In his early February annual State of the Union address
, US President Donald Trump typically hailed his own policies for increasing wages and jobs to achieve record low US unemployment. Directly appealing to labour for a second term, Trump claimed exclusive credit for the US “blue-collar boom”.
Seventy-five years ago, on 26 June 1945, before the Japanese surrender ending the Second World War, fifty nations gathered at San Francisco’s Opera House to sign the United Nations (UN) Charter
Over the course of his presidency, US President Donald Trump’s racism
has become more evident with more leaks of his private remarks, which he has been generally quick to deny, qualify and explain away.
The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly impacted most economies in the world. Its full impacts will not be felt, let alone measured, until it runs its course. Many countries are still struggling to contain contagion, while the costs on both lives and livelihoods will undoubtedly have long-term repercussions.
Indonesia’s founding President Sukarno delivered his annual Independence or National Day address on 17 August 1964 anticipating the forthcoming year as Tahun vivere pericoloso
, the ‘year of living dangerously’. 2020 may well be the world’s turn, and not only due to the obvious Covid-19 threat to the world.
With well over five million Covid-19 infections worldwide, and deaths exceeding 340,000, the race for an effective vaccine has accelerated since the SARS-Cov-2 virus was first identified as the culprit.
Although Wuhan local authorities undoubtedly ostracized local medical whistle-blowers, notably Dr Li Wenliang
, who suspected a new virus was responsible for flu-like infections in Wuhan in late 2019, official responses
were apparently not delayed, and possibly even expedited, as the novel character of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, responsible for Covid-19 infections, was not immediately self-evident.
Like much of the West, Argentina did not take many early precautionary actions after the Covid-19 epidemic was confirmed in January, but became the first Latin American country to act decisively with a 12 March public health emergency declaration.
The presidential decree came a day after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic, just over a week after the first case was detected in the republic on 3 March.
The Covid-19 pandemic is now widely considered more threatening than any other recent viral epidemic. Most believe that many more have been infected or even died than officially confirmed.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro appointed medical entrepreneur Nelson Teich his new health minister on 17 April. The businessman quickly echoed
his boss’ desire to resume business as usual regardless of its potentially lethal consequences.
Vietnam, just south of coastal China, is the 15th most populous country in the world with 97 million people.According to its Ministry of Health (MoH), as of 13 April, there were 262 confirmed cases of COVID-19
, with 144 recovering or discharged from hospitals, and no deaths.
Within weeks, the Covid-19 epidemic was classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an epidemic of international significance, triggering a pre-agreed WHO response. By the end of the first week of April, more than 1.3 million people had been confirmed as infected, with over 65,000 deaths
across the world.
As the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic shifts from China to the developed West, all too many rich countries are acting selfishly, invoking the ‘national interest’, by banning exports of vital medical supplies.
The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic is hard to predict as events are still unfolding, and estimates vary dramatically. UNCTAD
estimates lost output in the order of US$1 trillion, just over a third of Bloomberg
’s expectation of US$2.7 trillion in losses. The OECD
expects global economic growth to halve from already anaemic levels.
The coronavirus pandemic seems to have finally forced governments around the world to ditch their obsession (at least for the moment) with delivering budget surplus. As stock markets tumble, stimulus measures, worth billions of dollars, are announced to boost investor confidence and consumer spending to keep economies running.
As the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 threatens a global pandemic, major stock markets around the world have suffered their worst performance since the 2008 financial crush.
Meeting the President of the Republic of Korea in September 2019, President Donald J Trump bragged
that the “US economy is the envy of the world”. Trump reiterated such claims in his State of the Union address
in early February, hailing his own policies with typical humility.
In an annual ritual early in the year, most major economic organizations have released forecasts for the global economy in 2020
. Incredibly, almost as a reminder of where financial power resides in this day and age, the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) released its forecasts at the World Economic Forum’s 50th annual meeting in Davos.
The latest November 2019 UBS/PwC Billionaires Report
counted 2,101 billionaires globally, or 589 more than five years before. Earlier, Farhad Manjoo
had seriously recommended, ‘Abolish Billionaires’, presenting a moral case against the super-rich as they have and get far, far more than what they might reasonably claim to deserve.
The social utility of billionaires’ existence has come under increased scrutiny, especially during the Democratic Party primaries for the 2020 US Presidential election. Leading newspapers, such as The New York Times, published opinion pieces arguing to abolish billionaires
and reflecting on why billionaires engage in illegal insider trading
Much recent unrest, such as the ‘yellow-vest’ protests in France and the US ‘Abolish the Super-Rich’ campaign
, is not against inequality per se, but reflects perceptions of changing inequalities. Most citizens resent inequalities when it is not only unacceptably high, but also rising.