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Bloomberg Businessweek

May 27, 2019

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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the wrong digital ban

San Francisco, long a vanguard of digital enlightenment, has just made a regressive mistake: It became the first major city in the U.S. to prohibit its police force and government agencies from using facial-recognition technology. Such a ban has an understandable appeal. Concerns about facial recognition are widespread among the public. In just a few years, the technology has advanced at a startling rate. Other countries are using it to repress their citizens, while Americans are accustomed to anonymity in public spaces. Abuses—accidental and otherwise—are all too easy to envision.Simply banning the technology, though, is the wrong response to these worries. The fact is, properly used, facial recognition is a boon for governments and citizens alike. In some places, it’s been deployed to protect borders and other vulnerable sites.…

the enemy of my enemy

In April 2008, Iran’s then-Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki flew to Riyadh to meet with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah. It did not go well.Mottaki was seeking better relations with his country’s chief regional rival. Instead he got a lecture from the king about Tehran’s interference in Palestinian affairs. But “these are Muslims,” Mottaki responded, according to U.S. diplomatic cables made public by WikiLeaks. “No, Arabs,” replied the king. “You as Persians have no business meddling in Arab affairs.” The king said Mottaki had one year to improve ties.Abdullah didn’t wait that long to make his next move. Moments later he told a delegation of visiting U.S. officials that the Iranians couldn’t be trusted and implored them, in the words of a senior adviser, to “cut off the head of the…

nollywood goes netflix

In December 2018, EbonyLife Films, a studio in Lagos, Nigeria, premiered Chief Daddy, a feature-length drama about an eccentric billionaire who dies suddenly, touching off a madcap scramble among his relatives over his estate. The movie was an immediate hit with audiences in Nigeria. By the end of the month it had emerged as the country’s most popular theatrical release of the year.Not long ago the economic life cycle of Chief Daddy might have ended there. Nollywood, the nickname for Nigeria’s robust film industry, has long been hamstrung by piracy. For years filmmakers have watched with frustration as swarms of illegitimate DVDs quickly overwhelmed their promising cinematic efforts, slashing potential profits and making it difficult to raise money to produce future films.But in the spring of 2019 the makers…

sun pharma looks beyond generics

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who’s lost more during the recent upheaval in the generic drug business than Dilip Shanghvi: He forfeited $17 billion to be precise, plus the title of India’s richest man.After a four-year decline that erased 65% from the value of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the drugmaker he founded, Shanghvi is preparing to bounce back. He’s doing it by borrowing a page from Big Pharma’s playbook: investing in higher-margin patented medicines rather than relying solely on copying drugs.That won’t be easy, especially when the multinationals that dominate the pharmaceutical business have already seen the payoffs from their massive research and development spending become more uncertain. Those giants are increasingly turning to acquisitions to fill out their pipelines, and that’s where Shanghvi also sees an opening.…

england 4, brexit 0 (with foreign help)

Three years after the U.K. voted to part with the European Union over concerns about an influx of newcomers, the nation’s soccer squads offer an object lesson in the benefits of immigration: The four finalists in the two top European club competitions are English, but they’re all coached by foreigners, and only one goal in the crunch games that got them to the championship matches was scored by a Brit.When Brazilian striker Lucas Moura eliminated Ajax with a shot into the bottom right corner seconds before the final whistle in Amsterdam on May 8, he ensured a place for Tottenham Hotspur in the annual Champions League showpiece. A day earlier, Liverpool overcame a three-goal deficit from a previous match (each team hosts a game, and the side with the…

trust his gut

Marc Benioff wanted everyone to know the statue was “a very, very big deal.” The software billionaire, a lover of all things Hawaiian, spent $7.5 million at auction in late 2017 for a centuries-old carving of the war god Ku and made a show of donating it to a museum in Honolulu last spring. Hawaii has shaped Benioff ’s spiritual beliefs and fostered his boldface-name friendships, and he framed the donation as a way of giving back to the community, saying he didn’t want to hoard the statue’s spiritual power. It’s possible he needn’t have worried: A couple months ago, some art experts began arguing that based on the uncertainty of its provenance, the Ku figure is likely a tiki-bar-caliber tchotchke worth less than $5,000. A spokeswoman declined to…