Yes poverty rates are higher in the USA than in most developed nations.
Yes income is more unequally distributed in the USA than in most developed countries.
Yes, wealth is less equally distributed in the USA than in other developed countries.
Once about Knowledge and knowledge systems, especially knowledge applied to economic development, but since I retired branching into politics, music and whatever catches my attention.
Africa’s economy is growing steadily. Last year average growth was 3.9% and it is set to accelerate this year, according to a report by the African Development Bank. Foreign direct investment (FDI) is helping to spur growth. It is expected to reach $55 billion in 2015, 20% higher than in 2010. Inflows of capital are increasingly focused on less resource-rich countries, as investors target the continent’s booming middle classes. The amount of investment into technology, retail and business services increased by 17 percentage points between 2007 and 2013.
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In the 1980s the richest 10% of the population of OECD countries earned seven times more than the poorest decile. Today they earn ten times more. The poor are also more likely to be young. Poverty rates are now highest among 18- to 25-year-olds, having dropped drastically among those aged over 65. This shift reflects both the financial support offered by pension systems in the developed world and the disproportionate effect of the recession on young people. Wealth is far more concentrated than income, with the poorest 40% of people in OECD countries holding just 3% of the wealth.
The need for a “crowdsourced” service like this comes from the number of rare diseases around. The National Institutes of Health, America’s medical agency, recognises 7,000—defined as those that each affect fewer than 200,000 people. A general practitioner cannot possibly recognise all of these. Moreover, it may not be clear to him, even when he knows he cannot help, what sort of specialist the patient should be referred to. Research published in 2013, in the Journal of Rare Disorders, says about 8% of Americans—some 25m people—are affected by rare diseases, and that it takes an average of 7½ years to get a diagnosis. Even in Britain, with all the resources of the country’s National Health Service at a GP’s disposal, rare-disease diagnosis takes an average of 5½ years. Also, doctors often get it wrong. A survey of eight rare diseases in Europe found that around 40% of patients received an erroneous diagnosis at first. This is something that can lead to life-threatening complications.My wife last year went through the process of getting a diagnosis for a rare set of symptoms, and it took a while, involved many tests, and ultimately a referral to a specialist. I am impressed by the problem of diagnosis for such conditions, and I think crowd sourcing could be useful in the right hands.
ECONOMISTS have long recognised that there is an association between inequality and development. Unequal incomes can impair growth if those with low incomes suffer poor health and low productivity as a result. But in a forthcoming paper* in the Journal of Political Economy, three economists look at the question in a new light. What may matter most for development, they argue, is not inequality in itself, but economic differences between different ethnic groups.
The authors pinpoint the location of 2,129 ethnic and 7,581 linguistic groups in 173 countries. Then, to estimate their wealth, they use data on night-time light intensity from satellites. (If a given area has more lights, it is likely to be richer.) That allows them to produce an “ethnic Gini index”, a measure of inequality between different ethnic groups within a country. They find that sub-Saharan Africa and East and South Asia are the most ethnically unequal regions, thanks to small but prosperous groups such as Arabs in west Africa. Western Europe, by contrast, is the most ethnically equal.
The authors show that as a country’s ethnic inequality falls, average GDP per person rises. A one-standard-deviation decline in a country’s ethnic Gini index—the equivalent of moving from the level of Nigeria to that of Namibia—is associated with a 28% increase in GDP per person. It seems likely that ethnic inequality leads to low levels of development, not the other way around. After all, in other tests the authors find that ethnic inequality mostly reflects unequal geographical endowments, such as more fertile land and distance to the coast.The paper by Alesina, Alberto, Stelios Michalopoulos, and Elias Papaioannou (“Ethnic Inequality.” Journal of Political Economy.) notes that there is little ethnic diversity measured in the United States according to the measure that the authors use.
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Banks, inevitably, took most advantage, gaming the tax rules with devastating results. Most issued “hybrid” securities that were treated as debt by the taxman but as capital by credulous regulators. In the crisis hybrids did not act as a buffer that absorbed losses. About a third of big Western banks’ capital was made up of these instruments. Had they raised equity instead, fewer banks would have wobbled, says Ruud de Mooij of the IMF.I think that making mortgage interest tax deductible for small the poor is good policy, in that it helps the poor to build savings and encourages their commitment to their homes, neighborhoods, etc. On the other hand, I think making mortgage interest tax deductible for the rich simply encourages the construction of mansions for display, and encourages the purchase of MacMansions by those who wanabe rich.
|LEAKED IMAGES REVEAL CHILDREN WAREHOUSED IN CROWDED U.S. CELLS, BORDER PATROL OVERWHELMED|
|Mediterranean migrant crisis: May wants some people returned|
|Stranded Myanmar Rohingya boat migrants desperate|
|Source: The Economist|
It is not so much that physical limits are getting in the way—even though producing transistors only 14 nanometres (billionths of a metre) wide, the current state of the art can be quite tricky. Intel says that it can keep the law going for at least another ten years, eventually slimming its transistors down to 5nm, about the thickness of a cell membrane. Other than shrinking circuitry further, it has also started to stack components, in effect building 3D chips.
|Dean Stockwell and Margaret O'Brien|
in The Secret Garden (1949)
|Michael Tilson Thomas, Ingolf's student|
conducting works by Ingolf Dahl
|Luana Anders, Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda|
in Easy Rider
|Boelter Hall: an Engineering Building on the UCLA Campus|
|Source: Pew Research Center|