It is interesting to see how free trade and capitalism will allow firms to take advantage of what is arguably one of the biggest tragedy in modern history.
Although I am in favor of using the Arctic route when it becomes economical, I would argue for very strict ways in which the additional profits can be used. The very reason why this is available in the first place is that our environment is in terrible shape. It seems only reasonable that the profits generated by shifting traffic to the Arctic be reinvested in technologies to reduce the impact of shipping on carbon gas emissions.
I am hopeful that all governments with Arctic coastlines will be able to levy taxes on passages equivalent to part of the additional profits earned by shipping companies, and then use the taxes to contribute to the Paris Agreement. It remains to be seen…
Thanks a lot for this article. I had no idea such treatments were being developed.
I am wondering whether it would make sense to have a more decentralized supply chain, with most of the activities being performed inside hospitals in their current labs. Of course, many things could prevent that: lab capacity, the availability of the right equipment, the willingness of the pharmaceutical industry to send lab workers to the hospitals. It is also unclear to me whether such a model would be scalable, and at what price.
Thanks for these thoughts! I have to say, when anything threatens my coffee, I get worried.
I would be against creating a genetically-modified varietal of coffee that can withstand warmer temperature for two reasons. First, it would be equivalent to admitting that the war against climate change is lost and that we are now in the phase where we must make sure we’re able to sustain our profitability despite temperature levels which are detrimental to the planet. Second, coffee is a bit like wine in the sense that it has a long tradition of being natural and cultivated in ways which take advantage of its natural advantages. I’m worried about the impact on quality that modifying the Arabica’s genome could have.
Perhaps one thing Starbucks could do would be to select its growers based on stringent sustainability criteria, much like IKEA and it’s wood suppliers?
In my mind, the problems of liability and innovation are the two largest. In all fairness, it will take some time for patients to feel comfortable being diagnosed by a machine, but once AI has been proven to be just as, if not more, effective than radiologist at detecting abnormalities, the discomfort should go away.
The problem that AI poses to the judiciary system is far greater, as you suggest. Can you sue a hospital if its AI has misdiagnosed you? Who is ultimately responsible: the hospital or the firm behind the AI? Should there be a radiologist approving each AI diagnosis? If so, how much more efficient can we actually get? It is critical that patients retain their recourses in case of malpractice, but to a certain extent will it matter? Physicians today are extremely careful when dealing with the diagnosis because the negative consequences of messing up are large enough. Will a computer care as much? Likely not.
Then, there is a question about innovation in imaging technologies. If robots are the primary users of today’s technology, how can we ensure that tomorrow’s technologies are being developed? I am concerned that the limited research capital that exists will be directed at improving AI’s ability to read today’s images, as opposed to R&D focused at getting better images. Perhaps a bit of both would be adviseable?
Local content policies are obviously a hindrance to pure free trade. A company that, when differences in productivity and wages are taken into consideration, determines it would be better off exporting labor to another country cannot do so. That’s especially important for EPC companies that might not want to have to orchestrate the recruiting of a trained workforce in many different countries.
The application of these policies, as you mention, might have a tendency to become stricter as isolationism grows and the “fear of the foreign” continues to be at the center of the public debate. It remains to be seen whether new free trade agreements will reduce the reliance on these measures to protect a country’s economy, especially since the immediate impact would typically benefit the richer, more productive country. I would argue, on the other hand, that protecting one’s country is certainly not the most efficient way of making it more productive and on par with its more developed counterparts.
For companies like Fluor, I would think a dual approach would be beneficial. Continue to lobby the government to reduce the reliance on these policies, while investing in developing the workforce in those countries. This will arm them with strong arguments, and ultimately will give them access to a well-trained workforce in those countries.
Good questions. It appears indeed quite risky to have classified defense technologies being built in another country, even though the said country is an ally for now. As an American, I would feel quite uncomfortable seeing the production of US military equipment completed elsewhere.
On another topic, it appears as though Boeing is grasping at straws in its claim against Canadian Bombardier, who manufactures large portions of its C-Series in the United States anyway, and hasn’t received governmental subsidies per say. It has rather received traditional equity investments, for which it has a fiduciary duty. I am questioning whether Boeing might be trying to take advantage of the “anti-foreign” climate created by the Trump administration to try and gain an edge against foreign competition, whether their claims are substantiated or not.