Author: Michael Collins

Michael Collins
Michael Collins

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Recent and archived work by Michael Collins for The Bull:

In review: Lessons from COVID-19

Among the many messages is the notable one that competence matters during emergencies but is hard to achieve. Severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, hit Taiwan hard in 2003. The virus tore through several hospitals and Heping hospital in Taipei was hastily closed, imprisoning staff and patients, after the head nurse became one of the…

Electric vehicles are the next revolution in automobiles

But problems need to be overcome to hasten the switch and cement the climate benefits. For Formula E motorsport, the 2020-21 racing season was transformational. Seven years after electric single-seaters first raced, Formula E gained the elevated ‘championship’ status enjoyed by Formula 1, World Endurance, World Rally and World Rallycross. Then came the embarrassment, the…

Major countries pondering issuing digital national currencies

Is a watershed reengineering of money underway? Around 600 BC, the Chinese were among the first to invent money when they used coins worth the metal within to overcome the hassle of bartering. Around the first century AD, the Chinese invented paper and in the following centuries devised printing presses. These inventions plus the heaviness…

China’s dual-circulation model is a plan for a hostile world

Domestic production gets priority in a strategy that seeks to boost China’s ‘soft power’. Sir Arthur Lewis (1915-1991) was an economist from Saint Lucia in the Caribbean who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1979 for his theories on development. His ‘dual sector model’ suggested that economies can modernise without triggering inflation because…

The Catch-22 that grants platforms immunities on content

Orr was crazy. That meant he didn’t need to fly any more US combat missions in World War II. The rules said all Orr needed do to be grounded was to ask. But, as Doc Daneeka explained to Yossarian, there was a catch. Anyone who wanted to get out of combat wasn’t crazy. “That’s some…

Biden is revving a US economy already enjoying a vaccine-inspired recovery

Detroit’s giant carmakers were among the US businesses tottering as the Great Recession took hold. About 2.6 million Americans lost their jobs over the four months from when the global financial crisis erupted in September 2008 until President Barack Obama assumed office at the start of 2009. The modelling of Christina Romer, Obama’s chair of…

Why Germany only does the minimum to support the euro

Public disgruntlement stops Berlin cementing a currency union that helps make the country an export dynamo. In September 2008, UK authorities realised troubled mortgage lender Bradford & Bingley could topple the country’s financial system. Belgium-based giant Fortis faced closure. The French administration of President Nicolas Sarkozy was battling to save Franco-Belgian lender Dexia. The German…

The pivotal fight between China and the US is over the microchip

The campaign for dominance in semiconductors could hurt both countries. Japan’s Kioxia Holdings, which in the early 1980s invented flash memory computer chips, was set for one of the country’s biggest initial public offers for 2020. In September, however, the semiconductor maker reduced the asking price of its offer by 25%. Days later, the company…

Japan has trailblazed on economic stimulus, to not much avail

Will Japan under Suga try the reflationary option Abe didn’t? In 2006, 52-year-old Shinzō Abe of the almost-always-in-power Liberal Democratic Party became Japan’s youngest-ever prime minister. In 2007, however, the son of a foreign minister and the grandson and grand-nephew of prime ministers resigned due to ill health. Abe recovered soon enough. In 2012, the…

Brexit talks are about how abrupt the UK’s final break will be

No option removes the existential threats to the UK stirred by its EU departure. The allegations went like this. The now-defunct UK arm of the US political consultancy Cambridge Analytica employed a Russian-born computer whizz to make an app-based survey. The app was placed on Facebook. When 300,000 people used the app, data was secretly…