Posts Tagged ‘Sudan’


Special mention

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Special mention

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life expectancy

Earlier today, I referred to a recent study about inequality and life expectancy in the United States.

The chart above is from that study, “The Association Between Income and Life Expectancy in the United States, 2001-2014,” published by (and now available for free in) the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The upper panels, which illustrate race- and ethnicity-adjusted life expectancies for men and women by income quartile for each year from 2001 through 2014, show that there was a much larger increase in life expectancy for higher income groups during the 2000s. (For men, the mean annual increase in life expectancy from 2001 through 2014 was 0.20 years in the highest income quartile compared with only 0.08 years in the lowest income quartile. For women, the comparable changes were 0.23 years in the highest quartile and only 0.10 years in the lowest quartile.)

The lower panels, which illustrate the annual increase in race-adjusted life expectancy by income ventiles, show the large discrepancies in the annual increases in longevity between men and women at the top and bottom of the distribution of income. (The annual increase in longevity was 0.18 years for men, which translates to an increase of 2.34 years from 2001 to 2014, and 0.22 years for women, an increase of 2.91 years from 2001 to 2014 in the top 5 percent of the income distribution. In the bottom 5 percent of the income distribution, the average annual increase in longevity was 0.02 years, an increase of only 0.32 years from 2001 to 2014 for men and 0.003 years, an increase of 0.04 years from 2001 to 2014 for women.)

According to the authors, here are the two main conclusions of this portion of their study (citations omitted):

The first major conclusion is that life expectancy increased continuously with income. There was no dividing line above or below which higher income was not associated with higher life expectancy. Between the top 1% and bottom 1% of the income distribution, life expectancy differed by 15 years for men and 10 years for women.

These differences are placed in perspective by comparing life expectancies at selected percentiles of the income distribution (among those with positive income) in the United States with mean life expectancies in other countries. For example, men in the bottom 1% of the income distribution at the age of 40 years in the United States have life expectancies similar to the mean life expectancy for 40-year-old men in Sudan and Pakistan, assuming that life expectancies in those countries are accurate. Men in the United States in the top 1% of the income distribution have higher life expectancies than the mean life expectancy for men in all countries at age 40 years. . .

The second major conclusion is that inequality in life expectancy increased in recent years. Between 2001 and 2014, individuals in the top 5% of the income distribution gained around 3 years of life expectancy, whereas individuals in the bottom 5% experienced no gains. As a benchmark for this magnitude, the NCHS estimates that eliminating all cancer deaths would increase life expectancy at birth by 3.2 years.

You read that right: U.S. men in the bottom 1 percent of the income distribution have life expectancies similar to the mean life expectancy for men in Sudan and Pakistan! And the gap between those at the top and bottom is growing!

What we have then is technical chart with a very important political message: now more than ever, we need a radically different way of organizing economic and social life in the United States—unless, of course, we want to remain at the level of Sudan and Pakistan.

Special mention

That was the week that was,
It’s over let it go,
Oh what a week that was
That was the week that was!!!!!!!!!

Ignoring that sage advice, here I go. . .

Greg Smith left Goldman Sachs with the letter read ’round the world.

Leadership used to be about ideas, setting an example and doing the right thing. Today, if you make enough money for the firm (and are not currently an ax murderer) you will be promoted into a position of influence.

David Cay Johnston reminded us that, in the midst of the Second Great Depression (and in contrast to what happened in the First Great Depression), the richest keep getting richer.

Robert J. Samuelson still doesn’t understand what caused the crisis of 2007-08.

Booms become busts because justifiable confidence becomes foolish optimism. So it was. Believing the world less risky, people took more risks. Investment banks and households increased their debt. Lending standards eroded, because borrowers’ repayment prospects were thought to have improved. Regulators relaxed oversight, because markets seemed more stable and self-correcting. On the fringes, ethical standards frayed; criminality increased. The rest, as they say, is history.

My old friend Tom Andrews was George Clooney’s cellmate.

What I found was a decent, level-headed, very knowledgeable and very down-to-earth guy. He was a key figure in the Save Darfur effort, had just returned from Sudan, and had thought a lot about what to do to avert the imminent danger of hundreds of thousands of innocent people being starved to death by the same man responsible for the genocide in Darfur. And he had also thought about strategy — including what is needed not only to draw a crowd of reporters in Washington, but how to get the horror of what is happening in Sudan firmly into public consciousness, and how to translate that into the political will to do what needs to be done.

Martin Feldstein continues to repeat the right-wing mantra that tax hikes are a bad thing.

Looking to the future, there are strong headwinds that will make it difficult to achieve a robust recovery. Higher petrol prices will reduce real incomes and cut spending on domestic goods and services. The weaknesses in many European economies will cut US exports to those countries.

But the most important cloud on the horizon is the large tax increase that will occur next year unless there is legislation to block it.

The new chapter by Greg Mankiw on the financial system is actually the same old nonsense about efficiently linking savers with investors.

The financial system is the broad term for the institutions in the economy that facilitate the flow of funds between savers and investors. That is, the financial system brings people like Larry and people like Patti together.

Edward Luce explains that, when it comes to thinking about capitalism in crisis, there is an alternative to the right-wing “purgatives” and the liberal “restoratives”: the “new foundationists.”

Their view is that the US – and other developed economies – needs to renovate the building. American capitalism was already failing to cater to the majority before the 2008 crisis, they argue.They have a lot of evidence on their side. Before the meltdown, median incomes had already dropped in the 2002-2007 business cycle, which was unique for a developed capitalist economy in the last three generations. Since then, things have got worse. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, US weekly median incomes have fallen by two per cent since the US recession officially ended in mid-2009. Incomes are supposed to rise in a recovery.

Meanwhile, mainstream economists, like Miranda Xafa, continue to believe that the problems in Greece stem from over-regulation.

Exiting the Eurozone would only add to the debt burden without resolving Greece’s competitiveness problem, which stems primarily from regulatory barriers to competition, restrictive labour practices, and red tape that raise the cost of doing business.

Another one of those same mainstream economists, Raghuram Rajan, believes that the problem is not inequality per se or the concentration of income at the top but the “keeping up with the Vanderbilts” behavior of the non-rich.

the non-rich (but not the really poor) living near high-spending wealthy consumers tended to spend much more on items that richer households usually consumed, such as jewelry, beauty and fitness, and domestic services. Indeed, many borrowed to finance their spending, with the result that the proportion of poorer households in financial distress or filing for bankruptcy was significantly higher in areas where the rich earned (and spent) more. Were it not for such imitative consumption, non-rich households would have saved, on average, more than $800 annually in recent years.

While the AFL-CIO does understand that that “the crash of 2008 and the Great Recession were inevitable consequences of three decades of economic policies designed by and for Wall Street and the wealthiest Americans,” it suggests little more than attacking China and restoring U.S. manufacturing.

we need to start making things in America again. We cannot hope to revive U.S. manufacturing without bringing our trade deficit under control, which means ending the overvaluation of the U.S. dollar and combating currency manipulation by our trading partners.  We will also need to enhance Buy America safeguards, aggressively enforce our trade laws and end incentives for offshoring in the tax code and in our trade agreements.

And, finally, dozens of protestors were arrested in Zuccotti Park during a protest to mark the six-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

That was the week that was. Now that I’ve had my say, I can let it go. . .

The Middle East is in transition, as. . .

> Algerians defied a protest ban imposed by the government of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika

> anti-government protesters in Yemen called for the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh

> Sudanese women demanded the release of men arrested in recent demonstrations

This is change one can believe in.

Delusions of grandeur

Posted: 31 August 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Bloggers are enjoying themselves ridiculing South Sudan’s plans to rebuild its city centers from scratch—in the shape of safari animals.

As well they should! These are crazy schemes, fueled by oil revenues and delusions of grandeur.

But just as delusional is the attack on “constructivism and the demeaning character of collectivism,” and the glorification of so-called bottom-up, market-based approaches. This is what such no-planning has produced in Juba and Wau:

The problem is not central planning versus markets. It’s the set of economic and social forces that produced both the current urban disasters and the zoological plans for the future.