Weekly Digest 7/26/18

Christopher Balding on his nine-year teaching experience in China – I’m a Chinese immigrant who left at the age of 6, so I didn’t really get the chance to learn about the culture and views of the people in the mainland. It’s funny to me that the distinctive things Balding points out about Chinese people are the things I dislike most about them: cutting in lines, valuing money above all else, and openly pointing and talking about foreigners in Chinese. Balding also contrasts the political climate of China and the U.S. with proper, much-needed perspective. (4,550 words)

Econtalk episode with Michael Matheson Miller on his documentary Poverty Inc. – Russ and Michael talk about the harms that poverty-fighting NGOs can inflict on the countries they’re purporting to help. For example, NGOs give away things for free, which crowds out local businesses and causes the locals to depend on receiving those products for free. In a country like the U.S., if we were given free things, like free rice, those rice farmers could do something else, But, in undeveloped economies, farming rice might be the only task available to them, and crowding them out would simply cause their unemployment. Interesting discussion that illustrates how charitable giving, even those with the best of intentions, can go awry. (69 min.)

“Housing Costs Reduce the Return to Education” – The return on education has increased, but most of the jobs of college graduates are in big cities where rent is spiraling out of control (like NYC & SF). The richest cities should allow much more housing to be built, but unfortunately that probably will never happen. (300 words)

Fantastic Radiolab episode on Dutee Chand – Dutee, a female Indian track athlete, was breaking national records until she was banned from the sport. A test found she had extremely high levels of testosterone and therefore declared that she was now a man. The effects on her personal life are also in the episode. The vile history of how gender was determined for the Olympics is also interspersed in the story. Ultimately, the episode shows the arbitrariness with which we determine gender in sport. (36 min.)

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