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Bloomberg Businessweek-Asia Edition

Bloomberg Businessweek-Asia Edition December 23, 2019

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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Bloomberg Finance LP
50 Issues

in this issue

10 min
“so i says to the doc, ‘does this thing look like a bubble to you?”

Apologies for being churlish in the holiday season, but the let-nothing-ye-dismay attitude of the financial markets has me worried. The exuberance feels irrational. Asset bubbles form, remember, when greed overwhelms fear. It’s a truism that bad loans are made in good times when lenders relax their standards. As the American economist Hyman Minsky once put it, stability breeds instability. Investors get edgy when asset prices are down, but they should be more concerned at times like now, when prices have gone up, up, and up. Through Dec. 17 the S&P 500 index has gained 27% this year. The market feels as frothy as the top of a nutmeg cappuccino. “We enter the next decade with interest rates at 5,000-year lows, the largest asset bubble in history, a planet that is heating up,…

12 min
where the 737 max went off course

On an overcast Friday in January 2016, thousands of employees gathered outside the 737 jetliner factory in a Seattle suburb for the first flight of the Max, the newest version of Boeing Co.’s 50-year-old workhorse. Thousands more watched a live feed at their desks. Two of Boeing’s ace test pilots sat at the controls, one an ex-U.S. Air Force fighter jock, the other a Navy veteran who’d also flown experimental planes for NASA. As the pilots fired up the first engine, the hulking plane rolled forward several feet—they’d forgotten to set the parking brake. Inside the fraternity of Boeing pilots, it was an eyebrow-raising moment that later, after the uneventful flight landed to cheers, led to some teasing of the crack duo, Ed Wilson and Craig Bomben, for missing one of…

5 min
short flight, big profit$

Over 35 years, Emirates has built itself into the world’s largest airline, its Airbus double-deckers and Boeing 777s raining down on Dubai around the clock from every corner of the world and helping turn the desert outpost into a vibrant metropolis. But one of its most profitable routes is a two-hour hop to neighboring Saudi Arabia. Each Sunday morning, the departure hall in Concourse B at Dubai International Airport comes alive with the buzz of business travelers kitted out with dark suits, compact suitcases, and white wireless earbuds. Long lines form at the start of every week for EK 819, the most popular of four daily Emirates flights that pack in a total of about 1,600 seats. The destination is Riyadh, and the cargo is business consultants who live in Dubai…

5 min
a big step for the sky vacuums

Halting global warming by sucking carbon dioxide out of the air strikes many people as a dumb idea. It’s complicated and energy-intensive. Why not focus on keeping more greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere in the first place—say, by installing more solar and wind power? Stanford engineering professor Mark Jacobson told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz in early December that “carbon capture is the Theranos of the energy industry,” referring to the company that built false hopes for blood diagnostics. Some critics even argue that “direct air capture” of CO2 is a form of greenwashing—i.e., putting a gloss of environmentalism on the dirty business of hydrocarbon production. They point to the involvement of oil companies Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and Occidental Petroleum, which intend to use captured CO2 to recover more oil from…

4 min
making big law more robotic

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), passed in 2018 and set to take effect on Jan. 1, will require an estimated 500,000 companies with annual revenue of more than $25 million to account for the personal information they’ve filed away about Californians and delete it upon request. All told, the law’s adoption will cost those companies about $55 billion in legal fees, employee training, and other compliance measures, according to an impact assessment prepared for the California attorney general’s office by Berkeley Economic Advising and Research, a consulting firm. That leaves plenty of room for savings, says Kimball Parker, especially if you can do the legal work with far fewer lawyers. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is the only one of the top 50 U.S. law firms with an office in…

5 min
land ho for silicon valley’s seasteaders

Patri Friedman is sick of the jokes about floating tax havens. About a decade ago, the former Google software engineer (and grandson of Nobel Prizewinning economist Milton Friedman) co-founded the Seasteading Institute, a nonprofit with the stated aim of developing a model for self-governing offshore communities. The idea was to allow people to set up more laissez-faire laws for themselves on mobile, artificial islands resting in international waters. An invaluable experiment, he calls it now. Also: “Baggage.” The institute’s Silicon Valley backers most prominently included Peter Thiel, the conservative billionaire and future Trump adviser, and traded in no small part on Thiel’s imprimatur. But the effort was as impractical as it sounds, and it drew criticism from local leaders and good-government groups as a form of neocolonialism. In 2018 locals defeated…