HONG KONG – The OECD is projecting an uneven K-shaped economic recovery from the pandemic in 2021. Richer countries with more extensive vaccine rollouts that can afford to reopen and reflate their economies will do so. Poorer economies will struggle to stay healthy and avoid debt crises. But the mantra that “no one is safe until everyone is” highlights the need to spread health, wealth, and self-respect to all. An increasingly prosperous China can and should play a central role in this effort.
With Joe Biden as America’s president, the world hopes that the United States will shift away from Trump’s disruptive confrontational approach toward China relations and embark on a path of pragmatic engagement.
If the rest of the world wants to cooperate on developing green products and services, China will oblige. If it doesn’t, China will rely on its own formidable strengths to sustain its growth and development.
HONG KONG – In 1960, the Nobel laureate economist Ronald H. Coase introduced the “problem of social cost”: human activities often have negative externalities, so individual rights cannot be absolute. Institutions must intervene. There is no better example of this dynamic than the COVID-19 crisis.
HONG KONG – By disrupting the world’s interconnected economic, social, and geopolitical spheres, the COVID-19 crisis has exposed just how fragile and inequitable the institutions that govern them really are. It has also highlighted how difficult it is to address systemic fragility and inequity amid escalating national-security threats.
HONG KONG – Former US National Security Adviser John Bolton’s new book The Room Where It Happened bills itself as “the most comprehensive and substantial account” of President Donald Trump’s administration. And, indeed, it has quickly become a critical resource for those seeking to understand Trump. But, despite Bolton’s juicy revelations about Trump’s conduct of foreign policy (which his administration tried in vain to keep off bookshelves), the book does little to answer the fundamental question facing the US: Is its current foreign-policy muddle Trump’s fault, or the result of something deeper and more structural?
HONG KONG – As governments worldwide confront the terrible choice between saving lives from COVID-19 and protecting people’s livelihoods, economic indicators highlight the intensity of the dilemma. Unemployment has skyrocketed, trade has plunged, and the global economy is facing its worst downturn since the Great Depression. There is only one way to limit the pandemic’s economic fallout: Sino-American cooperation.
HONG KONG – There is nothing like a pandemic to expose systemic differences. For China and the United States, which were locked in an ideologically driven competition even before the COVID-19 crisis, those differences are stark. But the two countries have at least one thing in common: when this is all over, they will need to rethink their social contracts.
HONG KONG – The world is at war. The enemy is resilient, ruthless, and unpredictable, with no regard for race, nationality, ideology, or wealth. Already, it has killed more than 26,000 people and infected over 560,000, from ordinary workers to the United Kingdom’s prime minister and crown prince. It has halted economies, overwhelmed health-care systems, and forced hundreds of millions to remain confined to their homes. And it will not back down.
HONG KONG – Nearly six months after they began, the protests in our city have reached fever pitch. On one particularly devastating day earlier this month, police fired more than 1,500 rounds of tear gas, a police officer shot a demonstrator at point-blank range while being attacked, and protesters immolated a man who disagreed with them. More than 4,000 people have been arrested, infrastructure has been destroyed, and the economy has sunk into recession. And for what?