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Steve Graham

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The global economy: prospects and challenges

We are past the halfway point in 2021 and it is apparent that a recovery is well underway for the global economy. Despite the burst in economic activity, it is still too early to call it a post-COVID era, as infections remain at high levels in some places and variants are still forcing authorities to place restrictions on key areas across the globe. Still, it is a full-fledged economic recovery, and the World Bank projects it will be the most robust in 80 years.

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Changes are coming to the U.S. economy: Things to watch for in coming months

The latest Federal Reserve Beige Book noted that economic activity increased from early April to late May as vaccinated consumers returned to normal activities and businesses dropped pandemic restrictions. Economic activity is picking up as vaccinations are increasing and restrictions are being relaxed. Firms benefited from an $800 billion assistance for small businesses and owners are yearning for a return to a “normal” economy. Along the way, Major League Baseball is slated to return to full capacity and the largest state economy, California, will shed its final COVID-era restrictions on June 15 and give bars, restaurants, and other businesses a green light on the road back to “normal”. Despite a strong advance, the recovery is not without problems. Despite still having large numbers of unemployed people, labor shortages persist in the United States. Supply chain shortages are rampant across the manufacturing sector and inflation is emerging as a threat to future growth. This article will attempt to shed some light on future economic developments and to show that the economic transformation that we are seeing now will hopefully develop into a self-sustaining economic recovery.

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The future is near: A look at hydrogen vehicles

Moving to a future technology is a constant process. Technology is constantly evolving and changing the world we live in. We do not live in an idle universe. A few years ago, electric engines were in low numbers, although the technology is as old as the internal combustion engine. Today, there are large numbers of electric cars and a growing number of EV trucks on the highways. In the future, there will be millions of electric cars and perhaps hundreds of thousands of trucks. The changes are not only driven by technology, but also by government policy in a quest to have a carbon-free future. Although the future will see a lot of electric cars and light trucks, the conversion of the commercial truck fleets into an all-electric future is more mixed. Battery-powered commercial trucks are a viable alternative to an internal combustion engine, but this must be framed in the doable universe. Although battery-operated trucks will gain market share in coming years, they are not the perfect solution to all of trucking’s needs. Battery-powered trucks still face an uphill climb to the long-haul market. The future of long-haul trucking may well depend on the emergence of a fuel cell vehicle or even a hydrogen-powered vehicle in the quest for a carbon-free future.

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Perspectives on the Future, Part 1 - Population

In any age, the seeds of the future are planted in the past. Technological and economic forces drive changes across the globe, whether we notice it, or not. The once-sidelined electric engine is making a splash in transportation circles. Humans dominate the planet and it has become a big concern whether they will survive their own technological changes. The weather is getting noticeably warmer, in part driven by human activity in their transportation grid. The rise of globalization has uncovered other facts, some of them unpleasant. Humans have always faced diseases that threaten life. To some degree, isolation was a savior. Tropical and other diseases have existed since humans started on their historic journey. Humans adapted or developed resistance to local strains. Some diseases such as the Black Death did affect large areas of the globe and was spread by sea-borne commerce. The development of transportation grids has made us more vulnerable to diseases, that once were isolated. COVID-19 is an example of a disease that may have only affected a small group of people until globalization and the disease used the interlocked transportation grids to spread itself across the globe.

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