Being a member of the opposite party often beats religious difference, unattractiveness, and low educational and professional attainment on Ms. Adler’s clients’ list of turnoffs…
“People now say ‘I don’t even want to meet anybody who’s from the other party,’ even if it’s someone who’s perfect in every other way,” Ms. Adler says. In past election years, about a quarter of her clients wouldn’t date a member of the opposite party. Now it is three-quarters, Ms. Adler says.
Childhood intelligence, measured before the age of 16, was categorized in five cognitive classes, ranging from "very dull," "dull," "normal," "bright" and "very bright."
The Americans were revisited seven years later. The British youths, on the other hand, were followed in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Researchers measured their drinking habits as the participants became older.
More intelligent children in both studies grew up to drink alcohol more frequently and in greater quantities than less intelligent children. In the Brits' case, "very bright" children grew up to consume nearly eight-tenths of a standard deviation more alcohol than their "very dull" cohorts.
Researchers controlled for demographic variables -- such as marital status, parents' education, earnings, childhood social class and more -- that may have also affected adult drinking. Still, the findings held true: Smarter kids were drinking more as adults.
And now the world’s largest general scientific society is weighing in on the debate.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science says labeling would “mislead and falsely alarm consumers.” The AAAS – best known for publishing Science magazine – says genetically modified foods are fundamentally no different from conventionally bred foods. In fact, the organization says they are tested more extensively than most new crop varieties.
Opponents of genetically modified foods have a variety of concerns. Some have a gut feeling that these crops are unwholesome. Others worry that the technology is driven simply by corporate profits for seed companies as well as herbicide producers. Indeed, industry has poured nearly $41 million into advertising to defeat the ballot measure, with “No on 37” TV and radio ads warning that the labels could lead to higher prices at the store, according to The Wall Street Journal. ..
Sometimes worries about genetically modified foods are expressed as concern over food safety, but the AAAS says that concern isn’t supported by the science.
“Civilization rests on people’s ability to modify plants to make them more suitable as food, feed and fiber plants and all of these modifications are genetic,” the AAAS statement says.
Students of democratic politics have long believed that voters punish incumbents for hard times. Governments bear the responsibility for the economy in the modern era, so that replacing incompetent managers with capable alternatives appears to be a well-informed, rational act. However, this vision of a sophisticated retrospective electorate does not bear close examination. We find that voters regularly punish governments for acts of God, including droughts, floods, and shark attacks. As long as responsibility for the event itself (or more commonly, for its amelioration) can somehow be attributed to the government in a story persuasive within the folk culture, the electorate will take out its frustrations on the incumbents and vote for out-parties. Thus, voters in pain are not necessarily irrational, but they are ignorant about both science and politics, and that makes them gullible when ambitious demagogues seek to profit from their misery. Neither conventional understandings of democratic responsiveness nor rational choice interpretations of retrospective voting survive under this interpretation of voting behavior.
I don’t always agree with everything these guys have to say, but I think they always bring an interesting perspective to the table. In this interview at the Buttonwood Gather fund manager Hugh Hendry and David Einhorn talk about Fed policy, the state of the global economy and some of their philosophical perspectives. Hendry starts and Einhorn comes in around minute 56.
"Five years ago, if I or anyone had predicted today's production growth, people would have thought we were crazy," says Jim Burkhard, head of oil markets research at IHS CERA, an energy consulting firm.
The Energy Department forecasts that U.S. production of crude and other liquid hydrocarbons, which includes biofuels, will average 11.4 million barrels per day next year. That would be a record for the U.S. and just below Saudi Arabia's output of 11.6 million barrels. Citibank forecasts U.S. production could reach 13 million to 15 million barrels per day by 2020, helping to make North America "the new Middle East."
When I looked at the data back in June, we saw that of the roughly £40 billion that was shaved from the deficit during the 2010–2011 budget cycle, for every £3 of new tax revenue, U.K. taxpayers got £1 in cuts — exactly the reverse of what was promised.
What’s more, the evidence indicates that U.K. has, at best, slowed down the growth of spending, but it has not engaged in actual spending cuts. I documented the trend in British spending earlier this year:
A look at the data in Her Majesty’s Fiscal Year 2012 Budget shows (see table 2.3) that total managed expenditures will increase from £696.4 billion in 2011–2012 to £733.5 billion in 2014–2015, and further to £756.3 billion in 2016–2017. Adjusted for population growth, this is slow growth, but not a savage cut. That table also shows a “projected” drop in Public Sector Gross Investment between 2012–2013, but if it ever materializes, it will be contained to that year alone.
Spending cuts in the UK can’t be blamed for the weak growth path the country is on. On the other hand, tax increases can. Here is a list:
- a VAT hike from 17.5 percent to 20 percent (probably the main culprit of the U.K.’s current problems)
- a new 50 percent tax bracket on incomes over £150,000, which will drop to 45 percent next year
- an increase in air-passenger duty to 8 percent
- “temporary” payroll tax of 50 percent on bonuses over £25,000
- a capital-gains tax hike
- a 0.088 percent levy on banks
- an increase to 7 percent in the stamp duty on the sale of properties worth more than £2 million and on properties bought through “non-natural persons.”
Meanwhile, scores of emerging markets have failed to gain any momentum for sustained growth, and still others have seen their progress stall after reaching middle-income status. Malaysia and Thailand appeared to be on course to emerge as rich countries until crony capitalism, excessive debts, and overpriced currencies caused the Asian financial meltdown of 1997-98. Their growth has disappointed ever since. In the late 1960s, Burma (now officially called Myanmar), the Philippines, and Sri Lanka were billed as the next Asian tigers, only to falter badly well before they could even reach the middle-class average income of about $5,000 in current dollar terms. Failure to sustain growth has been the general rule, and that rule is likely to reassert itself in the coming decade.
In the opening decade of the twenty-first century, emerging markets became such a celebrated pillar of the global economy that it is easy to forget how new the concept of emerging markets is in the financial world. The first coming of the emerging markets dates to the mid-1980s, when Wall Street started tracking them as a distinct asset class. Initially labeled as "exotic," many emerging-market countries were then opening up their stock markets to foreigners for the first time: Taiwan opened its up in 1991; India, in 1992; South Korea, in 1993; and Russia, in 1995. Foreign investors rushed in, unleashing a 600 percent boom in emerging-market stock prices (measured in dollar terms) between 1987 and 1994. Over this period, the amount of money invested in emerging markets rose from less than one percent to nearly eight percent of the global stock-market total.
This phase ended with the economic crises that struck from Mexico to Turkey between 1994 and 2002. The stock markets of developing countries lost almost half their value and shrank to four percent of the global total. From 1987 to 2002, developing countries' share of global GDP actually fell, from 23 percent to 20 percent. The exception was China, which saw its share double, to 4.5 percent. The story of the hot emerging markets, in other words, was really about one country.
The second coming began with the global boom in 2003, when emerging markets really started to take off as a group. Their share of global GDP began a rapid climb, from 20 percent to the 34 percent that they represent today (attributable in part to the rising value of their currencies), and their share of the global stock-market total rose from less than four percent to more than ten percent. The huge losses suffered during the global financial crash of 2008 were mostly recovered in 2009, but since then, it has been slow going.
The third coming, an era that will be defined by moderate growth in the developing world, the return of the boom-bust cycle, and the breakup of herd behavior on the part of emerging-market countries, is just beginning. Without the easy money and the blue-sky optimism that fueled investment in the last decade, the stock markets of developing countries are likely to deliver more measured and uneven returns. Gains that averaged 37 percent a year between 2003 and 2007 are likely to slow to, at best, ten percent over the coming decade, as earnings growth and exchange-rate values in large emerging markets have limited scope for additional improvement after last decade's strong performance.