Weekly Selection 04 October 2019

'Flight shame' could halve growth in air traffic

(BBC, October 2, 2019)

Almost all aviation industry players continue to assume that global air travel will double over the next 15 years, yet a survey conducted by UBS tells a completely different story. 21% of European travelers have already reduced their number of flights and the same will happen soon in the US. As we had warned in the latest edition of the Monthly Barometer, the financial consequences for the global airline industry and those who gravitate around it (aircraft manufacturers, airport infrastructure etc.) will be monumental (reads in 3-4 min).

Jonathan Mingle, Our Lethal Air

(The New York Review of Books, September 26, 2019)

This is a review of five books and reports that depict and analyze the persistent global scourge of air pollution, which continues to be more pervasive, more deadly, and more human-caused than commonly assumed. Today, 91% of people worldwide live in areas where air pollution levels exceed the WHO’s recommended limits, resulting in a global health emergency (reads in 15 min).

Laura Holson, Are We Living in a Post-Happiness World?

(The New York Times, September 28, 2019)

Happiness is an elusive and transient notion, but it seems harder to come by nowadays. This may be the reason why people are grasping at any moment of joy they can get. As the author of “The Book of Joy” argues: “In an age of despair, choosing joy is a revolutionary act.” Joy is easier to achieve than happiness because it simply corresponds to “delight in moments that, by their nature, are fleeting” and doesn’t require the togetherness that is embedded in the state of happiness (reads in 5-6 min).

Lucrezia Reichlin, Adair Turner, Michael Woodford, Helicopter money as a policy option

(Vox, September 24, 2019)

This article sums up a policy debate on helicopter money that took place six years ago among three of the world’s leading monetary economists. It is a bit technical but a must-read as central banks will soon run out of conventional policy options. It elaborates on one tool that has yet to be taken out of storage: ‘helicopter money’, i.e. the overt monetary financing of government deficits (reads in about 8-10 min).

NOLS, Can More Wilderness Trips Save the World?

(Outside, September 23, 2019)

The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) is premised upon the simple principle that if you take students into the wilderness, they come back better people. The idea may sound over the top, but it is grounded in academic research and observational studies. Peter Metcalf, the former CEO of Black Diamond, says it best. “How you learn to conduct yourself in a challenging mountain environment with a small group of colleagues is precisely how to approach a career and the big challenges of life” (reads in 7-8 min).