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Post Pandemic Recovery + SME + MFG + Skills + Jobs

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Unless big potholes are filled, the roads to post-pandemic-economic-recovery will only create more traffic jams; the challenges are something like the Olympic Games of Economics played by highly skilled players on worldwide digital highways, not to be confused with routine games at local community ballparks. Most economic development issues of today are global-age centric, demanding special global-age skills to solve issues of our new digitalized world of future trading in harmony for common good and mutual prosperity.

Three crushing factors;

ONE: The 50/50 Factor: In broader strokes, no matter what only 50% of the world will open andremaining 50% drift away in 50% closures while billions plus displaced, replaced, misplaced workers wander and other 50% gone far away remote and 50% downtown dimmed. When the united forces of “Work + Office + Health + Money + Politics + Future”clash with “AI + AR + VR + Remote + Zoom” the surprises will be the next 100 national elections scheduled within the next 500 days. Covidians will vote on meritocracies and seek leaderships ready to face truth, accept mistakes and surrender to honest real value creations over confusion of crypto-fantasies.

TWO: The Meritocracy Factor: The cruelty of pandemic further magnified when once mighty institutions and rotundas of political leadership across the world may lose 50% or all of their remaining credibility. It is not just the cost of bureaucracies lingering for decades to a nation butthe real losses are 1000 times bigger than lost opportunities in the global markets. Digitized mobilization to uplift meritocracy is a new art. Testing and upskilling all frontline teams of all layers of the national economic agenda to mix and blend with virtualized economic expansion is one of the top priority solutions.

THREE: The Fear Factor: The widespread ‘fear’ amongst western economies of gradually losing global market shares hurting advancements.  The western economies recognized over centuries as super successful knowledge rich nations now losing to population-rich-nations, while population rich as cursed nations for feeding hungry mouths, today, they are blessed as each citizen with mobile devices in hand now a potential trade center. Western economies already on defense creating tectonic shifts on trade-skills against highly productive Asian nations are lacking collaborative activism.

Overview: Western economies over decades abandoned upskilling and lifelong learning in a big way, convinced that Universities and YouTube will take care of all, furthermore, when reading daily newspapers is already dead now study of Atlas as daily routine is a new survival kit, only skilled entrepreneurial warriors with global thinking ready for tolerance, diversity will survive. Ignored are the hidden national treasures of entrepreneurialism and global-age thinking.  Proof is in numbers and global indices on performance scales.

Missing from mainstream media, political punditry and academia such critically harsh but hot topics now also a proof of their ‘fear’ while their silence challenging their levels of competencies and confidence levels required tackling the new post pandemic world. Nevertheless, freshly printed money will run out and soon test the architectural structuring of the house of cards. Why do knowledge rich nations have the greatest opportunities to open up to some 200 nations and 10,000 cities and what type of sweeping mind-shifts are needed and what is stopping them?

Revolutionary Options: The National Mobilization of Midsize Economies 

Stage One: Those nations awakening with the principal philosophy of the ‘National Mobilization of Entrepreneurialism on Digital Platforms of Upskilling for Exportability’ are harmoniously narrating the new global-age mantra; constant learning, constant disruption, constant advancements, constant dialogues as post-pandemic recovery and humanistic realities. As undeniably,  “Work + Office + Health + Money + Politics + Globalization” suddenly, combined into one single global task, creating original new thinking and bringing impossible ideas, people and faraway lands closer and entrepreneurialism in center. 

The Real Test: Any global regions interested in adapting such thought leadership, normally address the common difficult questions: Are there enough small medium enterprises within a nation ready to quadruple their performance, productivity and profitability and display their goods and services on the global stage? Are local trade groups, chambers and associations of the nation in agreement to uplift exportability via upskilling? Are local government agencies fully skilled to cope with such global-age and transformational challenges?  When such programs are not new funding dependent, rather execution and mobilization starve, so what is stopping them. The world can easily absorb unlimited exportable ideas in unlimited vertical markets. The well-designed innovative ideas are worthy of such quadrupled volumes.  The entrepreneurial and dormant talents of a nation are capable of such tasks.  The new global age skills, knowledge and execution are now the missing links

Stage Two: One: Identify and create a national agenda to upskill SME on innovative excellence and exportability. Two: Deploy trade associations and Chambers on digital platforms so memberships skate nationally and globally. Three: Quadruple midsize economy via upskilling for micro-exports and reskilling micro manufacturing. Explore how Expothon Africa is expanding across the continent and how Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim is planning a systematic approach to nations and what are the key lessons while the new global TV Show series on critical grassroots prosperity solutions lining up world-class experts. Regions best bring like-minded trade groups and agencies and create high quality virtual events for local leaderships. The time to change has already passed, the time to mobilize and revolutionize has arrived. Study more on Google.

The 47th G7 Summit UK: The 47th G7 summit scheduled for 11–13 June 2021 in the United Kingdom while it holds the presidency of the G7. The participants will include the leaders of the seven G7 member states as well as representatives of the European Union. The President of the European Commission has been a permanently welcome participant at all meetings and decision-making since 1981, while the current President of the European Council has been the EU’s co-representative since the 36th G8 summit, hosted by Canada in 2010. The Right Honorable, Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, Mario Draghi, Yoshihide Suga, Joe Biden, Ursula von der Leyen, Charles Michel, Scott Morrison, Narendra Modi, Moon Jae-I, Cyril Ramaphosa, participants of the meeting. All hosted by Right Honorable Boris Johnson in the UK on 11-13 June 2021 will create an amazing agenda; the real test is in declaring innovative excellence and national mobilization of programs key elements to create harmoniously global impact on post pandemic economies. The challenge is to ask the ‘most difficult’ questions. The G7 nations will debate while the remaining some 190 Countries watch and try to apply to their own critical paths, hopefully more honest and mature dialogue will appear.

Questions for G7: Here are some key global observations suggested as topics trying to understand futurism:In need of revolutionary minds to conquer something of value for humankindto isolate grassroots prosperity as the most critical issue. Needed are special series of high caliber debates and discussions to foster local economic growth across the world.  Is suggesting to G7 a very good start, or what else do you recommend?

The Key Suggested Hot Topics:

Dawn of Thinker-Gatherers; The largest number of people ever assembled across the world and forced to follow beingremote, isolated, lock downed, displaced, replaced, misplaced, officeless, workless, while able to feel emotionally, suffer economically and think critically, building courage strong enough to face the truth, finally come to some enlightenment of sorts. Do they see dawn, sunshine or sunset? How prepared are national leaders to articulate their own vision of common good and own ideas of local prosperity.

Nouveau Occupationalism; Futurism is disrupting labor-productivity, workforce and Human Resource management. Brand new occupational tasks needed with full comprehension of ‘AI + AR + VR + Remote’ platforms but all this as subservient to our superior mental contributions in our new but respectable occupations. The new world now needs more humanity, like the rise of the Vice President of Thinking and Director of Human Intelligence but clearly differentiated from Captain of Robotic Sniper Dogs. Where is the voice of corporate leadership on AI centricity versus humanity?

Common good is now a common global cause; Success is not in super-complex-manipulated-numbers but hidden in simple adding correctly with real math to tabulate real value creation via human toil of productivity and performance resulting in grassroots prosperity, the collective global leadership must create new measurements. Why are global institutions and trade groups already riding on global rhetoric of commerce, submissive to bureaucratic processes and crypto-hype and not tabling pragmatic and immediately implementable futuristic solutions?

Portability of Industrial Plants; brought nations to their knees, will they ever stand up again? Will exportability of remote workers on virtualized global platforms cover some losses? If a million qualified entrepreneurs were allowed to land in a nation on special permits to mobilize the economy of the nation because academia and government both not only failed to create armies of entrepreneurs but also equally created sophisticated fighting soldiers to fight wars. The notion of expansive and super selected business education served us well during the last century but is questionable today. Which nation is bold enough to discuss such topics openly?

Exportability of Democracy; brought tribalism to its own streets. Will it ever fix the local-social-crisis? Why should we leave all this to historians of latter day millennia to recapture today as our dark days? Should we let them write about why fake-prosperity on its own, without ‘grassroots prosperity’ selling overseas such notions of freedom while sacrificing other cultures to such fakery is nothing but sin? Which leadership is planning a sea change of thinking on such affairs and have an open agenda to discuss or define democracies?

Power of invisible algorithms; when national leadership simply is not skilled enough to question anything on mystery of economic numbers, is there any need to become master crypto-coder or what is required is new realization on how economies are already high-jacked in daylight. Which financial, academic or institutional body is ready to engage to solve such challenges of basic math?

Sound bites articulating the future of a nation; Teleprompters glorified, but messages lost as routine sound bites, citizens wander, when leadership becomes some virtual reality act managed by special teams of sorts. Is it about time to strip naked the heart and soul of the nation?  When will we see frank and honest narratives?

Conclusion: A brighter future awaits; 50% of the world will open commerce, 50% of the global populace will also open their mind, 50% of the current ‘going forward economic development models may not survive. There are some fine teams, some highly articulate leadership and some thriving economies. The challenges are to bring them all together so humankind divides narrow and global collaborative synthesizing rises. Nevertheless, the technology will shine to fill the gaps with speed and efficiency on digital platforms economies leaving paper-based-economies in the dustbin. Plan wisely, submerge in lifelong learning, the Covidians of the world have a full decade of challenging economic disruptions. The issues of climate change and environment are only solved when grassroots prosperity provides full stomach to figure out the working of minds and acquire truthful clarity of common good, otherwise such notions are just expensive global advertising campaigns of smoke and mirrors. Global goals must be for global common good.

Dive deep into futurism but not like an AI Robot, but like a common human being searching for common good.

The rest is easy 

Naseem Javed is a corporate philosopher, Chairman of Expothon Worldwide; a Canadian Think tank focused on National Mobilization of Entrepreneurialism Protocols on Platform Economy and exportability solutions now gaining global attention. His latest book; Alpha Dreamers; the five billions connected who will change the world.

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Economy

Rebalancing Act: China’s 2022 Outlook

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Authors: Ibrahim Chowdhury, Ekaterine T. Vashakmadze and Li Yusha

After a strong rebound last year, the world economy is entering a challenging 2022. The advanced economies have recovered rapidly thanks to big stimulus packages and rapid progress with vaccination, but many developing countries continue to struggle.

The spread of new variants amid large inequalities in vaccination rates, elevated food and commodity prices, volatile asset markets, the prospect of policy tightening in the United States and other advanced economies, and continued geopolitical tensions provide a challenging backdrop for developing countries, as the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects report published today highlights.

The global context will also weigh on China’s outlook in 2022, by dampening export performance, a key growth driver last year. Following a strong 8 percent cyclical rebound in 2021, the World Bank expects growth in China to slow to 5.1 percent in 2022, closer to its potential — the sustainable growth rate of output at full capacity.

Indeed, growth in the second half of 2021 was below this level, and so our forecast assumes a modest amount of policy loosening. Although we expect momentum to pick up, our outlook is subject to domestic in addition to global downside risks. Renewed domestic COVID-19 outbreaks, including the new Omicron variant and other highly transmittable variants, could require more broad-based and longer-lasting restrictions, leading to larger disruptions in economic activity. A severe and prolonged downturn in the real estate sector could have significant economy-wide reverberations.

In the face of these headwinds, China’s policymakers should nonetheless keep a steady hand. Our latest China Economic Update argues that the old playbook of boosting domestic demand through investment-led stimulus will merely exacerbate risks in the real estate sector and reap increasingly lower returns as China’s stock of public infrastructure approaches its saturation point.

Instead, to achieve sustained growth, China needs to stick to the challenging path of rebalancing its economy along three dimensions: first, the shift from external demand to domestic demand and from investment and industry-led growth to greater reliance on consumption and services; second, a greater role for markets and the private sector in driving innovation and the allocation of capital and talent; and third, the transition from a high to a low-carbon economy.

None of these rebalancing acts are easy. However, as the China Economic Update points out, structural reforms could help reduce the trade-offs involved in transitioning to a new path of high-quality growth.

First, fiscal reforms could aim to create a more progressive tax system while boosting social safety nets and spending on health and education. This would help lower precautionary household savings and thereby support the rebalancing toward domestic consumption, while also reducing income inequality among households.

Second, following tightening anti-monopoly provisions aimed at digital platforms, and a range of restrictions imposed on online consumer services, the authorities could consider shifting their attention to remaining barriers to market competition more broadly to spur innovation and productivity growth.

A further opening-up of the protected services sector, for example, could improve access to high-quality services and support the rebalancing toward high-value service jobs (a special focus of the World Bank report). Eliminating remaining restrictions on labor mobility by abolishing the hukou, China’s system of household registration, for all urban areas would equally support the growth of vibrant service economies in China’s largest cities.

Third, the wider use of carbon pricing, for example, through an expansion of the scope and tightening of the emissions trading system rules, as well power sector reforms to encourage the penetration and nationwide trade and dispatch of renewables, would not only generate environmental benefits but also contribute to China’s economic transformation to a more sustainable and innovation-based growth model.

In addition, a more robust corporate and bank resolution framework would contribute to mitigating moral hazards, thereby reducing the trade-offs between monetary policy easing and financial risk management. Addressing distortions in the access to credit — reflected in persistent spreads between private and State borrowers — could support the shift to more innovation-driven, private sector-led growth.

Productivity growth in China during the past four decades of reform and opening-up has been private-sector led. The scope for future productivity gains through the diffusion of modern technologies and practices among smaller private companies remains large. Realizing these gains will require a level playing field with State-owned enterprises.

While the latter have played an instrumental role during the pandemic to stabilize employment, deliver key services and, in some cases, close local government budget gaps, their ability to drive the next phase of growth is questionable given lower profits and productivity growth rates in the past.

In 2022, the authorities will face a significantly more challenging policy environment. They will need to remain vigilant and ready to recalibrate financial and monetary policies to ensure the difficulties in the real estate sector don’t spill over into broader economic distress. Recent policy loosening suggests the policymakers are well aware of these risks.

However, in aiming to keep growth on a steady path close to potential, they will need to be similarly alert to the risk of accumulating ever greater levels of corporate and local government debt. The transition to high-quality growth will require economic rebalancing toward consumption, services, and green investments. If the past is any guide to the future, the reliance on markets and private sector initiative is China’s best bet to achieve the required structural change swiftly and at minimum cost.

First published on China Daily, via World Bank

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The US Economic Uncertainty: Bitcoin Faces a Test of Resilience?

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Is inflation harmful? Is inflation here to stay? And are people really at a loss? These and countless other questions along the same lines dominated the first half of 2021. Many looked for alternative investments in the national bourse, while others adopted unorthodox streams. Yes, I’m talking about bitcoin. The crypto giant hit records after records since the pandemic made us question the fundamentals of our conventional economic policies. And while inflation was never far behind in registering its own mark in history, the volatility in the crypto stream was hard to deny: swiping billions of dollars in mere days in April 2021. The surge came again, however. And it will keep on coming; I have no doubt. But whether it is the end of the pandemic or the early hues of a new shade, the tumultuous relationship between traditional economic metrics and the championed cryptocurrency is about to get more interesting.

The job market is at the most confusing crossroads in recent times. The hiring rate in the US has slowed down in the past two months, with employers adding only 199,000 jobs in December. The numbers reveal that this is the second month of depressing job additions compared to an average of more than 500,000 jobs added each month throughout 2021. More concerning is that economists had predicted an estimated 400,000 jobs additions last month. Nonetheless, according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, the unemployment rate has ticked down to 3.9% – the first time since the pre-pandemic level of 3.5% reported in February 2020. Analytically speaking, US employment has returned to pre-pandemic levels, yet businesses are still looking for more employees. The leverage, therefore, lies with the labor: reportedly (on average) every two employees have three positions available.

The ‘Great Resignation,’ a coinage for the new phenomenon, underscores this unique leverage of job selection. Sectors with low-wage positions like retail and hospitality face a labor shortage as people are better-positioned to bargain for higher wages. Thus, while wages are rising, quitting rates are record high simultaneously. According to recent job reports, an estimated 4.5 million workers quit their jobs in November alone. Given that this data got collected before the surge of the Omicron variant, the picture is about to worsen.

While wages are rising, employment is no longer in the dumps. People are quitting but not to invest stimulus cheques. Instead, they are resigning to negotiate better-paying jobs: forcing the businesses to hike prices and fueling inflation. Thus, despite high earnings, the budget for consumption [represented by the Consumer Price Index (CPI)] is rising at a rate of 6.8% (reported in November 2021). Naturally, bitcoin investment is not likely to bloom at levels rivaling the last two years. However, a downfall is imminent if inflation persists.

The US Federal Reserve sweats caution about searing gains in prices and soaring wage figures. And it appears that the fed is weighing its options to wind up its asset purchase program and hike interest rates. In March 2020, the fed started buying $40 billion worth of Mortgage-backed securities and $80 billion worth of government bonds (T-bills). However, a 19% increase in average house prices and a four-decade-high level of inflation is more than they bargained. Thus, the fed officials have been rooting for an expedited normalization of the monetary policy: further bolstered by the job reports indicating falling unemployment and rising wages. In recent months, the fed purview has dramatically shifted from its dovish sentiments: expecting no rate hike till 2023 to taper talks alongside three rate hikes in 2022.

Bitcoin now faces a volatile passage in the forthcoming months. While the disappointing job data and Omicron concerns could nudge the ball in its favor, the chances are that a depressive phase is yet to ensue. According to crypto-analysts, the bitcoin is technically oversold i.e. mostly devoid of impulsive investors and dominated by long-term holders. Since November, the bitcoin has dropped from the record high of $69,000 by almost 40%: moving in the $40,000-$41,000 range. Analysts believe that since bitcoin acts as a proxy for liquidity, any liquidity shortage could push the market into a mass sellout. Mr. Alex Krüger, the founder of Aike Capital, a New York-based asset management firm, stated: “Crypto assets are at the furthest end of the risk curve.” He further added: “[Therefore] since they had benefited from the Fed’s “extraordinarily lax monetary policy,” it should suffice to say that they would [also] suffer as an “unexpectedly tighter” policy shifts money into safer asset classes.” In simpler terms, a loose monetary policy and a deluge of stimulus payments cushioned the meteoric rise in bitcoin valuation as a hedge against inflation. That mechanism would also plummet the market with a sudden hawkish shift.

The situation is dire for most industries. Job participation levels are still low as workers are on the sidelines either because of the Omicron concern or lack of child support. In case of a rate hike, businesses would be forced to push against the wages to accommodate affordability in consumer prices. For bitcoin, the investment would stay dormant. However, any inflationary surprises could bring about an early tightening of the policy: spelling doom for the crypto market. The market now expects the job data to worsen while inflation to rise at 7.1% through December in the US inflation data (to be reported on Wednesday). Any higher than the forecasted figure alongside uncertainty imbued by the new variant could spark a downward spiral in bitcoin – probably pushing the asset below the $25000 mark.

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Platform Modernisation: What the US Treasury Sanctions Review Is All About

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Image source: home.treasury.gov

The US Treasury has released an overview of its sanctions policy. It outlines key principles for making the restrictive US measures more effective. The revision of the sanctions policy was announced at the beginning of Joe Biden’s presidential term. The new review can be considered one of the results of this work. At the same time, it is difficult to find signs of qualitative changes in the US administration’s approach to sanctions in the document. Rather, it is about upgrading an existing platform.

Sanctions are understood as economic and financial restrictions that make it possible to harm the enemies of the United States, prevent or hinder their actions, and send them a clear political signal. The text reproduces the usual “behavioural” understanding of sanctions. They are viewed as a means of influencing the behaviour of foreign players whose actions threaten the security or contradict the national interests of the United States. The review also defines the institutional structure of the sanctions policy. According to the document, it includes the Treasury, the State Department, and the National Security Council. The Treasury plays the role of the leading executor of the sanctions policy, and the State Department and the NSS determine the political direction of their application, despite the fact that the State Department itself is also responsible for the implementation of a number of sanctions programmes. This line also includes the Department of Justice, which uses coercive measures against violators of the US sanctions regime.

Interestingly, the Department of Commerce is not mentioned among the institutions. The review focuses only on a specific segment of the sanctions policy that is implemented by the Treasury. However, it is the Treasury that is currently at the forefront of the application of restrictive measures. A significant part of the executive orders of the President of the United States and sanctions laws imply blocking financial sanctions in the form of an asset freeze and a ban on transactions with individuals and organisations. Decrees and laws assign the application of such measures to the Treasury in cooperation with the Department of State and the Attorney General. Therefore, the institutional link mentioned in the review reflects the spirit and letter of a significant array of US regulations concerning sanctions. The Department of Commerce and its Bureau of Industry and Security are responsible for a different segment of the sanctions policy, which does not diminish its importance. Export controls can cause a lot of trouble for individual countries and companies.

Another notable part of the review concerns possible obstacles to the effective implementation of US sanctions. These include, among other things, the efforts of the opponents of the United States to change the global financial architecture, reducing the share of the dollar in the national settlements of both opponents and some allies of the United States.

Indeed, such major powers as Russia and China have seriously considered the risks of being involved in a global American-centric financial system.

The course towards the sovereignty of national financial systems and settlements with foreign countries is largely justified by the risk of sanctions.

Russia, for example, is vigorously pursuing the development of a National Payment System, as well as a Financial Messaging System. There has been a cautious but consistent policy of reducing the share of the dollar in external settlements. China, which has much greater economic potential, is building systems of “internal and external circulation”. Even the European Union has embarked on an increase in the role of the euro, taking into account the risk of secondary sanctions from “third countries”, which are often understood between the lines as the United States.

Digital currencies and new payment technologies also pose a threat to the effectiveness of sanctions. Moreover, here the players can be both large powers and many other states and non-state structures. It is interesting that digital currencies at a certain stage may present a common challenge to the United States, Russia, China, the EU and a number of other countries. After all, they can be used not only to circumvent sanctions, but also, for example, to finance terrorism or in money laundering. However, the review does not mention such common interests.

The text does propose measures to modernise the sanctions policy. The first one is to build sanctions into the broader context of US foreign policy. Sanctions are not important in and of themselves, but as part of a broader palette of policy instruments. The second measure is to strengthen interdepartmental coordination in the application of sanctions in parallel with increased coordination of US sanctions with the actions of American allies. The third measure is a more accurate calibration of sanctions in order to avoid humanitarian damage, as well as damage to American business. The fourth measure is to improve the enforceability and clarity of the sanctions policy. Here we can talk about both the legal uncertainty of some decrees and laws, and about an adequate understanding of the sanctions programmes on the part of business. Finally, fifth is the improvement and development of the Treasury-based sanctions apparatus, including investments in technology, staff training and infrastructure.

All these measures can hardly be called new. Experts have long recommended the use of sanctions in combination with other instruments, as well as improved inter-agency coordination. The coordination of sanctions with allies has escalated due to a number of unilateral steps taken by the Trump Administration, including withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal or sanctions against Nord Stream 2. However, the very importance of such coordination has not been questioned in the past and has even been reflected in American legislation (Iran). The need for a clearer understanding of sanctions policy has also been long overdue. Its relevance is illustrated, among other things, by the large number of unintentional violations of the US sanctions regime by American and foreign businesses. The problem of overcompliance is also relevant, when companies refuse transactions even when they are allowed. The reason is the fear of possible coercive measures by the US authorities. Finally, improving the sanctioning apparatus is also a long-standing topic. In particular, expanding the resources of the Administration in the application of sanctions was recommended by the US Audit Office in a 2019 report.

The US Treasury review suggests that no signs of an easing are foreseen for the key targets of US sanctions. At the same time, American business and its many foreign counterparties can benefit from the modernisation of the US sanctions policy. Legal certainty can reduce excess compliance as well as help avoid associated losses.

From our partner RIAC

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