Links for 4th March, 2019

  1. “Under Uma, the NRCB has built Asia’s largest gene bank of 360 banana varieties. The popularity of Grand Nain—the long, pale yellow bananas that one encounters in most supermarket shelves (promoted by the giant Swiss horticultural conglomerate, Chiquita)—is such that it has been pulping production of more nutritious native bananas. Monoculture, or large-scale cropping of one strain without diversity, makes the crop susceptible to deadly disease attacks that could wipe out its production. There’s also the added risk of permanently losing indigenous varieties. This is one of the many threats Trichy’s famed banana growers face. The perennial scarcity of water has also meant that Tamil Nadu’s Theni district toppled Trichy from its top banana status. ”
    Only one excerpt from a very long article about the Cauvery  -and this long article is only part deux of a two part series. There was much to learn from reading it, about a whole variety of issues. Recommended.
  2. “Economic historian Barry Eichengreen has shown how countries that have experienced rapid economic growth during their escape from the clutches of mass poverty tend to falter in their subsequent move to mass prosperity. His research suggests that the most common point when inertia sets in, is when average incomes are either around $11,000 or $15,000 a year. This is the famous middle income trap. Fewer countries emerge from it than enter it.”
    Recommended for a variety of reasons – a good way to learn about the middle income trap, about China’s slowdown, about India’s opportunities, and about the implied risks for both China and India. Niranjan Rajadhakshya on China’s slowdown.
  3. “Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s policy adviser, Dan Riffle, contends that “every billionaire is a policy failure” (that’s the tagline on his Twitter handle) because “the acquisition of that much wealth has bad consequences” and “a moral society needs guardrails against it.” He’d like to see the 2020 Democratic primary contenders answer a question: Can it be morally appropriate for anyone to be a billionaire? ”
    Or, put another way, is the world a zero sum game or  a non-zero sum game? This blog is unapologetically in the latter camp. Economics, in fact, is defined by being a non-zero sum game.
  4. ““I’ve been very cautious about saying that until we got these results, but now I’m not so sure,” he said. “I think that a striped T-shirt might work very nicely.””
    The most fun way you will ever learn about evolution. Well, maybe not the most fun way, but you’ll enjoy reading this for sure.
  5. “As the process of Brexit unfolds, we are discovering how many pleasant aspects of modern life in Britain are closely linked to EU membership. A good relationship between Britain and Ireland should be added to that list.”
    Gideon Rachman on how Brexit might (make that will) affect relationships between Britain and Ireland.