|Issue of the Day Archive for the ‘International’ Category|
Recent reports show that women take nearly 50% more sick leave than men. In a study conducted by the the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1999, job absence rates are higher for women than for men, about 5.1% of women (including 5.6% of women aged 20-24) were absent in the average week, compared with 2.7% of men. This means women worked less than 35 hours during the week because of injury, illness, or some various reasons. Among those absent, women were more likely to be absent due to reasons other than injury and illness. Absence rates do not vary much by age: 55 or older had the highest absence rate at 4.2%, 16-19 years old at 4.0%, 20-24 year olds at 3.9% and the lowest is the 25-54 year olds at 3.7%. The global participation of women in the labor force grew consistently during this period of time.
Absence for various reasons has, for the most part, decreased slowly between 500 to 100 days per year from that of 1970. By far the greatest decrease has occurred in vacation days, from a height 3,500 in 1990 to 2,900 in 2005.
In recent decades, the increasing participation of women in paid work has been driving employment and fertility trends. For example, the United Nations states that the gap between males and females in the labor force has been shrinking as labor growth for women eclipsed that of men for every region of the world except Africa. In developed countries, like the United States, increasing female labor force participation has been linked to the completion of the fertility transition — the point at which couples of all races and income begin to deliberately limit the number of children women bear.
By 1980, fertility levels in most of the developed industrialized countries were already close to or below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman. Labor force participation rates of women in the prime ages of 25-54 years continued to rise in the 1990s to between 60 to 85 percent and by the turn of the century fertility was well below replacement. In several of the transition economies, the economic participation of women has actually been falling, especially in the 1980s, but there has been a clear decline in fertility rates, especially in the 1990s, almost to below replacement. However, developing countries have only seen a slow decline or in some cases stalled.
According to a United Nations report, hunger in South Asia has reached levels not seen in 40 years as prices of food and fuel have risen and the global economy slows. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) states that 100 million more people are going hungry compared to two years ago. The areas most affected are Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan, all of which are seeing upheavals and conflict. The World Bank states that three quarters of the population or 1.2 billion live on $2 a day and nearly 400 million (including children) are chronically hungry. Factors for the rising numbers include declining wages at home, a drop in monies sent home from abroad, and high prices that force people to borrow money at high interest. Children are being pulled out of school and sent to work; income is being spent on food but not on other essentials; and women are forgoing food for families.
The report suggests that the two biggest countries, India and Pakistan, reduce their defense budgets to allow for an increase in social spending, plus the use of fiscal stimulus programs. Foreign aid is also mentioned as a remedy. Big spenders like Norway and the Netherlands have decreased foreign aid funds, yet after several years of decline, the United States has increased its foreign aid in 2008. The FY 2010 budget promises a further increase in foreign aid and assistance.
As of last week, ending April 9, 2009, global stocks rallied as US banks led the way with a record gain. Wells Fargo & Co. climbed 35%; JPMorgan Chase and Co. rose 19%; and Barclays Plc gained 12%. On the whole, the Standard and Poor’s 500 Banks Index surged 25%, the greatest advance since its 1989 creation. Plus, speculation that American lenders will pass government stress tests led to a boost in confidence in the financial system. The S&P 500 gained 3.8% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 3.1% as 11 stocks gained out of every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Also, in European markets, the FTSE Eurofirst 300 index of Pan European blue chips, rose 2.07% on April 9thon the banking news. Asia-Pacific equities markets were higher as well, with several indexes making significant gains.
Since 2000 the Dow Jones World Stock Index has gone through a roller coaster ride as the index reflected the diminished industrial capacity of regions and nations alike. The total world stock dipped from 2000-2002 and has since seen a gradual creep back to its previous position of 277.5 in 2006—up 43.4 points higher than 2005. Many of the areas surveyed match the fall and rise of the overall stock, yet outliers such as Japan and Thailand have actually stalled or weakened during this current upswing.
In an op-ed running in 31 international newspapers, President Barak Obama reached out to the citizens of the world saying “We are living through a time of global economic challenges that cannot be met by half measures or the isolated efforts of any nation.” This message is ahead of the Group of 20 which will soon meet in London this month. He went on to say that “the success of the American economy is inextricably linked to the global economy. There is no line between action that restores growth within our borders and action that supports it beyond.” He then cited three recommendations for stabilizing and recovering from the global economic downturn: fiscal stimulus, restoration of credit, and efforts to stabilize emerging markets.
The premise of the President’s argument, that our economies are linked, has certainly been demonstrated by the global nature of this economic downturn. We have imported and exported so much over the years that our economies react to each other’s growth and contractions. In fact, by looking at the Gross Domestic Product for the member countries of the OECD — many members of the G20 are members of the OECD, including the US — an immediate parallel can be seen between the various growth rates of each nation and group.
Disparities Exist for 1 Million+ American HIV/AIDS Patients
Published Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 by Lacey Loftin
According to the Centers for Disease Control’s annual HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, AIDS has now struck more than 1 million Americans. From the beginning of the epidemic through 2007, there have been 1,021,242 adults and 9,590 children reported to have contracted the disease. A bit of good news, the rate of those dying from the disease has decreased by 17%. CDC also has reported ‘major advances’ in gene therapy, vaginal gels that cut women’s HIV risk, and evidence that marijuana use eases nerve pain symptoms of HIV.
The numbers also state that disparities persist in many forms such as gender, age, sexual orientation, location and race. Men accounted for 73% of adult and teen cases; 64% of infected males acquired the disease from male-to-male sexual contact. Males 40 to 44 experience the highest percentage of contact at 20%. 40% of those living with the disease reside in the South; 29% in the Northeast, 20% in the west, and 11% in the Midwest. For the first time, 51% of new cases is attributed to the black population, which has reached 18% of the total US population.
While the United States may have one of the highest marriage and divorce rates in the world, international trends may change that.
In some countries, the stigma surrounding divorce is changing, and new divorce laws and women’s rights legislation are making it easier, less time consuming, and cheaper to separate. For example, the loosening of such laws in Europe has lead to divorce fairs sweeping the region, where lawyers, DNA testers, private eyes, and marriage counselors, gather to discuss the growing trends and speak with potential clients.
Also work migration, such as Poles seeking work in other parts of the European Union, causes significant strains on marriage as one spouse leaves the other behind. The number of divorces in Poland is expected to climb as the rate has increased from 43,000 a year in 2000 to 80,000 in 2007. During this time, experts point out that nearly one million Poles left home to find work, many leaving behind spouses, after Poland joined the EU in 2004. As the recession worsens and workers return to Poland, marriages are being strained due to long periods of separation and, in some cases, unrealistic expectations of their standard of living when they return.
Amongst some of the highest rates are coming from the old Soviet Union including the Russian Federation, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Poland and Slovenia. The United States, at 3.6 per 1000 population, is second only to Russia at 4.23 per 1000.
The new Stimulus Package has received some criticism and some praise, especially for the tax cuts. The package will include a $500 tax cut for middle-class workers or $1,000 for families, mainly in the form of reduced withholding taxes in paychecks. President-Elect Obama says 95% of working families would get help. Plus, there is an incentive of $3,000, for employers who retain or hire more workers.
Today, the United States has the world’s largest deficit as a share of GDP. Currently the average number of US hours worked has reached 1797 hours, with Korea topping the list at 2357 hours annually. We are taxed on those hours up to 41.4%, which is average for most developed nations. Corporations are taxed at 39.3% which is the world’s second highest, Japan is the highest at 39.5%. Revenue from these and other receipts add up to 25.5% of our nation’s Gross Domestic Product; the third lowest of developed countries.
The World Health Organization has issued the World Health Care Report for 2008, renewing calls for Primary Health Care reform. The report stated that globalization has put a strain on health care systems. Universal coverage, service delivery, public policy, and leadership reforms are all areas the World Health Organization wants to improve upon in the next decade. The trends in health care specialization, short term disease control, and laissez-faire governance has allowed inequitable access to proper health care systems around the world, the report observed.
According the the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the US spends a total of 15.3% of its Gross Domestic Product on Health Care expenditures annually for both public and private care. The next highest spender is Switzerland at 11.6%. As for Health Care Insurance coverage, the US is the developed world’s third worst after Turkey and Mexico, with 59.2% with private care, 27.3% on the public care, and 13.5% with no health care coverage at all. The US has an infant mortality rate of 6.9 out of 1,000, a few tenths worse than the world’s average, and life expectancy of 77.2, again slightly below average.
For many years, the United States has cut back its aid; furthermore when given, it has tied its aid to foreign policy objectives. Many countries that give aid have similar provisions. Moreover, many countries consider “trade, not aid” to help developing countries, which allows them to reduce aid promised to the country in need and to the United Nations. In fact, many of the rich nations have consistently failed to meet the minimum of 0.70% of Gross National Income set by the United Nations Resolution 2626 in October 1970.
The payoffs for aid, especially for education, can be numerous. For example, overall national health can improve with education about HIV/AIDS and immunization. Malnutrition can be greatly lessened as agriculture education, especially for women, improves growth and delivery of local produce. Individual income can increase 10% for every year of schooling, thus the investment can improve the labor market and reduce the need for child labor. All in all aid can improve the growth of a developing country in multiple different sectors of development simultaneously.
Aid given by the US, in terms of percentage of GNP, has almost always been one of the lowest of industrialized nations, though since 2000, the dollar amount has been the highest. Yet, in percentage of Gross National Income the US has given 0.69% to overall aid, the top giver is the Norway at 0.95% of GNI.