Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Index of Economic Freedom

Can Happiness Be Measured (By Economists)?

Some are trying. One, who has written a book calledHappiness, thinks that “happiness should become the goal of policy and the progress of national happiness should be measured and analyzed.”  – LitHub

Bitcoin aspires to take over the world. But as we all know (according to poorly sourced conspiracy forums), the world is currently run by the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), the central bank to central banks. That means Bitcoin needs to displace the BIS in the near future if it is to get anywhere.
But it takes one to know one.

So here's the dominant global payments system calling out the aspiring global payments system in an excellent piece of professional trolling this week (our emphasis)
BIS trolls bitcoin BIS proves scientifically that Bitcoin is a pyramid Ponzi scheme that is worth zero!
Financial Times on Twitter: "BIS trolls bitcoin https://t.co/2yUr30S2hP"

Dissidents are always a little crazy by definition. Solzhenitsyn, a bold and eccentric man of ideas, was no exception... Being Different  

Robert Conquest enjoyed poetry, pornography, and palling around with Amis and Larkin. This was good training for becoming a Sovietologist 

Nathan Glazer, a seminal sociologist and nonideological neoconservative of a decidedly pragmatic bent, is dead at 95...NY Times... WSJ... The Bulwark...Adam Wolfson... John Podhoretz... Martin Peretz... and lot more  

Trump advisers lied over and over again, Mueller says - but why?

US Special Counsel Robert Mueller has shown over and over again that some of President Donald Trump's closest friends and advisers have lied about Russia and related issues.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wins seat on powerful House panel set to investigate Trump administration New York Daily News

  • Burford Capital is funding the Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan class action against AMP
  • There are several competing legal class actions against AMP around "fees for no service" and the firm's share price collapse
  • Burford, the world's largest litigation funder, says some lawsuits arising from the financial crisis are still running, a decade on
Litigation funder sets up shop in Australia to profit from banking royal commission

Opal Tower builder to stop paying for food and temporary accommodation

More residents are expected to start moving back into their apartments, as builder Icon announced it won't pay for food or accommodation beyond Sunday.

For much of human history, most individuals have lacked economic freedom and opportunity, condemning them to poverty and deprivation. Today, we live in the most prosperous time in human history. Poverty, sicknesses, and ignorance are receding throughout the world, due in large part to the advance of economic freedom. In 2018, the principles of economic freedom that have fueled this monumental progress are once again measured in the Index of Economic Freedom, an annual guide published by The Heritage Foundation, Washington’s No. 1 think tank.

Axios: “Nearly 20% of Americans surveyed say they have zero savings in case of emergency, a recent survey by bankrate.com reports.
Why it matters: With the
jobs outnumbering the jobless, a lowering unemployment rate and wages trickling upward, Americans theoretically should have more money to put away for a rainy day fund. If an economic downturn were to occur, the data shows only a small fraction of Americans would be able to comfortably maintain their lifestyle.
By the numbers: 29% of the U.S. say they have enough emergency savings to last them six months or more — an overwhelming majority of respondents, 62%, are “very or somewhat comfortable with their level of emergency savings.”

  • In 2018, Singapore was named the world’s most expensive cityto live in for the fifth consecutive year. That’s partially thanks to the cost of buying and running a car in the city.
  • Paris and Zurich are tied for second place in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living report.
  • Asian and European cities dominate the list; the highest ranking American city is New York City (No. 13).

Singapore has spent five years dominating the list of the world’s most expensive cities.

That’s according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s WorldwideCost of Living report, which compares more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services including categories like food, drink, clothing, household supplies, rent, transport, and utility bills.

Singapore’s placement in rankings comes down, in part, to one specific category: It is the most expensive place in the world to buy and run a car.

As CNN reported, the government regulates car ownership in the city-state by issuing a limited number of permits. Citizens have to purchase these permits, which are valid for 10 years and cost, as of October 2017, as much as $US37,000 a piece.

“Vehicles are also subject to huge price markups because of various taxes and import duties, which means a small SUV can set you back more than 100,000 Singapore dollars ($US74,000),” the 2017CNN report continued.

Hardest decade gets even harder

Just last week, Poynter reporter Kristen Hare  wrote an insightful story asking if this was the hardest decade in journalism. If so, it got a whole lot harder on Wednesday.
In news that’s becoming all too familiar and depressing, scores of journalists either lost their jobs or soon will.
First, BuzzFeed confirmed that 15 percent of its staff — about 220 employees — will be leaving.
Then Verizon Media, which owns HuffPost, AOL and Yahoo, along with other media companies, confirmed it will lay off about 7 percent of its staff. HuffPost reported Wednesday that “staffers in the U.S. expected to see layoffs in their newsrooms, though it was not immediately clear how the cuts would affect the brand.’’
Then came word that journalists from newspapers and websites across the country were laid off by Gannett. The layoffs included notable names such as IndyStar columnist Tim Swarens, Arizona Republic Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Steve Benson and longtime Knoxville (Tennessee) News Sentinel sports reporter Dan Fleser.
For Tom Jones' story on the Gannett layoffs, click here.

'Today' interviews controversial guest

The “Today’’ show and its co-host Savannah Guthrie took plenty of heat before and after a Wednesday morning interview with Nicholas Sandmann, the Covington Catholic High School student wearing a Make America Great Again hat standing face to face with a Native American elder last weekend in Washington, D.C.
Before the interview even aired, NBC was criticized by some who felt the network was giving a platform to someone whom critics thought of as racist. Then after the interview aired, Guthrie was blasted by some who thought her interview was too soft and by others who thought she was unfair to the 16-year-old.
Did “Today’’ do the right thing by interviewing Sandmann? Absolutely. It’s called broadcast journalism. Sandmann is at the center of one of the biggest news stories in the country. “Today’’ is a news show. It's supposed to interview subjects such as Sandmann.
As far as Guthrie, if there are two sides to this story and you’re getting ripped from both sides, you’re probably doing your job well. Here's Poynter's Tom Jones' full take on the interview.