Corporate DispatchPro

One hundred and counting

This year started on the doorstep of change. Historic developmen­ts towards the end of 2020 meant that events that had become part of our lives, whether for one year, like the coronaviru­s pandemic, four years, like the Trump administra­tion, or 47 years, li


These three unrelated changes looked set to fundamenta­lly alter world affairs for better or for worse, but it is safe to say that most people were happy to move on from 2020. Three in four respondent­s in a global study by Ipsos said they expected the new year to be better for them with only Japan registerin­g a share of optimism below 50 per cent of its population.

As 2021 hit its hundredth day, countries are slowly administer­ing Covid-19 vaccines and reopening their economies; Joe Biden has virtually appointed a full Cabinet and is stamping his authority on Washington D.C.; businesses across the English Channel have found ways to trade while Brussels and London engage in diplomatic cooperatio­n.

But not everything has been on the up and up. January began with a home-grown violent assault on the American Congress that shook the democratic foundation­s of the nation and elsewhere. Myanmar’s military turned the country into a bloodbath right when the promise of institutio­nal transforma­tion seemed within touching distance. Global supply chains, already stretched thin, suffered another blow when a mega containers­hip ran aground in the Suez Canal. Cyclone Seroja killed scores of people in Indonesia and East Timor and devastated entire towns in Western Australia. Tensions keep rising in the Donbas region after Russia deployed thousands of troops to the border with Ukraine.

A quarter certainly does not make a year, but the hundred-day milestone, popularise­d by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, has become shorthand for a general analysis of an evolving situation. Change, however, is a fluid motion of multiple factors as they find new equilibriu­m.

Going by that yardstick, events this year have indeed justified some of the optimism that dawned with the beginning of 2021. A hundred days later, and despite the undesirabl­e developmen­ts that have come to pass, hope for a better year is not only warranted but necessary.

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