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  • Auction Houses Look to Asian Collectors

    The contemporary-art market is not much more robust in Asia than it is anywhere else. But in other genres, Asian buyers are showing some surprising muscle, snatching up pieces that Western buyers have shunned and creating a lone bright spot in an otherwise bleak market. Collectors from mainland China continue to bid aggressively on imperial artworks and porcelains viewed as heirlooms that must be repatriated. At Sotheby's New York auction last month, Asian buyers took all but one of the top 10 lots; at Christie's, 14 of the top 20 went to Asians. An Asian buyer spent $362,500 on a 12th- or 11th-century B.C. bronze food vessel, which Christie's had estimated at $20,000 to $30,000, while a rare imperial zitan stand and cover, also estimated at $20,000 to $30,000, went for $1.42 million.Asian buyers are proving to have deep pockets in new auction categories: those associated with a high-end lifestyle. Asian oenophiles, demonstrating an educated palate and an appetite for rare wines,...
  • Dominique Strauss-Kahn on the Financial Crisis

    The sense of relief at last week's G20 summit was nearly palpable: thanks to their decisive actions over the last year, world leaders had staved off a second Great Depression. But Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, cautions that "crises never end." NEWSWEEK's Tony Emerson and Barrett Sheridan spoke with him about the knock-on effects of the recession, from war to banking reform. ...
  • Free Trade Policy: Intelligence Squared Debate

    Call it the Rubber-Chicken War—the looming trade dispute between the United States (which has announced punitive tariffs on imports of Chinese tires) and China (which is threatening retaliation against American poultry exports). Against the background of the G20 trade talks in Pittsburgh, that contretemps made this an auspicious time to examine the age-old question of protectionism. Last week, beginning the fourth season of public debates sponsored by Intelligence Squared US, six panelists discussed the proposition that "Buy American/Hire American policies will backfire." ...
  • Japan's Luxury Market Won't Recover Soon

     By Daniel McGinnJapan has half the population of the U.S., and less land than California, yet there are more than twice as many Burberry, Hermès, and Prada stores in the Land of the Rising Sun than in all of America. For decades they've been full of brand-conscious Japanese shoppers who typically dig deep for luxury labels, fueling a $20 billion-a-year market. But even before the global recession, there were signs of a slowdown. When McKinsey & Co. principal Brian Salsberg wanders through Tokyo's shopping district, he notices that "for every one luxury [brand] bag, there are 10 Uniqlo, Forever 21, or H&M bags," referring to trendy lower-priced labels. "It's easier and cheaper today to be fashionable in Tokyo [at] a 10th the cost," he says. In a new report, Salsberg cites several reasons for Japanese consumers' shifting taste. It partly stems from growing confidence: instead of relying on labels to ensure stylishness, Japanese women...
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    Green Rankings 2009

    Newsweek's debut list of environmentally-conscious businesses, in the United States.
  • Why the Solar Industry Is Struggling

    Last summer the future of the solar industry looked bright. Demand was high thanks to generous government subsidies, and solar stocks were soaring. But now it resembles a classic bubble. The solar industry overbuilt and is now struggling under the weight of excess capacity and falling prices. As the global recession took hold, credit dried up and governments cut subsidies, most notably in Spain, where the world's largest subsidy program blew up after spurring nearly 10 times the growth it had intended. When Spain capped it last year, the world's second-biggest solar market collapsed─and so has the price of solar panels, down 50 percent in 2009. That's great news for consumers but terrible news for manufacturers now sitting on warehouses full of overpriced panels. Most companies took huge write-downs in the second quarter, driving their stock prices even lower. Germany's biggest solar company, Q-Cells, had traded near 100 euros early last year; it's now about...
  • Scenes from Federal Hall Before and After Obama Speech

    The Big Money's Chadwick Matlin has been down in the financial district all morning watching Obama's speech to the financial world. Here's a dispatch from the field:A year ago, Lehman Brothers forced Washington to make a decision: bailout or bust. Paulson, Bernanke, and Geithner chose bust, and then the economy had to be bailed out. Today, Barack Obama came to Wall Street to ask that Washington never be given that choice again.   This shot was snapped just before the address. Note that the Suits don't know how not to schmooze.  Obama’s speech was positioned to help remind Congress and Wall Street that financial regulatory reform is still sitting on a long list of to-dos. With light coming in from a skylight cupola, Obama delivered his speech to more than a hundred people. They were all gathered at Federal Hall in the financial district, the capitol back when New York was the capital. A vault door was purposefully ajar, a reminder that Federal Hall once served as...
  • The Waning Power of the Bully Pulpit

    President Barack Obama didn't reveal any sweeping new policies in his speech on financial reform at Federal Hall today. In fact, most of it was a rehash of the wonkish proposals already put forward by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and others. Most notably, the Administration will work with Congress to create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency that will -- in theory, at least -- keep banks from pushing exploding mortgages to uninformed consumers. They'll make the Federal Reserve responsible for the keeping the whole system humming along, and create a new bankruptcy process for too-big-to-fail institutions that, well, fail....
  • Stonyfield Yogurt's Bumpy Start Up Story

    Stonyfield Yogurt helped develop America's taste for organics. But early on, even the company's founder was unsure just how sustainable the company's business model would be.
  • Kraft CEO on the Spirit of Volunteerism

    The President and First Lady have asked Americans to volunteer—informally and through the new Serve America Act, which will take effect on Oct. 1. There are many ways to help, but most important, the Obamas have simply said, "Get involved!"Volunteerism is a thread that runs throughout our country's history. But even with the White House call to action, this thread is beginning to fray.According to a report from the National Conference on Citizenship, in the midst of the recession 72 percent of Americans have cut back on civic participation, which includes the time spent volunteering. Two thirds say that Americans are responding to the economic downturn by helping themselves. And while half have given food or money to charitable causes, the numbers suggest that the American tradition of volunteering is stalling.What I'm seeing both at home and abroad is that people want to pitch in, but they are finding it harder to do so in a difficult economic environment.To stop the unraveling,...
  • Women and the Economy: An Emerging Growth Market

    It hasn't been easy to find a bright spot in the global economy for a couple of years now. Growth markets, once as numerous as no-interest mortgage options, have grown scarce. But in the last few months, economists, consultants, and other business types have begun to track the rise of a new emerging market, one that may end up being the largest and most powerful of all: women. According to a new study by the Boston Consulting Group, women are now poised to drive the post-recession world economy, thanks to an estimated $5 trillion in new female-earned income that will be coming on line over the next five years. Worldwide, total income for men ($23.4 trillion) is still more than double that for women ($10.5 trillion), but the gap is poised to shrink significantly because the vast majority of new income growth over the next few years will go to women, due to a narrowing wage gap and rising female employment. That means women will be the ones driving the shopping—and, economists hope,...
  • An Interview with Avon CEO Andrea Jung

    Over her decade-long run as CEO of Avon, Andrea Jung has not only turned the once ailing company around by tripling profits, but also employed an unmatched force of women worldwide. She spoke with NEWSWEEK'S Nick Reilly about the role of women in the global recession. Excerpts: ...
  • Stephen Roach on 'The Next Asia'

    When Morgan Stanley Asia chairman Stephen Roach talks, people listen: his opinions on the global economy have been known to shape policy from Beijing to Washington. For years, as the bank's chief economist, he was one of the Cassandras of the global economy, warning boom-day investors to be wary of the imbalances that eventually led to the financial crisis. Now, as its top executive in Asia, he's got a new book, The Next Asia, out this month. The warning this time: while Asia is rising, the coming power shift from West to East won't be as easy as everyone thinks. "It's a myth that the baton of economic leadership is being seamlessly passed to the BRICs, in particular China. My premise is there is still a lot of work to be done," says Roach.  ...