Last week, we showed how Venezuela's collapse compares with other historic economic tailspins. This week we look at a particular aspect of it: how prices for ordinary goods like coffee, cigarettes, beer, and arepas have soared in recent years.
Early employment can set a young person on a trajectory for success, providing both a paycheck and a stepping-stone for improving academic performance.
Bank of America is committed to investing in youth employment, funding $160 million since 2018 to connect youth and young adults to jobs and mentoring.
The minutiae of supply chains makes for boring dinner table talk, but it's increasingly becoming a hot topic of conversation now that packages are taking much longer to arrive in the consumer-oriented US, while prices of goods soar.
With the issue unlikely to be resolved anytime soon, right-wing media have dubbed President Biden the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, conjuring images of sad Christmas trees surrounded by distraught children whose holiday gifts are stuck somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.
It hasn't been a good run for Uncle Joe in recent months. What issues are tripping him up?
Global shipping systems are in complete disarray. Many shipping containers are caught in traffic jams at the entrance to US ports, and even when they unload, truck driver shortages have meant massive delays in transporting goods to stores and warehouses.
The underlying condition is the pandemic, which has upended consumption patterns. Consider that older people, who are usually tech averse, started shopping online, while the laptop cohort has gone crazy gobbling up office supplies. This combined with panic buying – where manufacturers and retailers are now over-ordering across the board – has sent global supply chains into a tizzy. Scarcity of staples like diapers, coffee and toilet paper has also worsened the pandemic-fueled inflation problem.
Supply chains are now the most acute crisis facing the Biden administration. As a result, the White House recently stepped in to help boost capacity at the Port of Los Angeles – the busiest one in the Western Hemisphere, which is now operating 24/7. Backlogs there are crucial to the health of the US economy, but since the entire world is feeling the supply chain crunch, Biden has limited options to fix the multi-layered problem.
Congress: not the family you choose. For weeks, the White House has been embroiled in political wrangling with Congress to ensure the passage of Biden's signature Build Back Better plan – a two-part bill that includes investment in traditional infrastructure like roads, bridges, and yes, ports, as well as funding for child care and climate-change mitigation schemes.
But infighting between progressive and moderate Democrats on the price tag has led to a weeks-long stalemate, and will ultimately result in Biden significantly watering down things like his clean electricity agenda and free community college. While Republicans oppose many of the bill's provisions, recent surveys found that voters blame divisiveness within the Democrats for the legislative impasse, and the president's abrupt popular decline.
COVID: the messy house guest that won't leave. Biden's perceived successes – and failures – were always going to be linked to his ability to get the pandemic in check. While in the spring Biden saw a boost in the polls linked to a speedy vaccine rollout, that honeymoon period is now over, with half the American electorate disapproving of the president's handling of the pandemic.
A big part of the problem comes from the politicization of COVID and polarization in America more broadly, which means that pandemic containment means vastly different things to different people.
For many, pandemic success means having kids back in schools and bodies in offices without further disruption. It also means the power to choose whether to get vaccinated or to mask up. For others, it means minimizing the number of COVID cases nationwide at all costs, and boosting vaccination rates – including through mandates. Reconciling these world-views would be almost impossible for any president, both Republican and Democrat, in the post-Trump era.
Virginia: a sign of what's to come? Democrats and Republicans will be closely watching the November 2 race for governor in Virginia – a purple state where Democrats have an advantage. But the race, broadly seen as a temperature check for President Biden one year into the job, is very close. It's also seen as a bellwether one year out from midterm elections, when Republicans will contend to take control of the US Congress. Though it's still early days for Biden, the outcome in Virginia will illuminate the national mood at a crucial point in time.
Looking ahead: Biden's approval rating has dropped 10 points since June, including among Democratic voters and independents. But he could save face if he manages to save Christmas.
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Taking place on October 21 and 22, the Sustainability Leaders Summit will go beyond preexisting narratives and debate priorities for governments and industries ahead of COP26. Placing the spotlight on Asia's role in the global sustainability agenda, the event will address whether Asian countries and companies can achieve shared sustainability goals, and what is needed to help get them there. The summit will be co-hosted by Tak Niinami, CEO of Suntory Holdings, and Ian Bremmer, founder and president of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media. We will address three key questions: How can Asian countries, with the help of the private sector, achieve shared Sustainability Goals? Why does this matter? And what are the policy changes needed to bring it about?
Attendance is free and open to the public. Register to attend.
October 21, 2021: Protecting the planet: Asia's risk and responsibility
Thursday | 8 am ET / 8pm SGT
October 22, 2021: Plastics: Unlocking sustainable solutions
Friday | 8 am ET / 8pm SGT
- Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group and GZERO Media
- Tak Niinami, CEO, Suntory Holdings
- Inger Andersen, Under-Secretary-General, United Nations and Executive Director, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)
- Ko Barrett, Vice Chair, The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Deputy Assistant Administrator for Research, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
- Shari Friedman, Managing Director of Climate and Sustainability, Eurasia Group
- Shinta Kamdani, CEO, Sintesa Group
- Rob Kaplan, CEO, Circulate Capital
- Sean Kidney, CEO, Climate Bonds Initiative
- Aloke Lohia, CEO, Indorama Ventures
- Tadashi Maeda, Governor, Japan Bank for International Cooperation
- Kevin Rudd, former prime minister, Australia
- Hannah Testa, Activist
Anchoring the Summit is a new research report prepared by Eurasia Group, "Unlocking Sustainable Plastics in Asia," which advocates for a much more dynamic role for both the public and private sector in Asia to counter the proliferation of single-use plastic containers, which have had an outsized impact on the environment.
October 21 & October 22, 8 am ET / 8 pm SGT
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October 21, 2021
Listen: The nature of work had already been changing long before the global pandemic accelerated trends around flexible work, remote work technology, and the gig economy. While some industries and workers have benefitted from these changes, others have been left behind - including many women who dropped out of the workforce due to family concerns, or service-industry professionals whose jobs evaporated.
The latest episode of Living Beyond Borders, a special podcast series from GZERO brought to you by Citi Private Bank, looks in depth at the future of work and how the latest trends will change business, the economy, and the global political balance. Moderated by Caitlin Dean, Head of the Geostrategy Practice at Eurasia Group, this episode features Ida Liu, Global Head of Private Banking at Citi Global Wealth and Alexander Kazan, Chief Commercial Officer at Eurasia Group.
Global Head of Private Banking, Citi Global Wealth
Chief Commercial Officer, Eurasia Group
Practice Head, Geostrategy, Eurasia Group
October 20, 2021
Three years ago, Facebook changed its algorithms to mitigate online rage and misinformation. But it only made Facebook worse by boosting toxic engagement, says Nick Thompson, The Atlantic CEO & former WIRED editor-in-chief. Thompson believes Facebook simply got in over its head, rather than becoming intentionally "evil" like, say, Big Tobacco with cigarettes. "I think they just created something they couldn't control. And I think they didn't grasp what was happening until too late." Watch his interview with Ian Bremmer on the latest episode of GZERO World.
From overall health and wellness to representation in the global workforce, women and girls have faced serious setbacks over the past 18+ months. They also hold the key to more robust and inclusive growth in the months and years ahead: McKinsey & Company estimates that centering recovery efforts on women could contribute $13 trillion to global GDP by 2030.
On October 28th at 12pm ET, as part of our "Measuring What Matters" series, GZERO Media and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will look beyond traditional indicators of economic recovery to examine COVID-19's impact on girls and women, specifically in the areas of health and employment.
Key questions covered will include:
- How can policymakers take a gender-intentional approach in recovery programs to realize the benefits of an inclusive recovery?
- How should the public and private sectors collaborate?
- What should policy frameworks and support mechanisms look like?
- How can these immediate steps set us on track for robust and long-term growth?
Join our host, Tumelo Mothotoane of eNCA, in a live discussion with:
- Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group and GZERO Media
- Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Former Executive Director, UN Women
- Minouche Shafik, Director, LSE
- Mark Suzman, CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Okito Vanessa Wedi, Snr Policy Advisor for Regional and Domestic Markets, Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases
Please register to attend here.
Thursday, October 28, 2021 | 12 pm ET / 9 am PT
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October 20, 2021
This year, American kids who've asked Santa for L.O.L. Surprise! dolls, Nerf blasters, or classic Legos may be disappointed. The delivery of these and other in-demand toys could be delayed due to pandemic-related supply chain disruptions that are still hitting US businesses and consumers hard. Container vessels loaded with precious cargo are waiting days to enter busy US ports, while within the country truck drivers are working flat out to meet soaring demand for goods of all kinds. Products are getting wildly expensive or arriving late. Here's a snapshot of the problem, showing longer delivery times, skyrocketing freight and shipping costs, and trucker employment.
October 20, 2021
Bolsonaro accused of crimes against humanity: A long-running Senate investigation in Brazil has found that by downplaying the severity of COVID, dithering on vaccines, and promoting quack cures, President Jair Bolsonaro directly caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. An earlier version of the report went so far as to recommend charges of homicide and genocide as well, but that was pulled back in the final copy to a mere charge of "crimes against humanity", according to the New York Times. The 1,200-page report alleges Bolsonaro's policies led directly to the deaths of at least half of the 600,000 Brazilians who have succumbed to the virus. It's a bombshell charge, but it's unlikely to land Bolsonaro in the dock — for that to happen he'd have to be formally accused by the justice minister, an ally whom he appointed, and the lower house of parliament, which his supporters control. Still, as the deeply unpopular Bolsonaro limps towards next year's presidential election, a rap of this kind isn't going to help.
Sup al-Qaeda — Mali: The West African nation of Mali has long had a problem with jihadist violence, and French soldiers deployed there since 2013 have barely made a dent. Now, the military-civilian transitional government that has run things since last year's coup may try something different: ask local Islamic clerics to talk on their behalf to al-Qaeda's main affiliate in the country. They could find some common ground: the government seem open to sharia law and kicking out all foreign troops in exchange for peace. Former colonial power France, meanwhile, says it won't conduct joint military operations in any country that negotiates with jihadists, but Paris' failure to quell jihadist violence means the French now have little leverage with Bamako. Interestingly, the peace talks are being floated just as Mali is mulling a Russian offer to send 1,000 mercenaries to fight al-Qaeda — which the French are fiercely against, and will likely be scrapped if the government cuts a deal with the jihadists. More broadly, whatever happens in Mali will have ripple effects across the entire Sahel region.The artist formerly known as "Facebook": Faced with a growing chorus of criticism about his company's unchecked market power, its corrosive impact on political discourse, its harm to kids, and its propensity to both spread dangerous lies and threaten free speech, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is doing the obvious thing: he's changing its name. That's right, in the coming days, the social media giant is set to unveil a new handle of its own, according to a scoop by The Verge. The name change won't affect the core social media app itself, but it will become the primary moniker for the broader conglomerate, which Zuckerberg wants to focus on developing the "metaverse" and other new technologies. This is similar to what Google did in 2015, when it rebranded itself as Alphabet or, if you like, to what Kanye West did two days ago when he rebranded himself as "Ye". Whether Zuck's move will take some of the regulatory heat off of Facebook is anyone's guess, but in the meantime, what do you think he should call the new company?
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