Bloomberg Businessweek October 11, 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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2 min
◼ in brief

● Worldwide coronavirus cases have topped 236m Some 4.8 million people have died, and more than 6.4 billion vaccine shots have been given. Denmark and Sweden decided to stop vaccinating younger people with Moderna’s shot because of potential side effects. Meanwhile, Norway recommended that young men choose Pfizer’s shot. ● Fantasia Holdings Group became the latest Chinese property company to miss a maturing bond repayment. The missed payment, on Oct. 4, reignited investor concern about China’s property sector as rival Evergrande Group struggles to stay afloat. ● “Your time of invading our privacy, promoting toxic content, and preying on children and teens is over.” Democratic Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts reacted to testimony by former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen. She accused the company of prioritizing profits over user safety, a charge it denies.…

2 min
fewer political jobs and more professionals in washington, please

Almost nine months into Joe Biden’s presidency, scores of senior executive branch positions remain unfilled. Presidential nominations for more than 200 posts haven’t been announced, and more than 200 nominees await Senate confirmation. Republican politicians are much to blame for indiscriminately blocking votes on Biden’s picks, but the logjam also underscores a bigger problem with political appointments. There are far too many. Out of 2 million federal employees, about 4,000 are appointed by the president, and roughly 1,200 of those require confirmation by the Senate. The appointments clause of the Constitution requires that the president seek the advice and consent of the Senate for all foreign ambassadors and principal government officers. Once mostly limited to cabinet secretaries, that second category now includes dozens of deputy secretaries and undersecretaries; 190 U.S. attorneys…

1 min
▶ a ticking clock

▶ JPMorgan kicks off a busy week of banking earnings on Oct. 13, followed by Bank of America, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley a day later, and Goldman Sachs on Oct. 15. ▶ The World Bank Group and the IMF hold their 2021 annual meetings in Washington on Oct. 11 to discuss the economic outlook, financial stability, and poverty. ▶ The Bank of Korea unveils its policy decision on Oct. 12. In August, South Korea became the first major Asian economy to raise rates and suggested more hikes may be ahead. ▶ G-20 finance ministers and central bankers meet Oct. 15-16 to finalize an agreement reached in July to establish a global minimum corporate tax. ▶ The Milken Institute Global Conference convenes in Los Angeles Oct. 17-20 to examine disruptions, innovations, and economic hardship caused…

6 min
software is coming for your wallet

“There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy,” says Hamlet. The parallel in today’s mobile banking market might be, to quote one startup founder: “There are more financial products for more consumers than you could ever imagine.” Browse potential homes for sale, and Zillow will offer you a mortgage. Buy a pair of sneakers online, you’ll be presented with 16 ways to pay at checkout, from Apple Pay to Klarna. See a stock tip on Reddit, and you can act on it, commission-free, on Robinhood. Should you want to deposit your paycheck directly into cryptocurrency trading app Coinbase, you’ll be able to. (Please don’t.) If you want a no-frills bank account or something close to it, several hundred are vying for your attention: BankMD…

5 min
big law’s white male problem

Elite law firms in the U.S. and the U.K., long seen as fusty bastions of mostly White men, are being pushed by some of their biggest customers to change. Facebook, HP, and Novartis are part of a growing number of major global companies that have warned they’ll take their work elsewhere or cut fees unless they see more racial and gender diversity in the law firms they hire. It’s a serious threat: Facebook Inc. last year spent $1.6 billion on legal fees, settlements, and fines. “Money can make movements,” says Lauren Hauber, a Facebook legal operations manager in San Francisco. “And using buying power to push for change will oftentimes start to move the needle.” It’s not that the companies pushing for change are models of diversity. Most have their own distinct…

7 min
where ev growth is bad news

Ever since Henry Ford’s Model T brought mobility to the masses a century ago, Michigan has been America’s automotive epicenter, home to scores of vehicle parts and production plants—and the tens of thousands of jobs that go with them. Now the birthplace of the U.S. auto industry is suffering a crisis of confidence after being passed over by hometown hero Ford Motor Co. for $11.4 billion in new electric vehicle and battery factories in favor of Kentucky and Tennessee. “The reality,” the Detroit News wrote in an editorial on Sept. 28, is that Michigan is “unprepared to achieve its dreams of dominating the automotive future.” The project includes three battery factories in Kentucky and Tennessee and Ford’s first brandnew assembly plant in a half-century, to be located in a rural area…