The Economist reports research published in Nature that argues that the old story of fertility rates declining as countries become wealthier has changed – since 1975 a kink has appeared and family size starts to rise again (see graph) as welfare (as measured by the Human Development Index) improves.
The US health care reform is turning seriously nasty and generating some bizarre coverage of Britain’s National Health Service. The Guardian devoted an entire page to attempting to sort out fact from fiction among the barrage of accusations levelled by health reform opponents in the US at Britain’s National Health Service. My personal favourite: Investor’s Business Daily — which poses as a reputable source of financial information — reports that “People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.” Hawking himself has responded, telling the UK’s Guardian: “I wouldn’t be here today if it were not for the NHS. I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived.”
The prolific Alex Evans on why climate change has turned him vegetarian (well 3 days a week, anyway) and picking up a thread of news stories on the reversal of globalization, shrinking of supply chains etc, driven by concerns over future energy prices and the current crisis. ‘For the first time in over a decade, made-in-America steel had become cheaper than Chinese imports in the US marketplace.’
The first signs of green shoots, however feeble, prompt the Guardian’s Larry Elliott to go into a vintage tirade against Britain’s failure to learn any lessons from the crisis.
And attention all whistle blowers: ‘If you have ever come across corruption as a material business issue in your work overseas, we would be grateful if you could complete the online survey by clicking on the following link. Confidentiality is guaranteed as the survey is completed anonymously. The aim of the project is to compile information that will lead to a greater understanding of the problem of corruption. The information it provides will support British businesses in their endeavours to compete honestly and fairly in corrupt environments.’