World Child Mortality Cut in Half

(p. A1) Two decades ago, nearly 10 million children did not live to see a 5th birthday.

By 2017, that number — about 1 in every 16 children — was nearly cut in half, even as the world’s population increased by more than a billion people.

. . .

From 2000 to 2017, all but one of the 97 low-to-middle-income countries that account for the vast majority of deaths of young children lowered their child mortality rates, according to a report released Tuesday [Sept. 17, 2019] by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, along with a research team at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, led by Stephen Lim, the institute’s senior director of science and engineering.

For the full story, see:

Alicia Parlapiano, Josh Katz, and Margot Sanger-Katz. “Fewer of the World’s Children Are Dying, but Many Remain at Risk.” The New York Times (Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019): A1 & A12.

(Note: ellipsis, and bracketed date, added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Sept. 17, 2019, and has the title “Almost Everywhere,Fewer Children Are Dying.” In the last paragraph quoted above, the wording follows the online version, and not the print version. The order of the authors’ names in the online version is: Josh Katz, Alicia Parlapiano and Margot Sanger-Katz.)

Regulations Mandate Ineffective Dishwashers

(p. A18) The FreedomWorks regulatory policy manager, Daniel Savickas, said the Competitive Enterprise Institute had flagged the dishwasher issue and the groups had decided to combine their efforts. “We try and roll back burdensome regulations and make life easier for consumers and manufacturers,” he said.

“The dishwasher in my apartment is absolute garbage, and I have to run cycles multiple times,” Mr. Savickas said.

The crux of their argument is that energy efficiency standards have made America’s dishwashers ineffective with ever-longer cycles, to the consternation of users. “Why should the government mandate these models rather than leave the choice to consumers in the first place?” Mr. Kazman said.

For the full story, see:

Hiroko Tabuchi. “Warriors Against Environmental Rules Champion the Dishwasher.” The New York Times (Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019): A18.

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Sept. 17, 2019, and has the title “Inside Conservative Groups’ Effort to ‘Make Dishwashers Great Again’.” The online version says that the New York print edition was on p. A17. In my National print edition, the article was on p. A18.)

Cocoa Beach Thrives During Private Space Race

(p. B6) Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are racing to send people into outer space and eventually to the moon and Mars. They are already improving the fortunes of a coastal Florida city that is home to their budding space ambitions.

Cocoa Beach, which sits south of Cape Canaveral on the Atlantic coast, was hit hard by the 2009 recession and the subsequent end to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s space shuttle program. The economic downturn and space program’s demise led to large-scale layoffs and a reduction in tourism.

Now the city of 11,000 is in the middle of a resurgence as the private space industry’s rocket launches bring jobs and visitors back. Blue Origin LLC has built a rocket factory north of Cocoa Beach. The company—founded by Mr. Bezos, the chief executive of Inc. —plans to launch its New Glenn rocket from Cape Canaveral in 2021. Blue Origin hopes one day to bring people to the moon.

Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX, is holding test launches on the cape and is expected to shoot a rocket with 60 satellites into space this week—and, at some point, send people on a mission to Mars. SpaceX was founded by Mr. Musk, who is also a founder of Tesla Inc.

For the full story, see:

Konrad Putzier. “Florida City Buoyed by Space Race.” The Wall Street Journal (Wednesday, May 22, 2019): B6.

(Note: the online version of the story has the date May 21, 2019, and has the title “Space Rockets Spark Property Boom on Florida Coast.”)

“Bureaucratic Madness Is Choking Growth”

(p. A21) Jean Tirole, who won the Nobel Prize in economics in 2014, says that the study of economics is “simultaneously demanding and accessible.”

. . .

“Economics for the Common Good” offers an ambitious yet accessible summary of his ideas on the proper role of economists and the value of their ideas in informing government, business and social life.

. . .

One of the best chapters in the book deals with the issue of employment law in France. Successive governments have tried to micromanage the agreements between companies and employees to ensure fair treatment and low unemployment. But France’s unemployment rate has remained high, entrepreneurship has been stifled, and companies have become loath to hire people because of the prohibitive costs of firing them. Even if an employee proves useless, it’s nearly impossible to sack him.

On the employee’s side, even if you want to resign, it is more lucrative to wait to be fired, since you get both severance pay and unemployment insurance. To resolve the stand-off between workers who want to quit and companies that want to cut staff, employers and employees now collude through a legal formula called “termination by mutual consent.” The employee resigns and receives unemployment benefits as if he has been dismissed, and the company is spared the legal ramifications and costs of dismissal. In Mr. Tirole’s view, such bureaucratic madness is choking growth.

. . .

Mr. Tirole has a patient, explanatory style. But when riled, he lashes out. The French education system, he writes, purports to be non-selective but favors the affluent and well-educated. It “is a vast insider-trading crime.”

For the full review, see:

Philip Delves Broughton. “BOOKSHELF; What Good Is An Economist?” The Wall Street Journal (Tuesday, December 19, 2017): A21.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the review has the date Dec. 18, 2017, and has the title “BOOKSHELF; Review: What Good Is an Economist?; A French Nobel laureate and public intellectual discusses the proper role of the dismal science in government, business and the life of the mind.”)

The book under review is:

Epstein, David. Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World. New York: Riverhead Books, 2019.

Entrepreneurs Turn Overcooked Corn Flakes from Waste to Resource

(p. B1) Last year, Seven Brothers became partners with the American cereal manufacturer Kellogg’s to create Throw Away I.P.A., a smooth, mellow beer made from Corn Flakes that had fallen short of quality-control standards at the company’s production facility in Manchester. In June, the brewery released two more beers made with Kellogg’s cereals: a pale ale from Rice Krispies and a dark (p. B7) stout that owes its chocolate flavor to Coco Pops.

. . .

“How can we find a home for these perfectly edible flakes that are just slightly overcooked or a bit too big or a bit too small?” Ms. Prince said.

. . .

At Seven Brothers, the process of converting cereal into beer ultimately boils down to ratios, or how much cereal to add to the grain mix that is combined with hot water in the early stages of the brewing process. From there, Mr. McAvoy said, “the process is pretty much the same as we would make any beer.”

But does it actually taste good? At the moment, it’s not available in the United States, though Seven Brothers is looking for an American distributor. At the Dockyard, a chain of Manchester pubs that stocks the cereal-based beers, the Throw Away I.P.A. was a hit with customers.

For the full story, see:

David Yaffe-Bellany. “Stale Corn Flakes? No, a Fine I.P.A.” The New York Times (Saturday, July 4, 2019): B1 & B7.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date July 3, 2019, and has the title “Drink a Pint, Waste Less Food.”)

Low-Skilled Workers Benefit from Economic Growth

(p. A2) For years, falling wages and high unemployment seemed proof that low-wage workers needed an entirely new set of skills to succeed in an economy shaped by technological change and globalization.

It turns out what they needed most was time. As the economic expansion reaches a record age and unemployment remains near generation lows, the fortunes of low-skilled workers have turned up markedly. What looked like a permanent setback may be mostly cyclical. Continue reading “Low-Skilled Workers Benefit from Economic Growth”

Wright Stuff Op-Ed by Art Diamond Is Published in Davis Enterprise

My op-ed piece “When New Yorkers Cheered the Wright Stuff” has a message that is complementary to my book Openness to Creative Destruction.

Addendum: “When New Yorkers Cheered the Wright Stuff” was syndicated through To be best of my knowledge, it was run by three newspapers. Davis Enterprise. [California.] Sun., Sept. 22, 2019, p. B5; Findlay Courier. [Ohio.] Sat., Sept. 28, 2019, p. A4; Monroe News. [Michigan.], Tues., Oct. 1, 2019, p. 4A.