“The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” – Amanda Gorman
The First 7 Days
It’s 29 days into 2021, and on the 6th day, we witnessed an attack on the democracy of the world’s chief advocate for democracy – The United States. Yet, on the 20th day, power was successfully transferred, without a hint of violence.
And, on this day, Amanda Gorman delivered her poem ‘The Hill We Climb,’ which proves how the next generation is not just asking to make an impact, but we are making impacts in minute ways that send shockwaves to the grand landscape.
Oh, if Amanda, was the only one who stole the spotlight of the inauguration on the 20th day of 2021, then the inauguration will simply have a shimmer of greatness. But, rather it emitted greatness beyond its purpose.
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What is the reason for the above wordiness?
It’s how Senator Bernie Sanders broke the internet – went viral – with his mittens picture, where the photographer responsible for the iconic picture credits serendipity and sheer luck, for capturing the iconic pose.
Now, Sanders sells t-shirts and stickers of his viral meme and contributed 100% of the proceeds to charity. Now, he sets an example of how to milk 15 minutes of fame, where the profits transcend an individual’s benefit.
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The 11th Day Outlier
During the afternoon of Monday, the 11th day of 2021, the stock price of a GameStop, began to startle hedge fund behemoths of Wallstreet. For clarity, a hedge fund is an investment fund or firm that makes money by speculating on the financial markets – allow me to oversimplify and call it educated gambling on the financial markets.
So, hedge funds make money through short selling, which means they profit from shares that are falling. They do this by borrowing shares from shareholders, sell them and purchase them at a lower price, and return the shares to their owners, and make a profit from the difference.
However, the least amount for a hedge fund is between $500,000 to $1 Million – however, most hedge funds can officially set their minimum investments upwards of $1 Million. Thus only the wealthy and well-established firms and individuals can profit from the profits of hedge funds.
But with the GameStop, somehow, concerned citizens with information, decided to disrupt the dynamics, by buying and holding the shares, and used social media – Reddit, to be precise – to encourage others not to sell, thereby driving the stock price high, which means that hedge funds with short positions will have to lose money, or perhaps pay more to acquire back the shares, consequently driving the price of GameStop by 1000%, because early last year the stock of GameStop was selling at about $5, now it cost about $400.
It’s said that hedge funds have lost about $5 Billion from the 11th day of 2021 to date.
Yet, amidst the increase in the economic activity of the stock markets, COVID-19 continues to force governments to institute stricter lockdowns and travel barns. Like the UK government, enacting a new rule that to travel out of the UK will require substantial reason. And travelers returning will need to quarantine in hotels for 10 days. In the Netherlands, strict curfew, which starts from 21:00 to 04:30, caused a riot between the youths and the police, and looting of stores.
Lest I forget, the verdict is yet to be out on who wins the battle of getting the most vaccine between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK). Because presently the EU is presently in a legal battle to ensure that there are enough vaccines for its citizens.
The Belgian company, AstraZeneca that the EU contracted to make the vaccines, has its two major labs in the UK and has two of its lesser labs in Europe – in Belgium and the Netherlands. Thus, the UK has the say on the number of vaccines that the EU can get from the two major labs. While the EU strives to place vaccine export limits on AstraZeneca.
See, the first 29 days of 2021 has been intriguing.
Now to the Joyful Prospects for the remaining 336 days.
The Joyful Prospects
According to the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects, for 2021, it’s said that only the two World wars and the Great Depression beat the global loss of prosperity that COVID-19 brought upon the globe in its wake. Also, the report asserts COVID-19 sent back the improvement of human per capital improvement, of Developing Nations, to 10 years, while the rates of poverty in these nations have been reversed to their 2017 levels.
Yet, amid all the asserted adverse effects of the pandemic, I am pleased to announce that the joy in the projected growth of the world economy is set at 4%, and for Emerging Markets and Developing Economies (EMDEs) excluding China is set at 3.4%. See, it is certain that globally, we will experience a shade of joy.
Below is a table from the report, to abet any form of doubt, or perhaps you require evidence for my optimistic tone.
Also, If you are interested, you can view or download the IMF’s 2021 Global Economic outlook here. Also, you can view OECD’s Turning Hope to Reality 2021 report here, PWC Global Economy Watch – Projections, and RaboBank’s Global Economic Outlook
Finally, the present affair of things forces me to end with another shade of joy, because, regardless of the uncertainty of how COVID-19 will be contained, the Olympics President, Thomas Bach insists that plans are being made to ensure that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics that was canceled, said that focus is being expended on how to ensure that the Olympics takes place in July of 2021.
Keep Hope and Joy Alive.