Figures from Eurobarometer, the EU’s polling organisation, analysed by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), a thinktank, show a vertiginous decline in trust in the EU in countries such as Spain, Germany and Italy that are historically very pro-European.
The six countries surveyed – Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Spain, and Poland – are the EU’s biggest, jointly making up more than two out of three EU citizens or around 350 million of the EU’s 500 million population.
“The damage is so deep that it does not matter whether you come from a creditor, debtor country, euro would-be member or the UK: everybody is worse off,” said José Ignacio Torreblanca, head of the ECFR\’s Madrid office. “Citizens now think that their national democracy is being subverted by the way the euro crisis is conducted.”
via Crisis for Europe as trust hits record low | World news | The Guardian.
From FRED, a graph of four big, rich countries. Notice how Japan and Italy utterly stagnated starting in the early 1990s. By 2012 GDP was only about 10% higher after twenty years! By contrast, GDP per capita in the U.S. rose by about 50% over the same time period, and GDP per capita rose by more than 100% in Korea.
The big question now is whether the U.S. on the cusp of 2014 is entering a Japitaly twenty-year slow growth period. And the two of the usual suspects of slow growth in those two countries are present in the U.S.: (1) an aging population, and (2) fiscal and monetary dysfunction (despite the goodwill of Yellen and Bernanke, why would anyone think the Fed will not be “captured” by the big financial institutions it works hand in glove with, and whose personnel rotates in and out of the Fed?… oh right, “this is America and we don’t do that…”). Unlike Japitaly, though, the U.S. has very flexible labor, stakeholders, managers, entrepreneurs… so lots of room for the creative destruction that might be associated with innovation.
Quatorze morts et quatorze blessés dont un dans un état traumatique, tel est le bilan de l’éboulement d’un site minier survenu dans la nuit du samedi 30 novembre au dimanche 1er décembre 2013, aux environs de 1 heure du matin, dans le département de Bagassi, province des Balé. Selon le préfet dudit département, Tingandé Néhémie Zoundi, ce drame est consécutif à une explosion de dynamite dans un trou d’une profondeur de 70 à 80 mètres, provoquant quelque temps après, la chute d’une roche située à deux mètres du fond. A l’entendre, toutes les victimes étaient dans le trou, d’où le nombre élevé de pertes en vie humaine. Mobilisés, les orpailleurs ont pu extraire les blessés et les corps qui ont été inhumés sur place.
via Eboulement d’une mine d’or à Bagassi : 14 morts, autant de blessés – leFaso.net, l’actualité au Burkina Faso.
I don’t follow the issue that closely, but this “open letter” to the president of Notre Dame University seems to me to be very provocative, in a “critical thinking” way…
Two highly respected and influential Catholic women, Catherine Kaveny and Margaret O’Brien Steinfels, have pointed out that the Catholic hierarchy’s litigation opposing mandated reproductive health care rights for women is clearly not about Vatican II’s teaching regarding religious freedom, nor the First Amendment’s religious freedom provisions. Nor is it about the merits of Catholic birth control doctrine. It’s about bishops’ attempts to enforce a role as the sole and infallible authority on Catholic doctrine. The U.S. bishops continue to attempt to link Catholic “identity” — what you must believe to be considered a Catholic— to discredited teachings that deal with matters far outside the bishops’ experience and understanding, matters like marriage, children and sexual ethics. If you support the health care legislation that the bishops fought, it’s not that you have sinned — you are simply not Catholic.
via Catholic contraception lawsuit: Notre Dame alumnus questions case. HT: Stephen Diamond.
Le roi de la rumba congolaise s’est éteint ce week-end à Bruxelles. Le musicien Tabu Ley Rochereau, né à Bandundu en République démocratique du Congo s’était fait connaître en introduisant la batterie dans la rumba. Le chanteur et compositeur n’a pas seulement marqué la musique de son pays. Tabu Ley Rochereau a aussi influencé de très nombreux jeunes artistes, notamment à Abidjan, où il avait séjourné plusieurs fois.
via Tabu Ley: à Abidjan, les mélomanes pleurent «Seigneur Rochereau» .
Here is what she said about the after-school reading program, supported by Chen Yet-Sen Foundation from Hong Kong.
My name is Atanga Matilda I am 12 years. I come from Kunkua, I am in class 6. I want to be a teacher in future. I read 10 books during the reading program. My favorite books are “Maria’s wish” and “The strange bird”. I like Maria’s wish because when I have a crop seedling I can know how to plant it and feed it. I like “The strange bird” because if your friends do something don’t follow them, because one day you will also be in trouble. I like the ASR program because when I started, I don’t know how to read or say the words but now I can know how to read and say the words I can also get the meaning of words in the dictionary.
More about Friends of African Village Libraries is here.
In macroeconomics we talk a lot about total factor productivity. Tyler Cowen in Marginal Revolution points today to two good productivity related articles. The first is on a pretty expensive infrastructure project whose depreciation may make the NPV negative. Shenzhen’s airport Terminal Three can (via Shenzhen airport Terminal Three: – The Independent):
handle 45 million passengers a year, 30 per cent more than Terminal Five. It cost $1bn £612m, just one-seventh the cost of the Heathrow project.
The problem, according to the article, is that few airlines are using the terminal. It appears to have been constructed because it “could” be constructed, not because there was pent-up demand for an enormous terminal in Shenzhen.
In Italy, meanwhile, Fadi Hassan and Gianmarco Ottaviano blame poor management practices for Italy’s apparently quite large productivity slowdown since the 1990s.
The types of management practices Italian firms get wrong are precisely those that Bloom, Sadun, and Van Reenen (2012) have shown to hinder ICT penetration and exploitation. Combined with the prominent role that ICT had on productivity growth in the last 20 years, this can be a relevant explanation for the Italian stagnation. Reducing labour-market rigidity is not enough in the presence of rigid non-meritocratic management practices. Italy is unlearning to produce because it seems not to manage change properly.