Bloomberg Businessweek-Europe Edition January 11, 2021

Each issue of Businessweek features in-depth perspectives on the financial markets, industries, trends, technology and people guiding the economy. Draw upon Businessweek's timely incisive analysis to help you make better decisions about your career, your business, and your personal investments.

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2 min
in brief

Globally, coronavirus cases have exceeded 86.9 million, and almost 1.9m people have died. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Jan. 4 ordered the U.K. into a third lockdown, lasting until the middle of February, after a spike in infections threatened to overwhelm hospitals. Motorists wait to take a coronavirus test in a parking lot at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 4. That day, Los Angeles County instructed ambulance crews not to transport patients with little chance of survival, as its hospitals are at full capacity. President-elect Joe Biden has selected Merrick Garland to be his attorney general. The federal appeals court judge was snubbed in 2016 by Republicans for a seat on the Supreme Court. Employees of Google and its parent company are unionizing. The Alphabet Workers Union will collect dues, pay organizers, and have an elected…

2 min
a push to ‘buy american’ won’t make the country stronger

The coronavirus pandemic has shaken Americans’ faith in global commerce. After witnessing sometimes life-threatening shortages of medical supplies and goods such as parts for household appliances, politicians have been leaning toward a blunt solution: Compel companies to produce what’s needed on U.S. soil. The problem is real, but this approach—supposing that domestic production of all necessities was even possible—would be enormously costly. A judicious shift from “just in time” to “just in case” manufacturing is required, but it needs to be done intelligently. Maximum resilience doesn’t mean maximum isolation. The Covid-19 crisis exposed serious flaws in supply chains, which over the past several decades have come to depend heavily on precisely timed deliveries from far-flung locales. These vulnerabilities perhaps shouldn’t have come as a shock, but they did. As of 2018, China accounted…

1 min
virtual in vegas

JPMorgan and Citigroup report their fourth-quarter earnings on Jan. 15. With the pandemic roiling markets last year, trading was among banks’ most profitable businesses. Germany’s CDU party holds a conference on Jan. 15-16 to pick a leader who will take the country’s biggest political group into the post-Angela Merkel era. The Bank of Korea meets Jan. 15 to set monetary policy. The bank has said it can step in and stabilize currency markets, though economists see rates staying steady this year. At Jeff Gundlach’s annual webcast on Jan. 12—an event investors watch closely—the billionaire fund manager will discuss his trading ideas and outlook for 2021. TSMC reports fourth-quarter earnings on Jan. 14. The results of the Taiwanese maker of the iPhone’s processors are typically a good indicator of how Apple is doing. The 2021 World…

5 min
a long day for democracy

“The enemies of democracy will rejoice at these inconceivable images,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tweeted on Jan. 6. Followers of President Trump had stormed the Capitol that afternoon to stop the certification of the Electoral College ballots that elected Joe Biden. As lawmakers went into hiding, the mob roamed the marble halls, occupied the Senate chamber, and trashed offices. Live video showed a party atmosphere, with some of the insurrectionists posing for pictures in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and the seat where minutes before Vice President Mike Pence had presided over the ballot counting. Trump incited the riot by telling his followers the election was stolen and urging them to march on the Capitol. When he finally told them to go home in a video message, he added, “We love…

7 min
latinos are 18% of the u.s. population … … but only 3% of corporate directors

Racial justice protests last summer brought attention to the lack of diversity in just about every power center in America. But while calls for policing reforms and a reduction in income inequality have commanded headlines, some Hispanic leaders have used the moment to cast a spotlight on a less noticed uphill diversity initiative: boosting the representation of Latinos in boardrooms of a nation where they’re already the largest ethnic group. Hispanic activists think the time is ripe for making advances. In September, California approved a law that will require public companies based in the state to have more women on their boards and at least one director from an underrepresented minority by the end of 2021. Nasdaq in December submitted a proposed rule to the Securities and Exchange Commission that would…

5 min
china’s next big auto market: used cars

Although China has more than 270 million vehicles on its roads, only an estimated 15 million secondhand models were sold in 2019. That’s in sharp contrast to places such as Australia, the U.K., and the U.S., where people buy more used cars than new ones. So policymakers, intent on stimulating domestic consumption, want to change that. China is aiming to double the size of its secondhand-car market to about 2 trillion yuan ($306 billion) by 2025. To get there, Beijing has slashed taxes on used-car dealers, in May reducing the levy to 0.5% from 3%—far less than the 17% tax on new vehicles. It’s also making it easier for dealers to trade used cars among themselves by classifying a secondhand vehicle without a license plate as a commodity rather than…