• U.K. Set to Reverse Huawei Decision

    In a dramatic turnaround, the British government will in a few days announce that it was reversing its decision earlier this year to allow Huawei to provide components for Britain’s 5G communication infrastructure. In January, the government said it would push for a deal which would allow Huawei to supply up to 35 percent of the components of the new 5G network, and that these components would be allowed only on the “edge” of the networks, not the networks’ “core.” The government is now set to announce that Huawei’s components will not be allowed in the U.K. 5G networks, and that all of the Chinese company’s gear will be removed from older communication networks by the end of 1922. The government’s January deal would probably have failed to gain approval in parliament, as Conservative backbenchers who oppose the January deal now have more than enough votes to block it.

  • How Market Manipulation in the Age of Pandemic Is Destroying Traditional Safe Havens

    The Coronavirus pandemic has created enormous volatility in global financial markets but prices of safe haven assets such as gold and bitcoin are not surging, as one might expect, thanks to intense and large-scale manipulation, according to analysis by the University of Sussex Business School. The contrast with the last major global financial catastrophe is telling. Following the Lehman Brothers collapse in September 2008, the correlations between the S&P 500 index and gold, or the Swiss Franc, or U.S. Treasuries were all around minus 40%. During March and April 2020 the correlation between the S&P 500 index and gold was plus 20%. The University of Sussex says that even more surprising is the behavior of the bitcoin/US dollar rate – since this cryptocurrency emerged in January 2009 its behavior was completely uncorrelated with any traditional asset, but as the S&P 500 index plummeted in early March 2020, so did bitcoin. Their correlation was plus 63% then, and it remains unsettlingly high at 40%. The biggest beneficiaries of these market attacks, beyond those placing the trades, are holders of US dollars and US assets. These become the main sources of positive returns for global investors in attempts to curtail the recent trend of some central banks to diversify their reserves away from the US dollar.

  • Israeli experts propose radical post-corona exit strategy

    The biggest worry as we start emerging from isolation in the COVID-19 pandemic: How do we return to schools and businesses without triggering a fresh outbreak? Israeli mathematicians suggest a staggered approach to reenter public places and workplaces without causing a new outbreak.

  • Bans on Foreign Equipment in U.S. Critical Infrastructure

    One executive order does not a trend make, but maybe two do. On May 1, President Trump issued an executive order banning the acquisition, importation, transfer or installation of any bulk electric power system equipment where the secretary of energy has determined, first, that the equipment was manufactured by a company controlled by—or subject to the jurisdiction of—a foreign adversary and, second, that the transaction poses an undue risk to the U.S. bulk-power system, economy or national security. Jim Dempsey writes “The order’s issuance signals that the administration’s efforts to purge from the nation’s telecommunications network any equipment made in China may represent a new approach to critical infrastructure in general.”

  • Triad of Disinformation: How Russia, Iran, & China Ally in a Messaging War against America

    China has long deployed widespread censorship, propaganda, and information manipulation efforts within its borders, but information operations directed at foreign audiences have generally focused on framing China in a positive way. In the last two months, however, Beijing, showing itself willing to emulate Russia’s approach to information campaigns, has conducted a much more ambitious effort not only to shape global perspectives about what’s occurring inside China, but to influence public opinion about events outside its borders.

  • Increased Extraterrestrial Ambitions Threaten the Future of Space

    As the number of nations and businesses across sectors look outward to space for new opportunities — and commercial space activities grow — the sustainability of space exploration is more important than ever. as more private sector entities get involved in commercial space activities, the more important it becomes for stakeholders to agree on norms and rules if we are to coordinate space activities to the benefit of everyone.

  • U.S. Seeks to Change the Rules for Mining the Moon

    At the moment, no company – or nation – is yet ready to claim or take advantage of private property in space. But the $350 billion space industry could change quickly. Several companies are already planning to explore the Moon to find raw materials like water; Helium-3, which is potentially useful in fusion nuclear reactors; and rare earth elements, which are invaluable for manufacturing electronics. Anticipating additional commercial interest, the Trump administration has created new rules through an executive order following a 2015 law change for how those companies might profit from operations on the Moon, asteroids and other planets. Those rules conflict with a longstanding international treaty the U.S. has generally followed but never formally joined.

  • Comparing Water Risk Tools for Companies and Investors

    Faced with worsening water security across the globe, companies and investors are increasingly concerned about the water risks faced by their operations, supply chains and investments – and looking for tools to help to assess these risks. New report details similarities and differences between three leading water tools.

  • Australian Investigators Debunk 5G-COVID-19 Conspiracy Theory

    One of the more bizarre conspiracy theories recently created is the one claiming a connection between 5G technology and the virus. Believers argue that that either 5G was responsible for coronavirus, due to the construction of 5G networks in Wuhan, or for “poisoning cells” which created coronavirus. An Australian parliamentary investigation has now debunked this particular piece of misinformation.

  • Americans May Be Willing to Pay $5 Trillion to Stop the Spread of the Coronavirus and Save Lives

    new analysis suggests Americans are willing to pay about US$5 trillion to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save as many lives as possible – dwarfing the $3 trillion Congress has so far agreed to spend to support the U.S. economy and its workers. Diego C. Nocetti and Luciana Echazu write in The Conversation that to get to that figure, they calculated the implicit value of public intervention measures like social distancing and statewide lockdowns – meant to prevent people from catching COVID-19 and possibly dying – by estimating how much people are willing to pay to have them implemented.

  • Lives vs Lives – the Global Cost of Lockdown

    The arrival of a new coronavirus blindsided governments of most advanced nations as they reached for a tool that few had ever really considered before: lockdown. Jayanta Bhattacharya and Mikko Packalen write in The Spectator that it all happened too fast for a proper discussion about the implications. The biggest question — the extent to which lockdown will claim lives as well as save them — is one you can ask at a global level.

  • Has COVID-19 Killed Globalization?

    Even before the pandemic, globalization was in trouble. The open system of trade that had dominated the world economy for decades had been damaged by the financial crash and the Sino-American trade war. Now it is reeling from its third body-blow in a dozen years as lockdowns have sealed borders and disrupted commerce. The Economist writes that those three body-blows have so wounded the open system of trade that the powerful arguments in its favor are being neglected. Wave goodbye to the greatest era of globalization—and worry about what is going to take its place.

  • Forging a New Field: Finance Sustainability

    Climate economists have long focused on governmental policies, economic welfare and the economy as a whole. Financial economists – who study corporate bottom lines – had no scholarly forum for examining the intersection of finance and climate change – until now.

  • State Actions Played Lesser Role in COVID-19 Economic Damage

    Actions by state governments to try to limit the spread of COVID-19 played only a secondary role in the historic spike in U.S. unemployment in March, according to new research. Ohio State University says that while state actions to close schools were linked to an increase in unemployment, these effects were dwarfed by the larger national and international impact of the pandemic, according to researchers at the Ohio State University and Indiana University. Hispanics, young adults (aged 20-24), those without a college education and those with four or more children saw the steepest job losses. In two separate studies – here and here — the researchers took a broad look at the very early impact of the pandemic on jobs in the United States.

  • Take the Shutdown Skeptics Seriously

    Should states ease pandemic restrictions or extend lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders into the summer? That question confronts leaders across the United States. President Trump says that “we have to get our country open.” And many governors are moving quickly in that direction.Critics are dismayed. Citing forecasts that COVID-19 deaths could rise to 3,000 per day in June, they say that reopening without better defenses against infections is reckless. Conor Friedersdorf writes in The Atlantic that such denunciations cast the lockdown debate as a straightforward battle between a pro-human and a pro-economy camp. But the actual trade-offs are not straightforward. Set aside “flattening the curve,” which will continue to make sense. Are ongoing, onerous shutdowns warranted beyond what is necessary to avoid overwhelming ambulances, hospitals, and morgues? The answer depends in part on an unknown: how close the country is to containing the virus.