The Weight | Featuring Robbie Robertson | Playing For Change | Song Around The World
Without further ado, here’s what you need to know.
No Better Time to Be Under Five
As others ditch rose for cyanide colored glasses seeing nothing but doom, we do not have to look far for news from the rosaceae family. Last week, the UN released a new report on child and maternal mortality estimates. In the last 28 years, while many continued to bemoan the state of the world, and many more are calling for revolution, or a return to once discredited ideas due to how bad the world is, the mortality rate of children under 5 dropped by 59 percent. Further, “the reduction in the under-5 mortality rate has accelerated and nearly doubled since 2000. It now declines by 3.8% annually, compared to 2% between 1990 and 2000.” Meanwhile, the maternal mortality rate dropped by 38 percent the last 17 years. Now that’s the good news. The less than good news is the world is not yet on track to meet the goal of reducing maternal mortality to less than 70 per 100,000 births by 2030 and even the goal of reducing the under 5 mortality rate to 12 per 1000 births is not quite on track. Nonetheless, amazing progress has been made and if Sub-Saharan Africa sees the economic gains we expect over the next ten years, these goals might yet be achieved.
Can Polluted Minds Clean Polluted Skies?
Here in Seattle at the much needed climate protests last week, the local organizers invited noted socialist Kshama Sawant to speak, one of the only local politicians asked to do so. We wish the well-intentioned organizers had read the new paper on The Political Pollution Cycle which found that “top prefectural leaders in China ordered laxer regulation of pollution towards the end of their tenure so that the delivery of social stability and economic achievements boded well for their career advancement. Such regulatory forbearance came unintentionally with tremendous human costs.” In other words, incentives matter, and democracy matters. Socialism, not Democratic Socialism of a Nordic nature, but the actual socialism Sawant advocates, should remain on the ash heap of history. It will not help with climate change and will harm people’s lives. As we’ve noted before, solving climate change is a global problem, will take technological advancements and smart incentives, not ideological relics of a bygone age.
Pokémon Kills Mickey
Walking down the broken sidewalk of District 1 in Ho Chi Minh City a few weeks ago, we saw a gaggle of youthful Vietnamese grouped together staring at their phones. We stopped to figure out what was going on. One of them turned to us and said, “Pokemon.” Ah yes, the giant Pokemon game which we’ve never played. But as the list of the highest grossing media franchises published by Title Max of all places shows, we are one of the few who haven’t. Pokemon ranks number one all time with over $92 billion in revenue, two-thirds of which is derived from merchandise, not from video gaming. Hello Kitty comes in second and undoubtedly much to President Xi’s chagrin, Winnie the Pooh is third. Mickey Mouse and Star Wars round out the top five. As you see below, merchandise provides the large majority of revenue for these media franchises. Our distant descendant archaeologists will know us from our landfills.