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A year ago, we expanded from a 2-day-a-week publication to 5 days a week. On Sept. 9, Future will shift back to 2 days a week, responding to readers who told us overwhelmingly that, when it comes to the future, less is more.
This is my last week at Axios. Through Friday, we will be doubling down on our big themes, writing what we hope are especially definitive accounts of the biggest trends roiling this extraordinarily turbulent period of history.
Today's Smart Brevity count: 996 words, <4-minutes
Okay, let's start with ...
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
In what would have been widely dismissed as absurd even a year ago, a mainstream consensus has suddenly swept the world that the core of the global economic system has gone terribly awry, requiring a basic shakeup of capitalism.
The big picture: As we have reported, a reckoning has emerged for capitalism as practiced — people across the U.S., Europe and elsewhere say something is fundamentally wrong with their living standards and the size of companies, and CEOs and politicians suddenly believe they must act.
But experts suggest that such do-gooderism and investigations will be insufficient to turn the tide against an underlying, almost-unnoticed threat to the economic system that has fueled the entire industrial age.
The new threat: Most of us know that global wealth surged starting in the 19th century. What is less publicized is that the explosion was accompanied by a similar breakout in population, and economists connect the two — when population grows, GDP has tended to rise with it. (see chart)
What's next: Richard Jackson, president of the Global Aging Institute, says that, as long as countries do not go protectionist, companies will get around the problem for decades by exporting to still-growing populations such as sub-Saharan Africa.
Darrell Bricker, co-author of "Empty Planet" and global CEO of Ipsos, the polling company, said companies could also do better at marketing to the elderly. "When was the last time you saw an ad [targeting] a 70-year-old woman?"
The bottom line: Capitalism is unlikely to vanish. But it could end up looking a lot different.
Aiming for happiness: Ruchir Sharma, chief global strategist for Morgan Stanley Investment Management, said that, rather than growth, a better measure of public well-being amid population decline is per capita income.
Newlyweds from Beijing, on Hollywood Boulevard. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty
After years of double-digit growth, the number of Chinese visitors to the U.S. and the amount they spend are shrinking, inflicting a hit on the $1.6 trillion travel industry.
The inflection point was 2017, coinciding with President Trump's assumption of power and the intensification of U.S.-Chinese brinkmanship, according to data from the National Travel and Tourism Office, an industry association.
Why it matters: Chinese tourists and students are perhaps the biggest spenders of all visitors to the U.S. Last year, for instance, they spent $34.6 billion, compared with $16 billion by British tourists and $9 billion by South Koreans.
Central London. Photo: Vickie Flores/In Pictures/Getty
One of the primary supposed fault lines for the electric car future is the yawning shortage of charging stations: No one wants to fret over finding a place to get re-juiced.
But not in Britain, writes Bengt Halvorson at Green Car Reports, where the number of charging locations now outnumbers gas stations.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The China backlash (Yaroslav Trofimov — WSJ)
Parsing global recession (Dan Primack, Dion Rabouin — Axios) (podcast)
The science of fooling face hunters (The Economist)
Remorse of the world’s top deepfake artist (Will Knight — MIT Tech Review)
Kostya and me: Ensnared in the Russia probe (Sam Patten — Wired)
Baylor vs. Texas, last October. Photo: John Rivera/Icon Sportswire/Getty
U.S. colleges have come up with a novel answer to 2 chronic problems at football games: a plunge in attendance and vomit in the stands.
The solution: legalizing stadium beer sales, reports the WSJ's Brian Costa.
Thanks for reading!