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Entries in Old Core (5)

11:09AM

The coming global progressive era will focus on healthcare

 

WSJ story on Kremlin ordered crackdown on smoking rates, right after China "plans 'harsh' anti-smoking rules.

This is the reality:  with globalization and development comes heightened smoking rates, which in turn triggers massive healthcare costs.

Then there's the secondary reality that Old Core North America, sick of smoking a while ago, sent Big Tobacco packing (globally) and that led to those companies going heavy into emerging markets, spreading their . . . whatever.  So Big Tobacco is going to be given its second great historical "boot," which will push it into even more emerging markets and the merry chase continues - much like with anti-globalization terror networks (another great purveyor of death).

What does NorthAm Core turn to now as its own progressive era kicks in?  Bloomberg has already given you the clue with the mega soda pop ban.  It's obesity. 

We'll see that crusade shift to New Core in about a decade.

12:03AM

THE big global long-term financial threat: Asia's "flowering" welfare states

Excellent Economist piece.

Idea I've spoken about before:  Asia has been the savings center of the global economy for a while.  The West (outside the oddly still-young US) is slouching toward retirement, when traditionally a society needs capital because it's burning up its own.  Meanwhile, the South is like a young couple that needs start-up capital.  

Point is, we expect Asia to fund both - plus take care of its own continuing rise.

The good news: while China's demographic dividend shrinks from here on out, SE Asia's will be around for decades, as will that of the emerging demo-div King Kong - India.

But what happens if Asia adopts the West's cradle-to-grave welfare state model?  Or what the Economist dubs "tigers turning marsupial"?

The Economist's point:  forget Asian values.  When societies reach a certain level of wealth, people expect the same things the world over.

It seems that every country that can afford to build a welfare state will come under mounting pressure to do so. And much of Asia has hit the relevant level of prosperity (see chart 1). Indonesia is now almost as developed as America was in 1935 when it passed the landmark Social Security Act, according to figures compiled by the late Angus Maddison, an economic historian. China is already richer than Britain was in 1948, when it inaugurated the National Health Service (NHS) which, to judge by political ructions—and Olympic opening ceremonies—has become crucial to its sense of national identity.

We are expecting a lot from Asia between now and 2050 . . .. 

12:01AM

Chart of the Day: Year(s) of the (energy) pig

Pretty easy to hit high growth numbers if you're tossing everything into the boiler.  This is extensive growth defined:  anything that burns is considered fuel.

12:05AM

A defining indication of Old Core evolution: women PhDs outnumber males

image here

WAPO story on new report that says, for the first time in history, the number of PhDs being granted to women outnumber those of men.

I've made this citation in the past:  when women outnumber men in big industries (like the law or medicine), then your economy has truly reached the apex of mature development.

My mom was pregnant ten times in the first twenty years or so of marriage with my dad.  When the babies stopped, she went on to three sequential careers in county social services, then the law, and finally (and still at 85) as an author.  Now, her long life gives her that amazing productivity (on both scales) and that surprising balance (two decades of cranking babies and four decades of work), so she's an avatar of what comes next (and this is a great point that George Friedman makes in "The Next 100 Years"): women go from maybe 50-70% of their adult lives being consumed by children-making and rearing--in the blink of an historical eye--to a fantastically lower child burden (like maybe as little as 10% of their possible working life since they have 1-2 kids and work for so long into their later years).  Just releasing all that potential is a social revolution in and of itself, and American-style globalization has an amazing ability to trigger that development.  

Any smart economist will tell you that the "miracle" of any nation's rapid rise ALWAYS involves turning the women onto labor opportunities outside the home.  That process is the most comprehensive nugget of a social revolution tale that you can locate in modernization/industrialization/globalization.

And when you reach the far-side accomplishment like the one cited here, you know you've basically completed the journey in terms of making opportunity balanced by gender.

I keep having to tell my kids that women lived very different and subordinate lives from about 10,000BC until around the time of my childhood (early 1960s) and then everything changed!  That alone makes this the most amazing time in human history, and thus, the best time in human history to be someone who tracks systemic change and thinks systematically about the future.

As a side note, that's why I find watching "Mad Men" so fascinating, because it captures all this in the before and edge-of-transformation sense.

And that's also why I'm a happy guy with two sons and four daughters.  I've always said that there is nothing in this life (save lifting heavy objects and fighting) that I'd rather do with guys than with women.

To sum up:  the journey from the Gap to the Core is one of demographic aging and feminization of leading service industries (like law, education, medicine).

12:01AM

Chart(s) of the day: Old Core debt at WWII-era levels

Two from The Economist on Old Core debt.

First one shows how we’ve collectively returned to the public debt levels, as a percentage of GDP, that we had coming out of World War II—roughly 120%.

Well at least it took the biggest global economic crisis since the Great Depression to achieve it.

Why it may prove much harder this time to whittle it down:  personal and industrial and financial sectors are much more indebted now.

When all of those sectors are added together, the US is in the middle of the pack, as the second chart shows, behind Japan, Britain, Spain, South Korea, Switzerland, France and Italy.  Collectively, the nation owes 3 times its annual GDP.

On households, I’m assuming they’re only counting the “underwater” portion of mortgages (the non-asset-backed portion). 

The usual underlying logic on assuming debt that’s not asset-backed is that future growth will allow you to pay it off.  But as The Economist warns, that’s perhaps a very poor bet in societies experiencing profound aging.