The Worker Shortage Facing America’s Farmers

CNN Money: “American farmers say they are facing a severe worker shortage. More than half of U.S. farm workers are undocumented immigrants, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Yet, that pool of workers is shrinking.”

“A recent Pew Research report found that more Mexican immigrants are now leaving the U.S. than coming into the country, citing tougher enforcement of immigration laws and the slow economic recovery here in the U.S. (The report accounted for both documented and undocumented immigrants).”

“With fewer workers, farm owners say costs are rising and they often must leave unpicked fruit to rot in the fields. Many producers are even opting to leave the U.S. for countries with lower costs and fewer regulations, said Tom Nassif, CEO of Western Growers, a trade organization that represents farm owners both in the U.S. and abroad.”

Excess Management Is Costing the U.S. $3 Trillion Per Year

Harvard Business Review: “More people are working in big, bureaucratic organizations than ever before. Yet there’s compelling evidence that bureaucracy creates a significant drag on productivity and organizational resilience and innovation. By our reckoning, the cost of excess bureaucracy in the U.S. economy amounts to more than $3 trillion in lost economic output, or about 17% of GDP.”

The United Nations Will Launch Its First Space Mission in 2021

Motherboard: “Considering that the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) has been around for over half a century, it might seem a bit strange that the organization has never launched its own space mission. This is finally slated to change in 2021, when the UN plans to send a spacecraft into orbit.”

“As detailed for a small crowd at the International Astronautical Congress yesterday, the goal of the 2021 UN mission is to make space accessible to developing member states that lack the resources to develop a standalone, national space program.”

“‘While these experiments may seem small to us, if you go to these countries you realize this is perhaps one of the biggest things they’ve ever done,’ said Mark Sirangelo, the corporate vice president of Sierra Nevada’s Space Systems. ‘The young researchers that will be working on this [mission] all around the world will be able to say that they are part of the space community.'”

How to Do Infrastructure Spending the Right Way

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry: “In many ways, Washington, D.C., is like a fantasy land. Sometimes there are seemingly magic words that, when spoken, yield a magical effect. One example? ‘Infrastructure spending.'”

“So, what should we do? Here are a few pointers.”

“The internets! The one place where America’s infrastructure most inexcusably lags is high speed internet.”

“Nukes! Nuclear power is the best form of power there is. It’s clean. It’s safe. It’s long-lasting. It just works.”

“Research innovative infrastructure ideas. A lot of people, including Hillary Clinton, talk about an ‘infrastructure investment bank,’ which sounds kind of appealing, kind of business-y, kind of national-y, but always ends up being cronyist nonsense. If I’m going to use a buzzword, how about this: a ‘DARPA of infrastructure.'”

The Man Who Helped Give Free Trade a Bad Name Says His Research Was Misinterpreted

Quartz: “Branko Milanovic, a Serbian-American economist whose work helped give globalization a bad name, wants to set the record straight on the merits of global trade. The problem isn’t trade itself, which overall is a force for good, he says. It’s that countries don’t design smart policies to help the losers adjust to a globalized world.”

“Milanovic and his colleague Christoph Lakner, both inequality experts, created “the elephant chart” (pdf) in 2012, which shows how incomes have changed in the past few decades… The data, which suggests that rich countries’ middle classes have lost out as global trade and globalization have ramped up, has been pounced on to explain populist movements.”

Milanovic: “Trade and globalization are forces for good. The problem is that in many instances globalization is implemented in a way that makes the playing field slanted in favor of the rich. Also the gains from globalization are never likely to be even for all the participants.”

How Artificial Intelligence Is Replacing Human Decision Making on the Battle Field

Defense One: “The Pentagon’s oft-repeated line on artificial intelligence is this: we need much more of it, and quickly, in order to help humans and machines work better alongside one another. But a survey of existing weapons finds that the U.S. military more commonly uses AI not to help but to replace human operators, and, increasingly, human decision making.”

“The report from the Elon Musk-funded Future of Life Institute does not forecast Terminators capable of high-level reasoning. At their smartest, our most advanced artificially intelligent weapons are still operating at the level of insects … armed with very real and dangerous stingers.”

“So where does AI exist most commonly on military weapons? The study, which looked at weapons in military arsenals around the world, found 284 current systems that include some degree of it, primarily standoff weapons that can find their own way to a target from miles away. Another example would be Aegis warships that can automatically fire defensive missiles at incoming threats.”

Sweden Wants To Fight Our Disposable Culture With Tax Breaks For Repairing Old Stuff

Fast Company: “How often have you taken a gadget or a pair of shoes in for repair and found out that fixing it will cost more than buying a new version? Too often, that’s how often. And Sweden is trying to fix this, by halving the tax paid on repairs and increasing taxes on unrepairable items.”

“The proposed legislation would cut regular tax on repairs of bikes, clothes, and shoes from 25% to 12%. Swedes would also be able to claim half the labor cost of appliance repairs (refrigerators, washing machines and other white goods) from their income tax. Together, these tax cuts are expected to cost the country around $54 million per year. This will be more than paid for by the estimated $233 million brought in by a new ‘chemical tax,’ which would tax the resources that go into making new goods and computers.”

Ahead of Debates, Many Voters Don’t Know Much About Where Trump, Clinton Stand on Major Issues

Pew Research Center: “The first presidential debate Monday night offers Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton an opportunity to explain their positions on important issues facing the country. Two months after the party conventions, only about half of voters (48%) say they know “a lot” about where Clinton stands on important issues, while even fewer (41%) say this about Trump.”