The Missing Children
November 4, 2019
“Read at every wait; read at all hours; read within leisure; read in times of labor; read as one goes in; read as one goest out. The task of the educated mind is simply put: read to lead.”
“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?”
Will Humanity Become an Endangered Species
Population growth is vital to the world’s economy, yet fertility rates world-wide are declining. In the 1960s the rate was five live births per woman, ample to insure population growth from generation to generation. But by 2017, the fertility rate had fallen to 2.43, critically close to the lowest threshold for population sustainability — two children per woman.
50 years ago only 1 in 20 countries fell short of the population replacement threshold, but by 2017 about half of all countries had fallen below the mark. Loosening immigration policies in popular destinations like the US and parts of Western Europe could make up for low birthrates. In other places less attractive to immigrants, more drastic policy interventions may be required.
However, population growth alone does not determine economic destiny. It’s just one of three factors influencing national economies, the other two being employment rate and labor productivity. A 2018 found that on average, for most major economies between 2000 and 2017, rising productivity was a more important driver of gross domestic product growth than population growth or change in the employment rate.
That means there’s a lopsided burden on women, who’ll be relied upon not only to bear children but also to help fill widening gaps in the workforce. So the question becomes not just how many babies women will have in the future, but how well women will be integrated into the workforce, what slice of the income pie they’ll get, and what level of education they’ll attain. As it stands today in most countries, women still earn less than two thirds of what a man earns.
Additional movie trailer: Children of Men
A Dangerous Desperate Journey
- The 39 people found dead in a refrigerated truck in southeastern England last month were believed to be Vietnamese. It would have been their last leg of a grueling and perilous 6,000 mile trek across Asia and into Western Europe. Vietnamese smugglers call it the “CO2” route: a poorly ventilated, oxygen-deficient trip across the English Channel in shipping containers or trailers piled high with merchandise.
- Those who climb into such a stuffy container have risked everything for a chance at a better life. They are called by some “box people” — successors to the “boat people” who left Vietnam after the war ended in 1975.
- Some 18,000 Vietnamese still put their lives on the line each year to take the journey — paying smugglers $10,000 to $50,000 and enduring unimaginable hardships and violence along the way. But if they make it to Britain and get a low wage job, they’ll make five times what they can earn at home. (NYT)
Last Exit To Brexit
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in the throes of a frantic general election, hoping his Conservative Party can win away parliamentary seats in northern England and the Midlands that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labor Party currently holds. Johnson is focusing on wooing people that voted for Brexit in the 2016 referendum and are frustrated it hasn’t happened.
- He’s running on a simple message: Get Brexit done quickly, under the agreement he negotiated with the EU, so that Britain can begin its shiny new future of profitable trade deals with the US and other countries.
- Johnson’s party is currently leading Labor by double digits in the polls, but a few experts cautioned that something could happen that could shift the narrative unpredictably in ways that could hurt the conservative party, like happened to Theresa May in 2017.
- Perhaps something like what President Trump said last week in a radio interview with Nigel Farage, the insurgent leader of the Brexit Party. Trump called in from Washington to disparage Corbyn and urge Johnson to forge a hard-line pro-Brexit alliance with Farage. Then in the next breath Trump inexplicably said Johnson’s Brexit deal would foreclose the possibility of a trade agreement with the US, undercutting Johnson’s whole messaging. (NYT)
- Super-rich prepare to leave UK ‘within minutes’ if Labour wins election: Wealthy see potential taxes imposed by Jeremy Corbyn as bigger threat than Brexit
- George Soros: ‘Brexit hurts both sides – my money was used to educate the British public’: The philanthropist who has spent billions promoting democracy talks populism, Trump and powerful enemies
No Use Crying Over Some Spilled Tear Gas
- 21 straight weeks of antigovernment protests and clashes with riot police have sunk the international financial hub that is Hong Kong into a recession. In the latest battle on Saturday, a rally being held in Victoria Park was declared an unlawful assembly by police.
- The rally had been billed as a campaign event for local elections but quickly descended into chaos as police tried dispersing the crowds with tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets. The city’s central financial district and several dense commercial neighborhoods were enveloped in clouds of tear gas, and the Hong Kong offices of China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency were damaged. (NYT)
- China Says It Will Roll Out ‘National Security’ Steps for Hong Kong: Communist Party leaders announced the move after months of protests in the city, but gave no details. Here is an explanation of that measure and others they approved.
- Professors, Beware. In China, Student Spies Might Be Watching.
Additional World News
- How Does the Human Soul Survive Atrocity?: After the horror of ISIS captivity, tens of thousands of Iraqis — many of them children — are caught up in a mental-health crisis unlike any in the world.
- White House Freezes Military Aid to Lebanon, Against Wishes of Congress, State Dept. and Pentagon: The indefinite hold halts a $105 million package that the State Department and Congress had approved. Analysts say the winners could be Iran, Russia, the Islamic State and Al Qaeda.
- New Delhi, Choking on Toxic Air, Declares Health Emergency: Schools were closed after pollution in India’s capital soared, reaching levels many times the global safe limit.
Follow Me And You’ll Be In A World Of Pure Political Isolation
- President Trump’s Twitter account is awash in a toxic torrent — roughly 1,000 tweets a minute — of conspiracy-driven propaganda, fakery and hate, with hashtags like #HitlerDidNothingWrong, #IslamIsSatanism and #WhiteGenocide.
- By retweeting these accounts without regard for their identity or motives, Trump has lent credibility to white nationalists, anti-Muslim bigots, and domestic terrorists. And by sending out his own tweets warning of deep-state plots against him, accusing the House speaker of treason, and labeling Republican critics “human scum,” Trump has helped spread a culture of suspicion and distrust of facts into the political mainstream.
- The New York Times examined each of the more than 11,000 tweets the president has sent out, and the hundreds of accounts he has retweeted, tracking the ways he is exposed to information and replicating what he is likely to see on the platform. The result offers the most comprehensive view yet of a virtual world in which the president spends significant time mingling with extremists, imposters, racists and spies. (NYT)
- Nobody Waved Goodbye: Trump’s Relationship With New York Was Already Over – Mr. Trump’s decision to shift his home base to Palm Beach also comes at a time when the president has been disengaged from daily operations at the Trump Organization.
- Paula White, Newest White House Aide, Is a Uniquely Trumpian Pastor: Ms. White, a Florida televangelist, is being brought into the Trump administration to help shore up his evangelical base — even though some Christians consider her beliefs heretical.
- How Trump Corrupted the American Presidency in Every Imaginable Way
- Experts on Trump’s conduct: ‘Plainly an abuse of power, plainly impeachable’: Republicans may argue Trump’s actions were not impeachable – but scholars say it’s a solid example of a high crime
Additional USA News
- John Bolton Is Summoned to Testify in Trump Impeachment Inquiry: The former national security adviser is said to have been deeply alarmed by what he perceived as a campaign by the president’s inner circle to manipulate Ukraine policy for political gain.
- 5 Takeaways From the Latest Iowa Poll – What we know: Elizabeth Warren has seized much of Bernie Sanders’ youthful following, and her coalition transcends divisions over policy. What we don’t know: A lot, still.
- Suicide Has Been Deadlier Than Combat for the Military: The Pentagon has made strides in helping those in need, but the rate of deaths is rising.
- The cautionary political tale of Iceland’s last McDonald’s burger that simply won’t rot, even after 10 years
- How to Use Occam’s Razor Without Getting Cut
- Inside the Debate Between Netflix and Big Theater Chains Over ‘The Irishman’ and Robert De Niro and Al Pacino: ‘We’re not doing this ever again’
- The Porch Pirate of Potrero Hill Can’t Believe It Came to This: When a longtime resident started stealing her neighbors’ Amazon packages, she entered a vortex of smart cameras, Nextdoor rants, and cellphone surveillance.
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