Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2012 February 25

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February 25[edit]

Why is the Dominican Republic much better off than Haiti if they are on the same island?[edit]

Well as everyone knows, Haiti is so poor that it might as well be in Africa (no offense to Haitians or Africans) but it is on the same island (and thus more or less has the same geography and climate) as the Dominican Republic, which has one of the best economies in Latin America. What caused this sharp contrast? Was it corruption or dictatorship? The Dominican Republic had its own share of eccentric and strange dictators, but look at them now. What did the DR do that Haiti didn't? Narutolovehinata5 tccsdnew 04:08, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

The reason behind Haiti's poverty are:
  • Poor governance and trade policies, lack of infrastructure
  • Lack of education resulting in lack of skilled workers
  • Low level of literacy results widespread superstition, and backward culture (voodoo)
On the other hand DR has
  • Better governance and better infrastructure attracting businesses
  • Better educational system produces skilled workers
If you want a scholarly look into this topic, I'll suggest reading Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond. The book has an entire chapter dedicated to this issue. The way the book analyses this topic is not possible for the ref desk volunteers.
Here are some online references that will give you a good insight:
The TIME article clearly illustrates the points you want to know. --SupernovaExplosion Talk 08:43, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
These reasons are far too simplistic and could have o\curred anywhere.
After the first successful slave uprising in the world Haiti was marginalised and had to pay france reperations to be accepted in the global order, ie- reognition, it has also had foreign meddling for at least the last 95 years, poor leadership and dictatorship along with nepotism and embezzlement. and of course just plain bad luck (per the earthquake and geography, UN cholera spreads, etc)Lihaas (talk) 08:46, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
One interesting point that is mentioned both in the TIME article and Jared Diamond's book is that Haiti receives less rain compared to DR. --SupernovaExplosion Talk 13:13, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Hmm, yes. I'd recommend a read of Haiti's history in our article Haiti, and links therein. If you can make it through without your blood angrying up, you're a harder heart than me. Not to say that there aren't also internal problems, but they are in the context of everything else that has been done to Haiti. (talk) 15:03, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Being on the same island doesn't mean much: look at Guantanamo and Cuba. XPPaul (talk) 13:47, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
One's a tropical paradise with possibly the best standards of healthcare in the western hemisphere, while the other is a hell hole of a prison where human rights are violated every day? Or is it the other way round? Astronaut (talk) 15:40, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
What? Cuba has "the best standards of healthcare in the western hemisphere"? --SupernovaExplosion Talk 16:34, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
"Best" is an exaggeration, but healthcare in Cuba is very good. Measured by life expectancy (a very simplistic way to look at it, but still a useful one), Cuba is about the same as the US (see List of countries by life expectancy). There are plenty of countries that do substantially better than the US, though. --Tango (talk) 18:05, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Of course it hardly needs to be pointed out that that is one single photo, of who knows what provenance, found on a site that would never be acceptable as a source on Wikipedia. Adam Bishop (talk) 09:08, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Guantanamo is a province, and also a city, in Cuba. Perhaps you meant Guantanamo Bay? -- (talk) 19:51, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Actually, one thing you can say about Gitmo (both the US Naval base and the prison) is that it has excellent health care... those stationed/interned there have access to some of the best doctors in the world, and at extremely low cost to themselves. Other things might suck, but not the health care.
People like David Hicks might not quite agree with you. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 21:00, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Did Hicks get sick while "vacationing" at Gitmo? Blueboar (talk) 03:15, 26 February 2012 (UTC)


How many lines of the Rurikid dynasty are left in Russia today? Another question: There were numerous boyars and nobles that were in the same dynasty as Ivan IV of Russia when the main Muscovite line died out in 1598, why weren't any Rurikid descendants chosen to succeed as tsar after the Time of Troubles?--Queen Elizabeth II's Little Spy (talk) 04:42, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

French to English[edit]

Can someone help me translate either "Tahapopè II, Reine de Houaheine.–Les autoritès après le festin. D'après une photographie de M. Agostini" or "Tahapopé II, Reine de Houaheine.–Les autorités aprés le festin. D'aprés une photographie de M. Agostini"? I am not sure which e is correct, could someone tell me that too.--KAVEBEAR (talk) 07:59, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

It says "Tahapope II, Queen of Huahine. The authorities after the feast. From a photograph by M. Agostini." For the French you need both accented Es - "Tahapopé II, Reine de Houaheine.–Les autorités après le festin. D'après une photographie de M. Agostini." Adam Bishop (talk) 09:18, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks but "The authorities after the feast" makes no sense. Is there another meaning? And does anyone know who was M. Agostini?--KAVEBEAR (talk) 10:14, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Jules Agostini seems to be an author and photographer who worked in Polynesia. I don't know about the authorities and the feast, maybe it means "chiefs"? Tribal leaders of some sort? The queen and her retinue? Could be a festival in general. Can we see the photo? That would certainly help. Adam Bishop (talk) 11:55, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
File:Tahapope II, Reine de Houaheine, d'après une photographie de M. Agostini.jpg--KAVEBEAR (talk) 20:10, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
"The authorities after the feast" makes sense. It means "this is a picture of the people in charge taken after they attended the feast", but phrased more efficiently, as photo captions usually are. (talk) 16:32, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Yeah. And I guess the photo doesn't really help, since we can't tell who they are or what kind of authorities they're supposed to be. Adam Bishop (talk) 21:15, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

South Sudanese currency exchange rate[edit]

Does anyone know where I can find exchange rates for South Sudan's currency? I've looked at, Oanda, Yahoo!, and the CIA World Factbook and none of them have it listed. Thanks. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 10:52, 25 February 2012 (UTC).

[[1]] and [[2]] have the answer. — Preceding unsigned comment added by XPPaul (talkcontribs) 15:48, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

Why is the debt crisis the euro's fault?[edit]

Question to fellow economists: Why is the current debt crisis blamed on the euro, so that e.g. Swedes and Brits congratulate themselves on not having joined? Why does Finland (with the euro) have a greater interest in Greece not defaulting than Sweden (without the euro)? Why does a monetary union necessitate a fiscal union?

Here are some proposed reasons:

  • Fiscally irresponsible countries might put pressure on the ECB to inflate. But no one seems to think that is any real danger.
  • If Greece defaults the euro will depreciate. But it is not clear that depreciation is a bad thing per se.
  • If Greece defaults this will threaten French and other banks and a new financial crisis will follow. But this has nothing to do with the euro. French banks could have held Greek debt even if they had had different currencies.
  • If Greece defaults the ECB's balance sheet will be eroded.

Jacob Lundberg (talk) 11:49, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

If you want to know the 100% truth, it's that this whole thing is a bank set-up. Italy runs a nice surplus except for having to finance its debt, and is a top ten economy. Greece would not be in too bad shape if not for servicing its debt. The United States or China with a tiny portion of its reserves could take on the debts of Italy and Greece without the tiniest overcommitment. It could service them or pay them off, and some time later Italy or Greece could simply give the money back to China interest-free: after all, China just has those huge foreign currency reserves sitting there, and does not actively use them. This whole thing is an artificial creation, depending on countries to use a debt market (selling debt on the public market) instead of just teaming up with one another. Guess who the big winners are? -- (talk) 11:57, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
I've indented your comment to make things clearer. Why would countries want to lend to other countries interest-free? When you lend someone money you a) can't do anything else with that money until you get it back and b) are at risk of the borrower not paying it back. That is why lenders expect to be compensated, through interest, for lending money. The same is true of countries with large reserves as it is for banks. --Tango (talk) 14:53, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Please see the "documentary"/commentary "Money as Debt", ignoring both the silly parts, the hyperbole, and totally ignoring its recommendations, conclusions, and what it proposes by way of reform. (I'm serious). Do pay attention, however, to sovereign debt and how the government finances itself on private markets, and notably the relationship between printing money for its own use and private banks. Then get back to me with your impressions. (Here). -- (talk) 06:44, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
German and French banks have a huge exposure to the Greek debt, which has arisen because the interest rate became quite affordable and because Germany pushed Greece to join the Euro. After all, that became a billion market for German products - from BMWs to modern weapons. Although I don't share quite the Greek view that Germany is at fault for all their problems (they are a pretty corrupt society, BTW, and no one forced them to play along), the Germans certainly have a partial fault for that. XPPaul (talk) 13:45, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
One of the simplest reasons is that if Greece, say, had its own currency it could allow significant inflation, which would really help. It would reduce the value of the debt it has to pay back. It would also allow a real reduction in wages without needing people to take an actual pay cut, which tends to be much easier to achieve (if you reduce someone's pay from €1,000 a month to €990 a month, they'll get from angry, but if you pay then 1,000 Drachma and keep paying them 1,000 Drachma but allow prices to go up by 10%, they will not to get as angry). A large part of Greece's problems is, apparently, that its wages are far too high so its businesses cannot compete with the rest of the Eurozone (I don't fully understand that, though - I don't think Greek wages are higher than German wages, so I don't see why that impacts on competitiveness...). --Tango (talk) 14:53, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Greek wages are probably too high to still sell their services and products, not in comparison to German salaries. Lower wages imply lower costs, which could curb sales. But yes, if they had drachmas, they could devalue it to reduce their debt, but their actual currency is just too strong to the services (sun and booze tourism, I'd dare to say) and products they are trying to sell. XPPaul (talk) 15:19, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

Jacob Lundberg -- The main reasons are, first, that due to the way that the Euro was set up, Greece was entitled for about 8 years to borrow under the same terms as Germany (i.e. a lot of easy money was cheaply available, encouraging profligacy), and secondly, after this created problems which could no longer be ignored, some of the most useful tools to handle such a debt load situation (i.e. currency deflation) are simply not available to Greece. The EU answer to the Greek problem is an unending series of bailouts which are just barely enough right at the moment when they're announced, accompanied by squeezing the Greek government into ever-greater austerity measures. However, this policy means that bailing out Greece has become an expensive continuing drain on EU finances, but expending such large sums of money does almost nothing to help individual people in Greece in any way, and there's no prospect of any real Greek economic recovery for at least the next 5 years... AnonMoos (talk) 15:49, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

Effective tax rate on paintings (UK)[edit]

In an article today: "The family have agreed a sale [of a Manet painting] with an unnamed foreign buyer for £28.35m. But the UK government has imposed an export bar and will let the museum buy it for £7.8m if the funds can be found. The Ashmolean would be able to purchase it for the lower amount because the government would waive the £20.5m tax that would be required with a private sale." Does the British government really effectively tax paintings so highly? If so, by what mechanism (CGT?)? Grandiose (me, talk, contribs) 14:23, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

The HMRC say CGT would be payable (there is only a £6,000 allowance for paintings, so it's well over that), although it's only 28% so I don't see how that can account for the entire tax bill. Even if they got it for free and sold is for £28.35m, that's only £7.94m in CGT. It's possible there's some kind of export duty, but a little research suggests there wouldn't be... --Tango (talk) 15:07, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Further research: This is the article the OP is quoting. The article about it in the Guardian links (rather remarkably) to the Inheritance Tax Act 1984 (since when have online newspapers linked directly to acts of parliament?) and talks about a "private treaty sale". It looks like the owner has died and his heirs are selling the painting in order to pay the Inheritance Tax. They can avoid paying Inheritance Tax if they sell the painting to a museum (because of a special exemption, 26A, in the linked Act). Inheritance Tax is 40%. If you combine CGT and Inheritance Tax, you get (28%+40%)*£28.35m=£19.28m. That's very close to the amount they apparently have a pay, so I expect it is a combination of GGT and IT, and I've just done the calculation slightly wrong. --Tango (talk) 15:19, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Probably close enough. Thanks. Grandiose (me, talk, contribs) 20:10, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Are CGT and inheritance tax calculated totally independent of the other? Do they not "offset" each other in any way? Once you pay Inheritance tax, it would seem that there is in fact far less capital gain. (value of painting - minus 40% inheritance tax - minus 28% of remaining 60% value = 40%+16.8% tax = 56.8%). Or, if theoretically done in the opposite order, once CGT is deducted, you'd only have to pay the inheritance tax on the remaining 72% (value of painting - minus 28% CGT - 40% of remaining 72% = 28%+28.8% = 56.8% once again). Is this not allowed? (talk) 03:49, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Who was the emperor married to?[edit]

Can any one tell me the (English spelling) names of the empress consort of Külüg Khan, Emperor Wuzong of Yuan and Rinchinbal Khan, Emperor Ningzong of Yuan? I would be grateful. Thank you! --Aciram (talk) 15:16, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

And, if they can, can they please put those spellings in the infoboxes on those articles? Names in Chinese characters linking to the Chinese Wikipedia are not very helpful on the English Wikipedia... I'm not sure whose bright idea that was... --Tango (talk) 15:53, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Külüg Khan's wife was Empress Zhenge from the Onggirat tribe.--KAVEBEAR (talk) 20:26, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Rinchinbal's consort was Daliyetemishi.--Cam (talk) 22:20, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Thank you!--Aciram (talk) 13:16, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Anyone heard of a facing edition of Frege's Grundlagen?[edit]

I've been optimistically searching for a English/German facing edition of Frege's Grundlagen der Arithmetic, and I wondered if the good editiors of Wikipedia knew of any.

Thanks, Daniel (‽) 15:53, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

An English/German parallel text edition was published by Basil Blackwell in 1950, with a revised version in 1953. Copies are available on Amazon, but they're not cheap. --Antiquary (talk) 19:56, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Dbmag9 appears to be in England. This place in Newcastle appears to have a copy available for ten pounds, which isn't too pricey. Deor (talk) 20:51, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Hurrah, that's exactly what I wanted. Turns out my college library has a copy which is irritatingly not where it should be on the shelves, but I've ordered the £10 copy anyway. Daniel (‽) 11:18, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Roughing It illustrations[edit]

Does anybody know who illustrate the 1873 version of Mark Twain's Roughing It, here?--KAVEBEAR (talk) 22:54, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

The illustrations page gives credit to Fay & Cox of New York, and with help from Google, that seems to be a company owned by by Augustus Fay and Stephen J. Cox [3]. The company probably employed many illustrators, so I don't know if there is any way to know who specifically produced which illustrations in that book, but that link says that True Williams did some of them. RudolfRed (talk) 00:17, 26 February 2012 (UTC)