February 19th, 2013
01:07 PM ET

What we're reading

By Fareed Zakaria

A young farmer in one of India’s poorest states beat World Bank-funded scientists and seed and GM companies to break the record for the most rice harvested on one hectare of land, according to The Guardian.

“What happened in Darveshpura has divided scientists and is exciting governments and development experts,” the paper reports. “Tests on the soil show it is particularly rich in silicon but the reason for the "super yields" is entirely down to a method of growing crops called System of Rice (or root) Intensification (SRI). It has dramatically increased yields with wheat, potatoes, sugar cane, yams, tomatoes, garlic, aubergine and many other crops and is being hailed as one of the most significant developments of the past 50 years for the world's 500 million small-scale farmers and the two billion people who depend on them.”

Worries over rapid nuclear proliferation in the Middle East are misplaced because rapid proliferation simply doesn’t happen, suggests Peter Jones, an associate professor at the University of Ottawa, in the Globe and Mail.

“Since the dawn of the nuclear era, various leaders and analysts have predicted that nuclear proliferation would take place rapidly and inexorably,” Jones writes. “Those countries that could build the bomb would do so, and others would build it in response. It has been predicted that almost 50 countries would eventually join the nuclear club…That prediction has proved wrong. Only four additional countries – India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea – have acquired nuclear weapons. One country unambiguously tried and was stopped (Iraq, before it was foolish enough to invade Kuwait). In each case, the reasons why these countries decided to build nuclear weapons had to do with the specifics of their security situations rather than a reflex action.”

And, for the first time since the New Deal, “a majority of Americans are headed toward a retirement in which they will be financially worse off than their parents,” according to research cited by the Washington Post.

“The economic downturn exacerbated long-term factors that were already eroding the financial standing of aging Americans: an inexorable rise in health-care costs, growing debt among older Americans and a shift in responsibility from employers to workers to plan for retirement. The consequence is that the nation is facing a huge retirement savings deficit – as much as $6.6 trillion, or about $57,000 per household, according to a U.S. Senate report.”

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soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. afterallthat

    For many, this is very good news, particularly since Monsanto, Bayer, Cargill and other enormous interests seem to be able to control what goes into governmental regulations. The Supreme Court, for example is deciding whether an independent farmer has stolen patented seeds from Monsanto. Reportedly, Justice Clarence Thomas was once an attorney that represented Monsanto. I wonder if he will recuse himself regarding this case. Dumb question, I know.

    February 19, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  2. rightospeak

    The US Senate report is correct-it is getting worse for our elderly ; hope is not around the corner. There is welfare for the very rich and austerity for the rest no matter who is in office. Eventually, it will blow up-only a question of time. Most likely it will start in Greece.

    February 19, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Reply
  3. Jack Murphy

    Every time I see Fareed on TV I get thrill up my leg. I am so longing to watch his program alone in my room real loud without any interruptions, just me and Fareed on cnn spending time alone talking about world affairs, resolving complex issues together as the sun is going down, down, DOWN.
    Ah well...... enough fantasizing, back to my real job blogging on cnn.
    Big Jack Murphy, Karachi Pakistan.

    February 20, 2013 at 6:26 am | Reply
  4. Reprinted With Permission

    Jack,
    like you and Chris Mathews, I get thrills up both my legs when GPS is on, on the weekend. I must say it is a real stress reliever. Hookah in one hand, I get busy with the other.....all the way to final analysis and the books reviews.
    Phew! Its a work out and a half.
    I share your "enlightenment" and courage to speak your mind.
    RWP – Rawalpindi Pakistan

    February 20, 2013 at 8:27 am | Reply
  5. russell lee

    Methinks, CNN and Tced Turner are corrupt.

    February 23, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Reply
  6. russell lee

    And he, Ted Turner, was really confused by the time Jane Fonda got through with him.

    February 23, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Reply

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