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What will be the biggest stories of the year ahead?
In 2020...
...the global economy could tip into recession
The trade war between the US and China...
...is one of the biggest risks to the global economy
250 years after his birth...
...one of history's greatest composers becomes a global eco-warrior
Beethoven loved nature. He was writing for today and future generations
And the world's greatest sporting event comes to Tokyo...
...where the inclusion of trans athletes could spark controversy
Trans women are women
I think we need to race based on biology
There is only one Beethoven
In 2020 music lovers' ears will be attuned...
…to the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven…
…one of the most influential and popular classical composers in history
Beethoven broke the rules of music
He did things differently
Take for instance, his Eroica Symphony, Symphony No. 3
How does it begin?
With two massive chords…
…it goes “bang, bang”
No one had done that before
It's Beethoven saying…
…“look what I can do, I'm going to do it differently”…
…and he did that in every form of music that he wrote in
In 2020 across the globe...
...orchestras will be celebrating this genius and his legacy...
...with a string of performances and concerts
We listen to his music now and...
…there's a tendency to think it came from him fully formed
But if you look at his many sketchbooks and manuscript pages…
…there are crossings out, there are obliterations...
...there are tears in the paper
He struggled to compose and yet it's what he did
Written during the Age of Enlightenment...
…Beethoven's music has a history of being intertwined with politics
The opening motif of his Fifth Symphony...
...equivalent to the letter V in Morse code...
...became a symbol of resistance to the Nazis
And the final movement of his Ninth Symphony...
...became the hymn for the European Union
He believed in the power of the ordinary human being…
…that was who he was writing his music for
And of course we have the great message...
…in the Choral Symphony in the final movement, Schiller's Ode to Joy…
…which is, all mankind will be brothers…
…“Alle Menschen werden Brüder”
It's a universal message
And in 2020 his Pastoral Symphony...
...will be used as an anthem to unite millions...
...across the world to act against climate change
Beethoven loved nature
There was nothing he loved more than taking…
…long, long walks in the country…
…always composing as he went, waving his arms in the air…
…jotting notes down
And that's why the Pastoral Symphony is so important in his output
250 years after his birth...
...Beethoven will continue to set the tone for the future
He wouldn't be in the least bit surprised...
...that his music was so relevant today
After all, he knew back then...
...that he was writing for today and future generations
So he'd probably say...
…“yep, yep, told you, told you”
2020 will be the year nurses receive the attention...
...and treatment they deserve
The World Health Organisation has declared it will be the “Year of The Nurse”
That's excellent
Almost half of health care workers globally are nurses
And they are increasingly taking on a growing number of tasks...
...previously reserved for doctors
Most people have no idea what modern nursing entails
They think of them as the sidekicks of heroic doctors
It's hard the way we have to rely upon these amateur nurses
Nursing today is a highly skilled profession
Many nurses have university degrees
There are even doctorate-level studies in nursing
In America two-thirds of anaesthetics are administered by nurses
And nurses in some sub-Saharan countries...
...even carry out emergency caesareans
It's definitely a new level of autonomy
Nurses in Britain are now trained to perform surgery...
...and are taking on more responsibility for patients in life-and-death situations
With this role, it's going down to see patients on the ward...
...often by yourself attending cardiac-arrest calls...
...and going to see some of the sickest patients in the hospital
2020 will also mark 200 years since the birth...
...of perhaps the most famous nurse in history—Florence Nightingale
If she were around today...
...she would probably be concerned that a global shortage of nurses...
...will be the biggest problem facing national health systems...
...in the coming decade
By 2030 the world will be short of 7.6m nurses
Countries will have to do more to recruit and educate new nurses locally...
...as well as to retain those that are already in place
Rich countries cannot continue to lure nurses from poorer countries...
...where health systems are already severely crippled by the shortage of nurses
Singapore has led the way in addressing nurse shortages
It has successfully increased applications from young people...
...to nursing school by commissioning dramas, documentaries...
...and even a catchy pop song
Looking into the future...
...nurses will be even more important because...
...you have more people living longer. They require more care
A lot of health-care professionals, at least partially...
...may be replaced by AI
With nursing that would be very difficult because at its heart...
...nursing, its healing powers, are about empathy and a human touch
The Games of the 32nd Olympiad are awarded to the city of...
...Tokyo
In July 2020 billions of people will watch the Olympic flame burn once again...
...as the Tokyo Olympics begin
But with new rules making it easier for transgender women...
...to compete in women's events for the first time...
...2020 could turn out to be a highly controversial Olympic Games
There's a heated debate in women's sports...
...over the inclusion of transgender women...
...people who are biologically male, and identify as women
International Olympic Committee rules...
...currently allow transgender women to compete in women's sports...
...provided they have suppressed their testosterone levels...
...for at least 12 months
You can't just ignore the fact that biology...
...is something that, as humans, we have
But some observers...
...like former Olympic swimmer and medallist Sharron Davies...
...argue these athletes will have an unfair advantage
You're not going to be able to get rid of...
...the male puberty that they've gone through...
...the fact that they have male biology
So even by reducing testosterone for one year...
...it's still not going to level the playing field
But others take a very different view
Like track cyclist Rachel McKinnon...
...who has become a high-profile transgender athlete...
...since winning a world championship in 2018
Athletes come in a huge range of shapes and sizes and natural abilities
Population demographics around the world are different
So, Dutch women average height is over five foot six
Indonesian women it's around four foot ten
So, sport is never level if by which we mean...
...no one has a competitive advantage over each other...
...because that's the point of sport
During male puberty testosterone drives the development...
...of bigger muscles with more fast-twitching fibres...
...sturdier bones and a larger heart and lungs
All lifelong advantages when it comes to speed and strength
The difference between boys' and girls' running times...
...increases in adolescence, and the gap is even bigger for jumping events
And in 2019 among top athletes...
...around 2,000 men finished the 100m more quickly than the fastest woman
Sharron Davies believes there is a danger that transgender athletes...
...could dominate some women's sports...
...and that these sports could once again be blighted by unfairness
In the 70s and the 80s, we had the East German system where...
...female athletes were filled full of testosterone and it made them unbeatable
So, for nearly a whole generation...
...the East German women totally dominated in...
...almost all female sports at Olympic and world level
But there were many British that came fourth and fifth and sixth...
...and no one's ever heard of them because they didn't pick up a medal...
...which they should have done
So I feel quite passionately that I just don't want to see that happen...
...to a whole generation of female athletes again
Davies and others who have voiced their concerns...
...have faced strong criticism from the transgender community and beyond
You have been called by the transgender cyclist Rachel McKinnon...
...a transphobe and somebody who shares hate speech
McKinnon argues the debate is fundamentally...
...about equality and human rights⁠—both on and off the playing field
Inclusion is a fundamental principle in society
I think that applies also to sport
That applies to intersex women, cis women and trans women
That to be considered fully equal members of society...
...to be respected in our identities is to be included in sport for who we are
And trans women are women
The IOC says it actively supports both inclusion and fairness
It was due to announce stricter guidelines...
...for transgender athletes in September 2019
But so far its panel of scientists have failed to agree on what these should be
I think we need to race based on biology
So, I think the very simple, straightforward way to race...
...is based on your chromosomes
And if you carry a Y chromosome, which gives you a benefit...
...a Y benefit, a male benefit to your strength levels...
...and your testosterone levels, then you need to race where it's apparent
So we should have an XX-female category protected...
...and an open category which is then...
...inclusive for absolutely everybody that wants to be able to compete
So, I just think there's ways forward...
...that doesn't mean the destruction of female sport
While countries will be competing to make their mark on the medal tables...
...the 2020 Olympics could also prove to be a decisive moment...
...in the wider global debate about gender identity
In 2020 the possibility of recession will once again...
…hang over the world economy…
…thanks to one thing in particular
The trade war between the US and China...
…is one of the biggest risks to the global economy…
…and it could be enough to tip it into a recession
The US increased tariffs on $200bn worth of goods
China striking back at the US today...
...saying it will raise tariffs on $60bn dollars of US goods
We saw an escalation in the trade war...
...between the US and China at the start of 2019
And after months of confrontation…
…China and America agreed a preliminary deal at the end of 2019
To me it's not complicated but that's what I do
It's a phenomenal deal
But details are scant and there's likely to be more back and forth in 2020
We still don't know how that's going to play out
Business confidence is low...
…and there's been a synchronised slowing…
…over the course of 2019 around the world
Everyone loses in a trade war
And in 2020 one of the biggest losers…
…set to be caught in the crossfire will be Germany
Germany is the motor of the European economy…
…and it's really been sputtering for the past year
In the third quarter of 2019...
...it very narrowly avoided falling into a recession
Germany is very exposed to international trade...
...and as a result is particularly vulnerable...
...to an intensification of the trade war in 2020
Germany relies more heavily on trade...
...than any other major economy
Its exports are worth almost half of its GDP…
…and much of that is manufacturing exports
Kion, a global company based in Frankfurt…
…is the second-largest producer of forklifts in the world
American tariffs on Chinese exports…
…have affected the company's sales
And the continued uncertainty is damaging…
…the company's ability to plan for 2020 and beyond
Today you have a tariff
Tomorrow, maybe not
Where should you make your next investment?
And so if you're not sure of how competitive…
…is this region going to be
What do you do?
You wait or you do it someplace else
In 2020 the chilling effects of the trade war…
…could spread further than manufacturing
The fear is that an intensification of the trade war...
...and a potentially disorderly Brexit...
...could mean that the troubles will spread from the manufacturing sector...
...in Germany to the rest of the economy...
...which so far has been insulated from the pain
If a recession looms in Germany...
...the government may have to change its traditional habits
Germany has a chronic underinvestment problem
The government has a rule...
...which means that it cannot run a budget deficit
In 2020, if the economy continues to do badly...
...and unemployment starts to rise...
...the government might find itself forced to break the rule...
...and to spend more to stimulate the economy
And if the malaise spreads globally...
...other governments may also need to loosen the purse strings
The biggest story of 2020...
...will be President Trump's bid to be re-elected...
...as the leader of the free world
We're going to keep making America great again
Mr Trump's re-election hopes depend...
...on him winning in the states he took from the Democrats in 2016
He will probably take Ohio and Iowa again...
...and possibly Florida too
But Michigan and Pennsylvania may return to the Democrats
And this means that one small state in the Midwest...
...could be the most fiercely contested...
...Wisconsin
If Donald Trump wins Wisconsin again in 2020...
...it's highly likely that he'll end up back...
...in the White House for four years
The reason Wisconsin is so competitive...
...is in many ways it's a microcosm of the country
Like in other states, the big cities, Milwaukee...
...heavily Democratic...
...as you move further out into the outer suburbs...
...they get more Republican until you get into the countryside…
…when you're into solidly Republican territory
Since 1984 Wisconsin has voted Democrat in every presidential election…
…until 2016
Donald Trump will carry the state of Wisconsin
This is truly the beginning of the end for Hillary Clinton's campaign
In 2016 Donald Trump won the state...
...by a narrow margin of just 22,748 votes
I won Wisconsin…
…and I like Wisconsin a lot
Hillary Clinton famously didn't campaign in Wisconsin in 2016
The Democratic nominee will not...
...be making the same mistake this time around
In 2020 Democratic candidates will ramp up...
...their well-rehearsed attacks on Mr Trump…
…his policies…
We have a guy there that is literally running our country like a game show
…his personality…
In this president you have somebody who is a racist
…and his failures
The president felt free to break the law again, and again and again
But baiting the president, and his record...
...is unlikely to be the key to setting up a...
...Democratic victory in the Badger State
That will probably hinge on something else...
...voter turnout
On the election night itself, the thing to watch for...
...will be whether turnout in downtown Milwaukee is high...
...which would help Democrats
Or whether it's high in the rural areas...
...and the outer suburbs, which are predominantly Republican
Who wins the presidency will affect billions around the world
But that outcome may depend on who turns up to the polls...
...in a state of just 6m people
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What will be the biggest stories of 2020? | The Economist

24 Folder Collection
Courtney Shih published on January 3, 2020
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