Alcohol & Violence

It has often been said that drinking alcohol causes violence. I have always been skeptical about that. During the countless times I have been inebriated I have never been violent, nor have other people I know nor have most people.

While it is true that many people are violent when they’re drunk, that arguably reflects some personal issues that they coose to manifest when they’re drunk but would have been there even if they were teetotallers. It’s not like countries dominated by the religion that mandates its followers to be teetotallers, Islam, are free of violence.

Here is a very interesting article on alcohol and violence that points to the very low crime rate in Czechia (Czech Republic), the country with the highest per capita beer consumption and the second highest per capita total alcohol consumption, yet it has a very low violent crime and murder rate, and also BTW little gun control.

The author points to how cultural or psychological problems are the real problem, not alcohol:

Even if drinking doesn’t necessarily lead to criminal violence, the perception remains that some Brits are inclined to get nasty when drunk. So why don’t the Czechs? The social anthropologist Kate Fox suggests that the loutish behaviour of some British drinkers is the result of cultural factors. In effect, we are more likely to behave unpleasantly when we drink because we believe that drink makes us behave unpleasantly. If it’s all in the mind, Fox argues, there is no reason why we can’t change. Culturally, the British have shifted a great deal over the years in a number of significant ways. Why can’t we, like the Czechs, have a more relaxed relationship with alcohol?

Note To Krugman: ECB Rate Cuts More Than Rate Hikes

Paul Krugman asserts that the ECB has responded in a assymetrical way to changes in inflation

And look at the ECB in particular. Twice since the crisis hit it has raised rates at the merest hint of above-target inflation, despite good reason to believe that these were just blips driven by commodity prices. But as inflation slides ever further below target, what we get is equivocation and persistent failure to act. If there’s an asymmetry here, it’s in the opposite direction: hasty action against dubious inflation threats, inaction against deflationary threats.

Actually, since 2009, the ECB has cut interest rates five times, a lot more than the two rate hikes. If the ECB’s actions are “assymmetric”, it is in the pro-inflationary direction, not the anti-inflation direction.

Adult Diapers Sales Now Exceed Baby Diapers Sales In Japan

Really interesting article about how low birth rates and the ageing population it causes will slow growth in the future in most countries.

This is perhaps most extreme in Japan where a combination of more than four decades of low birth rates combined with a very high life expectancy and a “no gaijins allowed”-immigration policy has made it the world’s oldest society.

Japan just reached in April a symbolic milestone where the number of people older than 65 are now twice as many as the number of people younger than 15. Soon another will be reached as the number of people older than 75 will soon exceed the number younger than 15.

As the aforementioned article mentions, another milestone will be reached as sales of adult diapers will for the first time exceed sales of baby diapers in Japan.

China’s Economy Might Surpass America’s This Year In PPP-Adjusted Terms

I have previously estimated that China’s economy would surpass America’s by 2020 in terms of nominal GDP at current exchange rates. That stills seems likely, but because poorer countries usually have much lower price levels and because per capita income in China is so much lower (while its population is much larger) China wilkl surpass America much sooner in PPP-adjusted terms. Now The Economist estimatesthat China’s economy might surpass America’s by the end of the year in PPP-adjusted terms.