposes? Isn't life hard enough without watching people hurtle to their death in a metal tube? And—the most insistent question of all—isn't it too soon for America to relive the horror of September 11th? Trailers for the film were greeted with boos in New York and Los Angeles, and were subsequently pulled. Fully 60% of people tell pollsters that they will not see the film.

Microsoft; The business and regulatory challenges facing Microsoft are related, because the firm needs to be free to compete against rivals in nascent markets on the one hand, yet almost anything it does will invite antitrust concerns on the other. Microsoft's Internet Explorer holds roughly 85% of the market, while the rival Firefox browser boasts 10-15%. But Microsoft lags behind in search. Worldwide, Google has around 50% market share, Yahoo 28% and Microsoft's MSN 13%. The stakes are huge: online advertising in America, today estimated to be worth $12.5 billion, is expected to double by 2010.

Americans Without Bank Accounts; In America at least 12m households have no bank account—are “unbanked”, in the industry's ugly jargon. Once unnaturalised immigrants and the “underbanked”—an even uglier term for those with a low credit score or none—are added, some estimates exceed 40m.

Quantum Computing; Quantum theory allows subatomic particles to exist in more than one state simultaneously, a phenomenon known as superposition. An electron, for example, has a property called spin that can be “up” or “down”—or a bizarre combination of the two. Using the spin of an electron to represent a bit of data would allow it to be both up and down (ie, zero and one) at the same time. Instead of being a bit it is, in the jargon, a qubit

Current Account Balances; Spain's current-account deficit is bigger than America's, relative to the size of the Spanish economy, and it is deteriorating faster. But Spain is in no danger of suffering a run on its currency, which it shares with 11 other countries. Switzerland's current-account surplus, of more than $50 billion, reflects depressed investment rates in the country. Swiss savers are pursuing more lucrative opportunities abroad

Canadian Economy; On April 27th, Mr Harper announced a surprise settlement of a protracted trade war with the United States over softwood lumber….In 2002, for the fourth time since 1982, the United States levied countervailing duties on exports of wood from Canada, its partner in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The American government has mainly failed to persuade NAFTA (and other) panels of its case that Canada subsidises lumber. …But Mr Harper is eager to improve relations with George Bush's government. After a week of talks, both sides agreed a draft deal which in essence returns to the previous regime of managed trade. The Americans will drop the sanctions, and return $4 billion of the $5 billion they have collected in duties. Canada accepted that its share of the American market be capped at 34%. It agreed to impose export taxes and limit shipments if prices in the United States fall much below their current—unusually high—levels. ….Philip Cross, the chief economist of Statistics Canada, reckons that while Americans are paying over 70% more for gasoline than three years ago, prices in Canada are up by only about a third.

French Corruption; The story orginates in a judicial investigation, launched in 2001, into kickbacks, linked to the 1991 sale of six French frigates to Taiwan, that were allegedly channelled through Clearstream accounts.

City of London’s History; AT THE end of the 19th century, an intrepid social scientist visited Stockwell, in south London. He was involved in an ambitious project, led by the shipping magnate Charles Booth, to colour-code every street in the capital according to its social make-up. In general, the area struck him as comfortable. But just east of Stockwell Road he found a pocket of filth and squalor, with rowdy residents and broken windows. It was, he believed, “far the worst place in the division”.

MUSIC company bosses always get a terrible rap…In contrast to many fellow execs, Mr Iovine has musical talent. And although he works for Universal Music Group, the biggest music firm in the world, which is in turn owned by Vivendi, a French conglomerate, artists regard him as much more than just another “suit”. Rappers have even incorporated Jimmy Iovine approvingly into their lyrics. Mr Iovine has street credibility. And—ironically enough—that may be the key to his success as a businessman.

A discussion with Andreas Kluth, Technology Correspondent of The Economist;

In the participatory era, media will no longer be delivered one way from a media company to an audience...but by audience members to other audience members. The distinction between content creators and consuming audiences first gets blurry and then disappears completely...Instead of media being delivered as a sermon or lecture, it becomes a conversation among the people in the audience


Powered by Movable Type 5.02

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Paul published on May 7, 2006 3:03 PM.

Lawmakers tell FTC to Define Price Gouging was the previous entry in this blog.

The Seven Podcasts for the Coming Week is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.