A supply-chain “strike force”, and the problem with allies

Shortly after election, US President Biden enacted an executive order to perform a 100-day review of critical supply-chains. The report was released in June, and one of the outcomes of the report was a trade “strike force”, which is supposed to look for anti-competitive practices that have hollowed-out the US supply chain for a number […]

Latin America Is Swinging Left

Usually, when we get news of politics in Latin America, it’s about one of the dictatorships and a stolen election. But recently, some of the more stable, democratic countries have started to make choices that look odd from the outside. First, there was a presidential vote in Peru a few weeks ago, and the two […]

National Tech Wars

It’s been clear for a while that the major world powers are going to need to do something about securing their own technological future in a world of competing nation-states (“The resurgence of national tech wars,” newsletter #53). One of the things that has come out of the global pandemic, beyond the generic need to have […]

An Update on Basic Income Experiments

Last year, I wrote on preliminary results from Finland’s basic income experiment (“Preliminary results from Finland’s basic income experiment … social ‘science’ is hard,” newsletter #30). Two things have happened since then. First, the final results have come out.* Second, a city in California, Stockton, has conducted a similar experiment. The final results of the Finnish […]

Of GameStop, Robinhood, Reddit, and Citadel

Total trading volume on the NYSE doubled from the year before. Annual turnover, a measure of how fast stocks trade, set a record of 319%. The year was 1901, and small investors with new access to the telephone and telegraph made gambles on directional bets at thousands of bucket shops across the country. That doesn’t feel a […]

China and the opportunity for Britain

This week saw more anti-democracy arrests in Hong Kong, Trump signing an executive order banning Ali pay (the Chinese PayPal) and seven other apps, and another executive order “blacklisting” 35 Chinese companies, which caused the SEC to flip-flop, but ultimately ended with the NYSE deciding to delist three Chinese telecoms. On the other side of the Atlantic, after 35 […]

China is also a market

I wrote a lot in 2020 about China’s geopolitical aspirations, and the impact of Covid on the global supply chain, but it’s also important to remember that those geopolitical aspirations also impact how the rest of the world deals with China as a market. In the tech field, it’s always been tricky: Google doesn’t play […]

Are we witnessing the death of the cinema?

WarnerMedia shocked the industry and has been getting severe pushback since it announced its plan to remove the “theatrical window” in 2021. In industry speak, the window is the period in which theaters can show a movie before it becomes available for broadcast or streaming. Over the last few decades, there have been several changes […]

“Afghan lives matter!”

Make no mistake, the Chinese government does not do things by mistake. Trade tensions between the US and China have grown substantially during the Trump administration, but China has also been engaging in a bit of a trade war with Australia, with the latest move being a tariff imposed on Australia’s wine — for which China is the […]

The future of free trade

For all that Donald Trump is a buffoon, he had some big successes (from a U.S. point of view), particularly with regard to international trade. His renegotiation of NAFTA is almost certainly an improvement, and his hard stance on trade with China was a long time coming. That said, he made a number of strategic […]

What will a Biden presidency mean?

Although there are still some lawsuits to be settled, and several recounts to be done, it appears that Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. (really), will be the 46th president of the United States. After four seismic years under Donald Trump, it will probably mean a lot. Although not entirely unmitigated, Obama’s presidency was largely a foreign-policy […]

Is the Internet killing small businesses?

The WSJ ran an article on the effect of COVID on small businesses. Some of the information is shocking — from the difficulty of getting capital (even through government subsidized loans), to the fact that perhaps as many as 1 in 5 businesses that were open in January may have shut their doors permanently. But […]