Friday, February 28, 2020

A mal de viver num país sem o conceito de "baixa por doença"

The Problem With Telling Sick Workers to Stay Home, por Amanda Mull, em The Atlantic:

Even with the coronavirus spreading, lax labor laws and little sick leave mean that many people can’t afford to skip work.

As the coronavirus that has sickened tens of thousands in China spreads worldwide, it now seems like a virtual inevitability that millions of Americans are going to be infected with the flu-like illness known as COVID-19. Public-health officials in the United States have started preparing for what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling a “significant disruption” to daily life. Because more than 80 percent of cases are mild and many will show no symptoms at all, limiting the disease’s spread rests on the basics of prevention: Wash your hands well and frequently, cover your mouth when you cough, and stay home if you feel ill. But that last thing might prove to be among the biggest Achilles’ heels in efforts to stymie the spread of COVID-19. The culture of the American workplace puts everyone’s health at unnecessary risk.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

O Colégio Eleitoral norte-americano e os estados menos povoados

The EC Helps Small States! (Or not. Part 1,276,524), por Steven Taylor, no Outside The Beltway:

So much for the EC guaranteeing attention to small states.

Indeed, as I frequently note, the EC privileges swing states in terms of attention. It decidedly does not enhance representation for small state voters (it causes a lot of them to be ignored–which is true of a lot of large state voters as well).

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Violência no mundo real e "violência" imaginária nos jogos eletrónicos

It’s time to end the debate about video games and violence, por Christopher J. Ferguson, em The Conversation:

But, speaking as a researcher who has studied violent video games for almost 15 years, I can state that there is no evidence to support these claims that violent media and real-world violence are connected. As far back as 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that research did not find a clear connection between violent video games and aggressive behavior. Criminologists who study mass shootings specifically refer to those sorts of connections as a “myth.” And in 2017, the Media Psychology and Technology division of the American Psychological Association released a statement I helped craft, suggesting reporters and policymakers cease linking mass shootings to violent media, given the lack of evidence for a link.

Harmonia regulatória e barreiras comerciais

É quase impossível o Reino Unido conseguir ter, simultaneamente, ausência de barreiras comerciais com a UE e autonomia para estabelecer a sua própria regulamentação; mas, paradoxalmente, e existência de barreiras comerciais depende mais da autonomia em matéria regulatória do que propriamente de depois irem existir grandes diferenças concretas entre as regulamentações britanica e "unionista"

Flexibility does not come for free, por Sam Lowe (Center for European Reform):

Unilateral UK alignment with EU rules post-Brexit does have benefits for businesses: it avoids a situation whereby they have to produce to two different sets of rules when selling to both markets. It does not, however, lead to a substantive reduction in regulatory barriers to trade, if the UK has secured the ability to diverge if it wants to. For example, once the UK is outside of the EU’s food hygiene (SPS) regime, British exports of products of animal origin will face new regulatory controls at the EU border in the form of new paperwork and physical inspections. This will occur whether the UK applies the same food hygiene regime in practice or not. Thus, the upfront costs of being outside of the EU’s SPS regime are large. However, if the UK does then decide to diverge, and, for example, accept US production methods, this would not lead to a significantly larger increase in trading friction with the EU. The additional trade costs associated with choosing to diverge are large; the relative costs of then actually diverging are smaller.

To give another example, the moment the UK is outside of the EU’s single market, even if British producers continue to produce to EU standards, they will not be able to place them directly on the European market. Instead they will need an EU-established entity to take on the legal responsibility for ensuring the product complies with EU product rules. This could be the EU-based importer or an EU-based legal representative of the British company. No longer being able to place products directly on the EU market creates an additional cost for British businesses selling to Europe, no matter what the UK’s domestic regime. Whether the UK then decides to introduce its own product standards (as is currently the ambition), or accepts certain US standards, the barriers facing British exporters selling to the EU remain the same.

Monday, February 17, 2020

As "trabalhadoras do sexo" querem ser salvas?

Today’s sex workers, like their Victorian sisters, don’t want ‘saving, por Kate Lister, em The Guardian:

The tactics employed by the society and groups such as Not Buying It are virtually identical. But what has changed in the intervening 77 years is that the sex workers at the centre of these debates are finally being allowed to speak for themselves. And to the surprise of many feminist groups, it turns out that they do not want saving. Nor do they seem particularly grateful to their would-be saviours for campaigning on their behalf to do them out of a job. In fact, they appear to be downright angry about have-a-go rescue missions that involve secretly filming them naked, then outing them to members of local licensing committees.

There’s nothing new about the rescue dynamic. Sympathy for the plight of the “fallen woman”, and a need to save her, was endemic in Victorian newspapers. Hundreds of charitable organisations were established throughout the 19th century to rescue and reform such women.
 Dito isto, não estou certo que não queiram mesmo ser "salvas"; sim, provavelmente não querem que alguém lhes vá fechar o local de trabalho e atirá-las para o desemprego; mas será que muitas não quereriam que alguém lhes arranja-se um emprego noutro ramo de atividade, desde que com uma remuneração similar?

Afinal, as redes sociais e os smartphones NÃO estão a destruir uma geração

Social Media Has Not Destroyed a Generation, por Lydia Denworth, na Scientific American (versão livre no site da autora):

It was the headlines that most upset Amy Orben. In 2017, when she was a graduate student in experimental psychology at the University of Oxford researching how social media influences communication, alarming articles began to appear. Giving a child a smartphone was like giving a kid cocaine, claimed one. Smartphones might have destroyed a generation, said another. Orben didn’t think such extreme statements were warranted. At one point, she stayed up all night reanalyzing data from a paper linking increases in depression and suicide to screen time. “I figured out that tweaks to the data analysis caused major changes to the study results,” Orben says. “The effects were actually tiny.”
Teenagers, screens and social media: a narrative review of reviews and key studies, por Amy Orben em Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology (2020):
In light of growing concerns about an increasingly digital adolescence, the academic field investigating how digital technologies affect adolescents’ psychological well-being is growing rapidly. In the last years, much research has amassed, and this has been summarised in over 80 systematic reviews and meta-analyses.


When examining the reviews, it becomes evident that the research field is dominated by cross-sectional work that is generally of a low quality standard. While research has highlighted the importance of differentiating between different types of digital technology use many studies do not consider such necessary nuances. These limitations aside, the association between digital technology use, or social media use in particular, and psychological well-being is—on average—negative but very small. Furthermore, the direction of the link between digital technology use and well-being is still unclear: effects have been found to exist in both directions and there has been little work done to rule out potential confounders.
Panicking About Your Kids’ Phones? New Research Says Don’t, por Nathaniel Popper, no New York Times:
A growing number of academics are challenging assumptions about the negative effects of social media and smartphones on children.
Annual Research Review: Adolescent mental health in the digital age: facts, fears, and future directions, por Candice L. Odgers e Michaeline R. Jensen, no Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (Janeiro de 2020):
Adolescents are spending an increasing amount of their time online and connected to each other via digital technologies. Mobile device ownership and social media usage have reached unprecedented levels, and concerns have been raised that this constant connectivity is harming adolescents’ mental health. This review synthesized data from three sources: (a) narrative reviews and meta‐analyses conducted between 2014 and 2019, (b) large‐scale preregistered cohort studies and (c) intensive longitudinal and ecological momentary assessment studies, to summarize what is known about linkages between digital technology usage and adolescent mental health, with a specific focus on depression and anxiety. The review highlights that most research to date has been correlational, focused on adults versus adolescents, and has generated a mix of often conflicting small positive, negative and null associations. The most recent and rigorous large‐scale preregistered studies report small associations between the amount of daily digital technology usage and adolescents’ well‐being that do not offer a way of distinguishing cause from effect and, as estimated, are unlikely to be of clinical or practical significance. Implications for improving future research and for supporting adolescents’ mental health in the digital age are discussed.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

A eugenia poderia resultar?

Richard Dawkins pensa que sim, mas alguma vez a eugenia foi capaz de produzir vacas, cavalos, porcos, cães ou rosas "melhores" (em termos de capazes de subsistir por si mesmos) do que as versões originais? Eu tenho quase a certeza que, sem ajuda humana e numa região semi-desértica do Médio Oriente, qualquer gato-da-Núbia teria mais chances de sobrevivência que a minha Irís.

Ainda a respeito disto, ver esta série de comentários de Carwil Bjork-James (que levanta outra séria de objeções à viabilidade da eugenia).

Friday, February 14, 2020

Ajuda externa e depósitos em paraísos fiscais

A transferência de ajudas financeiras a países pobres vem frequentemente associada a aumentos de depósitos em paraísos fiscais de dinheiro oriundo desses países.

The World Bank loses another chief economist, em The Economist:

When autocratic, oil-rich nations enjoy a windfall from higher crude prices, where does the money go? One place to look is Swiss bank accounts. Sure enough, an increase in oil prices is followed by a spike in deposits held by these countries in financial havens, according to a 2017 paper by Jorgen Juel Andersen of bi Norwegian Business School, Niels Johannesen of the University of Copenhagen and their co-authors.

When Mr Johannesen presented this result at the World Bank in 2015, the audience included Bob Rijkers, a member of the bank’s research group. The two of them joined forces with Mr Andersen to investigate if something similar happened after another kind of windfall: infusions of aid from foreign donors. Their conclusion was dispiriting. World Bank payouts to 22 aid-dependent countries during 1990-2010 were followed by a jump in their deposits in foreign financial havens. The leaks averaged about 5% of the bank’s aid to these countries.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Venezuela vira 180º

A Venezuela de Maduro parece estar no caminho para se tornar, não apenas mais liberal economicamente do que a Venezuela de Chavez, mas até mais do que a Venezuela pré-chavista.

To Survive, Venezuela’s Leader Gives Up Decades of Control Over Oil, por Anatoly Kurmanaev and Clifford Krauss, no New York Times:

After decades of dominating its oil industry, the Venezuelan government is quietly surrendering control to foreign companies in a desperate bid to keep the economy afloat and hold on to power. (...)

In effect, a stealth privatization is taking place, said Rafael Ramírez, who ran Venezuela’s oil industry for more than a decade before breaking with Mr. Maduro in 2017, in a video address this week.

“Today, Pdvsa doesn’t manage our oil industry, Venezuelans don’t manage it,” said Mr. Ramírez. “In the middle of the chaos generated by the worst economic crisis suffered by the country in its history, Maduro is taking actions to cede, transfer and hand over oil operations to private capital.” (...)

And there are indications that Mr. Maduro’s government wants to take the underhand liberalization further, even rolling back the watershed nationalization of the oil industry that took place in the 1970s.

A group of lawmakers installed at the head of the National Assembly by Mr. Maduro in January — amid an international outcry — has proposed changing energy laws to allow greater private investment.

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Entretanto, parece estar a acontecer um pré-golpe de Estado em El Salvador, ou não?

Nayib Bukele's power play, em El Salvador Perspectives:

Salvadorans wake up Sunday morning to a country in the midst of a constitutional crisis.   President Nayib Bukele provoked the crisis Thursday when his Council of Ministers ordered the Legislative Assembly to come into extraordinary session Sunday, February 9, to vote on approving a $109 million international loan to "modernize" security forces.  The Assembly refuses to bow to Bukele dictating when they should meet.
As forças armadas parecem ter ocupado o parlamento há poucos minutos, ou coisa parecida:

Friday, February 07, 2020

Como a UE governa até os países que não pertencem à UE

The parable of the plug, em The Economist:

The eu, no superpower in the traditional sense, pulls this off in three ways. First, the eu’s market is so enormous—roughly a fifth of global gdp at market exchange rates—that producers cannot ignore the continent, no matter how onerous its regulation. Second, in contrast to America where light-touch regulation is the goal, Brussels revels in making its rules exacting. It prides itself on having the toughest regulations on everything from privacy to the environment. So if a company wants to sell the same product everywhere, rather than wasting money on having lots of different versions, it has to meet European standards. These two factors combine to introduce a third way of influencing global regulation, as companies sometimes lobby their domestic governments to raise their regulations to European levels, lest a rival gain an advantage by producing shoddy stuff solely for their home market.

In this way, the Brussels effect has turned the eu into a self-perpetuating policy machine. While more countries and global businesses find themselves sucked into its regulatory tractor beam, one country is trying to escape.

Thursday, February 06, 2020

Posts recorrentes no Europe Elects (II)

E continua...

Contexto - Posts recorrentes no Europe Elects (post de há 3 meses)

Kirk Douglas (1916-2020)

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Uma aposta que penso que fiz sobre as eleições norte-americanas

Eu acho que, há cerca de um ano, fiz esta aposta com o Ricardo Campelo Magalhães d'O Insurgente:

Tema da aposta – que, caso Trump seja o candidato republicano em 2020, vai perder o voto popular

O que é apostado – um almoço num restaurante no Norte Litoral (distritos de Coimbra, Aveiro, Porto, Braga e Viana do Castelo)

Casos especiais:

– Para isto, contam todos os votos em Trump e no candidato apoiado pelo Partido Democrático, incluindo votos em eventuais terceiros partidos que também os apresentem como candidatos (pelo menos em Nova Iorque isso vai acontecer – acontece sempre)

– Caso Trump concorra sem o apoio oficial do Partido Republicano, se ficar à frente no voto popular, Ricardo Campelo Magalhães ganha a aposta; se não ficar à frente, considera-se um empate

– Caso o Partido Democrático ou o Partido Republicano não apresentem um candidato oficial, é um empate

– Se Trump não ficar à frente no voto popular, mas um terceiro candidato à sua direita tiver mais de 10% do votos expressos, considera-se um empate

– Se Trump ficar à frente no voto popular, mas um terceiro candidato à esquerda do Partido Democrático tiver mais de 10% dos votos expressos, considera-se um empate

– Para efeito dos dois pontos anteriores, pode-se combinar previamente, nos quinze dias anteriores à eleição, que terceiros candidatos contam como “à direita de Trump” ou “à esquerda do Partido Democrático”.

– Em caso de eleições cujo resultado seja disputado (e essa disputa afete o resultado final em termos de voto popular) considera-se como válido o resultado oficial, com três exceções:

a) Caso o atual Supremo Tribunal altere, a favor dos Democratas, um resultado, conta o resultado anunciado na noite eleitoral

b) Caso um Supremo Tribunal com uma composição diferente do atual altera, a favor dos Republicanos, um resultado, conta o resultado anunciado na noite eleitoral

c) Caso o resultado de uma votação seja anulado por um órgão que não um tribunal, conta o resultado anunciado na noite eleitoral

Os pontos a) e b) devem ser interpretados no sentido de “altere face aos resultados iniciais” (isto é, se um tribunal em primeira instância alterar os resultados iniciais e no recurso o supremo tribunal confirmar a alteração, como como o Supremo ter alterado o resultado).

Alguns cenários parecem alucinados (nomeadamente aquela alínea c), mas eu atribuo uma probabilidade não-nula a uma crise institucional nos EUA, e aí quase tudo é possível.

Não ficou muito claro da conversa se, em caso de eu ganhar a aposta, o custo da minha deslocação estaria incluído...

Note-se que o que está a ser apostado é o voto popular, não a eleição (eu estou convencido que Trump vai ser reeleito, mesmo que perca o voto popular).

Poderá se perguntar o que é que o voto popular interessa - mas o que deu origem à eventual aposta foi uma discussão sobre se o alegado radicalismo dos Democratas iria afugentar as pessoas, e para verificar se isso aconteceu ou não o que interessa mais é o voto popular, não detalhes complexos sobre como as regras de eleição do Colégio Eleitoral podem afetar o resultado final (os Republicanos estão em vantagem no CE porque quase todos os estados atribuem todos os seus votos ao vencedor, mesmo que ele ganha por 50,01% contra 49,99%, e como tende a haver mais votantes Democratas nos estados Republicanos do que o oposto, os Democratas desperdiçam mais votos).

Note-se que a conversa não teve seguimento, logo nem sei se chegou a a haver mesmo aposta.