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Weekly Wrap - Week 03, May

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As COVID-19 reshapes the world, how are we adapting? What can younger people do?

Surviving the apocalypse – no more jobs. Some large blue-chip companies have imposed a total hiring freeze for 2020 and have also decided to severely control costs, causing many projects to be put on hold. Large hotel chains have decided to stay closed for three months and have indicated they may not re-open all of their properties once they resume operations. This columnist in the DailyFT points out how we have to adapt, or perish.

 

What does it mean to ‘return to the 1970s economy’? A closer look at the 1970s points to a reality way more complex, where global forces and local political ambitions shaped domestic policy that neither made Sri Lanka less dependent on others, nor empowered our working people to overcome the constraints imposed by the global order. Despite these obstacles, Sri Lanka still managed to make major gains in the welfare of the general population, including education and healthcare. But the structural challenges ultimately went unresolved because the balance of forces remained tilted in favour of capital, rather than working people, regardless of the degree of state intervention in the economy. We cannot critically evaluate the 1970s, then, if we assume that the transition from the closed to open economy was inevitably positive. 

 

NZ's PM encourages 4-day workweek: New Zealand is the latest country to encourage businesses to adopt a 4-day workweek as a means to boost struggling economies in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. NZ PM Jacinda Ardern said a 4-day workweek would give people more freedom to travel, injecting money into local economies. Last week, Japanese business lobby Keidanren also called on member companies to introduce a four-day workweek, as well as embrace teleworking and encourage flexible business hours. Advocates of shorter weeks say they increase employee productivity and foster better mental and physical wellbeing.

 

Millennials can spur hotel recovery: Marriott International anticipates that East Asia will lead the recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, with a full rebound expected next year, the Nikkei Asian Review reports. Marriott Asia-Pacific group president Craig Smith predicts millennial customers will lead the way because of their willingness to embrace the new technology Marriott plans to introduce to reassure customers that its rooms are clean and safe. The hotel chain has already seen occupancy across mainland China grow from below 10% in mid-February to above 30% in mid-May

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce

Aisha Nazim

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