Bloomberg Businessweek

Bloomberg Businessweek March 15, 2021

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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1 min
e4 the rich get richer—but not everywhere

The World Inequality Database, built by an international network of more than 100 academics, including Thomas Piketty and Nobel Prize winner Abhijit Banerjee, makes it possible to compare income inequality in 173 countries. The estimates are based on a mix of sources, including tax data, surveys, and national and other statistics. Introduced in 2011, the database was recently expanded to add dozens of nations, bringing total coverage to 97% of the world’s population. The new data give a richer picture of how inequality varies among countries. Globalization and other trends have inflated the top 1%’s share of the pie in most places, including Mexico and India, but in Austria, Vietnam, and elsewhere, government policies and trends such as a growing middle class have kept inequality in check. The chart below shows…

2 min
rachel robasciotti

After growing up Black and poor, Robasciotti graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and worked at large financial-services companies. In 2004 she started her own firm, which focused on investing that incorporates social justice. This month her firm, Robasciotti & Philipson, agreed to merge with impact asset manager Abacus Wealth Partners. Did having your own company change the way you were treated? The name of the firm started with my last name. But early on when a client would come to our office and be greeted by both me and Maya [Philipson], a tall, lovely White woman who was then an associate, they would always extend their hand to Maya first and assume she was Rachel Robasciotti. Because she was a White woman, there was the expectation that she looked…

2 min
r.s. praveen kumar

Following a successful career as a regional police chief and a stint at Harvard’s Kennedy School, Kumar began a second act as head of India’s Telangana state residential schools for students from the lowest castes. His mission: to teach 200,000 marginalized kids that they can excel. You changed careers after you left Harvard. What happened? I came back to help liberate a community which was historically oppressed with no resources. I deeply believe education is the only weapon that can save the poorest of the poor from a life of victimhood. So I came to education. You manage about 400 schools where promising, poor village children go to live on residential campuses and complete their studies in English. That’s a big societal change. Historically, the marginalized people called untouchables or Dalit have been kept…

4 min
mexico’s covid codependency

Andrés Manuel López Obrador came to power promising to make Mexico’s economy less dependent on its giant northern neighbor. His pandemic policies are having the opposite effect. The Mexican president has run one of the world’s most austere budgets through the Covid-19 crisis, declining to borrow extra money as the economy slumped. The stimulus that prevented an even deeper recession, and is set to drive a rebound this year, is coming from the U.S. instead. Mexico has benefited in two pivotal ways from U.S. pandemic spending, which is set to exceed $5 trillion with the Biden administration’s bill. Remittances surged to an all-time high as Mexicans authorized to work in the U.S. received stimulus checks and sent some of the money home. Exports also hit a record, because Mexican factories make a…

17 min
e2 tax code so white by ben steverman

Growing up in the Bronx during the 1960s and ’70s, Dorothy Brown couldn’t escape racism. It was all around. Her father, James, a plumber, being barred from joining the local union. Her mother, Dottie, having to battle prejudiced teachers, including one who marked down Dorothy’s sister’s grades so the precocious child wouldn’t upstage her White classmates. Or the White cop beating a handcuffed Black man in the backseat of a cruiser, something she once observed while waiting to cross a street. As a teenager, Brown thought she’d found a way out—a loophole in American racism. Taking an accounting class, the self-described math geek discovered the U.S. tax code, a universe governed by intricate rules where race wouldn’t matter. In tax law, she thought, “the only color that mattered was green.” The…

8 min
e5 the lgbtq struggle continues

Acceptance of LGBTQ people is growing around the world, and their rights are increasing, too. In the two decades since Pew began polling global attitudes toward homosexuality, almost a dozen countries, from Canada to Kenya, have seen double-digit increases in the share of respondents who say LGBTQ people should be “accepted by society.” Wealthier nations with more developed economies and a higher per capita gross domestic product have tended to lead the way. In Sweden and the Netherlands, for example, more than 90% of those surveyed for Pew’s 2020 report favored more acceptance. However, a closer look at what’s happening in predominantly Catholic or Muslim countries, among others, shows a more precarious situation, in which hard-won rights aren’t guaranteed and in some respects are being rolled back. Towns across Poland…