Five Chinese to be for illegal mining in Ghana

It emerged during the court proceedings that the A-G had filed an affidavit in opposition to the bail application.  It pleaded with the court not to grant bail because the activities of the five Chinese contravened the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act 2015. The presiding judge, Mr Justice Charles Ekow Baiden, then enquired why the state lawyers were basing their response on the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act 2015 when the five had not been charged under the Act.“You have not charged them with offences under the Act so why are you basing your opposition to the bail application on the Act?’’ he asked. Ms Arthur replied that the A-G took over the case from the GIS last Wednesday and during its preliminary assessment, it deemed it necessary to charge the five alleged “galamseyers’’ under the Act. “We were getting ready to charge them under the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act 2015 when we were served with the bail application so we had to respond to it,’’ she said. Mr Justice Baiden further enquired why the A-G did not apply to the court to allow it to amend the charge sheet of the five Chinese to reflect offences under the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act 2015.“You had time to see their bail application, so you could have amended the charge sheet and also apply for more time to respond appropriately,’’ he said. Mr Justice Baiden further asserted that the bail application was about the fundamental human rights of the five Chinese to be granted bail, and, therefore, there was no basis for the state to oppose it based on charges that had not been levelled against them.Ms Arthur then pleaded with the court to grant the state more time to “put its house in order’’ to investigate the case and also respond appropriately to the bail application.Counsel for the five alleged “galamseyers’’, Mr Jerry Akuetteh, in his response, pleaded with the court to grant his clients bail, arguing that the state could still continue with investigations if his clients were on bail.

Source: Ghana news: Five Chinese to be charged under Minerals Act – Graphic Online

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Estimates of Missing Women in Twentieth Century China

The sex ratio at birth in China began to deviate from the normal range in the early 1980s, and has continued to rise during the past three decades. Though some optimistic research studies assert that the sex ratio at birth in China has begun to decline, the 2010 census shows a sex ratio at birth of 118.06 males per 100 females for 2010, an increase when compared the sex ratio of 116.9 males per 100 females seen in the 2000 census. The cohorts born in the 1980s are now of marriageable age. For the years 2015 to 2045, the ratio of potential marriageable males to females is predicted to be over 115:100, and China will face an annual surplus of one million males who cannot find a spouse in domestic marriage market. As women tend to marry men whose socioeconomic status is equal to or higher than theirs own, it is the men from the lowest socioeconomic strata who not able to find a wife.

Source: Estimates of Missing Women in Twentieth Century China

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The Sex Ratio at Birth for 5,338,853 Deliveries in China from 2012 to 2015: A Facility-Based Study

Seems like exactly the kind of study needed to confirm that the sex ratio is and has been skewed, and the issue was not just an underreporting problem as argued by Shi and Kennedy.

There were 2,785,513 boys and 2,549,269 girls born alive between 2012 and 2015 in 441 health facilities. The SRB was 111.04 in 2012, 110.16 in 2013, 108.79 in 2014, and 109.53 in 2015. The SRB was high in the eastern region, especially in rural areas. The SRBs increased with mother’s age and decreased with mother’s education. The SRB in women who were pregnant for the first time was 104.30. The SRB in primipara was normal (104.35), but it was extremely high in non-primipara, especially for women with three or more parities (141.76); only 5.26% of live births fell within this group. The SRBs increased significantly by the number of parities, especially in the rural areas of the central region. After adjustment for sociodemographic factors, women with three or more parities were 1.39 (95% CI 1.34, 1.43) times more likely to give birth to a boy compared with primiparae who were pregnant for the first time.

Source: The Sex Ratio at Birth for 5,338,853 Deliveries in China from 2012 to 2015: A Facility-Based Study

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Daily dose of Akerlof: The rat race

Somehow he succinctly describes the key insight in one page.  Here is the full paper at jstor.  I vainly searched the web for “Akerlof rat race intuition” and of course there was nothing better, because why bother?  The article marked a key turning point in the shifting of thinking of most economists away from a “with free markets and people and firms engaging in voluntary transactions the presumption should be to leave things alone” to a perspective of “with information asymmetries ubiquitous and indeed constantly ‘manufactured’  the presumption should be that we know very little about how economies are really working.”  The issue came up in a student discussion of the 35 hour work week, versus, say, a 40 or 50 hour work week.  How would we research and justify a stance as a citizen one way or the other? (Assuming that the whole point of the work week restriction is that it is fairly binding on what some people and firms would otherwise want to do.)

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Nice description of textile factory problems in Uganda, from The Economist

Uganda’s main advantages, for the moment, are cheap cotton and labour, and preferential access to American and European markets. When exporting to the rich world “Africa has an 18-35% duty advantage over any other continent”, says Nick Earlham, a shareholder in WUCC and in Fine Spinners. “It’s very competitive.” Textile workers in Kampala earn about $85 a month, compared with $150 in Kenya and $108 in Vietnam, never mind up to $700 in China. But these savings are offset by problems in almost every other sphere. Power cuts keep plunging the factory into darkness, and an erratic supply of steam to the dyeing machines makes it hard to ensure that each batch of fabric looks alike. In a cramped meeting room alongside the factory, executives of Bonprix visiting from Europe make their unhappiness clear. Their inspectors in Hamburg are discovering more defects than they would like, and one big shipment of T-shirts will be unexpectedly late. “What would happen if this item was on the cover of our catalogues?” one asks.

Source: From shrub to shirt to shelf: The journey of an African cotton boll | The Economist

Posted in Development thinking

Bill Sundstrom three years ahead of me on BIG

But there are virtues to being a late-comer. One does not have to write as much. From 2014:

Having acknowledged all these drawbacks of the BIG idea, I still can’t help thinking it deserves a bigger place in our political landscape. Politically, it represents a potential source of common ground between the liberal left and libertarianism. Is that enough to reconfigure our heavily polarized political space? By itself, no… but throw in immigration reform, personal and civil liberties, and anti-militarism, and who knows? Economically, I have read enough sci-fi and witnessed enough advances in computing and robotics to agree with those who are seriously concerned about a future in which capital, with its highly concentrated ownership, displaces much of the demand for labor. No, not technological unemployment… just technological immiseration. Making BIG part of the mainstream political agenda now is a way politically and institutionally to set the stage for decoupling income and private property. Friedman meets Marx… why not?

Source: Bill Sundstrom’s Blog: The BIG picture

Posted in Development thinking, United States

The American Health Care Act “scoring” by the Congressional Budget Office… the old one…

The relevant quote:

CBO and JCT estimate that, in 2018, 14 million more people would be uninsured under the legislation than under current law. The increase in the number of uninsured people relative to the number under current law would reach 21 million in 2020 and 24 million in 2026. In 2026, an estimated 52 million people under age 65 would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law.

I don’t think the changes to the bill change much of this, which is why the Republicans are saying “it has already been scored.”  Odd to take pride in 24 million people likely to drop out of medical insurance, as if that were an accomplishment.

My understanding from reading analyses of the new bill is that this is much more “reform” and “slow down” of Obamacare than repeal.  The pre-existing condition clause is kept intact but with a one year penalty if a person does not maintain continuous coverage.  Medicaid expansion is stopped and made even more to be a state choice.

Federal taxes on the really wealthy are going down.  Federal government is saying that if states want to tax rich people for redistribution within state borders, go ahead.  Seems to me this can only benefit California.  As if the Federal government is saying, “California billionaires are no longer responsible for Mississippi.”

Reading a lot of the provisions, they seem to have been inspired by a “anti-nudge” faction… instead of nudging people to do the right thing, it is nudging people to do the wrong thing!

Source: H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act, incorporating manager’s amendments 4, 5, 24, and 25 | Congressional Budget Office

Posted in United States