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6 months

Textiles: Your Clothes are Pollutants

"The way we design, produce, and use clothes has drawbacks that are becoming increasingly clear. The textiles system operates in an almost completely linear way: large amounts of non-renewable resources are extracted to produce clothes that are often used for only a short time, after which the materials are mostly sent to landfill or incinerated. More than USD 500 billion of value is lost every year due to clothing underutilisation and the lack of recycling. Furthermore, this take-make-dispose model has numerous negative environmental and societal impacts. For instance, total greenhouse gas emissions from textiles production, at 1.2 billion tonnes annually, are more than those of all international flights and maritime shipping combined. Hazardous substances affect the health of both textile workers and wearers of clothes, and they escape into the environment. When washed, some garments release plastic microfibres, of which around half a million tonnes every year contribute to ocean pollution – 16 times more than plastic microbeads from cosmetics. Trends point to these negative impacts rising inexorably ..."

6 months

Autonomous Vehicles: Here's One Crystal Ball

When it comes to peering ahead into the autonomous vehicle future, some crystal balls are better than others. I recommend the recent report written for a group called SAFE by Charles Carson, Erica Groshen, Susan Helper, John Paul MacDuffie, W. David Montgomery, and Richard Mudge, America’s Workforce and the Self-Driving Future Realizing Productivity Gains and Spurring Economic Growth (June 2018). The main report is here, while three background papers behind the main report are available here.

6 months

G-7, G7+, G20

When the G-7 gatherings originated in the 1970s, they included only finance ministers who typically met with little notice or publicity. They were working meetings. But in the 1980s, they became public events with top government leaders present. As the Council of Foreign Relations has noted, it "The G-7 serves as a forum for highly industrialized democracies to coordinate economic, security, and energy policy."

6 months

Bangladesh Reaches Middle Income Status

Bangladesh has over 160 million people, which makes it the eighth most populous country in the world (just behind Pakistan and Nigeria, just ahead of Russia, Mexico, and Japan). I can't claim that I've been paying close attention to its economy, but I was nonetheless started to see that Bangladesh has shifted (in the World Bank's classification) from being a "low-income" to a "middle-income" country.

6 months

Blood Plasma: US Paid Donors Dominate Global Market

When market forces of supply and demand become involved with parts of the human body, the result can be a high degree of ambivalence. In the US, for example, a system has evolved where the health care system primarily relies on volunteers for blood, but on paying those who donate blood plasma. Not coincidentally the system of paid US now supplies nearly two-thirds of all the blood plasma available in the world.

6 months

US Intergenerational Mobility: An International Perspective

Intergenerational economic mobility has two aspects. "Absolute" mobility refers to the difference between one generation and the next. In an economy that grows substantially over time, absolute intergenerational mobility can be widespread--that is, most adults currently in the workforce would have higher income than did their parents at the same age. In contrast, "relative" mobility refers to whether the ranking of current adults--say, whether they are in the top 10% or the bottom 10%--is correlated with the ranking of their parents.

6 months

Bitcoin and Illegal Activity

One of the main attractions of bitcoin is its anonymity, which is worth the most to those who are carrying out questionable or illegal transactions. But how much of bitcoin used is tied to illegal activity? Sean Foley, Jonathan R. Karlsen,  and Tālis J. Putniņš tackle this question in their January 2018 working paper, "Sex, drugs, and bitcoin: How much illegal activity is financed through cryptocurrencies?" available at the SSRN website.

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