Bloomberg Businessweek-Europe Edition August 30, 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

Worldwide, coronavirus cases have topped 214 million, 4.5 million have died, and more than 5b vaccine doses have been given. With 1,000 people dying daily in the U.S., the highest level since March, more companies—from Delta to Disney—are requiring or pressuring employees to get the shot. Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine became the first in the U.S. to be granted full regulatory approval. The shot is already a blockbuster for Pfizer, which said in July that it expects it to bring in $33.5 billion in revenue this year, placing it among the biggest-selling drugs of all time. London’s public Changing of the Guard resumed on Aug. 23 after an 18-month pandemic hiatus. The parade of soldiers in tunics and towering bearskin hats was suspended to prevent large crowds from gathering outside Buckingham Palace. “I…

3 min
ignore the doomsayers: u.s. crypto tax provision makes perfect sense

The infrastructure plan wending its way now through the U.S. Congress leaves a lot to be desired. But one of its most bitterly opposed provisions shouldn’t be controversial: a measure aimed at stamping out tax evasion in the burgeoning world of cryptocurrencies. For most investors in many kinds of financial assets, calculating tax is relatively straightforward. Taxable gains are summarized on a 1099 form that brokers give their clients every year. The IRS also gets a copy so it can verify returns. With crypto investments, 1099s are rare. The tax rules were written before such digital assets existed, and traditional brokers often aren’t even involved. Trading occurs through a panoply of venues, including Coinbase, Kraken, and other exchanges; providers of electronic “wallets”; and automated protocols in the nether realm of decentralized finance.…

1 min
drawing blood

OPEC+ meets on Sept. 1 to consider output quotas. Oil prices have dropped as the resurgent coronavirus curbs demand and fears grow over the Fed’s tapering plans. Meituan reports earnings on Aug. 30. Like other Chinese internet companies, the food delivery giant has come under pressure from Beijing’s corporate crackdown. The Eastern Economic Forum takes place in Vladivostok, Russia, on Sept. 2-4. The gathering explores trends in cross-border trade, energy markets, and climate change. A court ruling in the Apple and Epic Games fight should come down the first week of September. At stake: a shake-up of the App Store that could increase outside competition. The Bruegel Annual Meeting on Sept. 1-3 brings together analysts, academics, and economists in Brussels and online to discuss economic, health, and monetary policy. The 47th edition of the Ambrosetti…

6 min
september is here. normal isn’t

When President Joe Biden signed a $1.9 trillion U.S. stimulus package in March, dissolving most of the emergency pandemic safety net come September seemed to make sense. Vaccinations were rising rapidly, and schools were preparing to resume in-person learning in the fall, removing two main hurdles keeping people—especially parents—out of the workforce. All spring long, that month was heralded as a symbolic turning point for the U.S. economy. With schools set to reopen, companies solidified September return-to-office dates. Virus fears were abating, with the country in May on track to have 75% of the population vaccinated in September. The shortage of workers—brought on by a mismatch between the robust snapback in consumer demand and the number of Americans willing and able to work—was expected to “fade in the coming months and…

6 min
the ticking time bomb still on the road

Not quite a decade ago, the potential for defective Takata Corp. air bags to explode in a crash erupted into the global auto industry’s most complex and far-reaching safety crisis in history. Roughly 100 million of them were recalled worldwide. But Ruy Drisaldi, a 42-year-old originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, never learned of the risks until last December, when the air bag in his wife’s used Honda CR-V exploded after another car backed into hers near their home in the southeastern Mexican city of Merida, killing her. Neither Drisaldi nor his wife, Janett Perez, an American citizen, had received a single warning about the recall, he says. “Someone needs to be held responsible,” he says. “You buy a car with air bags and assume you’re protected. I now realize all the…

8 min
the unlikely asset class

The crowd was amped. Some 1,800 strong, they had traveled from across the country amid a raging coronavirus flare-up to assemble in a hotel ballroom in Nashville. The man they were cheering as he took the stage wasn’t a rock star, a preacher, or a politician. It was Spencer Patton, a bespectacled 35-year-old former hedge fund manager in a polo shirt and khakis. Patton has carved out a niche doling out advice to entrepreneurs looking to make it big as contractors for FedEx Ground, the package-delivery service that’s been booming amid a surge in online shopping during the pandemic. “This is like buying Apple at $1 a share—that’s what we’re doing here,” Patton told rapt attendees packed into the presidential chamber at the Gaylord Hotel. “We’re at the tip of the…