Weekly Selection 5 July 2019

Hites Ahir, Nicholas Bloom and Davide Furceri, Caution: Trade uncertainty is rising and can harm the global economy

(Vox, July 4, 2019)

This is an essential read to understand why trade uncertainties will ultimately affect global economic growth. This short column presents a new index of world trade uncertainty for 143 countries. It shows that uncertainty in trade is rising sharply, with implications for global economic prospects: it could reduce global growth by up to 0.75 percentage points in 2019 (reads in 6-7 min).

Chandran Nair, Future of China

(China Daily, June 27, 2019)

The founder of the Global Institute for Tomorrow argues that, instead of remaining attached to Western definitions of success and prosperity (consumption-driven growth, an American-level quality of life, etc.), China should try to consider its own path. The reasons are twofold: (1) Relying on Western definitions of success works against China’s self-interest; (2) If defined along Western lines, China’s success may be more fragile than it originally appears. The idea is that China embraces the strategy of “ecological civilization” (reads in less than 5 min).

Damian Carrington, Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis

(The Guardian, July 4, 2019)

Recent research asserts that planting billions of trees across the world is by far the biggest and cheapest way to tackle the climate crisis. Scientists behind it estimate that a worldwide planting program could remove two-thirds of all the emissions that have been pumped into the atmosphere by human activities. This figure is mind-blowing and suggests that tree restoration will soon become a priority for governments and investors alike (reads in 6-8 min).

Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz, People Don’t Care if Their Clothes Are New Anymore

(Quartzy, June 28, 2019)

Investors: pay attention! Overall the idea of “ownership” - clothes, cars, art – is not what it used to be, and in today’s economy, pre-owned goods are a booming business, on the cusp of even more explosive growth. This is shown in particular by the performance of RealReal (a secondhand luxury retailer) whose shares just started trading on Nasdaq. Economic, sustainability and ethical concerns suggest that this trend will endure (reads in less than 5 min).