📊 EV’s Charts of the Week #43
Hi, I’m Azeem Azhar. I convene Exponential View to help us understand how our societies and political economy will change under the force of rapidly accelerating technologies. This is my member’s-only Charts of the Week mailout in which we explore the world through data.
At some point between 2013 and 2015, we entered the Exponential Age, a new period of human affairs catalysed by accelerating technology platforms across four broad domains: computing, energy, biology and manufacturing. Combinatorial forces create previously unimaginable applications – and challenges. Here, within the Exponential Gap, is where the greatest opportunity of our time lies. This is what my new book is all about.
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DEPARTMENT OF VACCINE ACCESS
Unequal and uneven
While the West has been focused on vaccine mandates and possible booster jabs, large areas of the world have woefully bad access to the Covid-19 vaccine [see above chart]. From the failure of the global vaccine access project Covax to the stockpiling of vaccines in wealthy countries, there are many reasons for the current bind we are all facing. Via Bloomberg
Not a great time to be in Africa
African countries have been hit particularly hard when it comes to access to Covid-19 vaccines. EV Senior Editor Joseph Dana has been watching the uneven distribution of vaccines from his perch in South Africa and recently argued that the current situation doesn’t bode well for the next variant and pandemic. He notes that “pulling the curtain back on the uneven vaccine deployment and resolving the reasons for this sorry state of affairs can help us handle the next variant and pandemic.” Via FT
Where is Covax?
The failure of the Covax programme to get off the ground is a big reason why there is uneven global distribution. The global organisation was designed to prevent the exact situation that has emerged. Another challenge has been the reticence of countries to use Chinese-made vaccines. This is changing. Zimbabwe just received another 1.5m doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, bringing the total number of doses of Sinopharm in the country to 10m. The Taiwanese government got so fed up with waiting for 16m doses of the AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines that they researched and manufactured their own. These events don’t mean that the uneven distribution will end soon, but the rest of the world is coming up with other plans that don’t require western support. Via Slow Boring
DEPARTMENT OF TAIWAN
Technology at home
This chart about the speed of 5G networks jumped out at me. As I took a closer look at the data, I noticed Taiwan’s remarkably strong position. This is hardly surprising given Taiwan’s established track record in tech. Given all the recent events in Taiwan, from the growing power of TSMC to the island’s changing political alliances, we thought it was a good time to focus a couple of charts on Taiwan’s trajectory. Via Ian Fogg
Driving the change
No discussion about Taiwan can overlook the role of TSMC’s computer chip dominance. With revenues climbing and the global shortage of chips continuing, there is no overlooking the power of TSMC. Via Macrotrends
Changing exports drive new alliances
Last month, Lithuania decided to upgrade relations with Taiwan, which deeply angered China (Beijing ended up recalling its ambassador from Vilnius). The move reflects growing European interest in Taiwan’s economy, which is extremely delicate considering China’s position on Taiwanese diplomacy. The chart above demonstrates Taiwan’s rising export prowess (driven by computer chips). Taiwan’s exports now account for 70 per cent of total GDP and are made up mostly of electronics and information technology. Via Trading Economics
DEPARTMENT OF WAGE PRESSURE
Demand is outpacing supply
This trend keeps getting stronger. Demand for new workers is outpacing supply and creating upward wage pressure. Via Pawel Adrjan
The factory job is dead
Meanwhile, Amazon and Walmart continue to transform the US labour market. Their influence is putting pressure on traditional factory jobs by grabbing up a large share of American workers. This isn’t great for manufacturing job salaries, which doesn’t bode well for the long term health of the sector. Via Bloomberg
DEPARTMENT OF CLIMATE
Like it or not, your diet matters
Great new analysis of GHG load of agriculture and land use: 57% of emissions coming from animal-based food compared with 29% from plant-based. Via Nature
Keeps getting hotter
Compared with 40 years ago, the world now sees twice as many days over 50°C per year. Via BBC
The baseload electricity price spot surged to 660GBP per MWH last Thursday. Via Thomas Costerg
Not so sweet
The vanilla industry is hazardous. About 80% of the world’s vanilla is grown in the mountainous regions of Madagascar. Spikes in the price of vanilla have recently sparked a wave of criminality in the trade, including organised and violent thefts, money laundering, and other forms of corruption. Not so sweet. Via Daily Maverick
The evolution of criminal networks
Speaking of organised crime, this is an excellent map produced by the UN Office of Drugs and Crime highlighting how major criminal networks operate. GIJN raises a great question: What happens when entire states are part of the problem? Via GIJN
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