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    Daily Digest 7/26 – The Insecure World Of Freelancing, Meaning Is Healthier Than Happiness

    by DailyDigest

    Sunday, July 26, 2015, 2:57 PM


Thirteen Cities Where Single-Family Rents Are Skyrocketing (jdargis)

It’s more evidence that rising rents have affected a broad scope of Americans. Sixty percent of low-income renters spend more than 50 percent of their income on rent, according to a report in May from New York University’s Furman Center. High rents have also stretched the budgets of middle-class workers and made it harder for young professionals to launch careers and start families.

Proposed Raise for Fast-Food Employees Divides Low-Wage Workers (jdargis)

Advocates for workers across the country cheered last week when New York became the first state to recommend a $15-an-hour minimum wage specifically for fast-food workers. But in New York City, the decision has created a stark new divide between low-wage workers who will receive the boost in their paychecks and those who will not.

Map: How geography affects the value of the minimum wage (jdargis)

Take Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Maryland, all of which recently raised the minimum wage. All but Hawaii rank among the top third of states. But each falls to the bottom 10 when that minimum wage is adjusted for its purchasing power. (To their credit, Hawaii, New York and Maryland have future scheduled increases.)

The Insecure World of Freelancing (jdargis)

Thirty-nine-year-old Xavier Fan is in this vanguard of unionized freelancers. Fan went independent, by choice, roughly nine years ago, working as both a technology consultant and an actor from his home in Brooklyn. Originally, he joined the Freelancers Union to buy health insurance as well as liability insurance, to protect against lawsuits, purchased through one of the union's designated vendors. He has also attended union-sponsored events on topics such as taxes, branding, and the logistics of getting paid. As a freelancer who typically works from home, Fan says, “some of the socialization aspect of working full-time in an office isn't there,” and the union's gatherings give him a chance to mingle. He also appreciates the union's lobbying on behalf of its members.

Ebola created a public health emergency—and we weren’t ready for it (jdargis)

During a public health crisis, the WHO typically coordinates key actors and governments. For the Ebola outbreak, the WHO should have played a key role in coordinating surveillance, but there were long delays in WHO involvement. The report states that the WHO has extensive experience with outbreaks, health promotion, and social mobilization, which makes it especially surprising that it took until August/September 2014 for the organization to realize that traditional approaches to containment would not be sufficient for this outbreak—Ebola transmission would only be brought under control if surveillance, community mobilization, and delivery of appropriate health care were executed in tandem.

The Breakdown Of 2015 Is Now A Fact (Taki T.)

Part of the problem resides in China. As the next chart shows, the correlation between the price of copper and the Chinese Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) has been very high. In particular, the copper price has a track record of anticipating the direction of the PMI index. The latest PMI reading earlier this week came in at 48.2 this week, still below the critical 50 level. It indicates that purchasing managers believe economic contraction is prevailing at this point.

Aging Infrastructure Plagues Nation’s Busiest Rail Corridor (jdargis)

These troubles have become all too common on the Northeast Corridor, the nation’s busiest rail sector, which stretches from Washington to Boston and carries about 750,000 riders each day on Amtrak and several commuter rail lines. The corridor’s ridership has doubled in the last 30 years even as its old and overloaded infrastructure of tracks, power lines, bridges and tunnels has begun to wear out. And with Amtrak and local transit agencies struggling to secure funding, many fear the disruptions will continue to worsen in the years ahead.

Meaning Is Healthier Than Happiness (jdargis)

"Happiness without meaning characterizes a relatively shallow, self-absorbed or even selfish life, in which things go well, needs and desire are easily satisfied, and difficult or taxing entanglements are avoided," the authors of the study wrote. "If anything, pure happiness is linked to not helping others in need.” While being happy is about feeling good, meaning is derived from contributing to others or to society in a bigger way. As Roy Baumeister, one of the researchers, told me, "Partly what we do as human beings is to take care of others and contribute to others. This makes life meaningful but it does not necessarily make us happy.”

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 7/24/15

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."

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