15 March 2019 FT — Articles to Read

15 March 2019


Question: There were some people on a train.  19 people get off the train at the first stop.  17 people get on the train.  Now there are 63 people on the train.  How many people were there on the train to begin?


Chinese factories squeezed by US tariffs – Pg. 3

  • Chinese factory output slowed to its weakest pace on record early this year, a sign that the economy remained under pressure from US tariffs and weaker domestic demand despite a series of economic stimulus measures in recent months
  • US tariffs are probably partially responsible for weak factory output
  • Chinese stocks fell on the news….
  • Retail sales, a gauge of household consumption rose year-on-year by 8.2% in January and February, unchanged from December and slightly higher than the consensus forecast of 8.1%…
  • Other housing indicators such as sales growth and floor area under construction point to a weakening property market
  • Infrastructure and manufacturing investment both slowed


College admissions scam tells only half the story – Pg. 8

  • As Mr Singer is said to have told a prospective parent, there is a “front door” for students who try to get into top colleges on their own efforts and merits. Then there is a “back door”, where parents engage in “institutional advancement and make large donations” – though this does not guarantee entry.  His scheme created a “side door” that also provided a guarantee
  • Philanthropic donations fall into a related category
  • A 2017 survey by the Harvard Crimson found 30% of freshmen were “legacy” students (Prof Note: Well, that completely explains why I was not admitted to Harvard! J No legacy!!!)
  • Some leading global universities such as Oxford and Cambridge turned their back on favouring children of alumni decades ago
  • Despite their wealth, years of above-inflation increases have pushed the fees of top US colleges beyond the reach of all but the rich. This is the crux of the problem.  While poorer students may benefit from financial aid, the middle is squeezed.  Bribery are abhorrent.  But the issue of entrenched privilege in US education admissions runs far deeper than Operation Varsity Blues


Answer: -19 + 17 = -2 (net two loss).  If there are 63 people now, that means it started with 65.  The answer: 65.