Dr. Jim Yong Kim is a doctor by training, but has been the president of the World Bank for about about a year and a half. Earlier this week, he gave a speech setting up his goals for the bank for the coming year.
In it, Kim explains why poverty was "the defining moral issue of our time," and could be eradicated by 2030.
On his plans to eradicate poverty:
"It's easy to say, and we've been talking about ending poverty for a long time. But this is the first time we can actually see the end. This is the generation that can end poverty. If the poor countries perform as they have over the last 20 years, they're gonna get to about 6 or 7 percent poverty. We have a job to do. What we need to do, is to figure out what they were doing when these economies were growing at their best. And then try to .. re-create some of that magic. It's easy to say, it's morally extremely compelling, but it's going to be hard to do. And we have a lot of work ahead of us.
On focusing on conflict zones:
“We really believe that if you can bring the peacemaking process together with development, you have a much greater chance of having a sustained peace. I think we’ve always known that that’s the case, but the way we’ve been working, we sort of wait until the peacekeeping process sticks. We’re not doing that anymore…we’re going to put on the table real development solutions that will make the peace last.”
On the World Bank's willingness to fail:
“Not only am I comfortable with failure, I come from a profession where we have a very systematic way of dealing with failure. We took some of our most spectacular failures, put them in front of the whole team, and said, ‘look, this is a great lesson.’ I’m really trying to shift the mentality from a risk-averse culture to one that says, ‘let’s take smart risks,’ and the only thing that can go wrong is if something fails and we don’t learn from it.”
The international team says it hopes to begin onsite inspections and the initial disabling of equipment within a week.
You could call Target is the ultimate team player. It has paired up with big names in fashion like Phillip Lim and Jason Wu. It has struck deals with interior designers and celebrity chefs.
Now it’s entering in a new partnership -- and it’s a lot more about finance than fashion.
The retailer said today it’s getting into the pre-paid phone card business, with a new service called Brightspot. And Target’s partner this time is T-Mobile.
The wireless carrier has been making its name as a company that requires no commitment. If you don’t want be tied down with a two-year contract, and last year’s phone? No problem. T-Mobile won’t hold you to one.
And that’s what the Target deal is all about. With Brightspot, consumers can get a pre-paid plan for $35 a month to talk or text, or $50 a month if there’s a data plan in the mix.
Analysts say the partnership with T-Mobile will let Target cash in on the movement among consumers to cut the phone-contract cord. The deal will also help the giant retailer bring in new users, who’d rather pay as they go.
“Customers, can buy these pre-paid phone cards at a variety of locations,” said analyst Jeff Kagan, adding that Target competitor Walmart has built up a big pre-paid card business.
“The question is, ‘Why hasn’t Target gotten into this space?’” said Kagan.
The pre-paid phone card business is worth several billion dollars a year in the U.S., says Burt Flickinger, managing director of Strategic Resource group. He says it’s also a way for Target to expand its market, and “keep its guests or shoppers away from competitors.”
Flickinger says Target gets most of its revenue from apparel and accessories -- and those customers only shop so much. By selling pre-paid phone cards, Target can “get more and more consumers who are cash and credit constrained to come in their stores on a monthly basis instead of a quarterly basis,” he said.
Although the cards carry fees, consumers like their flexibility and the ability to pay for them month by month. Not to mention that Target is offering a $25 gift card to customers who stay with the plan six months in a row.
The government shutdown is only three days old, yet a bigger battle already looms: raising the debt ceiling.
The Treasury Department on Thursday released a report warning that breaching the borrowing limit on October 17 could have dire economic consequences. The last time the U.S. government squabbled its way towards even the possibility of defaulting, it stung the economy.
“The stock market went down, it got more volatile, there were effects on consumer confidence,” says Alice Rivlin, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
The S&P 500 fell 17 percent, U.S. debt was downgraded and job growth slowed. It took months to recover.
“It was a serious situation even though we didn’t default, we just talked about it,” Rivlin says.
But it’s hard to say that that same thing will happen again, because other stuff was going on at that time.
“The thing that people lose track of a little bit is that that’s really kind of the time when the eurozone starts falling off the cliff,” says Bill Stone, chief investment strategist for PNC Wealth Management.
That also may have hurt the stock market. On the flip side, though, Europe looked so bad compared to the U.S. that investors flocked to Treasury bonds, even after they had been downgraded following the the debt-ceiling battle.
And investors are doing the same these days. So if people take the possibility of a default seriously, says Stone, “It’s odd that the flight to safety flies to the thing that people are worried about. Treasury yields are actually down.”
That’s because investors can’t fathom that Congress would do something so insane as to let the U.S. default on its obligations, says Steve Blitz, chief economist with ITG.
“Every financial institution in the world has their capital in U.S. Treasuries,” he says. “This thing runs through everything.”
Brookings’ Rivlin says while the current economic situation may be better, the political situation is worse.
“The consequences are even more dire than 2011 because the government is shutdown, the atmosphere is so bitter and financial markets might take more seriously that the United States is seriously flirting with not paying its bills,” she says. “I don’t think the world took us very seriously in August of ‘11. At some point we will be taken seriously and then the crisis could be dire.”
Even if it doesn’t come to that, there is still a risk.
“The real issue is: What does the deal look like that gets government back to work, that raises the debt ceiling,” says ITG’s Blitz.
There could well be some kind of brutal compromise that cuts government spending deeply or randomly, like last time around.
“That’s the critical thing. That’s what we’re going to live with,” Blitz says. “If it is a deal that is a little bit too draconian, it’s going to slow the economy.”
So not only would failing to raise the debt ceiling by October 17 hurt the economy, and not only might arguing over raising the debt ceiling hurt the economy, but even resolving the debt ceiling problem could hurt the economy.
It's all coming full circle: The social network that famously began in a dorm room is now essentially thinking about buildging dorms on its own office campus.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook said it's in talks with a developer to build a $120 million, 394-unit housing community called Anton Menlo that'll be within walking distance of its offices. Amenities of the 630,000 square-foot rental property would include a pet spa with doggy day care, an indoor/outdoor wellness and yoga studio, a bike repair shop, a convenience store and a sports bar. At this point, there'll be space for only about 10 percent of Facebook employees.
The old-school idea of a company town, like those of the coal mining regions of the early 20th century, could be an ideal situation for those working in Silicon Valley, where real estate prices are skyrocketing amid a housing shortage in the Bay Area.
On the other hand, the ever-in-flux mindset of the tech community is completely contradictory to the idea of living where you work. Younger tech employees don't necessarily feel tied to their companies, and having to sign year-long leases with your employer might feel something equivalent to a death-sentence commitment.
How would you feel about living so near work, or about living in a space owned by your employer? Would it be a benefit, or a downside?