The healthcare industry should take design cues from Lyft and Airbnb


In 1966, when life expectancy in the United States was 70 years, nearly three-quarters of Americans said they had great confidence in medical providers, but by 2012 this number had fallen to just one-third of Americans—even though we had gained another eight years of life on average over that time.

No doubt this mistrust has little to with medicine itself and everything to do with economic anxiety.

Medical debt is the leading cause of bankruptcy for American households. We get far less for our money in the United States for medical treatment compared to other countries, while at the same time being required to navigate a confusing bureaucracy that demands we unravel Kafkaesque intricacies of insurance enrollment, FSAs, HSAs, co-payments, and pre-existing conditions to get the services we need.

It’s hard to have confidence in an inefficient system that threatens to leave you destitute if you take advantage of its benefits.

Source: The healthcare industry should take design cues from Lyft and Airbnb

As markets swoon, finance chiefs urge US, China to cool it


Countries are mostly in a “strong position,” said Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, “which is why we believe we are not seeing what is referred to as ‘contagion.’”

But the gyrations that rocked Wall Street the day before and Asia and Europe on Thursday, taking the Shanghai Composite index down 5.2 percent and Japan’s Nikkei 225 nearly 4 percent, do partly reflect rising interest rates in the U.S. and some other countries and growing uncertainty over trade, she said.

Source: As markets swoon, finance chiefs urge US, China to cool it

BREXIT: The Political Declaration | The Federal Trust

Much more elusive and uncertain is a parallel debate and negotiation occurring in the Brexit talks, that about the Political Declaration that will accompany the Withdrawal Agreement in which the Irish “backstop” will be incorporated.

This Political Declaration will supposedly provide significant guidance as to the nature of the economic relationship desired by the EU and UK after Brexit. The Agreement will be a legally precise and binding document, while the Declaration will be more general and aspirational in character.

Even so, the Declaration will be far from a formality and widely different conceptions exist of its appropriate style and contents. Although theoretically separate texts, the Agreement and Declaration will be politically and logically linked in a number of respects.

Source: BREXIT: The Political Declaration | The Federal Trust

A tech boom in Pittsburgh brings hope and angst | Reuters


At a conference in Pittsburgh last month showcasing new technology companies, Mayor Bill Peduto cautioned the city to avoid the “precarious position” of Silicon Valley, where an explosion of tech wealth has left many people behind.

“It’s at the front of everyone’s brain,” Peduto said.

Source: A tech boom in Pittsburgh brings hope and angst | Reuters

Unwelcome guest: U.S. tariffs loom at China’s biggest trade fair | Reuters


Many of those exporters will have something in common – uncertainty over future U.S. orders as a trade war with the United States rages.

The turmoil has added to concerns over the health of the Chinese economy, already under pressure from a cooling property market, a crackdown on corporate debt and risky lending practices, and a nationwide anti-pollution campaign.

Source: Unwelcome guest: U.S. tariffs loom at China’s biggest trade fair | Reuters

What the forgotten Americans really want−and how to give it to them


America is divided—economically, politically, and culturally.

Income inequality is at virtually unprecedented levels. Political polarization has risen to new heights (although the public is less polarized than their elected representatives). And we are sorting ourselves into distinctive cultural tribes that increasingly live in different communities.

The proportion of parents who would be disturbed if their child married someone from the opposite party has risen from 5 percent in 1960 to about 50 percent now.

The election of Donald Trump didn’t cause these divisions, but his presidency is exacerbating them.

With midterm elections fast approaching and the future of our political system at a crossroads, the question on everyone’s mind is: what can we do?

Source: What the forgotten Americans really want−and how to give it to them

South Africa gets $35 bln in investment pledges towards $100 bln goal | Reuters

South Africa has investment commitments of $35 billion as part of plans by President Cyril Ramaphosa to attract $100 billion over the next five years to revive the country’s flagging economy, his economic adviser told Reuters on Wednesday.

“There is about $35 billion that has been pledged,” Makhaya said. “We’ve had $10 billion committed from Saudi Arabia. About $10 billion from the UAE, and around $15 billion committed from China when you’re looking at government to government deals.”

Source: South Africa gets $35 bln in investment pledges towards $100 bln goal | Reuters

Auditors warn of risk of over-promising and under-delivering with EU funds | EURACTIV.com


Despite the EU budget representing only 1% of the bloc’s GDP, the European Commission and the European Parliament are adding new priorities to finance with the common funds.

But while the number of challenges keep increasing, member states are not improving their use of EU resources

Last year, EU countries only spent between 10 and 15% of the outstanding commitments available.

Source: Auditors warn of risk of over-promising and under-delivering with EU funds – EURACTIV.com

How to Stop a War Between the United States and China | Time


In a little-noticed pivot, the Administration set up China as the major geopolitical opponent of the United States in no uncertain terms, led by a speech from Vice President Mike Pence.

This change in position — not to be confused with the far more benign “Pacific Pivot” of the Obama Administration — has set off alarm bells ringing from Tokyo to Melbourne.

We are seeing China bursting with new power and political purpose in global economics (with the one-belt, one-road strategy); aggressive political strategies aimed at hold-out democratic enclaves like Hong Kong and Taiwan; deep cultural accomplishment (featuring a dynamic film industry and a powerful state-sponsored sports culture); a muscular control over international Chinese figures (arresting the head of Interpol and a globally famous film star); and a far more assertive approach in international organizations (including creating the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank).

Source: How to Stop a War Between the United States and China | Time

Huawei unveils new AI chips amid Chinese technology ambitions | Reuters


The move, which will see Huawei use its own chips in its servers for the first time, comes as China is looking to speed up the development of its semiconductor market here amid a fierce trade stand-off with the United States that has underscored the country’s reliance on imported technology.

China wants locally made chips inside 40 percent of all smartphones in the domestic market by 2025 and is betting billions of dollars on homegrown champions to get there.

Source: Huawei unveils new AI chips amid Chinese technology ambitions | Reuters