Today’s Links: September 17, 2012


THE ECONOMIST: “The Tyranny of Choice
“Wheel a trolley down the aisle of any modern Western hypermarket, and the choice of all sorts is dazzling. The average American supermarket now carries 48,750 items, according to the Food Marketing Institute, more than five times the number in 1975. […] Many of these options have improved life immeasurably in the rich world, and to a lesser extent in poorer parts. They are testimony to human ingenuity and innovation. Free choice is the basis on which markets work, driving competition and generating economic growth. It is the cornerstone of liberal democracy. The 20th century bears the scars of too many failed experiments in which people had no choice. But amid all the dizzying possibilities, a nagging question lurks: is so much extra choice unambiguously a good thing?”

MATTHEW YGLESIAS: “L.A.’s Transit Revolution
“[T]he city that’s defined in the public imagination as the great auto-centric counterpoint to the traditional cities of the Northeast has quietly emerged as a serious mass transit contender. It’s no New York and never will be—Los Angeles was constructed in the era of mass automobile ownership, and its landscape will always reflect that—but it’s turning into something more interesting, a 21st-century city that moves the idea of alternative transportation beyond nostalgia or Europhilia.”

SIMON JOHNSON: “Will Germans Pick Up the Tab for Deutsche Bank, Too?
“Deutsche Bank cannot fail — in the sense of experiencing a Lehman Brothers-type bankruptcy. The German government wouldn’t allow it. With a balance sheet equivalent to about 80 percent of Germany’s gross domestic product, Deutsche Bank is too big to fail both in terms of its direct involvement with the national economy and the potential knock-on effect on confidence in German industry. But the bank can fail in the sense that it could require future taxpayer assistance.”


ANTITRUST – Judge dismisses Prime Healthcare antitrust conspiracy lawsuit
“A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by hospital chain Prime Healthcare Services that alleged Kaiser Permanente conspired with a health care workers union to drive Prime out of business.”

TRADE – Obama Launches New China Trade Action
“President Barack Obama is launching a new trade enforcement case against China as he seeks an advantage over Republican rival Mitt Romney on an economic issue that has become a flashpoint in the presidential campaign.”

INNOVATION – Japan Tooth Patch Could Be End of Decay
“Scientists in Japan have created a microscopically thin film that can coat individual teeth to prevent decay or to make them appear whiter, the chief researcher said.”