Two eye-openers in the NY Times
Thursday, May 24, 2007 by Dave Winer.
I don't often read op-ed pieces in the Times, they're part of Times Select, and it's never really occurred to me to pay them for opinion pieces. Today I happened to be on a plane flying from San Diego to Oakland, and I picked up a copy of the Times, in print, an affirmation that newspapers aren't dead.
One of the pieces that caught my attention was by Nicholas Kristof, an essay about trade with China. He explained that while the balance of trade between the United States and China is lopsided in favor of China, there are countries with which China has a trade deficit.
For example, China is in the business of assembling parts created elsewhere, and those parts show up as a negative on their balance sheet. So while a Barbie doll they send to US creates a $3 debt from the US to China, only $0.03 of that belongs to China, the rest of it is owed by them to other countries. Our massive trade deficit with China actually distorts the economic strength of China. They're not so strong.
The second piece, about nursing homes in the US, was written by Atul Gawande. He explains that while nursing homes are good at keeping people alive, and better than they used to be, for people who lead rich lives before requiring care, they can be like prison. For people my age, this reality isn't so far away that it wouldn't be a good time to start thinking about it, and learning, and maybe helping to reform the system.