Giant on the move
Far from being lauded as a virtue, China's high savings rate has been blamed for the economic imbalances underlying the global financial crisis. The criticism being that the Chinese spend too little and rely too much on exporting to Western consumers.
But in their intriguingly named paper, 'A Sexually Unbalanced Model of Current Account Imbalances', New York-based researchers Du Qingyuan and Wei Shang-Jin suggest China's gender imbalance could also be a significant factor in the persistence of its high savings rate.
The pair argue that intensifying competition in the Chinese marriage market is causing men -- or indeed parents with sons -- to raise their savings rates to improve their relative allure among a shrinking pool of potential brides.
from Global Investing:
All the talk of addressing the global imbalances throws a spotlight on contrasting demographic trends in the world's two most populous nations -- China and India.
Prior to the financial crisis, India's annual growth rate of about 9 percent seemed positively moribund next to China's double-digit economic expansion. But purely on demographics, the dimming power of the US consumer could give India an edge over its neighbour in the longer run.
After Taiwan’s worst storm in 50 years killed hundreds in massive mudslides last month, the government blamed the freak weather while survivors said the government’s slow response after the Aug. 7-9 storm made matters even worse.
Only recently, with reconstruction under way, have officials in the six-county disaster area begun asking what contributing factors may have caused the steep mountainsides to give way, hurling boulders and walls of mud onto riverside villages below. Nearly 770 people are presumed to have died, most of them buried alive.
There’s an interesting graphic at moreintelligentlife.com showing the medals table at the last Olympics in Athens, adjusted for each country’s population.
The Bahamas are top with Australia second and Cuba third, according to the site’s calculations. Australia were fourth in the unadjusted table, which I guess just highlights their extraordinary performances at the highest level in sport.