Health is wealth has become an oft-repeated phrase these days, for good reason. The relationship between the two has never become clearer, as economies able to contain and control the pandemic have better prospects than those seeing a runaway spread of cases. On an individual level, it means our most valuable asset these days is being free of Covid-19. The health is wealth lesson is also writ large on a regional and even a global level. The faster the world community can come together to defeat the virus, with improved testing and treatments, or create a vaccine, the faster the current slide into a global recession, if not a depression, can be reversed.
The health is wealth maxim also applies to much of this issue’s contents. Included is a new feature, a summary of the online “Asia Tracker” providing an overview of what some of Asia’s leading businesspeople and companies are doing to combat the scourge. It’s encouraging to see some of the region’s savviest entrepreneurs applying their talents, resources and funds to mitigate the pandemic. One article in this issue notes how a group of startups in India has banded together to coordinate their activities as a force-multiplier of effectiveness.
Meanwhile, others have focused their companies on developing new products and services. These firms are being quickly and generously rewarded by investors with rocketing share prices on any news of possible improved testing kits, research into a vaccine or other measures. In this issue, there’s a profile of Korean billionaire Seo Jung-jin, who has added several billion to his fortune—in a matter of weeks—after his Celltrion biotech outfit announced progress in developing both a new treatment and testing kits.
This issue contains two annual rich lists, the signature World’s Billionaires and Japan’s 50 Richest. It should be noted that the cutoff dates for measuring fortunes in the two lists differ by just 24 days, but thanks to market volatility, the net worth of some Japanese billionaires who appear on both lists is substantially different.
This volatility underlines the health is wealth theme. Global markets—and the wealth they create—are now driven almost exclusively by healthcare issues, and the related topic of how governments are trying to limit the economic damage of the pandemic, exhibiting violent swings daily, if not hourly. As billionaire Larry Ellison says in his profile: “Last week—that was a year ago.”
This topic is also covered by Rich Karlgaard, who notes in his column how global markets attempt to be what economists call “efficient,” meaning prices reflect a worldwide consensus on the outlook for Covid-19. Other measures of wealth creation, such as the disruptive power of technology, are being ignored for now, he observes.
The power of healthcare concerns can also amplify business weaknesses—as Masayoshi Son, the cover subject, has discovered with his Vision Fund and other assets and investments. Son has survived previous crises, and he has a plan to survive this one. But this article illustrates that even one of the world’s most powerful billionaire tech investors cannot escape the disruption brought by the health is wealth paradigm. As always, all comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published at Wed, 06 May 2020 11:00:00 +0000