Correspondent JG of Passadumkeag, Maine (who has apparently forgiven me for making light of her hometown), wonders whether the Milken Institute Review has been affected by California's drought. Not yet, JG – though some have speculated that, in a pinch, we could always move our offices to the MI's Singapore branch. I, for one, am a water glass half-filled kinda guy. I have my eye on beachfront property on Alaska's North Slope.
Meanwhile, we've braved sunny, sunny skies to bring you this 67th bang-up issue of the Review.
frank rose, a writer and consultant on digital culture, turns a gimlet eye on the "attention economy" – and, in particular, on how efforts to measure the impact of Internet content are undermining the medium. "Metrics have so distorted the economics of the Internet that we find ourselves awash in information that is useless, even predatory," he writes, "while information that actually deserves our attention often goes begging (in some cases, literally)."
claudia goldin of Harvard explains why the gender gap in pay persists in spite of decisive gains in women's skills and experience. "Like many others, I think convergence is possible," she writes. "However … the solution does not have to involve government intervention, and it does not depend on the improvement of women's bargaining skills or heightened will to compete."
tomas philipson of the University of Chicago and the Milken Institute proposes two new sorts of financial derivatives to manage risk and increase capital for drug development: "The first I call an FDA swap, which in many ways imitates the form and function of the credit default swaps already widely used to hedge risk in bond markets. The second I call an FDA annuity, which hedges against approval delays by paying the investors an agreed-upon sum during the life of the testing process."
larry fisher, a former business reporter for The New York Times, decides that the future of hydrogen-powered cars is (almost) now. "Head-to-head," Fisher says, "hydrogen may prove a match for battery-powered cars. Fuel-cell vehicles deliver the same instant torque, seamless power and near silence that delight drivers of Teslas and Nissan Leafs alike, with the added advantage of 300-mile range and fueling that takes five minutes."
pallavi aiyar, a Jakarta-based journalist, and chin hwee tan of Apollo Global Management, argue that comparisons between India and China distract from India's more relevant match-up. "A list of the most fundamental challenges confronting India today could just as well be Indonesia's," they write. "Both nations need to boost manufacturing competiveness to create the millions of jobs required to ensure their young and growing populations become a demographic dividend rather than a Malthusian disaster. Both must attract foreign investment and fix creaky infrastructure, even as they assuage protectionist lobbies and battle entrenched corruption."
thomas healey, a former assistant secretary of the Treasury, and catherine reilly, a grad student at the Harvard Kennedy School, outline the impending global pension disaster and what could be done to save the Baby Boomers' retirement. "Despite the political and economic complications of changing entrenched public pension systems," they say, "extensive reforms have in fact been achieved by a small circle of progressive nations. … For most countries, though, the move will be considerably more difficult. To stand any chance of survival over the long term, sponsors must step up now."
marsha vande berg at the Harvard Law Program on International Financial Systems reviews China's struggle to rekindle growth without losing momentum on reform. "Some way, some day (preferably soon) the economy must be rebalanced in ways that diversify output and put services in place as the lead driver," she concludes, adding, "That will require more-sophisticated regulation of an economy that now awkwardly mixes ebullient private markets with what might be called crony socialism."
allen sanderson of the University of Chicago and john siegfried of Vanderbilt expose the inequity and inefficiency of the NCAA's monopoly on college sports. "Americans inadvertently created a monster long ago when they integrated big-time spectator sports with higher education," they write. "Taming the beast – forcing it to live by the rules we've set for other commercial enterprises – will not be a walk in the park."
Last but hardly least, we've included a chapter from The Diversity Explosion, william frey's new book in which he explains how immigration is prying open segregated neighborhoods. And, while you're at it, check out Lists, in which your 'umble editor explores the UN's venerable Human Development Index and new variations thereon.
— Peter Passell
Correction: The reference to the German national anthem in philippe legrain's article in the prior issue of the Review is in error. The phrase "Deutschland über alles" is no longer part of the anthem, nor is there evidence that Germans sang the line in celebrating their World Cup victory in 2014.