Fewer people are dying in violent conflict (both in absolute figures and as a proportion of the total population of humans) than at any time since World War II. It is hard to believe this amid the flood of images and stories of violent death (state-sanctioned or otherwise) in countries like Mexico, the United States, Burundi, or Syria.
The Atlantic reports:
They wear knee socks, polished patent-leather shoes, and plaid jumpers, with wide-brimmed hats fastened under the chin and train passes pinned to their backpacks. The kids are as young as 6 or 7, on their way to and from school, and there is nary a guardian in sight.
A popular television show called Hajimete no Otsukai, or My First Errand, features children as young as two or three being sent out to do a task for their family. As they tentatively make their way to the greengrocer or bakery, their progress is secretly filmed by a camera crew. The show has been running for more than 25 years.[youtube.com/watch?v=e5k5XTZy0rA]
Who knew that running an errand to the neighborhood corner kiosk in Roysambu or rural centre in Kapsowar had the potential for a whole TV show…
Watch the video to see why this makes for great entertainment.
H/T Dan Wang.
China has experienced a spectacular economic growth in recent decades. Its economy grew more than 48 times from 1980 to 2013. How are the other countries reacting to China’s rise? Do they see it as an economic opportunity or a security threat? In this paper, we answer this question by analyzing online news reports about China published in Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, South Korea, the UK and the US. More specifically, we first analyze the frequency with which China has appeared in news headlines, which is a measure of China’s influence in the world. Second, we build a Naive Bayes classifier to study the evolving nature of the news reports, i.e., whether they are economic or political. We then evaluate the friendliness of the news coverage based on sentiment analysis. Empirical results indicate that there has been increasing news coverage of China in all the countries under study. We also find that the emphasis of the reports is generally shifting towards China’s economy. Here Japan and South Korea are exceptions: they are reporting more on Chinese politics. In terms of global sentiment, the picture is quite gloomy. With the exception of Australia and, to some extent, France, all the other countries under examination are becoming less positive towards China.
That’s Yuan, Wang and Luo writing in a neat paper that analyzes news coverage of China in different countries.
More on this here (HT Jay Ulfelder).
On the Continent opinion survey data from a select set of countries show high favorability ratings for China — by about two thirds or more of survey respondents. The same countries have seen some decline in US favorability ratings over the last few years. As you’d expect, people’s reaction to China’s rise is based on perceptions of the potential material impact it will have on their lives. On average, the survey evidence suggests that most Africans view China’s rise as a good thing.
It is interesting that across the globe young people, on average, have a more positive view of China’s rise than older people. Younger people probably associate China more with glitzy gadgets in their pockets; and less with cultural revolutions and famine-inducing autocracy.
What disasters reveal. Excellent read. From disasters we get to know more about the societies that experience them. Perhaps the glaring international example of this was the difference in destruction and response to the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile. Haiti’s non-existent state capacity was exposed for the whole world to see.
Are freedom and democracy (really) on the decline? (unfortunately gated)
Why we have college. This article reminded me of a conversion I had with my dad back in college. At the airport in Nairobi on my way back to New Haven he insisted that I should learn a “trade” in college. This meant either Engineering or Medicine. Political Science and/or Economics did not count. The humanities were not even an option. My dad and I have since reconciled our minor differences over my career choice. And I am glad I chose academia (especially now that I am done with comprehensive exams and all).