Weekly Reading Summary: Aug. 24-Aug. 30, 2020

The Economist [Fri, 21 Aug 2020]
By one Federal Reserve measure, around 2% of black families have assets worth more than $1m; over 15% of white ones do.

Xinjiang is at the heart of China’s cotton, yarn and textile industry, the world’s biggest. The region supplies 84% of the country’s cotton.

Calculations from Goldman Sachs, a bank, suggest that a 15 percentage-point rise in the share of the population that wears masks would reduce the daily growth of cases by about one percentage point. That obviates the need for lockdown measures that would otherwise subtract nearly 5% from GDP. The Economist took those calculations a step further. According to our reckoning, an American wearing a mask for a day is helping prevent a fall in GDP of $56.14. Not bad for something that you can buy for about 50 cents apiece.





当代的中国社会不再需要神话来壮胆,不需要一夜之间就醒悟的故事来激励人心,不需要瞬间成长的英雄来拯救国家… 我们只需要讲述真实历史,就足以告诉后代,这个国家是一个伟大的国家,这个国家有光明的前途。


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Weekly Reading Summary: Aug. 16-Aug. 23, 2020


The Economist [Fri, 07 Aug 2020]
Many students buy the university experience not just to boost their earning capacity, but also to get away from their parents, make friends and find partners.

In Australia foreign students provide a quarter of universities’ income. In Canada the tuition fees for a science degree at McGill, one of the country’s top universities, cost C$45,656 ($34,000) a year for an overseas student, compared with C$2,623 for a local.

The Economist [Fri, 14 Aug 2020]
Mr Xi’s new economic agenda is to make markets and innovation work better within tightly defined boundaries and subject to all-seeing Communist Party surveillance. It isn’t Milton Friedman, but this ruthless mix of autocracy, technology and dynamism could propel growth for years.

LAST YEAR Zotye, a carmaker, used it to tackle weak sales, and Wuliangye, a distiller, to improve the quality of its baiju; it helped Zheshang Bank to digitise its operations and catalysed the development of energy-saving technologies at China National Nuclear Power. “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” is, on the basis of these companies’ annual reports, quite the business-practice panacea.

世界变得越来越复杂,人们意识不到自己有多么无知。结果是,一群对气象学或生物学一窍不通的人就气候变化和转基因作物等议题吵翻了天,而另一群根本不知道伊拉克或乌克兰在哪儿的人,极力主张要对这些地区采取行动。人们很少发觉自己的无知,因为他们会沉浸在一个高度同质性的环境中,其信念被不断自证与加强,鲜有相左之声。 — 尤瓦尔·赫拉利(《人类简史》作者)




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Visit to Temple, Mansion, and Cemetery of Confucius

Confucius (BC 551-BC 479) is very famous in China, and his theory has influenced Chinese for thousands of years.

A quick Q&A:
Why Confucius is so famous in China? Simple, he has developed theory on how to be a good man, and also, he is supporter of emperors.

Absorb the good things and reject the bad things. This is my principle to his theory.

Visited Temple, Mansion, and Cemetery of Confucius last week.
Temple of Confucius: built by Duke Ai of Lu (BC 521-BC 468) in year BC 478, after Confucius passed away;
Mansion of Confucius: built in year 1377, mansion of Confucius’ descendants, obviously, Confucius has not lived there;
Cemetery of Confucius: Confucius buried there, and in year 1684, it is expanded to 1,998,000 square meters, of course, allowed and supported by the government (Ming Dynasty).
The temple, mansion, and cemetery has been renovated several times ever since built.

Temple of Confucius:

The Chinese letters on memorial gateway means Confucius is the best in history:

Red plate on Cypress means this tree is more than 500 years:

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Weekly Reading Summary: Aug. 03-Aug. 09, 2020

The Economist [Fri, 24 Jul 2020]
Farmers say crops tell the story: if you see cotton, it’s the south; if wheat, the west. Only when gazing on great expanses of corn or soyabean are you in the Midwest.

A report last September by a group of mayors noted that 86% of Americans live in metro areas, producing 91% of national income.

The best-run cities of America’s Midwest offer lessons in recovery
– If a town centre is an attractive place to live, work and play—with renovated bike paths, lots of parks, restaurants and nightlife—that draws young graduates, the newly retired and more.
– Cities also do well when they tap their own resources, or local social capital, instead of hoping for federal help or for a one-off giant investor who, with enough subsidies, will come in as a saviour.
– Another lesson is that the most successful places bet on “eds and meds”. Cities with a decent university or an expansive hospital system (often the two go together) reliably outperform others.
– cities with the deepest pools of talented workers tend to be long-term winners.
– Investing in its people is, ultimately, the Midwest’s greatest strength

One insight: rather than luring investors with incentives, cities should just create appealing living conditions. A second: cities have more assets than they realise. Public land can be exploited to raise funds for redevelopment and better public transport.

Average life expectancy, at 60 years, is decades less than in richer places. Violence is partly to blame. On May 31st 18 people were murdered in Chicago, its bloodiest day in six decades. Yet Melvin, a barber, won’t blame those in Englewood. “Once you got torn down neighbourhoods, abandoned buildings, drug infested, guns, then you know these kids, they’re vulnerable.” Many homes, shops and churches have been boarded up for years. A Whole Foods supermarket opened in 2016, but is mostly used by commuters who pull in from a motorway. Chicago can feel almost as segregated as South Africa just after apartheid. The common story of Bronzeville and Englewood is of slow-motion ejection of African-Americans. The mostly white, Hispanic and Asian populations north of Chicago are flourishing. But black residents are flocking out. The black population in the city has shrunk by nearly 290,000 this century. People go to suburbs, to Indiana or, in a “reverse great migration”, back south. The census this year is likely to show, for the first time, more Hispanics than African-Americans in Chicago.

“How can you provide a middle-class way of life if the jobs are serving omelettes in a restaurant?”

Training does not have to mean four-year degrees. Instead what is needed are vocational skills that can be taught simultaneously by companies and colleges.

The bulk of our success is in advanced manufacturing, in family-owned, mid-sized firms in their third or fourth generation of ownership, just like in Germany.”

TO BUILD A great city is simple, the politician Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said. First create a university, then wait 200 years. They in turn spread prosperity, in three ways. One is to bring in young people, often a city-sized population. Second, universities pool employable talent. Third, universities can refocus a city’s economy.

On average, 32% of Americans (25 or older) have at least a bachelor’s degree.

The average age of cars on American roads has approached almost 12 years, and around a quarter are at least 16 years old, according to IHS Markit.

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