📈 Future Trends — Bloated Prisons, Truce Talks, Broken Systems
Welcome to the June 16th, 2020 edition of Future Trends. This series, curated by the Institute for Economics & Peace, takes a look at global news which may provide insight to the future. Here’s what you need to know this week:
European countries face the biggest economic hit from COVID-19. The “double-hit scenario” would knock down their GDP by 14% or more, nearly double the global projection of 7.6%. The US would also fare worse than average in a second wave, at 8.5%.
The post-coronavirus economic slump will be less impactful in Asia than the West. The OECDs second wave scenario predicts 2020 GDP declines of 7.25% in Japan and India, 3.9% in Indonesia, 3.7% in China, and 2.5% in South Korea, compared to a world average 7.5% year-over-year drop.
BP writes down energy asset values on bleak COVID-19 oil outlook. BP will write off US$17.5 billion from the value of its oil and gas assets as the COVID-19 crisis accelerates a shift away from fossil fuels. The energy giant is reinventing its strategy to focus on its growing renewables business.
UK economy shrinks by a record 20.4% in April due to lockdown. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the “historic” fall affected virtually all areas of activity. The contraction is greater than the decline seen during the whole of the 2008 to 2009 economic downturn.
Swiss police probe 8 year old boy over toy banknote. Swiss police confirmed they investigated an eight-year-old boy after he allegedly asked whether he could use a toy banknote in a village shop. Even though the note was clearly identified as pretend money, shop staff felt obliged to call the police.
Nigeria to cut healthcare spending by 40% despite coronavirus cases climbing. The crash in global oil prices and the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic are cited to be the reason for the cuts. Cuts could affect immunisations, childcare, maternal healthcare and family planning services.
Huawei builds up 2-year reserve of ‘most essential’ US chips. The stockpile aims to shield against Washington DC crackdowns, however a long-term solution remains elusive. Huawei’s stockpiling efforts focused on central processors made by Intel for use in servers and programmable chips from the US based Xilinx.
Americas bloated prison system has stopped growing. America, with less than 5% of the worlds population, accounts for around 25% of the worlds prisoners. The system has been designed to react to crime and to punish – it needs to prevent crime instead. That will take a broad cultural change.
EU says China behind ‘huge wave’ of COVID-19 disinformation in Europe. China has been accused by Brussels of running disinformation campaigns as the bloc set out a plan to tackle false facts about the coronavirus pandemic. An example – French care workers had abandoned their jobs leaving residents to die.
UN Libya mission says warring sides have engaged in truce talks. Libya’s warring sides have begun to engage in a new round of ceasefire talks, after rapid gains by the internationally recognised government around the central coastal city of Sirte.
Minneapolis to dismantle its police force. Minneapolis City Council has promised to create a new system of public safety in a city where law enforcement has long been accused of racism. Saying that the city’s policing system could not be reformed, the move represents an unprecedented turning point.
Democracies contain epidemics most effectively. People living under freely elected governments have been more responsive to lockdown measures.
Britain witnesses ugly scenes as demonstrations become violent. A large group of Far-Right demonstrators headed to the centre of the capital to protect a statue of Winston Churchill that had been vandalised during Black Lives Matter protests. More than 100 people were arrested in London alone.
Erdogan’s parallel police force. Turkish President Erdogan has greatly increased the so-called ‘neighbourhood watch’. Now he wants to give the 23,000 strong troop of mostly young men more skills and increase its numbers to 30,000.
Things are looking calmer along the China-India border. The two countries are reportedly pulling back troops from areas of the disputed border region in the Himalayas, a key step in de-escalating the recent standoff.
Signal downloads are up since the protests began. Over the last two weeks, the number of Americans who have downloaded Signal, an encrypted messaging application, has skyrocketed. Many are using the app to organize and participate in protests against police brutality (without being spied on by law enforcement).
Lockdown measures prevented around three million deaths in Europe. It is estimated that over 3 million people would have died by the beginning of May if no lockdown measures had been enforced.
COVID-19 highlights broken systems. The pandemic has shown that Kenya has been operating under broken systems. For instance, there has been a rush to fix Kenyans healthcare and food systems, which are not resilient enough to take on such unprecedented shocks.
The COVID-19 pandemic is much more than just a health crisis, and may have erased all progress in human development from the past six years by increasing inequality around the world.