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Feeding the Mind and Body

New papers allowed to break Mugabe’s media stranglehold - Times Online

President Mugabe’s stranglehold on the press all but collapsed yesterday when a newly constituted independent media commission announced that it had formally licenced six new newspapers, four of them dailies, to publish in Zimbabwe.

Excellent news - especially for the hungry because we know -

A 1 percent increase in newspaper circulation is associated with a 2.4 percent increase in public food distribution and a 5.5 percent increase in calamity relief expenditures. Greater political competition is associated with higher levels of public food distribution. Public food distribution is also higher in election and pre-election years. In addition, government is also more responsive to a given shock when newspaper circulation is higher. That is, when food production falls or flood damage occurs governments increase food distribution and calamity relief more in states where newspaper circulation is higher.


Of course the ideal situation is one where public food distribution does not take place at all because the free market manages things well enough on its own - ie when it's not messed around by government. But then that situation also needs readily available information such as one gets when there is a free press.

Is this the same fatuous use of statistics which argues that because graduates have higher incomes than non-graduates, if everybody is given any old degree in any old subject from any old degree factory then, miraculously, everybody's income will rise? This may actually be true in nominal terms (since those arguing this are also in control of the economy) but in real terms (which those same people do not control) it's crapola.

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