Ten of the world's twenty tallest buildings have opened since 2010.
May 24, 2013
THE NUMBERS: World’s tallest buildings, 2700 BC – present
|2018?: “Kingdom Tower,” Jeddah:||” ~3,280 feet|
|2010: Burj Khalifa, Dubai||2,716 feet|
|2004: Taipei 101, Taiwan||1,666 feet|
|1998: Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur||1,482 feet|
|1974: Sears Tower, Chicago||1,450 feet|
|1972: World Trade Center, New York||1,368 feet|
|1931: Empire State Building, New York||1,250 feet|
|1930: Chrysler Building, New York||1,046 feet|
|1913: Woolworth Building, New York||792 feet|
|1909: Met Life Tower, New York||700 feet|
|1908: Singer Building, New York||612 feet|
|1901: City Hall, Philadelphia||548 feet|
|1311: Lincoln Cathedral, U.K.||525 feet?|
|2570 BC: Great Pyramid, Egypt||481 feet|
|2650 BC: Step Pyramid, Egypt||203 feet|
WHAT THEY MEAN:
With the spike placed on top two weeks ago, World Trade Center 1 reaches 1776 feet above the Battery Park traffic at its base. The tallest building in the western hemisphere, it also outdoes all of East Asia’s record-holders, and ranks 3rd in the world behind the 2,716-foot Burj Khalifa in the United Arab Emirates and the 1,972-foot Makkah Clock Tower in Saudi Arabia. In its spirit, some background on supertalls and the architectural-technology context for WTC-1:
Stone-on-stone buildings can rise a bit above 500 feet. But if they go much higher, the weight of the stone will crack the load-bearing pillars and walls below. This is why the 481-foot Great Pyramid outside Cairo held the world’s-tallest-building title for 3,800 years, until slightly overtopped by Europe’s 14th-century Gothic cathedrals. The cathedrals in their turn remained unchallenged until the early 20th century,* when Chicago engineers devised the steel-skeleton frame, in which curtain walls are held in place by steel girders. The Empire State Building is a particularly stunning example: built without computers, riveted in place by Mohawk workers standing in open air 1000 feet above the ground, and with entirely new internal water-tanks to ensure that top-floor toilets flushed and faucets spouted water rather than sucking air, the ESB held the world’s-tallest title for 40 years. At 82 years old, it is one of only 9 pre-1990s buildings still on the top-100 list.
Computer-aided design and new alloys gave architects another 1000 feet of space, metal and glass in the 1990s. The result has been a bloom of giant buildings, first appearing in Asia and more recently in the Persian Gulf. With WTC-1 complete, according to New York’s Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, 69 of the world’s 100 tallest buildings have gone up since 2000, and 10 of the top 20 since 2010. Burj Khalifa in Dubai is largest of the group; more than twice the height of the Empire State Building at 2,716 feet or 828 meters, it features 162 floors, a spiral shape to minimize wind torque, heat-resistant glass on the upper levels, and a mix of glazed aluminum and stainless steel on the outer walls. A still larger one just beginning construction, the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, will if completed reach about 3280 feet, with a big outdoor terrace shaped like a spoon at 2,000 feet.
* Or, if you define ‘building’ a bit more broadly, until the two big 19th-century towers, the 555-foot George Washington Monument and the 916-foot Eiffel Tower, went up in 1884 and 1889.
WTC-1, opening officially (when the interiors are done) sometime later this year: http://onewtc.com/news/final-section-of-spire-installed-at-one-world-trade-center
And the 9/11 Memorial below: www.911memorial.org
Tallest buildings -
New York’s Council on Tall Building and Urban Habitat, the authority on this sort of thing, has lists of the 100 tallest buildings, the 100 tallest under construction, and more: http://buildingdb.ctbuh.org/?list=1
The first skyscraper – The Woolworth Building opened in New York on April 24, 1913: http://skyscraper.org/EXHIBITIONS/WOOLWORTH/video_intro.php
Current record-holder – Burj Khalifa: http://www.burjkhalifa.ae/
And coming next – The Kingdom Tower breaks ground: http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/industry-insights/property/saudi-shoots-for-the-stars-as-1km-tall-kingdom-tower-set-to-rise
The American role -
With WTC-1 essentially complete, only 4 of the tallest 100 buildings in the world under construction are in the U.S.. Of the rest, 56 are in China, 10 in the United Arab Emirates, 7 in India, 5 in Saudi Arabia, and 4 in Russia. (None are in western Europe, and one in Latin America.) Is the U.S. exiting the supertall world? In fact, having invented skyscrapers 100 years ago, architectural firms based in Chicago and New York have not given up at all, and remain the leading designers today. Four American firms are designing (or jointly designing) nine of the highest ten buildings currently under construction:
Kohn Pedersen Fox, NYC: Ping An Financial Center, Lotte World Tower in Seoul, CTF Guangzhou, Zhongguo Zun in Beijing, and Chongqing International Commerce Center,;
Adrian Smith & Gordon Gill, Chicago: Wuhan Greenland Center;
M. Arthur Gensler, San Francisco: Shanghai Tower,
Skidmore, Owens, & Merrill, Chicago: Tianjin Chow Tai Fook, and Busan Lotte, after also designing the Shanghai World Financial Center, Burj Khalifa, and WTC-1.
Kohn Pederson Fox on giant skyscrapers: http://www.kpf.com/projectlist.asp?T=14
And a brief survey of three earlier tall-building eras:
Pyramids & Ziggurats, Middle East, 2600 BC – 2000 BC: Pyramid-building began around 2650 BC with the 203-foot Step Pyramid designed by proto-engineer Imhotep for then-Pharaoh Zoser, peaked a century later with Khufu’s Great Pyramid just outside modern Cairo. The G.P. held the world’s-tallest title for just under 4000 years. Not just a lame pile of rocks, it is a “smart pyramid” with a complex interior design of chambers, tunnels, and ventilation shafts meant for practical, religious, and perhaps astronomical purposes, all pointing to sophisticated architectural drafting and engineering, as well as agricultural wealth and human muscle. Old Kingdom builders completed at least 118 pyramids (at current count), finishing up around 2300 BC.
The slightly younger ziggurats in neighboring Sumer and Akkad (modern Iraq) were built along similar plans but had temples on top. They made out of brick rather than stone, so never got quite as high as the Egyptian pyramids. A big one dug up in the 1920s, built in Ur near today’s Nasiriyah, was about 100 feet high and went up in 2100 BC. Native American pyramids in Cahokia, Teotihuacan, Tenochtitlan, and Peru, built at various times from 200 AD to the 1500s, reached similar heights.
The BBC’s ”Building the Great Pyramid” feature: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/egyptians/great_pyramid_01.shtml
Should you be traveling to Khuzestan this summer, visit the Chogha-Zanbil ziggurat, said (by Wikipedia) to be especially well preserved: http://www.chogha-zanbil.com/
Cahokia Mounds in Illinois: http://www.cahokiamounds.org/explore/
Gothic Cathedrals, Europe, 1200 – 1400: Large buildings with enormous glass windows, hundred-foot stone pillars, and flying buttresses to relieve stress on load-bearing walls. Medieval architects and engineers built cathedrals not only without computers but sans printing press, standardized weights and measures, rulers, or arithmetical tools beyond long division. They overtook the Great Pyramid in the 14th century and remain the tallest stone-on-stone buildings in the world, except for the 548-foot Philadelphia City Hall. The Lincoln Cathedral, completed in 1311, is said to been highest, with a central spire rising to 525 feet. Nobody knows for sure, because the spire fell down during a thunderstorm in 1549. The largest cathedral spire still standing is the 512-foot Ulm Cathedral in Germany.
The Ulm Munster, nur auf deutsch: http://www.ulmer-muenster.de/
A how-to-build-a-Gothic cathedral book: http://www.amazon.com/Gothic-Cathederal-Christopher-Wilson/dp/0500276811
And Philly’s City Hall: http://www.phila.gov/virtualch//index.html
Skyscrapers, United States, 1908 – 1931: Steel-skeleton buildings surpassed cathedrals 103 years ago with the completion of the Singer Building in New York City. The Otis hydraulic elevator system made sure people could get to the top floors. The 1913 Woolworth Building was the first really big one, well beyond the reach of masonry architecture. The Empire State Building opened on May 1, 1931, and held the world’s-tallest-building record for 41 years, longer than any other modern building. Some New York City highlights:
The Empire State Building: http://esbnyc.com/esb_story.asp
The Mohawk Nation’s high-altitude construction tradition: http://www.wnyc.org/articles/wnyc-news/2012/mar/19/sky-walking-raising-steel-mohawk-ironworker-keeps-tradition-alive/
Chinese student enrollment in the United States has tripled in the last five years.
May 1, 2013
THE NUMBERS: Foreign students at American universities -
WHAT THEY MEAN:
As this year’s last aspiring Double-E, the final ESOL enrollee, and the penultimate management trainee order their caps and gowns: 764,495 of America’s 19 million university students arrived at campus from abroad this year.
The total has soared by nearly 200,000 since 2007 (after a long lull sparked by tightened visa rules after the September 11th attacks), and makes up about a quarter of the world’s 3 million overseas students. 300,000 are graduate students, 220,000 undergrads; 65,000 are in community colleges and another 85,000 are taking ESL or other non-degree courses. By region: 490,000 Asian students, 85,000 Europeans, 64,000 from Latin America and the Caribbean, 62,000 from the Middle East, 30,000 from sub-Saharan Africa, and 5,700 from the Pacific. Enrollment trends for the top five countries are as follows:
1. China: About two-thirds of the post-financial crisis boom in international enrollment is Chinese. “Open Doors 2012,” the most recent version of the Institute for International Education’s annual survey, finds 194,000 Chinese students hitting the books this week – triple the 68,000 in 2007. Business is the most attractive subject for them, pursued by 29 percent of Chinese students. Engineering comes next at 20 percent.
2. India: India ranks second with 104,000 students, up from 83,000 three years ago. India students are usually techies: 37 percent are taking engineering degrees, and another 22 percent in comp. sci. In contrast to their Chinese colleagues, who split about 55/45 between grad students and undergraduates, about 82 percent of Indian students are taking graduate degrees.
3. South Korea: 72,000 students, a modest increase from 62,000 in 2009. Korean enrollments are heaviest in business at 19 percent of students, followed by engineering at 12, and social sciences and fine arts each with 11 percent.
4. Saudi Arabia: 34,000 Saudi students are enrolled – a big jump from the 10,000 of 2009. English-language study is the top choice, enrolling 36 percent of Saudis; engineering is next at 18 percent.
5. Canada: Canadian students rank 5th at 26,000, slightly down from 29,000 three years ago. Health, business, and social sciences are the most popular fields.
In total, international students accounted for about 3.4 percent of the 13.8 million students enrolled in American higher ed. – or, a bit more precisely, 1.5 percent of undergraduates and 10 percent of graduate students. Both shares have remained essentially stable over the past two decades, since overall enrollments (including Americans ad international students) have been rising fast: 13.8 million in 1990, 15.3 million in 2000, and 21.8 million in 2012.
IIE’s Open Borders 2012 has figures for enrollments by country, by school, by graduate/undergraduate/other course of study, etc, up to the 2011-2012 academic year and back to 1948: http://www.iie.org/Research-and-Publications/Open-Doors
And the National Center for Education Statistics has perspectives on total enrollment, degree-taking, and more: http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
A bit more -
The Bureau of Economic Analysis, which defines education as a form of services trade, reports fees from foreign students brought in $23 billion in 2011 (last year available). This is about equal to American exports of grain, medicine, or weapons. Chinese student fees account for $5 billion. NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, has a slightly different count which leaves out distance-learning fees and revenue from overseas campuses but adds spending on room, board, books and other incidentals. By their count, international students add $21.8 billion to U.S. GDP.
Data from NAFSA, including state-by-state: http://www.nafsa.org/Explore_International_Education/Impact/Data_And_Statistics/What_Is_the_Value_of_International_Students_to_Your_State_in_2012_/
And BEA’s services-trade data, with education receipts and spending in Table 5: http://www.bea.gov/international/intlserv.htm
Some schools –
USC’s 9,269 foreign students are the largest total in the country, followed by the University of Illinois, NYU, Purdue, Columbia, UCLA and Northeastern. USC’s International Office: http://sait.usc.edu/ois/new-stu.aspx
Arizona State: https://asunews.asu.edu/20121113_internationalenrollment
The University of Montana: http://life.umt.edu/fsss/
Emory University: http://www.emory.edu/isss/about_isss/statistics.html
The Chinese Students & Scholars Association at the University of Maryland: http://umdcssa.org/
An IIE mission to Burma/Myanmar offers ideas on curriculum and exchange: http://www.iie.org/Who-We-Are/News-and-Events/Press-Center/Press-Releases/2013/04-12-13-IIE-Myanmar-Report-and-Bi-National-Conference-Call
The Stanford India Association: http://stanford.edu/group/sia/cgi-bin/index.php
The African Students’ Association at CU/Boulder: http://www.colorado.edu/StudentGroups/ASA/
Over there –
American enrollments in foreign countries are (a) usually shorter-term, (b) mostly European, and (c) double the totals recorded a decade ago. (Where in 2000, 144,000 American students went abroad, in 2012 the figure was 270,604.) The U.K. was the most popular destination, temporary home to 33,000 American students; Italy, Spain and France followed with a combined 70,000. China ranked fourth at 14,000 and Australia fifth at 10,000. By region, 150,000 American students were in Europe, 40,000 in Latin America and the Caribbean, 30,000 in Asia, 13,000 in the Pacific, and 12,000 in sub-Saharan Africa. The British Council: http://usa.britishcouncil.org/education
Two notes –
1. Only about 3765 Americans were studying in the majority-Muslim states of the Middle East – half the 7,200 in Costa Rica, but still up from 3300 two years ago. Study in Indonesia has risen from 74 American students in 2009 to 265; in Pakistan, from 4 to 14. The American University in Cairo: http://www.aucegypt.edu/Pages/default.aspx
2. According to Open Doors, only 1,426 Americans are studying in Canada – half the 2,900 in New Zealand, and barely more than the 1,250 in Guatemala. A different source claims a more plausible 10,000. Either way, an unofficial guide to U.S. study at McGill, with useful advice – “know who the Prime Minister is,” “learn to like hockey,” etc. – at: http://unofficialmcgillguide.com/american-students/
The WTO has handled 457 trade disputes since 1995.
April 17, 2013
THE NUMBERS: WTO dispute filings, January 2012 – April 2013 -
|vs. United States||6|
|vs. European Union||3|
WHAT THEY MEAN:
The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, launched in 2010 to bulk up India’s solar-power industry, requires suppliers of solar power to Indian enterprises to use Indian-made solar modules and cells. Obama administration lawyers believe this is a violation of the WTO’s Agreements on Subsidies and Trade-Related Investment Measures agreement (WTO members may not offering “subsidies contingent, whether solely or as one of several other conditions, on the use of domestic over imported goods”) and filed a case with the WTO on February 6th. What does this mean? Some background:
The World Trade Organization’s 60 agreements cover tariff rates, import quotas, anti-dumping and countervailing duty laws, government procurement, intellectual property rights, services trade, information technology, customs valuation, investment, sanitary and phytosanitary standards, and lots more. The many agreements and the 159 members naturally mean some arguments: 456 cases to be precise in the 18 years since the WTO was created in 1995. With an overall average of 25 disputes a year, last year’s 27-case total was slightly more than usual, while this year’s three are well below the norm. The disputes in 2012 broke down as follows:
Seven cases against China, including two by Japan, three by the United States, on by the European Union and one by Mexico. Three cover restrictions on exports of rare earths, two anti-dumping tariffs and other limits on American cars, one on anti-dumping tariffs on Japanese steel, and Mexican clothes.
Six cases against the United States: Two deal with anti-dumping tariffs imposed on Indian steel and Vietnamese shrimp, another countervailing duties (i.e. tariffs imposed to offset subsidies) on Chinese goods, and two Argentine complaints about lemon and beef trade.
Five cases against Argentina filed by the U.S., Mexico, Panama, Japan, and the EU. These deal with import restrictions of lots of kinds and pressure on companies to export as much from Argentina as they bring in.
Three cases against the European Union, including an Indonesian case on anti-dumping penalties, an Argentine case over biodiesel imports, and a Chinese case against subsidies for renewable-energy manufacturers.
Six for the rest of the world: Ukraine, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic all mysteriously filed cases against Australia over tobacco packaging rules, the U.S. against India over a ban on chicken imports, India against Turkey for limits on cotton yarn sales, and Brazil against South Africa over chicken tariffs
In sum, frequent case filings usually involving the larger WTO members and covering a very broad range of topics. The U.S.-India solar duel, therefore, is a pretty typical event. How will it play out?
The case will come before an appointed panel of 3 experts, none to come from either India or the United States. They will hear presentations by both countries on the basic questions: By requiring solar cells & modules used in the Mission to be made locally, has India (a) violated the rules in the Subsidies Agreement and the Investment Agreement, and (b) done so in a way that harms potential American exporters? The panel has a year to decide, meaning a decision will come in by February 6, 2014. (Or, should the losing party appeal to the 7-member “Appellate Body,” by May 6th.) If the dispute panel or the Appellate Body if called upon finds India in the wrong, the U.S. will have the right to impose enough tariffs to block an amount of Indian exports equivalent to the damage to American exporting businesses, until the offending policy goes away.
The American complaint against Indian solar policy: http://www.ustr.gov/about-us/press-office/press-releases/2013/february/us-challenges-india-restrictions-solar
The WTO’s laconic summary: http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/cases_e/ds456_e.htm
And the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission: http://www.mnre.gov.in/solar-mission/jnnsm/resolution-2/
Background and detail -
The WTO’s list of disputes: http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/dispu_status_e.htm
And a guide to dispute procedures, timetables, and agreements: http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/tif_e/disp1_e.htm
Defendants: 18 of the WTO’s 159 members have faced a total of 88 cases in the five years since the beginning of 2008. The United States, the European Union and China are most frequently targets – and most frequently by one another – with China facing 22 complaints, the U.S. 20, and the EU 14. Elsewhere around the world, Argentina has taken 6 complaints, and the Dominican Republican 4 (in actuality a series of matching protests by El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Guatemala); Australia and India three apiece; Canada, India, the Philippines, South Africa, and Thailand two apiece; and one each for Chile, Indonesia, Moldova, Peru, Turkey, and Ukraine. No cases against any countries in the Middle East, nor any against Africa apart from the two filings against South Africa.
Plaintiffs: 26 of the 159 members have filed cases. The U.S. had the most with 17, followed by the EU’s 11 and China’s 9. Mexico was next at 6 cases, targeting China for export subsidies in clothing, export limits in rare earths, and subsidies to auto-makers, along with Argentine import limits and American tuna policy. Canada, Japan, and Argentina each filed 4 cases; Brazil, Ukraine, and Indonesia 3 each; Indonesia, Korea, Guatemala, Honduras, and Vietnam two each. Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Moldova, Norway, Panama, Peru, Taiwan, and Thailand each filed one. No African or Arab country filed any.
Subjects: By policy area, the most frequent targets of complaints (especially in cases filed against the U.S.) are “trade remedy laws” imposing anti-dumping and countervailing duty tariffs in response to complaints about pricing and subsidies. Though many cases file charges in more than one area, a basic list finds anti-dumping and countervailing duty penalties at issue in 26 of the 88 cases filed over the past five years. Agricultural policies account for another 16; subsidies 9; “safeguard” actions 6; import licensing and similar broad controls 5, and intellectual property rights another 5. Services trade, excise taxes, and tariff rates each sparked four disputes, and the remaining cases cover a mix of regulatory issues, intellectual property rights and other topics.
The U.S. perspective –
Trade enforcement home-page for the U.S. Trade Representative Office: http://www.ustr.gov/trade-topics/enforcement
And the Department of Commerce: http://tcc.export.gov/
And four other new arguments –
April 12, 2013 – Guatemala vs. Peru on farm trade: http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news13_e/ds457rfc_12apr13_e.htm
January 10, 2013 – An American complaint against Indonesian limits on fruit and vegetables: http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/cases_e/ds455_e.htm
December 20, 2012 – Japan protests Chinese anti-dumping tariffs on steel tubes: http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/cases_e/ds454_e.htm
December 12, 2013 – Panama against Argentine taxation: http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/cases_e/ds453_e.htm
Tariffs raised 30 percent of government revenue in 1912, and now raise 1 percent.
April 10, 2013
THE NUMBERS: U.S. federal government revenue collection in 1912 –
|Total revenue:||$992 million|
|Postage stamps & fees||$245 million|
|Liquor taxes||$230 million|
|Tobacco taxes||$77 million|
|Corporate income taxes||$35 million|
|Panama Canal receipts||$33 million|
|All other*||$96 million|
* Land sales, fines, fees for patents and forestry, unspecified “depredations on public lands,” profits on coinage, Navy pension contributions, immigrant fund, taxes on margarine and sealskins, harbor fees, etc.
WHAT THEY MEAN:
As Americans fill out Form 1040s and puzzle their way through tax-prep software, some background on how it got this way:
A century ago in 1912, American government ran on a weird mix of postage stamp sales, Panama Canal receipts, excise taxes on liquor and beer, business taxes, and especially tariff money. Tariffs, then averaging about 20 percent, provided about a third of the revenue. The largest chunk of tariff money – $90 million, or about 10 percent of revenue – came from taxation of imported clothes, shoes, and similar home goods.
Liberals disliked the tariff system as non-transparent and – because high tariffs on clothes meant taxation of lower-income people – as regressive. Then-president Woodrow Wilson, elected in November, also criticized it as anti-competitive. In an historic-but-forgotten address given a century ago last Monday – April 8, 1913 – Wilson argued that the tariff system was “a set of privileges and exemptions from competition behind which it [is] easy by any, even the crudest, forms of combination to organize monopoly.” His campaign led to a new tariff and tax law, known as the “Underwood Tariff” for its author Ways and Means Committee Chairman Oscar Underwood, which cut tariffs to about 6 percent and created the modern income tax to replace the money. Within five years, tariff revenue had fallen to about 5 percent of government revenue, and never recovered. A hundred years after Wilson’s address, his tax bill remains the foundation of the American tax system, augmented a bit by estate taxes and a lot by payroll taxes. The current system looks like this:
|Total revenue (2012):||$2,470 billion|
|Income tax||$1,160 billion|
|Payroll tax||$840 million|
|Corporate tax||$236 billion|
|Gasoline tax||$39 million|
|Tobacco excise tax||$16 billion|
|Estate & gift tax||$11 billion|
|Airplane ticket tax||$10 billion|
|Liquor excise tax||$9 billion|
So: very different, still complicated and unloved, but more transparent and less regressive.
As to the tariff system, U.S. tariff rates now average about 1.7 percent. They are low not because of Underwood’s bill, whose tariff cuts were repealed during the Harding administration, but because creation of the income, estate, and payroll taxes let post-Hoover administrations negotiate tariff cuts with foreign governments without worrying about revenue. But even so, the tariff system of 2013 is similar in structure to the one Wilson encountered in 1913 and in fact even more regressive since tariffs remain very high on clothes, shoes, and other home goods. (32 percent for an acrylic sweater, 37 percent and 48 percent for cheap sneakers, 16 percent for a cotton shirt, 28 percent for a cheap glass cup and 15.8 percent for a stainless-steel fork.) These products account for about 6 percent of imports, but raise half of all tariff money, with last year’s $30 billion in tariff revenue divided as follows:
|Total revenue (2012):||$30 billion|
|Luggage & leather||$1.2 billion|
|Home linens||$0.9 billion|
|Misc. home goods||$0.5 billion|
|All other||$12.0 billion|
Tax reform 1913/2013 -
Wilson on tariff reform, 4/8/1913: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=65368
And also from 1913, the very first Form 1040, from the National Archives: http://www.archives.gov/historical-docs/todays-doc/?dod-date=415
On 4/8/2013 in the Wall Street Journal, Sen. Max Baucus and Rep. Dave Camp ponder a 21st-century tax reform: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323611604578396790773598474.html
And today’s battery of IRS forms: http://www.irs.gov/Forms-&-Pubs
Tariffs a century later -
Estimating an annual $50 billion cost to shoppers, P.E. Director Ed Gresser explains the modern tariff system and looks at ideas for reform in The Rebirth of Pro-Shopper Populism: http://progressive-economy.org/the-rebirth-of-pro-shopper-populism-affordable-shoes-outdoor-apparel-and-the-case-for-tariff-reform/
Backup data -
The White House’s Office of Management and Budget has tax records back to 1934; see Tables 2.1 and 2.5 to compare the tariff system (in total dollars, but not by product) with income, payroll, corporate, excise, and estate, taxes: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals
The International Trade Commission publishes the actual tariff rates, including
clothing tariffs in chapters 61 and 62, shoes in 64, home linens in 63, and luggage/leather/handbags etc. in 42: http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/bychapter/index.htm
ITC’s Dataweb, for those familiar with SITCs and HTS codes, can give you tariff collection by product. (E-mail ProgressiveEconomy at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like a quick introduction.) The Dataweb: http://dataweb.usitc.gov
And some international context -
How much are Americans taxed? The OECD’s measurement finds U.S. taxation to be about 25 percent of GDP in 2011. This places the U.S. above Chile’s 21 percent and roughly equal to Australia, Turkey and Korea at the low-tax end of the OECD’s 31 members. The U.K. is at 35 percent, Japan 27.6 percent, and Germany 37 percent; Denmark is tops at 48 percent. The OECD data: http://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?QueryId=21699#
The rabbit is the last domesticated animal.
April 4, 2013
World farmed rabbit production, 2011: 900 million?
WHAT THEY MEAN:
Last month’s list of nine China-Russia economic accords drones predictably through natural gas sales, arms deals, tourism, and export credit arrangements. Then it livens up, with a startling pre-Easter agreement linking “Russkiy Krolik” – a rabbit farm in Kostroma producing about 1200 head of rabbit and 80 tons of meat annually; the name means “Russian Rabbit” – with the Chinese agricultural ministry. Some background:
Science & vocab.: Scientifically termed Oryctolagus cuniculus, the European or Old World Rabbit is native to Spain and Portugal but exists today on every continent except Antarctica. One of 28 known rabbit species around the world, it was the twentieth and last mammal to be domesticated – on a small scale since the late Middle Ages, and intensively for pets and meat since the 1820s.
Industry: Two centuries after the industry’s birth – the technical term is “cuniculture” – the UN Food and Agricultural Organization’s production-and-trade database reports the global commercial rabbit heard at 900-million head, and output at 1.7 million tons of meat per year. The database makes some shaky claims (can Venezuela’s rabbit industry really rank 2nd in the world?) but an Australian industry guess is similar at 820 million rabbits and 1.1 million tons of meat. So perhaps the FAO isn’t far off. At any rate, by FAO count China’s 220 million-head herd is the largest in the world, and produces 685,000 tons of meat a year. Other big cuniculture centers include Italy with a 72-million-head herd, Germany, the Czech Republic, France, Spain, and Egypt.
In the United States: If still small, American cuniculture seems to have grown fast in the last decade. The 2007 Census of Agriculture – our last available source of production data – reported 27,000 rabbit farms around the U.S. raising a million head of rabbit for meat and wool, nearly triple the 10,000 farms found by the 2002 Census. The largest production centers are California, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Though the 2007 Census lacks an estimate for meat and pelts, a detailed USDA survey from 2002 put annual production of rabbits at 9 million, including 5 million raised as pets, 2 million for meat, 1 million for “hobbyists,” and 1 million unaccounted but probably for fur and lab use.
Trade:In the United States and worldwide, cuniculture is mainly domestic. Top exporter China shipped only about 10,000 of its 685,000 tons of rabbit meat abroad last year. American hutch-managers earned about $1 million exporting 23,000 live rabbits last year, mostly to Canada and the UK. The import business is a bit larger at $7 million and more varied, including:
58,000 live rabbits imported from Canada and Mexico;
980 tons of rabbit meat, almost all of it from China.
696,000 rabbit pelts for wool, mostly from Canada, the Czech Republic, and Ukraine; and
312,000 tanned rabbit skins for leather, with top sources including Spain and Uruguay.
Elsewhere around the world, France, Belgium, Italy, and Spain were all above 4,000 tons of exports annually. Russia’s 2.9 million-head commercial rabbit heard produced 15,000 tons of meat in 2011, but FAO reports no exporting at all. What with Li, Putin, Russkiy Krolik et al, expect that to change.
The Voice of Russia on Putin, Xi, and Sino-Russian partnership in rabbitry: http://en.rian.ru/world/20130322/180179738.html
The lucky firm – Russkiy Krolik (“Russian Rabbit”), site in Russian only: http://www.rus-krol.ru/o_kompanii/nash_podhod/
The UN Food and Agricultural Organization’s database: www.faostat.fao.org
And its look at the world of rabbitry, ca. 1992: http://www.fao.org/docrep/t1690E/t1690e03.htm
The World Rabbit Science Association: http://world-rabbit-science.com/
American perspective -
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2007 Census of Agriculture. Expect a 2012 version later this year, and look to Table 24 on pg. 446 for rabbit-raising by state:
And a more detailed survey of the rabbit industry, from 2002:
The Australian rabbit, from invasive pest to copyright-scoffing export -
Western Australia looks glumly back at the invasive-rabbit calamity of the 19th century, and the No.1 Rabbit-Proof Fence built in 1901: http://www.liswa.wa.gov.au/wepon/land/html/rabbits.html
South Australia’s Biosecurity SA has background and advice on rabbit control: http://www.pir.sa.gov.au/biosecuritysa/nrm_biosecurity/pest_animal/pest_animal_programs/european_rabbits
And some cautious promotion of rabbit-farming for meat and export, with a special high-meat breed known as the “Crusader””rabbit presumably named for the first cartoon shown on American TV.
The Aussie meat-and-export version: http://www.csiro.au/crusader
And the 1940s Jay Ward cartoon: http://bullwinkle.toonzone.net/crusader.htm
Two more things –
The mighty N. Rex – D.C.-based National Geographic reports the 2011 discovery of a gigantic prehistoric rabbit known as Nuralagus Rex. Prowling the hills of Minorca until it died out around 2 million BC, the N. Rex was four feet long and weighed 60 pounds. Excellently named, but disappointingly herbivorous and unthreatening: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/03/110323-giant-rabbit-minorca-biggest-bunny-science-nuralagus-rex-largest/
The twenty domesticated mammals – Humans have domesticated 20 mammals, out of about 5500 mammal species. Rabbits are the most recent,* with domestication dating (depending on one’s source) to somewhere between 600 and 1400 AD. The other nineteen, in reverse chronological order, are the alpaca and the ferret, 1500 BC; the banteng and the gayal, uncertain but somewhere between 1000 and 2000 BC; Bactrian camel and yak, 2500 BC; reindeer, 3000 BC; llama, 3500 BC; horse, water buffalo, and dromedary, 4000 BC; guinea pig and donkey, 5000 BC; cat, 7500 BC; goat and cow, 8000 BC; pig, 9000 BC; sheep, 11000 BC; and dog first of all, around 33000 BC.
* Russian scientists claim to have bred a domesticated silver fox from a colony collected in 1959. If true, congratulations.
And last of all –
Where does the Easter Bunny come from? And the basket of eggs? Nobody quite knows. One plausible theory, popularized below by the Discovery Channel, is that the E.B. predates European Christianity, and featured along with eggs as fertility symbols in Germanic spring festivals: http://news.discovery.com/history/what-does-easter-bunny-come-have-to-do-easter-120406.htm
Note: research and drafting for this Fact by P.E. Research Associate Jonathan Elkin.