He calls it the biggest story of our lifetime – and he’s on a mission to make sure that everybody knows it.
Hans Rosling – rockstar data wrangler, global stats icon, Swedish health professor – will use a one-hour BBC TV programme on Thursday to try to convince us we don’t know what we think we know about the world.
This vital truth: the global population boom is fizzling out. “This is a fact that media have missed. It has failed to communicate,” Rosling told the FT.
The rate of growth of the world’s population accelerated sharply over the past half a century, leading to much rhetoric about over-population and exhaustion of the planet’s resources.
But, as Rosling will argue in tomorrow night’s programme, the world’s population is set to plateau by the end of the century. All that Malthusian rhetoric about the population timebomb? Redundant. Read more
South Korea is perhaps the most over-educated country in the world.
More people are enrolled in its universities and colleges than are in the target age group for tertiary education. This is probably due to older people and foreigners. Read more
Japan is set to raise its consumption (sales) tax for the first time since 1997.
The last time the sales tax rate was raised, the hike was blamed by some economists for the country’s subsequent slump into recession (though the Asian financial crisis was perhaps a bigger contributor).
The Office for National Statistics’ release of data on UK share ownership has highlighted an important and far-reaching trend: the remarkable rise in share ownership by non-UK companies and individuals.
But the really crucial fact is that this comes mostly at the expense of the City’s traditional supremos: the insurance companies and pension funds.
It’s no secret that the US is at the centre of global trade. But how is what it trades with the world changing? The US International Trade Commission, the independent government agency which investigates anti-dumping cases in the US and also acts as a trade data clearinghouse, this week put out its annual “Shifts in US Merchandise” report. Here’s four things in the report worth thinking about:
1. Americans love their cars and their iPhones. They were the biggest contributors to the $10bn widening of the US trade deficit in 2012. Read more
Provincial elections are about to take place in parts of Sri Lanka, in particular the nation’s Tamil-dominated northern province. This is a politically charged moment, as the government is gaining a reputation for being increasingly authoritarian and has faced UN criticism over its track record on human rights. Religious tensions are also mounting.
The elections are expected to be tense, particularly in the north which has been under federal government control since the late 1980s.
Any new period of renewed political wrangles could pose a threat to the country’s economy, which has recovered well since the end of the long-running civil war in 2009. Read more