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Bloomberg Businessweek

Bloomberg Businessweek 10/23/2017

Each issue of Businessweek features in-depth perspectives on the financial markets, industries, trends, technology and people guiding the economy. Get the digital magazine subscription today and 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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United States
Bloomberg Finance LP
50 Issues

in this issue

3 min
in brief

Americas ● American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault will step down after 16 years, to be replaced by current Vice-Chairman Steve Squeri. ● Hedge fund titan George Soros turned the bulk of his wealth, $18b over to Open Society Foundations, a philanthropy he started that focuses on refugees, public health, and fighting hate crimes, among other things. ● Canada and Mexico rejected hard-line U.S. trade proposals on cars and dairy products. Nafta negotiations have now been extended into 2018. ● Crews finally tamed fires that ripped across Northern California’s wine country, killing 42 people and leaving more than 100,000 temporarily or permanently displaced. ▷ Visit bloomberg.com/businessweek for our full photo series. ● Private equity investor Thomas Barrack started talks to buy the Weinstein Co., which has seen an exodus of projects and board members as sexual…

7 min
la dolce procrastinazione

Rome this past summer could easily be confused with the capital of an aspiring failed state. A drought exacerbated by crumbling infrastructure led to threats of daily 8-hour water shut-offs. The aqueducts, historically the pride of Rome, leaked some 40 percent of their flow. Trash piled high in the parks and grass went uncut as the city grappled with public works corruption scandals. Over the course of the summer, police discovered at least two clandestine hazardous-waste-disposal plants, although the news coverage curiously focused on how the hidden facilities evaded their electric bills. The upside, for some, is that the city’s buses have become free for fare dodgers, because there aren’t enough ticket checkers. And in a symbolic touch, the parched, overgrown Roman landscape became tinder for fires that sent clouds…

3 min
decertified: the next steps on iran nukes

President Trump’s decertification of the Iranian nuclear deal is a mistake. Yes, supporters of the agreement have exaggerated its benefits—but on balance, the world is better off with it than without it. In the near term, the decertification doesn’t really change much. The deal will remain in effect while Congress considers reimposing sanctions on Iran. If it does so, that will in effect kill the pact. There is little indication lawmakers from either party are eager to quash the agreement immediately. Doing so would be foolish: The U.S. and its allies have already given up most of their required concessions, while Iran’s obligations won’t be fulfilled for years. Indeed, not even Trump wants to tear up the deal right now; instead, he’s asked lawmakers to establish a list of Iranian actions, or…

7 min
the kids who rule toyland

One evening in June 2016, Isaac Larian lay in bed at his Malibu, Calif., home, unable to sleep. So the chief executive officer of the world’s largest private toy company, MGA Entertainment Inc., did what any insomniac toy CEO would do to unwind: He watched viral videos of kids unboxing toys on YouTube. Don’t laugh. Videos by youthful toy reviewers can get millions of views, and watching toys being freed from their packaging has become must-see TV for many fans. “I said to myself, How are we going to take advantage of this phenomenon and make the ultimate unboxing toy?” Larian recalls. “I challenged my design team, and they came up with the idea.” Five months later, MGA released L.O.L. Surprise!, a small plastic sphere concealing a miniature doll and its…

4 min
the japan that can’t keep up

Japanese manufacturers were once held in awe for their mastery of flexible manufacturing and a continuous improvement mantra that revolutionized business practices the world over. Even now, for example, Fanuc (page 48) remains the preeminent maker of sophisticated robots, sought by manufacturers from China to the U.S. But an increasing number of companies in China, South Korea, and elsewhere have found success emulating—and often besting—Japan’s long-established enterprises, forcing them to scramble. The latest sign of just how desperate many Japanese companies have become to stay ahead of foreign rivals: Kobe Steel Ltd.’s admission this month that for years it has faked data on the quality of its aluminum, copper, and steel products. Those metals have been used in high-precision products made by hundreds of Kobe’s customers, including cars from Toyota Motor…

6 min
these guys will print them

Tim Ellis and Jordan Noone are both in their mid-20s, and it shows. The two aerospace engineers are energetic, optimistic, and so ambitious they can’t help sounding a little bonkers. In a small factory a couple of miles from Los Angeles International Airport, Ellis and Noone have spent the past two years working to build a rocket using only 3D printers. Their startup, Relativity Space Inc., is betting that removing humans from the manufacturing equation will make rockets way cheaper and faster to produce. The going rate for a rocket launch is about $100 million; Relativity says that in four years its price will be $10 million. “This is the right direction,” says Ellis, the chief executive officer, during the first-ever press tour of the company’s headquarters. “The 3D printing and…