VANISHING MALE WORKER: Working, in America, is in decline. The share of prime-age men — those 25 to 54 years old — who are not working has more than tripled since the late 1960s, to 16%.
Deep changes in American society have made it easier for them to live without working: the availability of federal disability benefits; the decline of marriage, which means fewer men provide for children; and the rise of the Internet, which has reduced the isolation of unemployment.
It has become harder for men to find higher-paying jobs. Foreign competition and technological advances have eliminated many of the jobs in which high school graduates once could earn $40 an hour, or more.
The poll found that 85% of prime-age men without jobs do not have bachelor’s degrees. And 34% said they had criminal records, making it hard to find any work.
WHEAT V. RICE PEOPLE: Americans and Europeans stand out from the rest of the world for our sense of ourselves as individuals. We like to think of ourselves as unique, autonomous, self-motivated, self-made.
Because rice paddies need standing water, a community of rice farmers needs to work together in tightly integrated ways.
Not wheat farmers – wheat needs only rainfall and requires substantially less coordination and cooperation. And historically, Europeans have been wheat farmers and Asians have grown rice.
LEAFING OF NEW YORK: over the last 50 or 75 or 100 years, the more developed parts of the nation’s densest big city have grown greener.
Manhattan, East Side: the Queensboro Bridge from East 59th Street. Older photo, 1912.
TRAILING SPOUSE: The tendency for men to move more often than women is completely explained by the types of jobs they enter, not that they are men or women. Is occupational segregation self-fulfilling? If you look at women who are not married, they relocate for a job less often than men do.
Men who enter female-dominated jobs don’t tend to move as much for work. If you look at women who enter male-dominated jobs, they tend to move a lot.
If everyone generally assumes families will put the husband’s career first, then maybe this compels women to choose certain types of jobs, which is disturbing.
Women who choose to enter into the geographically-clustered jobs dominated by men have a higher divorce rate than women in dispersed jobs.
HIGH PERFORMERS: Employees value competitive compensation and bonuses, followed by retirement, training, flexible location, and vacation time. 42% of high performers are willing to move to a different state or region, 37% to a different country, 28% to a different continent.
Left untended, your high performers will seek alternative opportunities that provide more challenges, growth, and rewards. Your competitors would love to have them. Keep your best workers by meeting their wants and needs.
Likelihood of high performers to leave their current companies (HBR)
Likelihood for high performance to relocate for a better job (HBR)
RUNNING OUT OF CHOCOLATE: Last year, the world ate 70,000 metric tons more cocoa than it produced. By 2020, that number could swell to 1 million metric tons, a more than 14-fold increase; by 2030, they think the deficit could reach 2 million metric tons.
Dry weather in West Africa (specifically in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, where more than 70% of the world’s cocoa is produced) has greatly decreased production in the region.
A nasty fungal disease known as frosty pod hasn’t helped either.
The International Cocoa Organization estimates it has wiped out between 30% and 40% of global coca production.
CHINA’S BORDEAUX OBSESSION: Chinese investors now own almost 100 chateaus out of the 7,400 wine estates in the Bordeaux region. Shipments of Bordeaux wines to mainland China, their largest export market by volume and value.
NEW YORK DONUT: Every corner of New York has its doughnut now. There is room for all of us, the minimalist and the profligate, the nostalgist and the radical.
The donut is prehistoric — fossilized ring-shaped cakes have been unearthed, dating back 8,000 years. Free doughnuts were handed to the huddled arrivals at Ellis Island, to lines of hollow-cheeked men during the Great Depression and to soldiers on the battlefields of the First World War, by Salvation Army volunteers who requisitioned helmets as deep fryers and punched holes with spent artillery shells.
In New York City, the doughnut no longer resembles the Dutch olykoek that Anna Joralemon started selling in 1673 from a shop on lower Broadway. Along with a hole, it has acquired glazes in Barbie hues, fillings that wheeze forth on first bite, even do-it-yourself accessories like a syringe primed with jam, waiting to be stabbed in.
Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery’s doughnuts made in Chelsea. (Tony Cenicola/The New York Times)
WHOLE MILK NOT THAT WHOLE: Whole milk isn’t made wholly of fat, or largely of fat, or even substantially of fat. In fact, it doesn’t contain much fat all. Whole milk is actually only about 3.5% fat.
The reason it’s called “whole milk” has less to do with its fat content, than the fact that it’s comparatively unadulterated. As the Dairy Council of California puts it, whole milk is “the way it comes from the cow before processing.”