Saturday , December 7 2019
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Links 12/7/19

Yves here. Funny how the zeitgeist has changed. The fact that today is Pearl Harbor Day was more widely remembered when I started blogging than now. Of course, one contributor is the last World War II vets are dying. One I knew personally who was 95 who was a Battle of the Bulge survivor passed away about a month ago. He led a local Battle of the Bulge group that met about monthly for World War II vets and other interested people. Separately, I feel compelled to hoist a comment of mine that...

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The Geography of EU Discontent

Yves here. Quelle surprise! Economic decline is a big driver of populist discontent in the EU. By Lewis Dijkstra, Head of Economic Analysis Sector, Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission; Hugo Poelman, Senior Assistant, DG Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission; and Andrés Rodríguez-Pose Professor of Economic Geography, London School of Economics. Originally published at VoxEU Support for Eurosceptic parties and the rise of populism threaten not only...

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Financialization of the U.S. Pharmaceutical Industry

Yves here. This article is a bit geeky but very much worth your attention. It shows how pharmaceutical companies are flat out lying when they say they need higher drug prices to support R&D. Their profits go almost entirely to buybacks and dividends. And this analysis does not incorporate another unflattering fact: that Big Pharma spends more on marketing than research. It also describes how government funding of drug research has increased more than three times in real terms since the...

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2:00PM Water Cooler 12/6/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente. Politics “But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51 “They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune Here is a second counter for the Iowa Caucus, which is obviously just around the corner: * * * 2020 Alert reader dk (not to be confused with DK) is in the process of developing the following interactive chart. We have a new Ipsos is (are) the latest Dem...

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US Targets Wage-Repression Model in Mexico, Demands Inspections, Industry Has a Cow

Yves here. I have to confess that even with trying not to get bogged down in the impeachment drama, it has nevertheless been such a distraction as to divert attention from important stories like the state of the so-called NAFTA 2.0 talks. This post describes how Democrats are pushing for wage and working condition protections for auto workers (and enforcement mechanisms with teeth) in Mexico that has put automakers and the Mexican government in a tizzy. If this actually gets in the pact (a...

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Links 12/6/19

Climate change: Elephants killing and injuring people due to drought Sky News Ryrkaypiy: Far-north Russian village overrun by polar bears BBC A Summary of U.S. State Historical Snowfall Extremes Weather Underground Daily briefing: Climate-change models stand the test of time Nature The battle over green investment is hotting up Gillian Tett, FT Rivers could generate thousands of nuclear power plants worth of energy, thanks to a new ‘blue’ membrane Science Researchers: Put a brake on bioenergy...

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Coal Is Dead, But China Is Reviving It

Yves here. Not that the US is making great strides towards reducing its dependence on fossil fuels, but some readers took umbrage at the notion that China is retreating from its earlier plans to move towards greener energy sources and cut its use of coal. Towards its close, this story cites a Reuters report that China has been adding coal-fueled generator capacity. By Irina Slav, a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry. Originally...

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Why Hospitals Never Have Enough Nurses: The Explanatory Power of “Prasad’s Law” of Wealth Concentration

Yves here. In case you haven’t had the misfortune to acquire first-hand experience, what Vinay Prasad and Roy Poses say about chronic nurse shortages in hospitals appears to be correct. I have a good friend whose father was a doctor and who has spent big parts of her career in the medical biz (her first job was at the NIH) who says she would never go to a hospital in New York without bringing her own private duty nurses. And it is not as if she is flush. Poses uses this sad fact to illustrate...

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CalPERS Should Thank Us for Publicizing, and Therefore Undermining Their Repeated Efforts to Hand Private Equity Portfolio to BlackRock: BlackRock’s Mark Wiseman Fired for Affair With Subordinate, Leading to Suspension of New Investments from “Warren Buffett” Style Megafund

CalPERS should start to recognize that our hounding of the giant pension fund is to prevent it from doing things that will harm beneficiaries. The fact that the fund’s top management nevertheless seems determined to keep doing things that are at best wrong-headed, and too often are dishonest and obviously corrupt, should be getting a lot more attention from the mainstream press. As we’ll explain, CalPERS escaped being snared in a huge mess due to our intense question of clearly dodgy elements...

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2:00PM Water Cooler 12/5/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente. Trade “The WTO’s trade dispute appeal system could end on Dec. 10. Here’s what you need to know.” [WaPo]. “On Dec. 10, the World Trade Organization appeals tribunal, the Appellate Body, won’t have enough members left to rule on trade disputes between countries. That’s a problem, given ongoing trade wars between the United States, China, and Europe, and some 60 cases pending before the WTO. Without a functioning Appellate Body, countries can block progress on...

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