October 16th 2010

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Articles from this issue:

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: How Abbott could have won the Coalition the election

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Labor opportunism over Aborigines, environment

EDITORIAL: Japan's foot-and-mouth disease threat to Australia

EUTHANASIA I: Physician-assisted suicide defeated in WA

EUTHANASIA II: What the public deserves to be told about euthanasia

EUTHANASIA III: Palliative care the answer to euthanasia

CHINA I: Espionage a key tool in Chinese statecraft

CHINA II: Falling into the trap of an Asian Munich

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS: Questions about Venezuela's links with radical Muslims

SCHOOLS: Old-school discipline best for children's sake

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: Post-abortion grief caused by brain's 'hard-wiring'

AS THE WORLD TURNS: American universities in decline / On getting boys to read again / West stuck in near depression / Euro may collapse

BOOK REVIEW: CLIMATE: The Counter-Consensus, by Robert M. Carter


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American universities in decline / On getting boys to read again / West stuck in near depression / Euro may collapse

News Weekly, October 16, 2010
American universities in decline

In America, the cost of higher education has been rising faster than inflation and health care costs for more than two decades. Money Magazine calculated that college tuition rose by 439 per cent from 1982-2007.

At the same time the cost of higher education has been rising, the quality of education offered by colleges and universities has been falling.

A study conducted by the non-profit American Council of Trustees and Alumni found that both public and private universities are failing to require students to learn important subjects.

Furthermore, most college graduates are below proficiency in verbal and quantitative literacy according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Recently, Asian universities have been making significant gains on America, long considered to have the world's best universities.

The goal of Asian nations is to create world-class universities that surpass American universities. They have "every prospect of success", argued Yale University President Richard C. Levin in a recent lecture titled "The rise of Asia's universities".

China now has the largest higher education system in the world. Five of its universities are in the world's top one hundred. University enrolment has more than tripled since 2000. More university degrees are awarded in China than in America and India combined.

Extract from Bill Costello, "Erosion of American higher education", American Thinker, October 5, 2010.
URL: www.americanthinker.com/2010/10/the_erosion_of_american_higher_1.html


On getting boys to read again

According to a recent report from the US Center on Education Policy ... substantially more boys than girls score below the proficiency level on the annual National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test.

This disparity goes back to 1992. ... The male-female reading gap is found in every socio-economic and ethnic category, including the children of white, college-educated parents.

A considerable number of teachers and librarians believe that boys are simply bored by the "stuffy" literature they encounter in school. According to a revealing Associated Press story in July these experts insist that we must "meet them where they are" - that is, pander to boys' untutored tastes.

For elementary- and middle-school boys, that means "books that exploit [their] love of bodily functions and gross-out humour". AP reported that one school librarian treats her pupils to "grossology" parties. "Just get 'em reading," she counsels cheerily. "Worry about what they're reading later."

One obvious problem with (this) philosophy of education is that it is more suited to producing a generation of barbarians and morons than to raising the sort of men who make good husbands, fathers and professionals. If you keep meeting a boy where he is, he doesn't go very far.

The secret to raising boys who read, I submit, is pretty simple - keep electronic media, especially video games and recreational Internet, under control (that is to say, almost completely absent). Then fill your shelves with good books.

A boy raised on great literature is more likely to grow up to think, to speak, and to write like a civilised man.

I offer a final piece of evidence that is perhaps unanswerable: There is no literacy gap between home-schooled boys and girls. How many of these families, do you suppose, have thrown grossology parties?

Extract from Thomas Spence, "How to raise boys who read", Wall Street Journal, September 24, 2010. (Thomas Spence is president of Spence Publishing Company, Dallas, Texas).
URL: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704271804575405511702112290.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEFTThirdBucket


West stuck in near depression

If you strip away the political correctness, Chapter Three of the IMF's World Economic Outlook more or less condemns Southern Europe to death by slow suffocation and leaves little doubt that fiscal tightening will trap North Europe, Britain and America in slump for a long time.

The IMF report - Will It Hurt? Macroeconomic Effects of Fiscal Consolidation - implicitly argues that austerity will do more damage than so far admitted.

"Not all countries can reduce the value of their currency and increase net exports at the same time," it said.

The Fund said damage also doubles for states that cannot cut rates or devalue - think Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Italy, all trapped in EMU at overvalued exchange rates.

"A fall in the value of the currency plays a key role in softening the impact. The result is consistent with standard Mundell-Fleming theory that fiscal multipliers are larger in economies with fixed exchange rate regimes." Exactly.

Extract from Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, "IMF admits that the West is stuck in near depression", The Telegraph (UK), October 3, 2010.
URL: www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/8039789/IMF-admits-that-the-West-is-stuck-in-near-depression.html


Euro may collapse

Joseph Stiglitz, one of the world's leading economists, has warned that the future of the euro is "looking bleak" and the fragile European economic recovery could be irreparably damaged by a "wave of austerity" sweeping the continent.

The former adviser to President Bill Clinton also says that the banking sector has gone back to "business as usual" too quickly and that there are still risks of another financial crisis despite some improvements in regulation.

Mr Stiglitz, now a professor at Columbia Business School, makes the arguments in an updated edition of his book, Freefall, on the credit crunch. In the new material, he reveals fears that governments around the world will attempt to cut their deficits too quickly and risk a double dip recession.

"The worry is that there is a wave of austerity building throughout Europe and even hitting America's shores," Mr Stiglitz said. "As so many countries cut back on spending prematurely, global aggregate demand will be lowered and growth will slow - even perhaps leading to a double-dip recession.

Extract from Kamal Ahmed, "Joseph Stiglitz: the euro may not survive", The Telegraph (UK), October 2, 2010.
URL: www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/financialcrisis/8039041/Joseph-Stiglitz-the-euro-may-not-survive.html

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