"There needs to be a dramatic and deep reduction in the amount of debt on the poorest countries. That's clear." As the world's poorest nations struggle to recover from a devastating pandemic, World Bank President David Malpass argues that freeing them of much of their debt will be key. His conversation with Ian Bremmer is part of the latest episode of GZERO World.
Elections continue despite pandemic: Nearly two-thirds of Americans disapprove of President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus crisis. Americans, like voters everywhere, are at odds on many issues these days. But a Trump victory in November would signal that voters aren't ready to blame political leaders for the coronavirus' impact while a loss would make him the world's first COVID-19 political casualty. There are more upcoming coronavirus election tests. Regional elections in Italy later this month will test the strength of that country's wobbly coalition government. Hard-hit Iran will hold a presidential election next June—though it's not clear how far the clerical establishment will go to limit voter choices—and the government's pandemic response will shape broader views of its competence. Voters in virus-ravaged Peru will have their say in April 2021, and Mexico will hold congressional elections in July. A power transition in Germany next year will allow voters angry over COVID-19 restrictions to air their grievances.
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Ian Bremmer's QuickTake:
It's Monday, coronavirus still going on. Plenty to talk about.
I mean, I guess the biggest news in the United States is the fact that we still don't have any stimulus going forward. I mean, now, keep in mind, this is on the back of an exceptionally strong initial US economic response, over 10% of GDP, ensuring relief for small businesses, for big corporations, and most importantly, for everyday American citizens, many of whom, large double digit numbers, lost their jobs, a lot of whom lost them permanently but didn't have to worry, at least in the near term, because they were getting cash from the government. Is that going to continue?
In this pandemic environment, why are stocks climbing when news about the economy isn't good?
I've actually been getting that question a lot. And look, nobody really knows why stock markets move the way they do in real time. But there's a variety of factors why we've seen stock market rallies these days. So, one is improving investor sentiment that some of the government measures to stabilize the economy are working. And the other one is something you saw on Monday, when the Dow rose more than 900 points, there was some news out about a potential coronavirus vaccine. Some positive preliminary results on that experimental trial. So, that helped also improve investor sentiment.
While some European economies have experienced depression in modern times, the US hasn't seen one since the 1930s. In a conversation with Ian Bremmer for GZERO World, Economic Historian Adam Tooze points to a dangerous mix of rising unemployment, skittish investors, and a lack of a social safety net as signs that it's time to discuss the possibility of prolonged economic depression.