Urbanization may radically change not only the landscape but also investors' portfolios. Creating the livable urban centers of tomorrow calls for a revolution in the way we provide homes, transport, health, education and much more.
Our expert guests will explore the future of cities and its implications for your wealth.
In a national referendum on Sunday, Chileans overwhelmingly voted in favor of a new constitution. But, why are people in this oasis of political stability and steady economic growth in South America willing to undo the bedrock of the system that has allowed Chile to prosper for so long?
<p><strong>The back story.</strong> The current charter dates from forty years ago, when Chile was still ruled by despot General Augusto Pinochet. It was approved in a 1980 national plebiscite which the opposition says was <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1980/09/12/pinochet-wins-overwhelming-vote-on-new-constitution/750660cc-4fa3-4962-8720-9c4bddb2b595/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">rigged</a>.</p><p>Drafted largely by US-educated Chilean neoliberal economists, the Pinochet-era constitution gave a huge role to the private sector in state affairs. Schools, pensions and healthcare were all partially privatized. Chile soon became the most business-friendly South American nation, and its accumulated GDP expanded by an astounding <a href="https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.CD?locations=CL%5D" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">800 percent</a> from 1990 to 2018.</p><p>However, the 1980 charter largely <a href="https://www.economist.com/the-americas/2020/10/22/chiles-momentous-referendum-on-its-constitution" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">concentrated power</a> in the hands of Santiago's political and business elite, who prospered handsomely while the rest of the country got left behind. Over time, the stark disparity bred strong resentment among working-class Chileans fed up with substandard public healthcare and education, students who can't afford rising tuition fees, the elderly who barely get by on meager public pensions, and <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/16/world/americas/chile-mapuche-constitution.html" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">indigenous people</a>, who account for 9 percent of the population yet have no cultural or land rights.</p><p><strong>The four-cent spark for it all.</strong> A year ago, the residents of Santiago <a href="https://www.gzeromedia.com/what-were-watching-unfare-protests-in-chile" target="_self">took to the streets</a> to reject a $0.04 fare hike for the capital's metro rail system. It was an <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/11/26/anger-in-chile-as-ally-of-president-says-rights-abuses-necessary" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">explosion of anger</a> that caught conservative President Sebastián Piñera by surprise. One of the main demands of the marches — some of which turned violent — was a new constitution.</p><p>Piñera, backed into a corner, agreed to hold a referendum, and a year later, three quarters of Chileans voted "yes" to rewriting the country's charter. They also supported electing a constituent assembly in April, which will set to work on a draft that could be ready for popular approval by 2022.</p><p><strong>The region is watching.</strong> For decades Chile has been an <a href="https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/chile-island-stability-south-america" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">outlier in South America</a>, boasting political stability and steady economic growth in a region long mired in conflict and economic crises. But now that this unequal prosperity has, ultimately, come at a clear political cost, the country's next steps will be closely scrutinized.</p><p>Proponents of the referendum envision a new charter that will enshrine more <a href="https://blog.petrieflom.law.harvard.edu/2020/09/18/chile-health-care-reform/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">basic rights</a> for all Chileans (especially free higher education and healthcare, as well as affordable housing and transportation), limit the role of the private sector, and expand public welfare to create a more equal society. They argue that while Chile's economy has been cruising for decades, growth has not trickled down to the majority of the people. (In 2018, the income inequality gap between the top and bottom 10 percent was <a href="https://www.oecd.org/chile/chile-should-use-upturn-to-address-low-productivity-and-high-inequality.htm" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">65 percent higher</a> than the average among the 37 OECD member countries — and that was before COVID-19.)</p><p>Although the reforms enjoy widespread support among Chileans, opponents say that implementing a robust social safety net could stifle the country's economic prospects, and open up Chile to the political and economic upheavals that have plagued neighbors like <a href="https://www.gzeromedia.com/argentina-macri-had-a-dream-its-fading-fast?share_id=4558156" target="_self">Argentina</a>.</p><p><strong>Looking ahead.</strong> After decades as a regional model for political stability and economic growth, Chile has discovered it can no longer maintain both. With <a href="https://www.economist.com/the-americas/2020/10/22/chiles-momentous-referendum-on-its-constitution" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">such high stakes</a>, will the new constitution will help the country's leaders find ways to maintain economic success while ensuring greater equity for the 99 percent, or will this end up being a permanent tradeoff?</p>
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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:
Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here. This is the last week before elections, have only lasted for two years, cost billions of dollars. We're sick of it. We're ready. We're ready to get past this. What do we think is going to happen?
Well, let's be clear. Biden is way ahead, and it's hard for incumbents to lose. They tended to win in the United States. They need to be unpopular and unlucky to lose, but Trump does seem to be checking both of those boxes. He's never been enormously popular. He has a pretty narrow base that is very strongly supportive of him, some 38 to 42% back and forth, but a narrow band, which has been pretty consistent for most of them the last four years, but he's also been massively unlucky. Unlucky, how?
<p>Well, the timing of the election, compared to coronavirus. I mean, it's getting colder, and people are going back inside, and the second wave of coronavirus, including a White House superspreader event and the vice president's aides testing positive in reasonable number, all of that happening right before the election, weeks before the election. Trump still does well on the economy. In fact, in general polls, he's been ahead of Biden pretty consistently, though narrowly, on who would handle the economy better. He does reasonably well on law and order issues, certainly amongst Republicans and some independents. He does reasonably even in a bunch of foreign policy issues like on trade, the new NAFTA, the U.S.-South Korea deal, the Middle East plans and agreements diplomacy, the breakthroughs that have happened, a bunch of China technology stuff, getting the allies on board.</p><p> <br/> But the big crisis, the largest crisis of my lifetime, of our lifetimes is coronavirus. 225,000 Americans dead, millions and millions having gotten the disease, largest number of cases on record right now, one week before the election. Hospitalization's going up, and even mortality. The rates overall have been going down, but the numbers of people dying is going up again and will almost certainly continue to right through election day. Trump wants us to be talking about anything but coronavirus because that's the issue that he polls the worst on, and it's what we're all talking about. The ability of Trump to actually win this election is a hell of a lot lower than it normally would have been, and 2020 is not like 2016.<br/> <br/> A couple of additional things. First, getting through the vote itself. If you think about polling error, it is certainly possible that Trump can win. If there's polling error that's largely in his favor in swing states, it's a lot closer than the national polls are, about 5.6 points. It did look like Biden was ahead in Texas. Now it looks like Trump's ahead two, three, maybe even four points there. We've seen that in some of the southern swing states too.<br/> <br/> If there's a decent amount of polling error in Trump's favor, he can win narrowly. If he wins narrowly or if it is close in Biden's favor, then it's pretty clear that this is going to be a process, a long process where both sides contest it. I mean, Trump is going to say he wins almost irrespective of what happens, and if it's close, and Biden actually has a larger number of electoral votes, but Trump says, "No, I'm contesting it. This was rigged," you could end up with a constitutional crisis. <br/> <br/> It's very important to understand that the willingness of GOP members to go along with President Trump just as they did in the impeachment, only Romney voting to convict every other Republican Senator supporting Trump on what was a fairly open-and-shut case that he was using the power of the presidency to get the Ukrainian president to open an investigation against Joe Biden and his son Hunter, it was pretty clear they had him to rights on that, but the GOP was not going to respond to it. It was a political decision. It was not based on a view of how American rule of law is supposed to be handled.<br/> <br/> I can easily see the same thing happening if it is close in this election, even if it's close and legitimately it looks like Biden actually won. The potential for constitutional crisis, if it's narrow, is real. I think under any surface, Trump says, "I won, and that was rigged, and it's not reasonable," if it's close. Certainly, the media, his supporters on social media and the GOP in Congress likely to pull out every stop to attempt to effectively contest that.<br/> <br/> Now, what about if it's a landslide for Biden, which is certainly plausible, a little bit of polling error in Biden's favor, and he wins really big, and then Trump can say whatever he wants, it doesn't matter. The Republicans aren't with them. They throw them under the bus. They say, "That's it. We move on." McConnell already gotten his 6-3 Supreme Court, and from his perspective, that's a big legacy win. He's not going anywhere. They lick their wounds. They move longer-term. <br/> <br/> But if Biden does win by a landslide, we should remember how we got here. Trump won the 2016 election. He won it legitimately. He is the president. He is our president. He is my president, despite the fact that he is clearly one of the least fit-for-office people to ever seek that position, and even after 225,000 people have died of coronavirus, even after he has governed for four years and shown that he is incapable of actually not only not unifying the country, but incapable of responding effectively to the worst crisis of our lifetimes, this is something that would sink almost anyone that you can imagine, he still gets roughly 40% approval.<br/> <br/> That's because people don't think America works for them. That's because the working class, and particularly, the white working class in the United States, has been treated like cannon fodder for decades, whether it's the result of trade policies that have depleted their ranks and not found ways for them to experience upward mobility and the American dream, whether it's immigration with lots of others coming into the United States to have their land of opportunity, but no one's taken care of the Americans already here, whether it's wars that have been fought on the back of the poorest Americans for decades and we've lost those wars and taking care of those and their families that have given all? Now, under Obama and Biden as vice-president, you had eight years of focus on progressive social policy, which, I mean, there's lots of good things that come out of that, but if you are a white member of the working class rural area in the United States, you view that nobody cares about you anymore.<br/> <br/> I mean, there is structural racism in the United States. Blacks absolutely have the worst situation in the country, and they have the least amount of wealth, but at least, from their perspective, there is more opportunity. The absolute situation is the worst, but their trajectory has been improving. The white working class, undereducated, has a lousy... I mean, they're doing better overall than blacks and Hispanics in the U.S., but they're not doing well. They've been stagnant for decades, and the trajectory is actually getting worse. Indeed, life expectancy is going down. Suicide rates are going up. Opioid addiction is going up. I mean, these are people who are not just angry because they're all racist, they're angry because everyone's been lying to them.<br/> <br/> There's no question. There is an enormous amount of racism in the United States, not just structural racism in the system, but individual racism that exists in many of these communities to a great and disturbing degree, just as it exists in other communities in the United States, but I will tell you that everyone in my feed that hates Trump, almost everyone I see in social media are also saying that these people are all racist and that it's unacceptable to vote for him.<br/> <br/> I will not say that. I think it's pretty clear that when you're talking about 40% of the population voting for Trump back in 2016 and just about that in 2020, it is not just about them. It's about us. It's about how we could get to the place where so many Americans would feel that the system was indeed so rigged against them, and they're right. Trump is not fixing it for them, but you understand how angry they are.<br/> <br/> I look at Borat and this movie that is out now, Sacha Baron Cohen, and I see how it does well in part because it's fine to laugh at the idiots in the middle of the country, the flyover states, the uneducated. We're responsible for that. I don't think it's okay to punch down. I think you have to reach out and help your fellow Americans, and when they're hurting and when they're angry and even when they say and do things that are unacceptable, realizing that those of us that are in a vastly better position and have done so little to help them, it is unacceptable for us to say it's their fault.<br/> <br/> I know so many people in the United States on the left who strongly oppose stereotyping of blacks, of Hispanics, of Muslims, but they would think nothing of mocking rural working class whites, of laughing at them. This must end because if we don't learn those lessons, if we don't understand that's how we got Trump after a massive Biden win, then populism in the United States and racism in the United States and extremism in the United States is going to get much, much worse. These people are going to suffer so much worse in 2021 and 2022 unless we get our act together on the back of coronavirus with digital transformation, the knowledge economy doing fine, and so many of the jobs remaining for these people just going away. If that happens, the next time they vote someone in, it's not going to be someone as incompetent as Trump, and that's going to be much more dangerous to the American system that I hope we all still believe in. </p><p>Thanks a lot for listening. I'll talk to you all real soon.</p>
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We live on an (increasingly) urban planet. Today, for the first time in human history, more than half of the world's population (55 percent) lives in cities. By 2050, that figure will rise to more than two-thirds, with close to 7 billion people living in urban areas. Cities have always been centers of opportunity, innovation, and human progress. But they are also often on the front lines of the major political and social challenges of the day. Here are three areas in which that's true right now.
<p><strong>Climate change. </strong>Cities are hugely vulnerable to climate change and will have to take the lead in efforts to contain and adapt to it. More than <a href="https://www.c40.org/ending-climate-change-begins-in-the-city" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">90 percent</a> of the world's cities lie in coastal areas exposed to rising sea levels. At the same time, large cities' traffic, transport infrastructure, and buildings <a href="https://www.unenvironment.org/explore-topics/resource-efficiency/what-we-do/cities/cities-and-climate-change#:~:text=At%20the%20same%20time%2C%20cities,being%20among%20the%20largest%20contributors." rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">are responsible</a> for 75 percent of global carbon emissions.</p><p>The major global climate change agreements — like the Paris Accord — exist at the national level, but implementation falls largely on cities. Many large cities are <a href="https://assets.locomotive.works/sites/5ab410c8a2f42204838f797e/content_entry5ab410fb74c4833febe6c81a/5b97d05514ad66062f99bd66/files/C40_Report_Cities_leading_the_way.pdf?1536675925" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">already taking the lead</a> on their own — in some cases (as in the US currently) working at cross purposes with national leaders who are climate skeptics.</p><p><strong>Technology.</strong> Urban planners are excited about "smart cities" where digital technologies (including sensors and cameras deployed across the city) can make the city more efficient, less polluted, and more responsive to citizens' needs. But there are two big political issues here.</p><p>First, who's watching all of this? All of those data flows have to be monitored and safeguarded by someone. As cities get "smarter" they'll wrestle with politically fraught tradeoffs between urban efficiency and personal privacy.</p><p>Second, who's making all of this? Smart cities require next generation 5G networks. Right now, the most cost-effective manufacturers of 5G equipment are Chinese companies. But the US government has banned them at home over national security fears and is pressuring other countries to do the same. As the world slouches towards a bigger <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTyjBDBg5Rs" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">US-China tech divide</a>, cities that want the technologies of the future will be caught in the middle.</p><p><strong>Pandemic.</strong> All of the things that make cities vibrant centers of progress and innovation – density, diversity, strong connections with the rest of the world – will also leave them sitting ducks for outbreaks of contagious disease. That's been particularly true of the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 first spread in a city (Wuhan, China — population 10 million) and since then, the overwhelming majority of the disease's victims have been in cities. In the US, for example, a study in June found that more than <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jrh.12476" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">94 percent</a> of all cases (and deaths) have been in urban areas.</p><p>When we talk about the devastating impacts of the pandemic, and particularly its disproportionate public health and economic effects on minorities, the poor, and women, we are talking primarily about urban crises.</p><p><strong>Polarization.</strong> No matter who wins next week's US presidential election, the electoral map is likely to be a sea of red (many less densely populated precincts that voted Republican) with large islands of blue (Democrat-leaning cities). But that political divergence between more liberal big cities and more conservative towns and rural areas isn't just an American phenomenon.</p><p>In 2016, for example, Londoners overwhelmingly <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36612916" target="_blank">voted</a> <em>against</em> Brexit. Poland's recent presidential election was similar, a right-wing conservative <a href="https://www.politico.eu/article/rural-urban-split-defines-polish-presidential-race-andrzej-duda-election/" target="_blank">beat</a> a liberal big city mayor by drawing votes from the countryside. In Turkey, strongman president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is least popular in the big cities, particularly his hometown of Istanbul, which his party lost control of last year.</p><p>The political divergence between town and country, and between cities and national governments, will become increasingly acute as cities grow and gain more economic power.</p>
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