Sapiens and sperm count

This news-story in FT caused a flutter as it documented that male sperm count has fallen drastically in western countries. It might be truer of other societies too. Stress and chemicals are supposed to have played a role – “prenatal chemical exposure, adult pesticide exposure, smoking, stress and obesity,”

The BBC version of this story said that the sperm count drop could make humans extinct. Well, other living organisms might get a new lease of life. Yuval Harari had written in ‘Sapiens’ that wherever Sapiens set foot, they had destroyed the living organisms that had been existing there for thousands of years. So, may be, this is what Planet Earth needed.

Of course, these stories would prompt granular analysis – geographical, ethnic and religious breakdown of the population that is witnessing sperm count reduction or not, etc.

(2) My friend Nitin Pai wonders (or makes a plaintive appeal to China) why China is willing to alienate 500 million Indians. I doubt if they see the Doklam standoff that way. On his part, the President of PRC has answered him. The question he is asking is why 500 million Indians are alienating 1.3 billion Chinese by not paying homage to them and acknowledging that they have reached a historical turning point?! The article in the ‘South China Morning Post’ reminded me of this.

(3) Little over two weeks ago, I wrote in MINT that the U.S. dollar was still the king. In June, I had questioned the euphoria over Europe.  I am not resiling from both the positions. But, I have to add caveats. Perhaps, I was engaged in cognitive dissonance reduction since I was short Euro vs. U.S. dollar.

After some analysis and reflection today, I have come to the conclusion that, although the U.S. dollar should be supported by the rising real interest rate differential to the Euro, political leadership and policy competence perceptions seem to be tilted in favour of Europe, even if only relatively. Further, in both the regions – America and Europe – there is no interest in their political leaderships to halt the trend in the US dollar – Euro exchange rate. Germany, with its 8.5% current account surplus/GDP ratio is happy to see the currency rise rather than having to undertake fiscal stimulus in an economy that is already operating at full capacity.

American thinking in the present administration favours a weak U.S. dollar. So, for now, the path of least resistance for EURUSD, therefore, is up. But, after reading the Article IV report of the International Monetary Fund on the Euroarea, I was pleased to note that this column of mine still remains valid. The Eurozone is still far from being an Optimal Currency Area.


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