Weekly Selection 13 September 2019

Ann Saphir, Trade uncertainty to trim $850 billion global output: Fed paper

(Reuters, September 5, 2019)

Some robust academic research (it comes from the Fed) has attempted for the first time to quantify the economic impact of the uncertainty generated by the trade war. The result: USD850 billion in lost global output through early next year – roughly 1% of global GDP (reads in 3-4 min).

Ali Borhani, R6 — the Case for a New Global Currency Basket

(RIAC, September 11, 2019)

Observing that US unilateral sanctions prevent countries like Iran from accessing the global banking system and conducting international trade, the MD of 3 Sixty Strategic Advisors suggests that the NDB (the New Development Bank, of which China, Russia, India, Brazil, and South Africa are the founding members) could invite Iran to take some of its shares and consider creating a R6 – a new currency that they could start using between themselves. As US unilateralism wanes, more such ideas will flourish (reads in 6-7 min).

Jonathan Franzen, What If We Stopped Pretending?

(The New Yorker, September 8, 2019)

This is the renowned novelist’s take on how to tackle climate change. In his opinion, the climate apocalypse is coming; it “has the feel of Kafka’s fiction” and the only way to prepare for it is to admit that we can’t prevent it. Franzen’s logic is that there are two ways to think about this: “You can keep on hoping that catastrophe is preventable, and feel even more frustrated or enraged by the world’s inaction. Or you can accept that disaster is coming, and begin to rethink what it means to have hope”. Rich, dense, subtle – Read-on! (about 15 min).

Stephanie Pearson, Norway's Bold Plan to Tackle Over-tourism

(Outside Online, September 3, 2019)

For a whole host of reasons, the future of global tourism will be modeled upon what Norway does at the moment: addressing in a concomitant manner the issues of over-tourism and climate change. Norway is aiming to become carbon neutral by 2030 and is also investing in a sustainable tourism plan. In practice, this means that local players come up with solutions for less greenhouse-gas emissions and locally grown and harvested resources - food in particular (reads in 10 min+).

Andy Newman, On the Job, 24 Hours a Day, 27 Days a Month

(The New York Times, September 6, 2019)

Home health care is one of the fastest growing major job categories in the rich world. It is also one of the most emotionally and personally demanding, and one of the worst paid. This article describes the typical day of a US caretaker who works as home health aide for a 77-year-old man. She serves as social worker, diaper changer, dietitian, day planner, warden and more — all at dismal wages (reads in 7-8 min).