Just last month, the US was booted down to fourth place in global competitiveness after many years of reliably holding the number one position (though it had also slipped to second in 2009). Part of the reason for its marked drop was “the government’s ability to avoid meddling in the private sector” and the fact that is has become “a wasteful spender.”
As it turns out, Transparency International is equally aware of the US’ tarnished record. Last year, it ranked 19th on the Corruption Perceptions Index with a score of 7.5. Already, it was a showing hardly worth writing home about, and this year the nation couldn’t even fair that well.
From The Wall Street Journal:
“The U.S. scored a 7.1 on the new Transparency International index, its worst showing in the index’s history. The score is down...
The year to September reporting is in for the European Central Bank Gold Agreement (CBGA), the group that controls the aggregate gold sales for the eurozone, Sweden, and Switzerland. The results are not that surprising — the group sold only a meager 6.2 tonnes. However, the precipitous drop in sales from the year prior period is staggering… the members’ gold sales are down 96 percent.
According to the Financial Times:
“The central banks of the eurozone plus Sweden and Switzerland are bound by the Central Bank Gold Agreement, which caps their collective sales. In the CBGA’s year to September, which expired on Sunday, the signatories sold 6.2 tonnes, down 96 per cent, according to provisional data.
“The sales are the lowest since the agreement was signed in 1999 and well below the peak of 497 tonnes in 2004-05. The shift away from gold selling comes as European central banks...
New research on perceptions of wealth in the US — from Michael Norton and Dan Ariely at Harvard Business School and Duke University, respectively – is worth a closer look. At first blush, it would seem that 92 percent of respondents rather live in a quasi-socialist economy more resembling Sweden than the US. The explanation they offer is that the gap between the rich and the poor has become far greater than surveyed Americans both think it is and would like it to be. Here are the findings, according to The Raw Story:
“…the study also found that respondents preferred Sweden’s model over a model of perfect income equality for everyone, ‘suggesting that Americans prefer some inequality to perfect equality, but not to the degree currently present in the United States,’ the authors state. Recent analyses have shown that income inequality in the US has grown steadily for the...