Summary of “How Venezuela Struck It Poor – Foreign Policy”

At the time, Venezuela was eager to diversify beyond just oil and avoid the so-called resource curse, a common phenomenon in which easy money from commodities such as oil and gold leads governments to neglect other productive parts of their economies.
While there’s no question Maduro is partially culpable, to fully understand how a country blessed with the world’s biggest oil endowment could end up so crushingly poor requires going much further back.
That year, to gain full national control over the oil fields, Caracas banished foreign oil firms and created a new, state-run oil monopoly called Petróleos de Venezuela.
“PDVSA was one of the best. They really knew how to operate,” said one executive at an international oil company with long experience in Venezuela.
“During the highest oil boom in history, when every other country in the world increased investment, Venezuela did not, and production kept declining,” Monaldi said.
The one relative bright spot in Venezuela’s oil industry today is the superheavy Orinoco fields, jointly operated with foreign firms since the 1990s-era opening of the sector.
Despite the collapse of its oil industry, Venezuela continues to buy foreign oil to ship, at a loss, to the regime’s ideological cousins in Cuba – a bitter legacy of Chávez’s plan to use Venezuela’s oil riches to buy friends in the neighborhood.
The only way Venezuela, which is broke and stripped of talent, can possibly fix its oil industry today is by relying more on foreign companies.

The orginal article.

Summary of “When is a nation not a nation? Somaliland’s dream of independence”

When I arrived at the airport, a customs officer in a Somaliland uniform checked my Somaliland visa, issued by the Somaliland consulate in Washington DC. At the airport, there was a Somaliland flag.
During my visit, I paid Somaliland shillings to drivers of cabs with Somaliland plates who took me to the offices of ministers of the Somaliland government.
On 26 June 1960, the former Protectorate of Somaliland became fully independent from British rule, its independence recognised by 35 countries around the world, including the US. The next day, its new legislature passed a law approving a union with the south.
Although it’s true that Somaliland voluntarily erased the border with Somalia in 1960, Somalilanders don’t consider that decision irreversible.
If these countries couldn’t make their marriages work, why, Somalilanders ask, should Somaliland be stuck in a loveless alliance?
The argument against Somaliland’s independence rests largely on factors beyond the country’s control.
Somaliland officials are used to hearing that if their independence were recognised, it would set off a domino effect for nationalist movements, destabilising the continent.
In 2007, a US defence official described Somaliland to the Washington Post as “An entity that works”, and said that in the Pentagon’s view “Somaliland should be independent”.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Has Greece finally escaped the grip of catastrophe?”

The EU had stood by its partner – whose links with ancient Greece played an indisputable role in Athens’s admission in 1981 as a member of what was the European Economic Community – and economic Armageddon had been averted.
In global financial history no country has received as much money as Greece.
From 120% of GDP at the start of the crisis, the ratio of debt-to-economic output now hovers around 180%, by far the highest in the EU. “The country was bankrupt in 2010, but the creditors pretended it was a cashflow problem, when really Greece needed a restructuring of its debt early on,” says Professor Loukas Tsoukalis, who presides over the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, Eliamep.
The rout in 1922 led to the loss of territory formerly ceded to Greece and a major exchange of ethnic Greek and Turkish populations.
Worsening demographics have not helped: after Bulgaria, Greece has the lowest fertility rate in the EU, with the population dwindling by almost 3% as a result of emigration and fewer births during the crisis.
A deal, unveiled last month, giving Athens the ability to extend payments on its accumulated €320bn debt pile by a decade, has provided much-needed breathing space to modernise the economy but is widely seen as inadequate if Greece is to avoid further crisis down the line.
“The crisis is something that happened to Greece – it didn’t happen to me. I set up Manifest in 2003 after working as a salesman in another company but it’s only in recent years that our turnover has soared. When others were on their knees, getting scared and pulling out, we moved in and filled the gap.”
“For a third of my life, Greece has been in crisis. I should have got used to it but my parents died early and I’ve had no economic support. Before it began, I had my own car and rented a flat and was waitressing six nights a week.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Inside the Slow-Motion Disaster on the Southern Border”

“Just, you know, put yourself in his shoes. You hear all this crying, there’s a lot of stress, and, you know, he has to do his job.”
Border Patrol Agent: My parents, you know, when I was young they were they were migrant workers, so they would commute to California, you know for the season-for the grape season.
My dad actually was born in Mexico in Matamoros and then he immigrated with my grandfather back in the day, immigrated to Brownsville as a resident alien and then, you know, my parents, you know, they got married, money was hard, right? So, they’d have to go, you know, work the fields and do that hard labor to make ends meet.
Border Patrol: You go down to the Rio Grande River it’s, you know, there’s brush.
Border Patrol: You know, a lot of people, they think we’re the bad guys because, you know, poor people, they’re trying to come to better their lives and we’re stopping them.
Sister Norma Pimentel: It’s important to know that families are not being attracted to our country, they simply are fleeing a reality in their homeland.
You know, because that’s the policy that’s intact right now, Right? So, he can’t deviate from it, you know.
Guatemalan mother: If they took my child away, I don’t know.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The staggering rise of India’s super-rich”

Voters turned to Narendra Modi, the self-described son of a poor tea-seller, hoping he would deliver a new era of clean governance and rapid growth, ridding India of a growing reputation for crony capitalism.
As Narendra Modi gears up for a tough re-election battle next year, he is fighting the perception that India is unable to bring such men to heel, and that it has been powerless to respond to the rise of this new moneyed elite and the scandals that have come with them.
Even afterwards, India remained a grimly poor country, as its socialist leadership fashioned a notably inefficient state-planned economic model, closed off almost entirely from global trade.
Over time, India grew more equal, if only in the limited sense that its elite remained poor by the standards of the industrialised west.
India remains a poor country: in 2016, to be counted among its richest 1% required assets of just $32,892, according to research from Credit Suisse.
Put another way, India has created a model of development in which the proceeds of growth flow unusually quickly to the very top.
The boom years brought benefits, most obviously by reintegrating India into the world economy.
Six years before that, in 2008, as the scale of India’s billionaire fortunes were becoming clear, Raghuram Rajan – an economist who would later become the head of India’s central bank – asked an even more pointed question about his country’s tycoon class: “If Russia is an oligarchy, how long can we resist calling India one?”.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Can Country Clubs Adapt to the Millennial Era?”

In the 1990s, there were more than 5,000 full-service golf and country clubs in the 1990s.
Morgan insists that there’s more to modern club life: He calls today’s country club “a family-centric activity center, with golf as potentially [just] one of the activities or assets or experiences that are offered to members.” Besides the standard offerings like tennis and swimming, clubs are adding activities that are a little more social and casual, like burger and beer nights and wine tastings.
In the age of Facebook and declining church attendance, country clubs are somewhere to socialize and make friends in real life.
The craving for community might spur more Millennials to join country clubs when they start families, said Bill McMahon, Sr., chairman of the McMahon Group, which consults for private clubs.
The general manager of the club told the told the Cambridge Times, “Our basic goal is to get more people in there, especially younger people; more millennials that right now, in their lives, just can’t justify paying a full membership for the amount that they feel they can utilize the club.” In Scottsdale, Arizona, the Pinnacle Peak Country Club offers potential members between the ages of 35 and 45 the option of a one-year trial before committing to the initiation fee.
Brookhaven’s director of child development told Club & Resort Business, “We have had people join our club just to use the daycare.” Woodfield Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida, offers a 3,000-square-foot children’s clubhouse and teen game room.
Clubs that are located in graying regions of the country may struggle against demographics-and suburban clubs against Millennials’ preference for city living, as well as the urbanization of wealth in some metropolitan areas.
Will established country clubs follow the lead of city upstarts? They already are: ClubCorp, the largest owner and operator of golf and country clubs in the country, also owns The Collective, a Millennial-friendly private club in Seattle with craft beer, hammocks, and a climbing wall.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Is it great to be a worker in the U.S? Not compared with the rest of the developed world.”

Joblessness may be low in the United States and employers may be hungry for new hires, but it’s also strikingly easy to lose a job here.
An average of 1 in 5 employees lose or leave their jobs each year, and 23.3 percent of workers ages 15 to 64 had been in their job for a year or less in 2016 – higher than all but a handful of countries in the study.
Decade-old OECD research found an unusually large amount of job turnover in the United States is due to firing and layoffs, and Labor Department figures show the rate of layoffs and firings hasn’t changed significantly since the research was conducted.
The U.S. ranks at the bottom for employee protection even when mass layoffs are taken into consideration as well, despite the 1988 Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act’s requirement that employers give notice 60 days before major plant closings or layoffs.
Fewer than half of displaced workers find a job within a year, the researchers found.
Japan’s rate was similar to the U.S., but Finland, Australia and Denmark were well ahead. Furthermore, the report’s authors find that “Two in three families with a displaced worker fall into poverty for some time.”
The United States spends less of its economic wealth on active efforts to help people who either don’t have a job or who are at risk of becoming unemployed than almost any other country in the study.
Based on an OECD review of almost four decades of data, countries that have decentralized collective-bargaining systems, like the United States, tend to have slower job growth and, in most cases, higher unemployment than other advanced nations.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Steven Brill explains what killed the American dream”

The book argues the people with the most advantages in the American economy have used that privilege to catapult themselves ahead of everyone else, and then rigged the system – to cement their position at the top, and leave the less fortunate behind.
I spoke to Brill about how this came to pass, why the American dream has vanished, and what it will take to undo the damage that’s been done.
Steven Brill There isn’t one villain or one pivotal moment, but there really were several different things that started happening at the same time, and they fed off each other.
Steven Brill I think it’s a much more relevant distinction than saying people are Democrats or Republicans, or that they’re conservatives or liberals.
Steven Brill Well, they’re the “Winners” in our system who don’t need a good system of public education because their kids go to private school, who don’t care about mass transit because they can afford to drive anywhere, and they don’t need public health care because they can pay for private coverage.
Sean Illing You seem hesitant to say that the country is broken, and yet when you look at all the relevant measures – public engagement, income inequality, wage levels, satisfaction, knowledge of public policy, faith that the next generation will do better than the current one – we’re at or near historic lows.
For a large swath of the country, the majority of the country, that’s just not true anymore.
For a country to work, you have to have balance between personal ambition and personal achievements and the common good.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Dutch teenagers are among the happiest in the world”

The last HBSC report, comparing children of 11, 13 and 15, showed a happy Dutch youth.
The results chime with a 2016 Dutch Statistics Office study of 4,000 people from 12 to 25, who ranked their happiness at 8.4 out of 10, and a PISA report in 2015 noting that the country – alongside Finland and Switzerland – seemed “Able to combine good learning outcomes with highly satisfied students”.
Like most Dutch teenagers, he cycles to school and feels he has a good level of self-determination.
Despite the country’s reputation for cannabis smoking, the Trimbos Institute reports a downward trend for using alcohol and drugs and smoking in Dutch children aged 12 to 16.
The HBSC data supports this: 86% of Dutch teenagers say their classmates are kind and helpful, putting the country top of the tables at 13 and 15.
Meanwhile a poster on her school’s wall encouraging people of all sexualities to “Come out” reaffirms that openness is OK. The rate of teenage pregnancies in the Netherlands is also the lowest in the EU. The Dutch school system – almost entirely public -incorporates major exams at about the age of 12 and three levels of secondary education from practical to the most academic.
There are social problems such as differences between minority ethnic and native Dutch achievement, while one in nine children grows up in poverty.
Who developed happiness classes at the school a decade ago, and also gives positive psychology lessons to educators, is worried that Dutch children are under threat from new pressures around educational achievement.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Younger people are less religious than older ones in many countries”

For some time now, surveys have shown that younger Americans are less likely than older adults to attend church, believe in God, or say religion is important to them.
In 46 countries around the world, adults under age 40 are less likely to say religion is “Very important” in their lives than are older adults; the opposite is true in only two countries.
While the size of the age gap varies from country to country, averaging the national results in each of the countries surveyed yields a clear global picture: 51% of younger adults in the average country consider religion to be very important, compared with 57% among people ages 40 and older – a difference of 6 percentage points.
In the U.S., the age gap is considerable: 43% of people under age 40 say religion is very important to them, compared with 60% of adults ages 40 and over.
Younger respondents are less likely to identify with any religion in 41 countries; again, the opposite is true in only two countries.
One theory is that people naturally become more religious as they age and approach their own mortality.
Many of the world’s least religious countries have populations that are either shrinking or growing only slowly, while regions with the highest population growth tend to be very religious.
In the average country in the region, 88% of younger adults and 89% of older adults say that religion is very important in their lives.

The orginal article.