The Cost of War

November 4, 2007

The National Priorities Project has gathered tax-payer’s information and used it to determine how much towns and counties are paying for the Iraq War.

According to their numbers, the war has cost New York City residents $15,237,500,000 thus far, with Queens paying the most out of the five boroughs with $4,701,200,000.

They also list other ways of looking at the cost of the war:

  • $4,100 for every American household;
  • $1,500 for every American;
  • $3,400 for every taxpayer;
  • $11 million per hour and;
  • $275 million per day.

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Have you ever wondered how today’s social conditions compare to those during, let’s say, the British Industrial Revolution? Of course you have.
Branko Milanovic of the World Bank, Peter H. Lindert of UC Davis, and Jeffrey G. Williamson of Harvard came out with a new way of measuring social inequality that can do just that.

Because there is no reliable income data for time periods that preceded the industrial revolution, the scholars infer the inequalities in 14 different “ancient” societies using social tables (where various social classes are ranked from the richest to the poorest with their estimated population shares and average incomes, the report states).

Their calculations show that today in the U.S. we enjoy more equality than 1801 England, but less than in Rome during the last years of the Roman Empire.

Here are two tables to compare (lower GINI means lower social inequality):

1) societies then and now

Country/Territory, year GINI
China 1880 ███████████
China 2002 ██████████████████████
Roman Empire 14 ██████████████████
Italy 2000 ██████████████████
Byzantium 1000 ████████████████████
Turkey 2003 █████████████████████
British India 1947 ████████████████████████
India 2000 ████████████████
England/ Wales 1801 █████████████████████████
United Kingdom 1999 ██████████████████
Holand 1732 ███████████████████████████████
Netherlands 2005 ███████████████

2) ancient societies and various modern countries

Country/Territory, year GINI
Denmark 2002 ███████████
China 1880 ███████████
Roman Empire 14 ██████████████████
Morocco 2005 ████████████████████
Byzantium 1000 ████████████████████
United States 2004 ██████████████████████
British India 1947 ████████████████████████
Thailand 2002 █████████████████████████
England/ Wales 1801 █████████████████████████
Brazil 2005 ████████████████████████████
Holand 1732 ███████████████████████████████
Namibia 2003 ███████████████████████████████████

(Modern day data was acquired from the CIA World Fact Book.)

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The New York Times has a new multimedia project which explores the many faces of China. The first part of the series, Shocking on Growth, shows us how the rapid economic growth of the country has resulted in an environmental crisis.

Facts mentioned in the piece:

  • In China, the number of deaths from pollution related diseases, such as cancer, comes second only to smoking.
  • Sixteen of the 25 most polluted cities in the world are in China. (Click here for a list of the 10 most polluted places in the world)
  • When you take into consideration the cost of environmental pollution, China’s economic growth is not was great as it appears.

The article is divided into four different parts: print, photo slide show, video, and an interactive map.

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China’s riches

October 10, 2007

With a $16 billion fortune, 26-year old Yang Huiyan is China’s richest person, Reuters reports.

Huiyan is the daughter of a former farmer whose firm, Country Garden’s Home Co., floated in Hong Kong’s stock market in April, making her an instant billionaire.

Asia’s richest woman is a graduate of Ohio State University and serves as the executive director of her father’s developing firm.

Also, according to Reuters, China has now more billionaires than any other country except for the United States.

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Free British Downloads

October 9, 2007

British bands Oasis and Jamiroquai are considering following the lead of Radiohead by offering their work for free, the Telegraph reports. Radiohead’s pay-what-you-want experiment has caught the attention of out-of-contract bands that could now record their own music, provide free downloads of their albums, and make money by playing live shows.

Following the announcement by Radiohead earlier this week, their website has become the most popular music site in England (previously it ranked at 43). Google also announced that internet searches for the band have increased tenfold during the same period.

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First it was the Euro, and now the Canadian dollar is worth more than the US dollar.
What’s next, the Australian dollar or, God forbids, the Mexican peso?

Last time I checked: 1 CAD = 1.003 USD

Click here to check the current conversion rate.

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