Categories ArchivesNews and Analysis

In Davos, Political No Shows Equal 50% of the World’s Economy link

As the world’s elite gather in Davos, Switzerland for the 49th World Economic Forum annual meeting, perhaps the most notable aspect of the event so far is the absence of 50% of the world’s economy. With key world leaders such as Donald Trump, Xi Jinping, Theresa May, Emmanuel Macron and Narendra Modi, collectively representing 50% of the global economy and 42% of the world’s population, opting to fend off domestic matters, it would seem the theme of Globalization 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is partly driven by a return of economic nationalism and the stark relief of domestic pressures putting nations first and the world second. In the U.S., the political dysfunction ...

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How to Keep Health Care Coverage Going During the Government Shutdown link

Midnight Saturday, December 22, 2018 marked the beginning of the longest United States Federal Government shutdown. While there have been 20 previous government shutdowns in our nation’s history, Shutdown 21 is particularly insidious because neither side of the negotiating table has been willing to budge for weeks. At stake are the livelihoods of approximately 800,000 Federal Employees across all 50 states, and the fact that more than half of Americans do not have enough savings to protect against a $500 emergency exacerbates the situation. The ripple effects from the shutdown reverberate throughout our economy; TSA agents have staged “sick outs,” causing long security lines at major airports. Retail establishments frequented by the federal workforce have experienced a drastic reduction in ...

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The Longest U.S. Government Shutdown link

It is unsurprising that the U.S. descent into political tribalism, where red lines and blue ones are uncrossable, would also produce the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. Like the 15 government shutdowns over the last 38 years, shutting down functions of the Federal Government is a way of exacting political costs on opponents by blaming them for a budget impasse or some lack of political concessions in what can only be described as a Pyrrhic victory. In all cases, however, the real victims are the thousands of federal employees, government contractors and their families who pay the heaviest price. This time around they are getting hit by a veritable one-two punch. The first, is the shutdown and its terrible ...

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Did IBM Just Break Blockchain? link

Crypto winter, which has produced a massive market correction on bitcoin and other cryptocurrency prices, may now extend the big chill on blockchain as well. Beyond the rather convenient management consulting dismissals that blockchain hype has slipped into the valley of disillusionment, the world’s most resilient technology may face its first serious technological challenge with IBM’s announcement of commercially ready quantum computing. While blockchain and distributed ledger technologies come in many shapes and sizes, proponents of the bitcoin blockchain and other public ledgers have long advocated for the property of resilience by design. Some going as far as claiming that the bitcoin blockchain is unhackable by today’s technological standards, due in no small measure to the distributed, encrypted and consensus-driven ...

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How Will Cyber Risk Evolve in 2019 link

It is unsurprising that a risk that evolves according to Moore’s law would continue to outpace the world’s ability to put cyber threats in check and privacy in focus. 2018 bore this out as GDPR came into force in the EU and cities like Atlanta were crippled by damaging ransomware, which has been all but automated and upgraded. Looking ahead, 2019 will surely bring an evolution of garden variety cyber threats, which continue to plague the world and in particular small to mid-sized businesses, which carry a disproportionate amount of risk and serve as back doors into larger enterprise systems. Additionally, key sectors such as critical infrastructure – or the commons on which markets rely – are massively exposed and ...

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Is The Global Economy Half The Apple It Used To Be? link

For the first firm to crack the trillion-dollar valuation ceiling, Apple’s performance is usually a bellwether of broader market confidence and conspicuous consumption among fawning technophiles. It should worry more than Apple investors that the usually reticent firm when it comes to company performance has warned the world of economic deceleration in “Greater China,” a region that encompasses mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, roughly comprising 20% of Apple’s revenues. More importantly to Apple’s performance, China on the supply chain side of the equation is an Achilles heel to the firm, like much of the consumer electronics industry, which relies on China not only for consumption, but also for supply. The backdrop of an increasingly damaging Sino-American trade war, along ...

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Looking Ahead: The 2019 Risk Landscape link

As we enter the final year of this decade, the list of concerns that will keep risk managers up at night continues to grow. The inextricable linkages between political, economic, social and environmental risks have become undeniable, implying that risk managers must become social scientists in order to comprehend the evolving risk matrix, and that they no longer have the luxury of sticking to a conventional script in order to do their jobs well. For this reason, the coming year, and the coming decade, will challenge those in the risk management community as never before. Among the most prominent risks that will need to be addressed on an ongoing basis are the growing economic and topographical costs of climate change, ...

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Resilient Resolutions For The New Year link

It seems fitting that a year as turbulent as 2018 ends at the edge of chaos. The month of December, a period where business and markets are usually buoyed by retail hangovers from the holiday shopping season, has produced nothing less than economic and political pandemonium in the U.S. and shockwaves around the world. An emblem of 2018 is the fact that a couple of drones have managed to shutdown London’s Gatwick airport, which ferries 45 million passengers a year, during the busiest travel season. Meanwhile, the stock market slide, marking the worst December since the Great Depression, has all but eradicated the gains for 2018 pushing the economy a little closer to the hibernation of bear territory in time ...

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Culling Unstable Coins – Crypto Correction Or Market Crash? link

If 2018 was the year blockchain came out of beta, it is also proving to be the year of the great crypto correction and the culling of unstable coins and sham fund raising methods. Like when the dot com bubble burst in mid-1990, this market correction will also leave many who speculated at the peak of the hype cycle largely disappointed and a little poorer as they traded their hard earned fiat money, which so many crypto-utopians dismissed, for a stable of cryptocurrencies that have since proven to be wildly volatile and backed by little or nothing like so much vaporware. Despite this rapid market deflation of broad crypto assets and the unviability of many blockchain projects, including some well-funded ...

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The Gilet Jaunes Movement Risks Becoming Europe’s Intifada link

While Europe and France have a long history of popular manifestations, something feels different about the gilet jaunes movement, which has not only remained a persistent weekend phenomenon in France for the last four weeks, it has also spread to other countries in Europe. The movement has become France’s worst mass protest in over 50 years, resulting in at least 2 deaths, over 500 injuries, thousands of arrests and billions in economic damage and, critically, economic paralysis in Paris, Marseille and other large cities. While the movement has held its numbers over the last month, the lack of clear leadership and abatement, even when President Emmanuel Macron’s government has made concessions, shows that there is something more dangerous afoot than ...

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