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Bloomberg Businessweek 5/1/2017

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

6 min
down and almost out in latin america

A document circulating in Peru, part of a broad political corruption investigation, stands as a quaint piece of Hugo Chávez memorabilia. It’s a 2006 letter allegedly penned by the late socialist Venezuelan president to one of his regional comrades, Peruvian presidential candidate Ollanta Humala. It suggests Chávez gave Humala’s campaign $2 million in what the letter calls “revolutionary aid.” Humala, who became Peru’s president in 2011 and left office last year, denies taking cash from Chávez. But the letter recalls something larger: a time when Venezuela wielded clout. A decade ago, as crude prices soared above $100 a barrel, the South American nation with the world’s largest oil reserves was a petro sugar daddy. The firebrand Chávez cast his largesse from the Bahamas to Buenos Aires, buying influence for his left-wing,…

2 min
how populism may stifle growth

The global economy is gathering momentum, the International Monetary Fund has declared. That’s probably correct and undeniably encouraging, but there’s an ominous discord between this expansion and what’s euphemistically called political uncertainty—that is, the stresses caused by surging antitrade, antimarket, anti-immigrant populism. This could be the prelude to some seriously bad policies, enough to derail one or more leading economies and stall the global expansion. There’s another danger, less obvious but no less important: the prospect of chronic underperformance. Even if the new politics don’t bring the ceiling down, they threaten to block longer-term policies that promote growth. The current expansion is steady but unspectacular. The IMF forecasts a 3 percent to 4 percent increase in global output this year and next—slightly better than in 2016. So far investors haven’t taken flight…

1 min
the war on opioid addiction

America’s opioid crisis keeps getting worse. More than 33,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2015, the highest tally on record, and millions still abuse the drugs. Efforts to control the epidemic abound, such as new national prescribing guidelines for doctors, more state drug courts, and increased access to addiction treatment. But opioids are extraordinarily addictive, and the pattern of abuse is shifting: Many people who become hooked on prescription opioids go on to use heroin, or worse, illicit fentanyl, which is many times as potent. Fentanyl overdose, which can occur almost instantaneously when the drug is taken, is the main reason for rising death rates. Federal and state officials are trying several increasingly tough approaches. These efforts are laudable, if piecemeal. But as the crisis expands, so must the response…

3 min

Ups • U.S. astronaut Peggy Whitson set a NASA record for space travel when she spent her 534th day in orbit. Whitson, 57, is scheduled to return from her third trip to the International Space Station in June. • To lead its technology incubator, Wal-Mart Stores hired Jennifer Fleiss, co-founder of fashion startup Rent the Runway. The unit, dubbed Store No. 8, is a proving ground for its e-commerce plays. • Becton-Dickinson will buy fellow medical equipment maker C.R. Bard for $24b in a deal that will help finance the development of more surgical and cancer-treatment products. • French billionaire Bernard Arnault paid $13 billion to reunite fashion house Christian Dior with his luxury conglomerate LVMH Möet Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Arnault said the price was “a little expensive.” 15% • The new corporate tax…

4 min
will the trump bump go thunk?

There was always something precarious about the Trump Bump, the surge of enthusiasm among investors and businesspeople that followed Donald Trump’s surprise victory in November. People got excited partly because other people were excited: They believed optimism would be a self-fulfilling prophecy, setting off a virtuous spiral of spending, investment, and economic growth. Hope remains. Stocks rose almost 2 percent on April 24 and 25, partly in anticipation of the White House’s tax cut announcement. But outside the financial markets, Trump enthusiasts haven’t gotten around to putting their money where their mouths are. Companies haven’t stepped up hiring and investment, and consumers haven’t gone on a spending binge. The virtuous spiral hasn’t started. The U.S. economy continues to grow at the 2 percent rate that marked most of the Obama years—far…

4 min
south korea’s high-value targets

“If Korea is hit by a missile, all electronics production will stop” The future of LG Display Co. is rolling off a production line in Paju, a small city about 20 miles north of Seoul. There, the company has built the world’s premier manufacturing center for large panels using organic light-emitting diodes, an advanced technology that offers a better picture than a liquid crystal display. In late 2015 the LG Electronics Inc. affiliate announced plans to spend more than 10 trillion won ($8.9 billion) on OLED production in Paju. There’s just one problem: location. The plant is only a 15-minute drive from the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas. That proximity puts Paju’s 442,000 inhabitants and LG’s very expensive factory within easy range of Kim Jong Un’s artillery. “We of course get…