Swiss Made

Safe Haven

“In peace times it is just Switzerland but in war time it is the only country that everybody has confidence in” – Gertrude Stein

“You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely take care of it for the next generation”. The luxury watch manufacturer’s slogan also sums up the essence of ‘brand’ Switzerland. From watches to banking, the landlocked country has a reputation for precision, quality, reliability and stability. Everything, except for the chocolate of course, is built to last.

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Pollution

Blue Sky Thinking

“Fortune is arranging matters for us better than we could have shaped our desires ourselves” – Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

Mount Kenya now visible from the smog-shrouded city of Nairobi and some of the most polluted waterways have started to run clear. The Great Lockdown’s silver lining has been a drop in air pollution and increase in water quality. But as we ‘return to normal’, political debate appears to be a stark choice between the economy and our collective health. Is this right?

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We are all socialists now

Which way next?

The political left, which loses so many battles, is always tempted to think that it is about to win the war. When the global banking crisis occurred in 2008 there were plenty of fevered analysts on the left who concluded that a crisis in capitalism was bound to lead to a leftwards shift in politics. In fact, a decade in which wage growth has been absent for the average worker has led to a populist reaction that is hard to locate on the usual left/right axis. Could it be different this time?

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Rare Earths

Re-Charging the Future

“The Middle East has its oil, China has rare earths” – Deng Xiaoping (1987)

When President Trump’s bid to buy Greenland took over Twitter last August, it was not a case of outlandish fake news, it was about smartphones and electric cars. As pandemic protectionism takes root, the US still needs to shore up access to rare earths; the export that President Xi Jinping was threatening to weaponise. So where are future sources of ‘rare’ metals required for rechargeable batteries, catalytic converters and wind turbines coming from?

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Smart Health

Patient Power

“Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have” ― Winston S. Churchill

At a time when hugging is potentially lethal and we clap hospital heroes from the safety of our homes, the realisation dawns that many of us have taken for granted the funding and efficiency of our healthcare systems. World citizens now have a handy gauge to judge the administrative efficiency of their rulers. Geo-politics and global commerce will alter. And health, its data and delivery, will become front of mind, globally. So what is the future of healthcare?

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Covid-19

Saved by (which) bell?

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning” – Winston S. Churchill

Five years ago, Bill Gates said “If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few years, it is highly likely to be an infectious disease: not missiles, but microbes”. A decade previously, he wrote “The real story [about Swine flu] is that we are lucky it wasn’t worse because we were almost completely unprepared for it”. In the midst of COVID-19, what is the real story today?

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Spirit of Sport

Competing for Dollars?

“Some people think football is a matter of life and death…I can assure them it is much more serious than that” – Bill Shankly

Horse racing, boxing and jumping were all part of the Olympic Games first held in 776 BC Greece to honour the god Zeus, but ‘The Beautiful Game’ is said to date back to 3rd century BC China. Today, sport is a business predicted to grow to $614 billion by 2022. As countries go in to debt for the honour, does the ROI for hosting the Olympics make economic sense?

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Reality Games

CdR Capital gaming article

Cloud Invaders

“I kept dreaming of a world I thought I’d never see, and then…one day…I got in” – Kevin Flynn, Tron Legacy

When Kevin Flynn entered the ENCOM mainframe in the 1982 film Tron virtual reality became a reality. From Space Invaders in the 1980s to 2019’s best seller, video games now entertain some 30% of the world’s population. Disruption of gaming could see the industry growing to $300 billion p.a. by 2025. But how will the battle for the cloud play out for video games?

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Investor Activism

greta thunberg street art

Making Money Talk

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children” – Native American Proverb

Into the august, wood-panelled room full of senior academic figures and veteran finance-industry alumni, walks an 18-year-old and asks: when will the college’s charitable endowment disinvest from carbon extraction industries? A year later, the foundation was carbon neutral. Today, being socially and environmentally conscious is a risk-mitigation strategy.

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In Vino Veritas

Grapes of Wealth

“The connoisseur does not drink wine but tastes its secrets”—Salvador Dalí

The strife between Burgundy versus Bordeaux could be the least of the fine wine industry’s problems if Hong Kong’s political situation, Brexit and President Trump’s tariffs of 25% on French, German and Spanish wines all continue. Could the $302 billion global wine market, expected to generate revenues of around $424 billion by the end of 2023, be facing headwinds?

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