What we've been reading: Fast food, Europe, and the age of rudeness

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Francois Badenhorst
Deputy editor
BusinessZone and UK Business Forums
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Afternoon, dear readers. Here are the favourite articles we've read this week from around the internet.

Enjoy and have a good weekend.

How fast food reveals secrets of the economy

Heading into some exotic market but you don’t know how to find your bearings? Look for the commonalities.

Fast food is everywhere. You can find a Big Mac in almost every corner of this Earth, for instance. That’s why, as this article says, fast food is the economist’s favourite food.

“Knowing the price of pizza in New York or the cost of a Big Mac in Beirut can tell market-watchers how the world’s cogs are turning,” writes Chris Baraniuk. “You can tell you a lot about “purchasing power parity (PPP)” – whether exchange rates mean that a product costs the same in different countries.”

How Europe became so rich

When we look at the history of global development patterns, one of the glaring questions is simply: how the hell did Europe outpace the rest of the world by so much?

It’s a far more nuanced question than it seems. Jared Diamond tackled at length in his brilliant book Guns, germs and steel. Where Diamond traces it back to geographic factors, this article by Joel Mokyr focuses on Europe’s Enlightenment.

“Europe offered a more or less integrated market for ideas, a continent-wide network of learned men and women, in which new ideas were distributed and circulated,” writes Mokyr. “European cultural unity was rooted in its classical heritage and, among intellectuals, the widespread use of Latin as their lingua franca.”

European unity - where have we heard that recently?

The privacy enthusiast’s guide to using an iPhone

Don’t fancy having your iPhone data spied on? Well, there’s some steps you can take (especially if you’re running your business from your phone).

“First things first: this is an Apple device and it’s a smartphone, so you’ll never hide yourself completely,” writes LifeHacker’s Thorin Kiosowksi, “but you can do a few things to shore up holes to make sure you’re not making it easy for someone to collect your private information.”

Lifehacker’s list is incredibly comprehensive, so take some time to get your privacy down pat.

The age of rudeness

It seems almost quaint to talk about politeness in this era Twitter frenzies and Alt-Right trolls.

But in this intelligent piece, Rachel Cusk tallies the cost of our casual indifference to politeness. And, she asks, is there something deeper at play here? It’s worth contemplating.

 

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