Chinese/Korean Bakeries, Forget the Fish Eat the Tourists, and Education Levels

We watched, either live or later online, some of both of the memorials for John McCain and Aretha Franklin. Pop quiz: which one will be more widely remembered 200 years from now? Extra credit: Which one should be more widely remembered?

Which one will be more widely remembered 200 years from now?
Aretha Franklin
John McCain
Both will be forgotten

Which one should more widely remembered?
Aretha Franklin
John McCain

Feel free to email us with more thoughts on this all important matter and we may provide answers in a future INTN edition. But more important we need to discuss our love and admiration for Jennifer Hudson. We’ve noted before in this space that she had the greatest clutch performance in music history, though Aretha’s death reminded us of a worthy contender.  But, if you did not catch Jennifer Hudson’s remarkable performance of Amazing Grace near the end of the Queen of Soul’s memorial (given it was a seven-hour service, you could easily have missed it), do yourself a favor and watch it. We are not a religious person, but it is moments like that when we feel most closely tied to humanity. As we fight off restraining orders for repeatedly watching Jennifer Hudson iconic music moments, we smell the aroma of Chinese and Korean Innovation Bakeries, advocate skipping fish and eating the tourists, and cook up some education numbers. It’s this week’s International Need to Know, hoping to arrange seating arrangements for the next icons’ memorials while dishing up international data and information.

Jennifer Hudson Sings ‘Amazing Grace’ at Aretha Franklin’s Memorial

Watch the Video

Without further ado, here’s what you need to know.Chinese and Korean Innovation BakeriesFor decades, only a few countries brewed most of the world’s innovations. Or, as a new study by the IMF quantifies it, “From 1995 to 2014, three-quarters of the world’s patented innovations originated in the Group of 5 (G5) technology leaders—namely the United States, Japan, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom.” But the IMF study also notes that this is changing. It finds that China and Korea have joined the traditional R&D powers. The IMF cites two metrics illustrating this change. First is overall R&D spending: “China’s R&D spending is now second only to that of the United States ($460 billion) and is much larger than Japan’s ($150 billion). Korea, at $70 billion a year, spends close to the average of large European countries such as France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.” Second, the IMF looks at the number of patents (a metric we are not fond of) and the number of times new patents cite older patents, and from where. It turns out that a lot of today’s citations are increasingly citing patents from China and Korea (see second graph below). Some are worried by the rise of Asian innovation. We are not (and neither is the IMF study). Remember the world economy is not a pie with finite slices, it is a bakery. China and Korea are adding to the number of treats.Forget the Fish, Eat the TouristsMaybe a decade ago we were chatting with our Uncle in New York City, while eating a bialy, about all the tourists then inundating the city. Our Uncle, very much a wise-cracking New Yorker, turned serious and noted how all these tourists were degrading life for those living there. It was impossible to get around and markets, museums and other areas were overrun with people walking slowly, cameras at the ready. As the traditional summer tourism season closes out, we were reminded of this conversation by a column in the New York Times on Europe’s “overtourism” problems. Farhad Manjoo noted, “…the world’s most popular destinations cannot expand to accommodate an infinite flood of visitors. Advocates of curbing tourism say too many visitors are altering the character of historic cities, and making travel terrible, too.” Indeed the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO–is there an overorganization problem too?) reports that tourism in 2018 is well above forecasts, something that has been true for a number of years. In the larger picture Manjoo notes, “when the jet age began, around 25 million international trips were taken. Last year, the number was 1.3 billion.” When we were in Venice a few years ago, we noted both that it was a fabulous place to be but also that almost no one actually lives there anymore. It is no longer a city, it is a museum. Not everyone can do so but try to travel offseason and off the beaten path too. But eventually those paths will also be beaten. It is a trade-off of the world becoming wealthy.The Most Educated SocietiesWhich countries are most educated, or at least have the highest percentage of their population with a tertiary (college or above) education? It turns out Canada is number one, followed by Japan, Israel, South Korea and the U.K. The U.S. comes in number six, just ahead of Australia and Finland. All of these countries are above the OECD average of 35.7 percent. Italy, Tukey and Mexico bring up the rear among OECD countries. Note the correlation, or lack thereof, to today’s first story.

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