Weekend Briefing No. 69

Welcome to the weekend. This week the head of FIFA suddenly resigned, Bobby Jindal announced his run for the oval office, we remember the 26th anniversary of the protests in Tiananmen Square (and as usual, the Chinese go to extreme lengths to censor it), and NASA launches a flying saucer.

This week I’m going to start an experiment, and I need your help. I’m going to post the Weekend Briefing on Instagram. So, this is where you come in. First follow me @kylewestaway. Second read the post. Third, like it. Over the next month, I’m going to send a signed copy of my book Profit & Purpose to randomly selected people who like the WB. But most importantly, shoot me an email to let me know whether you like it on Instagram or not.

As a way to say thanks in advance, here is my June playlist. Enjoy the tunes!

 

WEEKEND BRIEFING

 

$500 million = 6 houses. The Red Cross raised $500,000,000 from the earthquake in Haiti in 2012. A key pillar of their program was rebuilding houses, The Red Cross says it has provided homes to more than 130,000 people. But the actual number of permanent homes the group has built in all of Haiti: six. The Red Cross said it has helped “more than 4.5 million” individual Haitians “get back on their feet.” It has not provided details to back up the claim. And Jean-Max Bellerive, Haiti’s prime minister at the time of the earthquake, doubts the figure, pointing out the country’s entire population is only about 10 million. Learn more about the Red Cross in this in-depth report from Pro Publica and NPR. Maybe it’s time that we start supporting smaller more responsive and responsible organizations instead of the Red Cross.

Education & terror in Kenya. Many of the 28 people killed on the bus, in the recent Al Shabaab attack on Mandera, Kenya were teachers in the area heading home for Christmas break. The shock, fear and continued sense of insecurity have caused dozens of schools to close. More than 1,000 teachers from other parts of Kenya have refused to return to the classrooms, but the real victims are the students who will be ill-prepared for the standardized exams that determines eligibility for university. A big congratulations to my friend and photojournalist Will Swanson, whom I had the privilege of working with on his first assignment in Mogadishu. His photos for this storymade the front page of the New York Times.

Patagonia’s slave labor. In an audit of Patagonia’s first tier suppliers conducted 4 years ago, the majority were found to have instances of trafficking and exploitation. Patagonia found that labor brokers were charging workers astronomical sums for the service—as much as $7,000, well over the legal limit. In addition, many workers are charged a monthly fee just to hold onto their jobs. Often, between the illegally high initial fees and monthly fees, many employees find themselves in so much debt that they are unable to repay brokers with the meager $630-a-month salaries (the required minimum wage) that factories pay. Labor trafficking is a huge problem globally. There really isn’t any industry that is immune to this problem. This report highlights the fact that even conscious companies have a hard time running a completely clean supply chain. Doug Freeman, COO notes, “We weren’t naïve going into [the audit],” Learn more in The Atlantic.

Summa cum lucky. Timing is everything. If you were an early Millennial, you likely had a tough time finding work as you graduated college, but if you are a late Millennial, graduating in 2015, with an unemployment rate of 5.4%, you’re pretty lucky! Labor economists note that the first-year earnings correlate to earnings throughout your career. Generally, people who enter the labor market during a recession experience lower wages in the formative years of their career, while those who graduate in better times enjoy a tailwind of economy-wide earnings growth. Learn more in this Wall Street Journal article.

The population bomb? In the 1968 Paul R. Ehrlich, a Stanford University biologist launched his book, The Population Bomb, which held that humankind stood on the brink of apocalypse because there were simply too many of humans to feed. He later went on to forecast that hundreds of millions would starve to death in the 1970s, that 65 million of them would be Americans, that crowded India was essentially doomed, that odds were fair “England will not exist in the year 2000.” He was wrong, in fact there are 200 Million fewer hungry people than there were 25 years ago. See a great 5-minute documentary and article on the unrealized horrors of population explosion from the New York Times.

 

THINGS I LIKE

 

Noon Pacific is my new favorite place to discover great music. Every week Clark Dinnison finds the best music from the interwebs and releases a new mixtape at noon pacific on Monday. Thanks to my friend Phil Anema for tuning me in to this.

City flags are the worst. Roman Mars, host of one of my favorite podcasts 99% Invisible, is obsessed with flags — and after you watch this TED Talk, you might be, too. These ubiquitous symbols of civic pride are often designed, well, pretty terribly.

Sony makes a light bulb that doubles as a Bluetooth speaker. Let there be light and sound! I guess the next obvious step is syncing the lighting to the music. Barry White come on and the lights dim….I’d pay for that.

 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

 

“thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou ….”   – Lawyer Melanie Nussdorf in an email to the U.S. Department of Labor last fall three months after her client, Credit Suisse Group AG, admitted to helping Americans evade U.S. taxes. (She repeated “thankyou” 600 times.)

 

ABOUT THE WEEKEND BRIEFING

 

The Weekend Briefing is a selection of this week’s top stories on innovation and society, curated by Kyle Westaway – author of Profit & Purpose and Managing Partner of Westaway Law. I consider it a privilege to be a part of your weekend routine. Thanks.

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