[ISSUE 42] - Interesting Things...

@GSElevator – #1: If you really want to get to know someone on a 1st date, just ask about their first pet or favourite teacher. Then read all their emails.

1. Quote Of The Week / 2. Mortality Anomaly / 3. 3. Where China's Slowdown Is Hitting The Hardest / 4. Interesting Links / 5. Joke Of The Week

1. QUOTE OF THE WEEK

This week New York Times journalist and Dealbook founder Andrew Ross Sorkin hosted the Dealbook Conference in New York. In an

with Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein, he asked whether it was ethical:

ARS: "What do you think of companies – I'm thinking of Alibaba who you helped take public – who have governance structures that effectively keep the founders in control and don't allow democracy in the boardroom…?."

LB: "[Like the] New York Times?"

Check-out out more one-on-one discussions with:

Hedge fund managers - Stan Druckenmiller and Ray Dalio;

Activist investors: Carl Ichan and Paul Singer;

Private equity and venture capitalists: Steve Schwarzman; and Peter Theil & Chris Sacca;

2. MORTALITY ANOMALY

Death rates have been decreasing in the United States, but one group has been bucking the trend in the past 15 years. Research from Princeton University suggests that the increasing mortality rate amongst uneducated 45-54 year old white Americans is caused by increasing levels of suicide, drug and alcohol poisoning, chronic liver diseases, and cirrhosis.

While mortality rates have continued to fall for other racial groups in the US, and for people in other rich countries, mortality rates for middle-aged white Americans have been rising since 1998. Those with a lower level of education were most affected. The findings, detailed in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show death rates for white Americans aged 45-54 with less than a college education increased by 134 deaths per 100,000 people from 1999 to 2014. The mortality rates for white Americans aged 35-44 stopped falling in 2000; for 55-to-59-year-old, mortality rates fell to 0.5% a year.

Researchers suggest if falling mortality rates had continued past 1998, 500,000 more middle-aged white Americans would be alive today-a death toll comparable to to lives lost in the US AIDS epidemic from 1981 through to this year.

Mortality rates for white Americans are still comparatively better than for blacks and no-one really knows why. While middle-aged black Americans have a higher death rate-581 per 100,000-than their white counterparts, that number has been gradually declining over the years.

As to why more middle-aged white Americans are dying, the researchers suggest increasing levels of suicide, drug and alcohol poisoning, chronic liver diseases, and cirrhosis are important contributing factors.

3. WHERE CHINA'S ECONOMIC SLOWDOWN IS HITTING THE HARDEST

Last month, China reported that third quarter GDP grew at 6.9%, the lowest rate in more than six years. That slowdown isn't consistent, though. When you break those figures out by regional levels, there are some pretty stark differences.

A first observation is that things are slowing in more regions than they're growing. So far 29 of China's 31 provincial-level governments that have reported their GDP figures for the first three quarters this year, Chinese state media reports [Chinese]. Among them, 22 provincial-level regions (including provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions) have posted slower GDP growth rates than for the same period last year.

But when you look at how individual regions are doing, there is a distinct pattern: China's industrial northeast is slowing, and in some cases suffering, while economies in the south and west continue to grow at double-digits. That's because while breakneck growth is faltering in China's biggest and most developed cities, new trade links with Europe and a flood of tax money for development is supporting growth out west and in the south.

Source: Full dataset available [Chinese]

Atop of the list is Southwest China's Chongqing municipality, often referred to as the "gateway to the west," which reported 11% GDP growth for the first three quarters of 2015. Zhejiang, Hebei, Guangdong, Yunnan, and Guizhou provinces all reported stronger GDP growth for the first three quarters of 2015 than the same period last year.

In contrast, six provinces, including Shanghai and Beijing, did not even meet the national GDP growth rate for the first three quarters of 2015 (which was 6.9%). Northeast China's Liaoning province, home to much of China's iron and steel industry, ranked last with 2.7% GDP growth, compared to a 6.2% growth rate in the same period of 2014.

China has recently lowered expectations for overall GDP growth in its 13th five-year plan. President Xi Jinping said Tuesday 3rd of November that annual growth should be no less than 6.5% in the next five years, the country's lowest since the late 1970s.

4. INTERESTING LINKS

Interview with UBS rogue trader [FT]; Comparing the fees of Berkshire to KKR [Chicago Law Review]; Michael Mauboussin interviews Daniel Kahneman [Santa Fe Institute]; Introduction to Relative Valuation [Aswath Damodaran]; Australia leads the decline in beer consumption [Quartz]; The OPEC of maple syrup [The Economist];

5. JOKE OF THE WEEK

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