By Fareed Zakaria
China’s one-child policy may have left those born under it less trusting and less trustworthy, suggests a new study reported on in the New York Times.
“In a game involving trust, test subjects were paired with anonymous partners,” the NYT said. “Player One was given 100 renminbi (about $16) and invited to pass it along to Player Two. The money would then be tripled, and Player Two could pass some of it back.”
“Players born after the one-child policy was instituted were less likely to pass money along than the older participants,” it said of the research, which appeared in Science.
Also on China, Beijing has this past week been suffering from pollution levels that are literally off the charts, James Fallows notes in The Atlantic. The U.S. embassy in the city has for some time been releasing its own readings of air pollution on a dedicated Twitter account. For several hours at the weekend, the level of PM 2.5 small-particulate pollution topped 800, putting it “beyond scale” (levels in the low 300s are considered hazardous, Fallows says).
“This is yet another reminder of a fact impossible to forget when you’re inside China but that often gets glossed over in credulous accounts of the New Chinese Century. Namely, that economic growth has come at the cost of environmental disaster,” argues Fallows.
And has counterinsurgency been dealt another blow, this time from Mali? As France steps up its military intervention against Islamist rebels there, the Washington Post’s Max Fisher suggests that following the withdrawal of additional forces from the Afghan “surge,” that “COIN” may have lost out again.
“In earlier years, the U.S. military had attempted a sort of pre-counterinsurgency in the vast Sahara region that includes northern Mali. American officers and special forces trained local counterparts who were to, as the U.S. had set out to do in Afghanistan, protect the population, take out terrorists, and combat any emerging threats from within. But the local counterparts ended up defecting, bringing their expertise (and their new equipment) over to the enemy, the New York Times reports…The collapse of the U.S.-led effort could be seen, whether rightly or wrongly, as another setback for counterinsurgency.”