Sunday, October 17News That Matters

Tag: Income Inequality

World’s Growth Cools and the Rich-Poor Divide Widens

World’s Growth Cools and the Rich-Poor Divide Widens

Business
As the world economy struggles to find its footing, the resurgence of the coronavirus and supply chain chokeholds threaten to hold back the global recovery’s momentum, a closely watched report warned on Tuesday.The overall growth rate will remain near 6 percent this year, a historically high level after a recession, but the expansion reflects a vast divergence in the fortunes of rich and poor countries, the International Monetary Fund said in its latest World Economic Outlook report.Worldwide poverty, hunger and unmanageable debt are all on the upswing. Employment has fallen, especially for women, reversing many of the gains they made in recent years.Uneven access to vaccines and health care is at the heart of the economic disparities. While booster shots are becoming available in some wea...
Moderna, Racing for Profits, Keeps Covid Vaccine Out of Reach of Poor

Moderna, Racing for Profits, Keeps Covid Vaccine Out of Reach of Poor

Business
Moderna’s market value has nearly tripled this year to more than $120 billion. Two of its founders, as well as an early investor, this month made Forbes magazine’s list of the 400 richest people in the United States.As the coronavirus spread in early 2020, Moderna raced to design its vaccine — which uses a new technology known as messenger RNA — and to plan a safety study. To manufacture the doses for that trial, the company received $900,000 from the nonprofit Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.The nonprofit group said Moderna had agreed to its “equitable access principles.” That meant, according to the coalition, that the vaccine would be “first available to populations when and where they are needed and at prices that are affordable to the populations at risk, especially lo...
The Zambian Economist at the Crossroads of Global Business

The Zambian Economist at the Crossroads of Global Business

Business
Absolutely. I was born and raised in one of the poorest countries in the world and one that unfortunately remains so today. So I’m genuinely trying to find out the solution. Rather than say, “Growth is inherently the problem,” I actually think the manner in which we have created growth has been the problem. The reality is public policymakers have been using shortcuts to fuel growth, such as debt, such as a society that rewards capital more than it does labor, such as a lack of appreciation of the global picture. It’s sort of every nation for itself, and that results in a situation where you end up with public policymakers focusing on short-term solutions, and a decoupling between long-term economic imperatives and policies that will help win short-term elections. We are too focused on the ...

Debate Looms Over I.M.F.: Should It Do More Than Put Out Fires?

Business
Lopsided access to vaccinations, extreme economic inequality, rising food prices and staggering debt are on the agenda when the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank gather for their annual meetings in Washington next week.A pressing issue not in the official program is the controversy that has been swirling for weeks around the chief of the I.M.F., Kristalina Georgieva, threatening her leadership.An investigation last month accused Ms. Georgieva of rigging data to paint China as more business friendly in a 2018 report when she was chief executive at the World Bank. Ms. Georgieva has denied any wrongdoing.The scandal has focused on the bank’s credibility — billion-dollar decisions can be made on the basis of its information — as well as Ms. Georgieva’s culpability.But lurking behi...

For Schumer and Pelosi, the Challenge of a Career With No Margin for Error

Technology, World
Ms. Pelosi has been in difficult situations before. She had to coax enough anti-abortion Democrats to back the House’s version of the Affordable Care Act without losing liberals, who were already smarting over the Senate’s exclusion of a new government-run plan, or “public option,” that would have competed with private insurance in the bill’s insurance marketplace.Then Senate Democratic leaders abruptly lost their filibuster-proof, 60-vote majority, after a Republican, Scott Brown, shocked Washington by winning the special election in Massachusetts to to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the death of Edward M. Kennedy. Ms. Pelosi had to persuade House Democrats to swallow their pride, forget months of painstaking negotiations and simply pass the Senate’s version of the Affordable Care Ac...
How Black and Hispanic Millennials Are Looking Outside of 401k’s for Investing

How Black and Hispanic Millennials Are Looking Outside of 401k’s for Investing

Business
“We almost went bankrupt,” he said. “We lost almost $350,000.” To date, Mr. Napoleon has been able to replenish only a fraction of the savings he poured into the business, dealing a major setback to his long-term plan to buy property and create a stream of rental income.“I’ve always made it my goal to be financially free,” Mr. Napoleon said. “My family is dirt poor,” he said. “Luck is what provides their stability.” It was frustrating now, he said, to realize that his credit score had sunk under the weight of the debt he accrued when his cash flow plunged. Now he effectively has to start over.Mr. Napoleon said his family home in Brooklyn where he and his four siblings, one of whom has special needs, grew up has been in foreclosure for more than a decade. “They worked real hard as immigrant...
China’s Xi Pressures Tycoons With ‘Common Prosperity’ Talk

China’s Xi Pressures Tycoons With ‘Common Prosperity’ Talk

Business
Four decades ago, Deng Xiaoping declared that China would “let some people get rich first” in its race for growth. Now, Xi Jinping has put China’s tycoons on notice that it is time for them to share more wealth with the rest of the country.Mr. Xi says the Communist Party will pursue “common prosperity,” pressing businesses and entrepreneurs to help narrow the stubborn wealth gap that could hold back the country’s rise and erode public confidence in the leadership. Supporters say China’s next phase of growth demands the shift.“A powerful China should also be a fair and just China,” Yao Yang, a professor of economics at Peking University who endorses the shift in priorities, said by email. “China is one of the worst countries in terms of redistribution, despite being a socialist country. Pub...
Some Say Low Interest Rates Cause Inequality. What if It’s the Reverse?

Some Say Low Interest Rates Cause Inequality. What if It’s the Reverse?

Business
It’s an article of faith among many in the financial world: The Federal Reserve’s low interest rate policies and other steps meant to boost the economy are driving the value of stocks and other assets to the moon, and thus are a major cause of high wealth inequality.That idea can be heard in documentaries, newspaper opinion articles and many segments on cable financial news. It may also be backward.New evidence suggests high inequality is the cause, not the result, of the low interest rates and high asset prices evident in recent years. That is a provocative implication of new research presented on Friday at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s annual Jackson Hole economic symposium (which was conducted virtually because of the pandemic).Seeing how that new notion connects with the bo...
Financial Advice for Couples: How to Keep Things Equal

Financial Advice for Couples: How to Keep Things Equal

Business
A year and a half of pandemic living has revealed — or reminded us of — some persistent patterns around money, gender, marriage and families. And they aren’t always pretty.There is anecdotal evidence of men confiscating their wives’ federal relief checks, and data showing a link between financial stress and domestic violence. And millions of women felt they had no choice but to leave paid employment to provide care for children or other family members.Matrimony and parenting involve compromise, without question (and sometimes, seemingly, without end). But it need not be disproportionate.There are plenty of reasons to equalize the financial decision-making in your marriage — and this goes for every couple, heterosexual or not. If you’re among the many getting married now as part of the grea...
Biden and the Fed Wanted a Hot Economy. There’s Risk of Getting Burned.

Biden and the Fed Wanted a Hot Economy. There’s Risk of Getting Burned.

Business
Jason Furman, a Harvard economist and former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, points out that the United States is experiencing significantly higher inflation than other countries that are facing the same supply problems. Consumer prices rose 2.2 percent in the year ended in July in the euro area, compared with 5.4 percent in the United States.“My guess is that real wage growth is faring better right now in Europe than it is in the United States, and it’s faring better because there is less demand and thus less inflation,” Mr. Furman said.The story is better when you look at how lower-paid workers in the United States are doing. The shortages of workers, especially in service industries, are translating into raises for people who don’t make a lot. Data from the Fed...