Maybe in the new academic year, I can bug a few Chinese students about this :-) and, BTW, ever wonder what happens to the money saved? Click here.
In a working paper released by the National Bureau of Economic Research today, two economists, Shang-Jin Wei of Columbia University and Xiaobo Zhang of the International Food Policy Research Institute, note that “By 2005, men outnumbered women at age 25 or below by about 30 million.” In 2007 there were about five boys born for every four girls.
“Families with sons compete with each other to raise their savings rate in response to ever-rising pressure in the marriage market. Competitive saving by these families spills over to greater savings by other families, possibly through raising the prices of nontradable goods such as housing.”
“Across Chinese provinces, there is clear evidence that local savings rates tend to be higher in regions with more unbalanced sex ratios.”
In other words, parents want their sons to marry, and they figure that girls are more likely to want to marry rich boys.The authors note that while they looked only at China, “other economies known to have a strong sex ratio imbalance include Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and India. These countries also happen to have high savings rates.”
Friday, June 26, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
In a review of this book in the Chronicle, the reviewer writes:
Skilled manual labor is far more cognitive than people realize, Crawford argues, and deserves more respect. That is especially true during tough economic times, when an independent tradesperson can make a decent and dignified living, and — this is important — can't be outsourced. (You can't get your car fixed in China.) "The question of what a good job looks like — of what sort of work is both secure and worthy of being honored — is more open now than it has been for a long time," he writes.
Crawford believes that Americans, in their frenzy to send every kid to college in pursuit of information-age job skills, have lost something valuable. "My sense is that some kids are getting hustled off to college when they'd rather be learning to build things or fix things, and that includes kids who are very smart," he says in an interview.
Crawford's phone has been ringing, and the blogosphere abuzz with lively discussions about working with one's hands, since an excerpt of Shop Class ran in The New York Times Magazine last month.
Anyway, thanks to binging myself, I found out that I am there in the collection that The Atlantic's Barbara Walraff has put together:
“I wonder if there is a word for what happens when teachers, like me, grade papers at the end of terms: the incorrect information in students’ papers makes me begin to question my own knowledge. For instance, after grading quite a few papers I begin to ask myself if it is effect or affect; does Switzerland really border a sea? Is there a word to describe this acute sense of ‘unlearning’?”It doesn't take a lot to amuse myself ..... ha ha ha
—Sriram Khe, Eugene, Ore.
Temporary inanity is what college English teacher Laura Zlogar, of River Falls, Wis., calls the malady. Deborah Carter, of Walkersville, Md., wrote, “I’m a teacher too, and I’ve always thought of this phenomenon as wisdumb.”
Various people suggested factigue, examnesia, and misleducation— also amissgivings (Anutosh Moitra, of Sammamish, Wash.), bogmindling (Eunice Van Loon, of Biloxi, Miss.), contaminotion (Jim Lemon, of Gladesville, of New South Wales, Australia), errattled (Lisa Bergtraum, of New York City), nonsensery overload (C. Bernard Bar-foot, of Alexandria, Va.), numbleminded (Doug and Kay Overbey, of Maryville, Tenn.), and righter’s block (Carol DeMoranville, of Steward, Ill.).
Tom Dorman, of Sedro-Woolley, Wash., had yet another idea, and he knows whereof he speaks. He wrote: “As a high school teacher, I can sympathize. My ninth-graders have recently convinced me that the Norman Conquest took place in 1951, that Samson and Goliath had a torrid affair (don’t tell the school board), and that car pedium means ‘seize your movement.’ Correct tests like this late into the night to meet your grade deadline and you, too, will feel doubt-witted by your students.”
For all its diplomatic bluster, Russia is little more than a cantankerous geopolitical gas station, and China is sparing no effort to take direct control of Siberian oil and gas through aggressive corporate buy-ins. Only if Russia wakes up to this reality and turns to the west will the real Nato—and therefore the west—have access to central Asia, let alone the capability to compete with China.Read the entire essay by Parag Khanna
NINE years ago, Ahmad Batebi appeared on the cover of The Economist. He was a 21-year-old student, one of thousands who protested against Iran’s government that summer. He was photographed holding aloft a T-shirt bespattered with the blood of a fellow protester. Soon afterwards, he was arrested and shown our issue of July 17th 1999. “With this”, he was told, “you have signed your death warrant.”
He was sentenced to death for “creating street unrest”. But after a global outcry, the sentence was commuted to 15 years in jail. He speculates that his high profile made it hard to kill him without attracting negative publicity. For two years, he was kept in solitary confinement, in a cell that was little more than a toilet hole with a wooden board on top. He was tortured constantly. Only when he was allowed to mingle with other prisoners again did he begin to overcome his despair.
During his interrogation he was blindfolded and beaten with cables until he passed out. His captors rubbed salt into his wounds to wake him up, so they could torture him more. They held his head in a drain full of sewage until he inhaled it. He recalls yearning for a swift death to end the pain. He was played recordings of what he was told was his mother being tortured. His captors wanted him to betray his fellow students, to implicate them in various crimes and to say on television that the blood on that T-shirt was only red paint. He says he refused.
He suffered a partial stroke that left the right side of his body without feeling. He needed medical attention. The regime did not want to be blamed for him dying behind bars, he says, so he was allowed out for treatment. Three months ago, on the day of the Persian new year, he escaped into Iraq. On June 24th he arrived in America.
He spoke to The Economist on July 7th. Looking at the picture that sparked his ordeal, he says that another man in his place might be angry, but he is not. Mr Batebi is a photographer himself. He says he understands what journalism involves. Had we not published the picture, he says, another paper might have. Looking at the same picture, his lawyer, interpreter and friend Lily Mazahery says she is close to tears: in it, the young Mr Batebi’s pale arms are as yet unscarred by torture.
The protests Mr Batebi took part in nine years ago frightened Iran’s rulers. The students were angry about censorship, the persecution of intellectuals and the thugs who beat up any student overheard disparaging the regime. Mr Batebi thinks Iran could well turn solidly democratic some day. In neighbouring states, religious extremism is popular. In Iran, he says, the government is religiously extreme, but the people are not.
He is cagey about how exactly he escaped. But he says he used a cellphone camera to record virtually every step of his journey, and will soon go public with the pictures and his commentary. Meanwhile, he seems to be enjoying America. He praises the way “people have the opportunity to become who they want to be”. Shortly after he arrived, he posted a picture of himself in front of the Capitol on his Farsi-language blog, with the caption: “Your hands will never touch me again.”
“We needed a visa to go to
After completing the medical procedures, the young husband and wife from
The previous day, I spent almost three hours in
Bumrungrad is a hospital that offers as much as, or sometimes even more than, what some of the best hospitals in the
The success of Bumrungrad, and the potential for an ever expanding international healthcare market, has catalyzed the growth of a similar industry in
An important aspect of medical tourism is not discussed much here in
Finally, medical tourism highlights a profound contradiction—quality healthcare is available for those who are able to afford it, irrespective of where they live, even as many millions lack access to basic healthcare.
I suppose to a large extent, the healthcare problems in Thailand or India are no different from what we are struggling with in the US—how to guarantee a minimum level of health coverage to citizens, while making sure that any such framework does not take away the incentives for further progress in the research, development, and provision of advanced healthcare. I hope that we in the
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
The pressure to earn a bachelor’s degree draws young people away from occupational training, particularly occupations that do not require college, Mr. Sennett said, and he cited two other factors. Outsourcing interrupts employment before a skill is fully developed, and layoffs undermine dedication to a single occupation. “People are told they can’t get back to work unless they retrain for a new skill,” he said.
None of this deterred Keelan Prados from pursuing a career as a welder, one among roughly 200,000 across the nation. At 28, he has more than a decade of experience, beginning when he was a teenager, building and repairing oil field equipment in his father’s shop in Louisiana. Marriage to a Canadian brought the Pradoses to Maine, near her family. And before Mr. Prados joined Cianbro, an industrial contractor, he ran his own business, repairing logging equipment out of a welding and machine shop on the grounds of his home in Brewer.The recession dried up that work, and last December, he answered one of Mr. McGrary’s ads. “I welded a couple of pieces of plate together for them and two pipes, and they were impressed,” Mr. Prados said. In less than two weeks, he was at work on Cianbro’s oil refinery project, earning $22 an hour and among the youngest of Mr. McGrary’s hires, most of whom are in their mid-30s to early 40s.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
My grandmothers would have been ecstatic if I had visited Ayodhya—but, visiting
Ayodhya is one of the holiest places in Hinduism. It is located in northern
Like most religious Hindus, my grandmothers immensely valued making a pilgrimage to Ayodhya. Though they were born in small towns—villages back then—my grandmothers made it, unlike their previous generations who could only dream of going there in their lifetimes, but never did because of resource and transport constraints. After all, it is almost a three-thousand mile round trip between their towns and Ayodhya, and travel before the advent of modern transportation would have been extremely challenging.
After the fall of
The spread of Islam, and the arrival of Central Asian Muslim warriors, who founded the successful Moghul Dynasty, resulted in the destruction of more than a few Hindu temples in
The destruction and alteration of property was not anything unusual—historically, it is something that humans have done pretty much in every culture across the planet. Rare would have been the case when the invading forces did everything possible to preserve the “enemy’s” life and property.
However, and unfortunately centuries later, Hindu extremists launched a holy war to restore the
I am confident that my grandmothers would have never have supported the destruction of a mosque, despite their devotion to Rama and, therefore, to Ayodhya. It is a tragedy that throughout history we humans have intentionally destroyed our fellow beings and their settlements and, along with that, traditions and cultures. While we might be vaguely familiar with the adage that “
I am, therefore, delighted that the ruins of