In the coming weeks “must-watch” issues include: 1.) the implementation of the Greek and Iranian deals, fraught with all kinds of difficulties; 2.) China’s deceleration (its PMI fell to 48.2 in July, much worse then expected) and its impact on the world economy (at the end of 2014, China accounted for 38 percent of global GDP growth); 3.) the impact of the sharp fall of emerging market (EM) currencies against the U.S. dollar—particularly on the economies of Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, Mexico, Brazil, Turkey and South Africa; 4.) the resulting nervousness about the “distress loop” in EM hard currency corporate bonds—it will coincide with the Fed’s first rate hike; and 5.) global geo-political turmoil, with a focus on tensions between Russia and the West, the war between Saudi Arabia and Yemen and troubles in southern Turkey (with the army fighting both ISIS and PKK).
A recurrent “must-watch” issue for wellness is the way in which governments and legislators aim to intervene to limit the consumption of products deemed as detrimental to our health. Nutrition figures prominently in the list, and we’ve often mentioned a possible tax on unhealthy food.
The consensus opinion is that taxing products such as sugar doesn’t change behavioural patterns, but some tentative evidence seems to prove the opposite. In Mexico, where 30 percent of the population is considered obese and where the average citizen drinks the equivalent of half a litre of Coca-Cola a day, the government introduced last year a 10 percent tax on sugar-sweetened drinks. Consumption has since declined by six percent.
On the occasion of the Global Wellness Summit later this year in Mexico City, it will be interesting to shed some light on this trend and gain some further insights on the Mexican government’s policies to tax “unhealthy” behaviours.
Another issue to watch, with long-term implications, is the impact that the new “gig economy,” with its inherent precariousness, is having on the consumption of wellness services/products. In a new world of work that may be more exciting but less secure, will the absence of a social safety net and less workplace protection encourage people to engage in wellness activities and behaviour—or not? To our knowledge, no research as yet shows whether this is the case or not. But this is a fundamental issue as the “gig economy” trend could boost the wellness sector still further.
ABOUT THIERRY MALLERET
Thierry Malleret is the co-founder and primary author of the Monthly Barometer, a predictive analysis provided exclusively to private investors and today's most influential opinion and decision-makers. Previously he was a senior partner at IJ (Informed Judgement) Partners, an investment boutique for ultra-high-net-worth individuals based in Geneva. Thierry also founded and directed the Global Risk Network at the World Economic Forum (WEF), bringing together top policymakers, CEOs and academics to consider how global issues will affect business and society in the short and long term. For a number of years, Thierry conceived and implemented the WEF program at Davos. He holds MAs (in economics and history) and a PhD in Economics. He writes a Wellness Edition of his Monthly Barometer, exclusively for the Global Wellness Institute. For a copy of the full report, join the GWI as a Member or Ambassador.