If you had to describe the world around you using one word, what would you say? Fast? Interconnected? Advanced? Chaotic, maybe? Anxious even? Well, anxiety has become widespread in today’s world. And it is even more visible as the awareness about mental health is increasing. Although we don’t talk about it as much, mental health disorders are responsible for a large number of deaths worldwide. According to the World Health Organisation, China is the most depressed country in the world, followed by India.
Author: Ananya Aggarwal Page 1 of 4
From the beautiful city of Chandigarh, Ananya likes to describe herself as an introvert who finds her escape in art and music. She loves to sleep, watch movies, travel and is all in for some adventure.
If nothing else, this pandemic provided a much-needed fillip to the medical industry. It led to a breakthrough in the development of vaccines in general. According to the past projections by Moderna (one of the first companies to enter the vaccine race), the current technology being used to produce Covid vaccines was still 3-4 years away. And now, just a year into the pandemic, mRNA vaccines have forever changed the industry’s outlook; allowing production of Covid vaccines for testing within weeks, which earlier took years. Although scientists had already been working on developing this, it became the need of the hour when the pandemic hit; Covid-19 motivated them to fast-forward with the technology. However, there are still a lot of uncertainties in play. With the virus mutating itself, it is important to keep track and create mutations of the Covid vaccine itself.
According to NASA, 2018 was the fourth hottest year on record with the global temperature being 0.8°C warmer than the mean during1951-1980. The top three? 2016, 2017, and 2015. The highest rise of 0.94°C (2016) may not seem like a lot but its implications of climate change on the earth are devastating, as can be seen. In fact, scientists say that if we were to cross the threshold of 1.5°C and touch even 2°C, it would lead to a spike in mass migrations from regions most affected, wildfires, deadly heat stress; and that is going to cost us millions of lives and trillions of dollars.
Rising temperatures bring along a number of costly natural disasters. A report by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the November 2018 Fourth National Climate Assessment report stated that changing climate is causing sea levels to rise and an increase in wildfires, severe storms, droughts, and other extreme weather events that threaten human life, healthy communities, and critical infrastructure.
In 2016, as many as 200 regulatory changes were recorded on an average in a day. That translated to over 70,000 changes that needed to be accounted for and complied with; and these were besides the regulations that were already in existence for financial institutions (you’ve probably seen some of them like GDPR, KYC and Basel-III norms). Unsurprisingly, the cost of compliance is high. Not just in the form of penalties to be paid if they fail to comply, but even the cost incurred to ensure compliance. Some of the largest banks in Britain spend £660 million a year on Anti-Money Laundering compliance alone. In spite of this, many banks have had to pay hefty fines to the regulatory bodies in the past. While such a sum is a huge burden for large institutions, it is a question of survival for the smaller ones. And this challenge of regulatory compliance is bound to become more taxing in the wake of the pandemic and the transition to the virtual world. The landscape is changing every day, the regulations are adapting to the unique issues presented by the digital world, and the financial institutions are caught in between.
You have probably read, during your school years, that Columbus “discovered” America (or rather, “introduced Western Europe to America”, as it had already been “founded” by the natives living there). But have you ever wondered what shaped the United States of America? As with any other country’s borders, parts of America were defined through the capturing of land by waging wars, revolting, and signing of peace treaties. However, a major piece that forms the US was bought off, much like any business deal. The Louisiana Purchase is famous, for it doubled the area of the US. Yet, there is something fascinating about the Gadsden Purchase between Mexico and the US. While the US added almost 830,000 square miles to its territory for $15 million ($18 per sq. mile) with the Louisiana Purchase, they somehow agreed to settle at $10 million in exchange for a mere 30,000 square miles ($333 per sq. mile)! Fascinated?
We’ve all heard that it’s never too late to do things differently; never too late to do the right thing. Although true, I feel this is also the reason that it is easier for us to procrastinate and not undertake challenges in the present. It is the same in the business world as well. However, the fact is, it might soon become too late to make certain changes; for instance combating climate change. Now, there are a few companies out there who saw an opportunity for making a difference, and took the leap. One such company is Ecolab. Almost a century old company, Ecolab transformed itself and went from providing cleaning solutions to environmental solutions. It successfully created a new-growth business model in renewable energy and water resources, outside of its traditional business of industrial cleansers. This secured Ecolab a place on the Transformation 20, a study by Innosight of the world’s most transformative companies. Let’s take a deeper look into their story of transformation.
Have you ever imagined what your life would have been like today if you had done certain things differently in the past? Without doubt, right? We often find ourselves asking the big old ‘What If’ question. A direct outcome of this line of thought is the genre of ‘alternate history’, where writers imagine a world that diverges at some point in real history. There are numerous books, movies and series out there taking significant events in world history and conjuring up alternative timelines. One such book, Resurrection Day by Brendan DuBois takes up the Cuban Missile Crisis. But before we delve into the alternate history of ‘what if the Cuban Missile Crisis escalated into a full-scale war?’ it is important to know what actually went down up till 1962.
You have been successfully running a business in the United States, since a few years now, and earning hundreds of thousands in profits. Yet, every time the company closes its accounts, you feel blue as you see a big chunk (21 percent) of the profits being taken away in the form of corporate tax! It’s not hard to understand why you feel the way you feel. No one likes to see their hard-earned money being given away to the government, while you’re left with a mere fraction of you thought you were working for. But, what can you do, right? You can’t get away with not paying taxes; that’s tax evasion, it’s illegal. However, you come across a news article stating that Apple, a trillion dollar company, pays less than 1 percent in effective tax rate! And your only question is, “How?” Well, it is through the (legal way of) economics of Tax Havens.