Business English News 44 – Covid-19: Economic Impact

Business English News 44 - Coronavirus Pandemic Economic Impact

The world first heard about cases of a novel coronavirus on December 31st, 2019. In just two short months, the World Health Organization had declared a global pandemic. The impact on the world economy was instantaneous, as the World Economic Forum explains:

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit global trade and investment at an unprecedented speed and scale. Multinational companies faced an initial supply shock, then a demand shock as more and more countries ordered people to stay at home. Governments, businesses and individual consumers suddenly struggled to procure basic products and materials, and were forced to confront the fragility of the modern supply chain.

Now, as we approach summer, supply chains still don’t feel completely secure. Economic forecasts look pretty gloomy as nations emerging from lockdown attempt to kickstart their economies. The stock market, however, has provided some surprises amid the crisis.

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Business English News 43 – Climate Change

Business English News 43 Lesson - Climate Change

Change is a constant, and the earth’s climate has never been perfectly stable. But in recent years the pace of climate change has accelerated to the point of crisis. Scientists around the world are sounding the alarm, and more and more people and institutions are realizing that drastic times require drastic measures. Business is not immune. According to the New York Times:

The Carbon Disclosure Project analyzed submissions from 215 of the world’s 500 biggest corporations. They found that these companies faced roughly $1 trillion in potential costs related to climate change in the decades ahead, unless they took proactive steps to prepare. By the companies’ own estimates, the bulk of those financial risks could start to materialize in the next five years or so.

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Business English News 42 – Trade Wars

Business English News 42 Lesson - Trade Wars

According to Donald Trump, “trade wars are easy to win.” However, as usual, reality appears to contradict Trump’s claims. In the current dispute between the U.S. and China, it doesn’t look like a winner will emerge any time soon. As CNN notes:

The Trump administration made good on its threat to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese exports from 10% to 25%, marking a sharp rise in tensions between the world’s two largest economies. After months of talks aimed at ending a year-long dispute that has already hurt global growth and rattled stock markets around the world, the latest US salvo risks triggering a new wave of tit-for-tat responses.

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Business English News 41 – Data Privacy

Business English News 41 - Data Privacy

The digital age has brought unprecedented access to information and new online services. And in exchange, people have proven very willing to provide personal information and to have their online activities monitored. But is it worth it? As Wired reports, more and more people are questioning this trade-off:

The US has found itself in the middle of a data privacy awakening, and you can credit the recent spate of headline-grabbing scandals as the kick-starter. Cambridge Analytica illicitly took the personal information of up to 87 million Facebook users and turned it into targeted political ads. And Equifax let slip the sensitive details of 148 million Americans because it couldn’t be bothered to patch a known vulnerability.

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Business English News 40 – Renewable Energy

Business English News Lesson 40 - Renewable Energy

Early energy sources were simple; fire was discovered to heat things, and then along came conversion – such as fire under a kettle producing steam. But times have changed, and the impact of using non-renewable sources of energy, or fossil fuels, is one that we can no longer afford to ignore. Putting the climate change debate aside, there are real commercial opportunities that businesses and governments can, and should, consider.

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