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Tuesday's Top 10 with NZ Mint: Would deliberate 'degrowth' increase Gross Domestic Happiness?; China's financial stress; Spanish mortgagee moratorium; Dilbert
Here's my Top 10 links from around the Internet at 10 am in association with NZ Mint.
As always, we welcome your additions in the comments below or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Degrowth - Jon Morgan at the Dominion Post has bravely (for a farming editor) interviewed Erik Assadourian, who proposes 'over-developed' economics deliberately contract the size of their economies.
My knee jerk reaction is that would never work. No one would vote for it.
But the more I look at the arguments, the more sympathetic I am.
Perhaps you could 'degrow' the economy and actually increase national 'happiness'?
Now that our Treasury is spending a lot of time studying the measure of 'happiness', maybe this sort of thing is a goer.
Fixation with economic growth and increasing levels of consumption contributes to debt burdens, long working hours, increased rates of obesity, dependence on pharmaceuticals, social isolation, and other societal ills, Assadourian writes.
He details three reforms he'd like to see:
Change the consumer culture: Governments should promote a move to smaller homes, "walkable" lifestyles and eating less food, particularly less processed food, and communities that have small-scale farming, child and elder care, midwifery and that develop essential skills like repair and carpentry.
Distribute tax burdens more equitably: Tax the rich, polluters, advertisers and financial transactions with the new revenue going into degrowth initiatives such as goods-sharing services or improving public water and transport or green projects.
Share working hours: In Britain, the average work week, including the unemployed, part- timers and those working excessive hours, is 21 hours. Restructuring the work week to better distribute work hours would help reduce unemployment and poverty, while also improving the quality of life.
2. Reform or perish - Independent Beijing economist Michael Pettis has written a useful piece for Foreign Policy on the choices facing China's governing Communist Party as it undergoes a once in a decade leadership change.
3. Borrow or die - WantChinaTimes reports China's Ministry of Railways is having to borrow to expand its railway construction programme.
4. Is China becoming a debtor's prison - PIIE looks at how many indebted Chinese companies are now struggling with slowing growth rates. The chart is a tad worrying.
5. Poor old Xi - Foreign Policy reckons incoming Chinese President Xi Jinping has an even tougher job than re-elected US President Barack Obama.
6. Has global trade pulled out of its slump - Better than expected export and other figures out of China over the weekend suggest the world's second largest economy has stopped slowing and may be on the way back.
Here's a great chart picked up by BusinessInsider showing what has happened to global trade in recent years. Picture tells a thousand words. Substantial slowdown after the 2009 bounceback.
7. Mortgagee moratorium - The pressure on Spain's economy and its people is intense. The Prime Minister has announced a moratorium on mortgagee evictions after a spate of suicides. HT Mish via El Pais.
8. China's financial stress - Ambrose Evans Pritchard at The Telegraph points to Nomura's worries about financial stress in China.
9. Something's brewing here - NZHerald reports Chinese authorities have blocked a bunch of Australian and New Zealand infant formula at the border for not having enough iodine.