In Italy, stacks of plastic boxes in supermarkets and stores are not garbage - they are collected and reused, thanks to a consortium that specializes in recycling them for food storage. How do these "circular" plastic boxes help reduce energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions?
British economist Jim O'Neill says the global economy can bounce back right to where it was before, in a V-shaped recovery. But his argument is based on a lot of "ifs," plus comparisons to the 2008 recession and conditions in China and South Korea that may not truly apply. Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group's Robert Kahn take issue with O'Neill's op-ed, on this edition of The Red Pen.
Today, we're taking our Red Pen to an article titled "A V-Shaped Recovery Could Still Happen." I'm not buying it. It's published recently by Project Syndicate, authored by British economist named Jim O'Neill. Jim O'Neill is very well known. He was chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. He's the guy that coined the acronym BRICS, Brazil, Russia, India, China. So, no slouch. But as you know, we don't agree with everything out there. And this is the case. Brought to you by the letter V. We're taking sharp issue with the idea that recovery from all the economic devastation created by the coronavirus pandemic is going to happen quickly. That after the sharp drop that the world has experienced, everything bounces back to where it was before. That's the V. Economists around the world are debating how quickly recovery will happen to be sure. But we're not buying the V. Here's why. W-H-Y.
<p>First, among his arguments, O'Neill points to stimulus money pouring in from all corners of the globe. He writes, "After all, governments around the world have mustered an absolutely massive economic response, exceeding the amounts even provided during the 2000, 2008-2010 financial crisis." No question. But this is not the 2008 recession. This moment has brought the entire world's supply chain, massive disruption, debt-distress, unlike anything we've seen in our lifetimes. And with the virus very much still exploding around the world and no vaccine for the moment and none really expected that would work and be distributed globally until at best, mid, late next year, we're likely to see a relentlessly stop and start economy that more resembles what we think is a jagged swoosh, then a V. Sure, we've had a good balance after a very steep decline, but all indications are that the hard part is still to come.</p><p class="shortcode-media shortcode-media-rebelmouse-image"> <img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://www.gzeromedia.com/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ0OTE1NS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MDYxODQ3OH0.E8oWM29yC0DdiOw1u4fzCZumtckNmDW-VIzlggsgTTQ/image.png?width=980" id="db1d8" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="0f2aac939cd8c8a1225cd9100338446c" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /> </p><p>Second, O'Neill writes that improving conditions in China and South Korea bode well for the rest of the world. He writes, "despite China's ongoing challenges, the Caixin services PMI index rose to a 10-year high in June," and he points to increased exports from South Korea, too. Sure, China and South Korea, but they're doing particularly well because they contained the virus. They quarantined. They had contact tracing. They had early testing. That's not true in much of the rest of the world. Certainly not in my own United States, the world's largest economy. Not in Brazil. Not in India. Not in most of the world's emerging markets. A global recovery will not gain momentum while the world is following completely divergent parts.</p><p class="shortcode-media shortcode-media-rebelmouse-image"> <img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://www.gzeromedia.com/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ0OTE3Ny9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMjg3MzUzMH0.kCPsX7c8_KVifHPpQrIJ850vF8h7PSs4tZXPtYxZhjU/image.png?width=980" id="cd0be" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="28183e74ce8dcaf01d8728e6b7bac400" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /> </p><p>And finally, O'Neill writes, "If lockdowns remain localized and temporary, if health systems continue to expand testing, and especially if a vaccine or more effective treatments are developed, the economic outlook need not be as bleak as many believe." Those are some very big "ifs", my friend. Testing is nowhere close to what it needs to be in the United States and in most of the developing world, aside from China. </p><p class="shortcode-media shortcode-media-rebelmouse-image"> <img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://www.gzeromedia.com/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ0OTIwMi9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0Njc5NzczN30.wCwu0UrwS3oFJSGYZ4Eg1KPpUjv5dalOhxd1TqNVsQI/image.png?width=980" id="44d23" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="57373f8fe64cb46e05684e5cb825d999" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /> </p><p>Yes, the United States is testing a lot more than it used to, but nowhere close to the explosion of cases that we have right now. We're still looking for effective treatment options, let alone the vaccine that could potentially take years to develop and distribute globally. And if the first vaccines are not seen as effective, a lot of people are going to wait. They're not going to take them immediately. That's even with good education. That's even, never mind, anti-vaxxer sentiment. And it's not paying attention to vaccine nationalism and the fact that the world is not rowing together in developing a vaccine together, which is what you want to respond to a global pandemic.<br/></p> In other words, all of this is not pointing to a V. It's this jagged swoosh. It's going to be a lot uglier than we'd like it to be. That's your Red Pen for today.
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Over the past few years, we've seen three major emerging powers take bold action to right what they say are historical wrongs.
First came Crimea. When the Kremlin decided in 2014 that Western powers were working against Russian interests in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to seize the Crimean Peninsula, which was then part of Ukraine. Moscow claimed that Crimea and its ethnic Russian majority had been part of the Russian Empire for centuries until a shameful deal in 1954 made Crimea part of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic. Americans and Europeans imposed sanctions on Russia. But Ukraine is not part of NATO or the EU, and no further action was taken.
<p><strong>Then came Kashmir.</strong> Kashmir has long been divided into Indian- and Pakistani-administered sections separated by a "line of control." The two countries have come to blows over Kashmir several times, and some Kashmiris want independence from both. Indian-administered Kashmir has the only Muslim-majority population on Indian territory, and to manage the resulting tensions, Article 370 of India's constitution gave the territory its own constitution and flag — and the right to make its own laws in areas that don't concern India's defense or foreign policy. After years of periodic unrest and insurgency in the province, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered Indian troops into the province in August 2019, and India formally revoked Kashmir's autonomy. </p><p><strong>Now comes Hong Kong.</strong> When Hong Kong passed from British to Chinese authority in 1997, Beijing agreed to respect a plan known as "one country two systems," which allowed the territory to make its own laws, in areas that don't affect China's defense or foreign policy, and to keep its own police force. Freedoms of speech and the media remained in place. After a proposed law that would allow Hong Kongers to be extradited to face trial on the mainland triggered a tidal wave of unrest across the city, Beijing imposed a <a href="https://www.axios.com/china-hong-kong-law-global-activism-ff1ea6d1-0589-4a71-a462-eda5bea3f78f.html" target="_blank">new security law</a> that undermines basic freedoms in Hong Kong, and would make it illegal for literally anyone on Earth to promote democracy for its people. Without sending in troops, Beijing effectively ended Hong Kong's autonomy. </p><p><strong>These three cases have something basic in common,</strong> despite their dozens of differences. All involve powerful emerging states — Russia, India, and China — with nationalist leaders who used historical claims to seize control of territory they believed rightfully belonged to their countries. And all did so secure in the knowledge that no outside power, or alliance of powers, would be willing and able to stop them. </p><p><strong>So, who's next? </strong>Successive Chinese leaders, including current president Xi Jinping, have made clear that they believe Taiwan is part of China and will one day return to Beijing's control. </p><p>In 1996, China fired ballistic missiles into the sea to intimidate Taiwan, and President Bill Clinton responded by ordering two US aircraft carriers into the Taiwan Strait to send Beijing a message. China backed down. That was 24 years ago. Since then, China has spent trillions to modernize its military and to equip it with 21<sup>st</sup> century weapons. In Asia, at least, the military balance of power has changed. </p><p>Taiwan isn't Crimea, Kashmir or Hong Kong. It's a <a href="http://statisticstimes.com/economy/projected-world-gdp-capita-ranking.php" target="_blank">wealthy country</a> of 24 million people, that is very well armed (by the US).</p><p>But if China fired missiles toward Taiwan today, how would outsiders respond? If the US president flexed America's military muscle, would China's leaders back down? What if they didn't? </p><p>And for how much longer will this question remain hypothetical?</p>
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Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of WIRED, provides his perspective on technology news:
Will the new audit of Facebook civil rights practices change the way the company operates?
Yes. It came under a lot of pressure from civil rights activists who organized an advertising boycott. And then an internal audit on Facebook's effect on civil rights came out. It was quite critical. Those two things, one after the other, will surely lead to changes at the company.
<p><strong>What is happening with TikTok in Hong Kong? </strong></p><p>Well, China passed its oppressive new security law in Hong Kong. All the tech companies are suddenly in a difficult situation. To comply with the law, violating some of your fundamental principles or do you withdraw? Most of them are delaying. TikTok acted quickly but that was an easy choice for them and their parent company, ByteDance, which already owns a TikTok competitor in China. </p><p><strong>Is Quibi officially a bust? </strong></p><p>Not yet, but they really, really, really need a hit. </p>
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The United States and the European Union have comparable population sizes, but their COVID-19 death toll trajectories have recently become very different. Since the beginning of July, the average number of both new fatalities and new deaths per 1 million people is rapidly increasing in the US while it remains mostly flat in the EU. We compare this to the average number of new cases each seven days in both regions, where the US trend continues upward but is not surging like the death toll. EU countries' robust public health systems and citizens' willingness to wear masks and maintain social distance could explain the disparity.