The Shape of Progress as Measured by Social Media Adoption Rates in Saudi Arabia →
The shape of progress:
There are so many Twitter users among the 60% of Saudis who use the internet that the country has the world’s highest penetration of the microblog; the number of users rose by 45% between 2012 and 2013. About 8m of the country’s 31m people use Facebook. E-mail is already passé. “If I send my students an assignment, I have to tweet to tell them to check their inboxes!” says a university professor in the eastern city of Dhahran.
The youthfulness of the population helps explain the popularity of social media. The largest number of users are aged 26 to 34. The country’s repressive nature means many use Twitter, often anonymously, as a way to vent their frustrations. And the social peculiarities of Saudi Arabia account for the particularly insatiable appetite of its young for all things virtual. Unrelated men and women are forbidden to mix freely and fun is scarce, since cinemas and alcohol are banned.
"The computer makes no decisions; it only carries orders. It’s a total moron, and therein lies its strength. It forces us to think, to set criteria. The stupider the tool, the brighter the master has to be - and this is the dumbest tool we have ever had."
Peter Drucker, 1967
South Dakota: Quietly booming | The Economist →
Quiet success might be South Dakota’s motto. It has no oil industry; its neighbour North Dakota, with its shale-oil boom, gets all the notice. It has no large military base. There is not even an influential university. Yet South Dakota’s 3.7% jobless rate is the third-lowest in America. The rate is even lower in Sioux Falls, which has the fourth-fastest-growing economy in the country.
Free exchange: Revisiting Ricardo | The Economist →
DEFENDERS of globalisation often say that, whatever distress it may cause for rich-world workers, it has been good for poor countries. Between 1988 and 2008, global inequality, as measured by the distribution of income between rich and poor countries, has narrowed, according to the World Bank. But within each country, the story is less rosy: globalisation has resulted in widening inequality in many poor places.
This can be seen in the behaviour of the Gini index, a measure of inequality. (If the index is one, a country’s entire income goes to one person; if zero, the spoils are equally divided.) Sub-Saharan Africa saw its Gini index rise by 9% between 1993 and 2008. China’s soared by 34% over 20 years. In few places has it fallen.