Vaguely Interesting Snippets | 11 March 2014

Quick march – cocaine used in the First World War and criminalised soon after

In 1914 the British Army issued ‘Forced March’ tablets containing cocaine to troops. In 1920, cocaine was banned in the UK under the Dangerous Drugs Act. Much of the pressure for the ban came from stories of ‘crazed soldiers’ who had been exposed to the drug in the First World War.

China’s consumer market is now world’s second largest

The Chinese economy has notched up a number of impressive ‘firsts’ and ‘seconds’ in its relentless expansion over the past two decades. It became the world’s second largest economy in 2010. A lot of this was fuelled by exports and investment.

Now Chinese consumers are coming to the fore – the Economist writes that ‘In all likelihood, it has just overtaken Japan to become the world’s second-biggest consumer economy. Its roughly $3.3 trillion in private consumption is about 8% of the world total, and it has only just begun.’